Training your cat to enjoy a bath – Part 6

Cats and a bath seem to mix about as well as oil and vinegar. While cat’s are known for keeping themselves meticulously groomed, an infestation of fleas or an overly soiled coat can be cause for a bath. You may never convince your cat that having a bath is the most fun ever, but you can train him to enjoy it. Start when your cat is a kitten, so he gets accustomed to the entire procedure.

1. Start with a good brushing. Most cats thoroughly enjoy this and will lay quite contented while you brush their fur. This will remove any knots that may become matted and painful once wet, and also help to relax him and put him at ease.

2. I use the kitchen sink, as it is less intimidating than being thrust into a large bathtub. Place a towel or rubber mat in the bottom, so your cat isn’t sliding around.

3. Get a gentle stream of lukewarm water running from the tap before bringing your cat to the sink. Now put your cat in the sink, not directly under the faucet, talking to him in a comforting voice.

4. Some people fill the sink with water and place the cat in, but I find submerging them in water is terribly distressing and they try to claw their way out.

5. Keep one hand on your cat at all times, to prevent an escape, and use the other hand to fill a container with the running water.

6. Still chatting him up in a reassuring manner, and petting him with one hand, gently wet his coat with the container of water.

7. Lather the shampoo in with a gentle massage like motion, being careful not to get it in his eyes. This will make his eyes burn and leave them irritated, leaving him reluctant to comply with future baths.

8. Once your cat is clean, rinse his coat in the same manner you used to wet it, being sure not to overwhelm him with one container after the next of water being poured over him. This will surely frighten him. Go about it slowly and gently, while continuing to praise and offer positive reinforcement.

9. Once rinsed use your hand to wipe off as much water as possible, and wrap him in a towel.

10. This is important. Take the opportunity to cuddle with him while wrapped in the towel, and offer a few of his favorite treats. This way he associates something positive with the bath experience. That snuggle and treats can make all the difference.

11. If your cat tolerates it, you can use a blow dryer to help the drying process.

Okay, so you may never have your cat nuzzling your ankle, with his towel in tow, begging for a bath, but he can learn to enjoy it when a bath is necessary. Making it a positive experience will stop him from cowering under the bed every time the facet is turned on.

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