Pros and cons of giving your cat a bath – Part 1

Like all pets, cats require some grooming, but there are very few occasions when a cat needs a bath. Here are some examples of those occasions. Perhaps your toddler has covered Fluffy with his new finger paints, and you don’t want primary colored feline footprints all over your house. Or your preschooler wanted to find out if Elmer’s Glue would harden on fur, and you don’t want Fluffy to upset her stomach by cleaning it herself. Finally, may need to give your cat a bath is she has ringworm, mange, fleas or a bacterial infection. Apart from these rare occasions, she does a fantastic job bathing herself. She does not need nor should she have a weekly or even monthly bath.

However, it’s wise to give bathe her once when she’s a kitten, then once every six months to a year, not for the sake of her coat, but for the sake of “practice” should the time ever come when you have a mischievous child or a medical problem. I recommend using a sink or elevated tub. If you don’t have one that you’re willing to use for a cat bath, look in the phone book or on the Internet for a do-it-yourself-dogwash. These locations provide a more affordable alternative to taking Fluffy to a groomer. They provide the tub and the water while you provide the work.

During these rare practice runs, you’re just trying to get yourself and your cat used to the idea that a bath does not need to be a nightmare. You will want to wear rubber gloves up to your elbows and choose a shampoo that’s labeled for grooming, or just warm water, no shampoo at all. Gently holding Fluffly’s scruff may be all the restraint you need, but an extra pair of hands from a friend or a catbag can also be helpful. Only use the catbag if you need it. Many cat’s resist restraint more strongly than they fight the bath itself.

Finally, don’t push it! If you are at risk of being scratched and Fluffy’s about to keel over from stress, quit! If she ever really needs a bath, ask your veterinarian if Fluffy can be sedated for the procedure. Today there are some very nice homeopathic and herbal alternative to traditional tranquilzers as well.

Good luck bathing your kitty. With luck you won’t need to very often at all.

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