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Tips For Giving Your Furry Friend A Bath

February 15, 2024

Do you prefer bathing your cat? Our feline friends are naturally very clean, which is one of the advantages of having them as animal companions. Although many dogs enjoy rolling around in the dirt and splashing in mud puddles, most cats prefer being clean. Your furry friend may spend as much as a third of her waking time grooming herself. You don’t have to bathe your cat, but you can if you want to. In this article from Hassayampa Veterinary Services, your local animal clinic, serving Wickenburg and the surrounding communities, a veterinarian discusses bathing your cat.

Do Our Feline Friends Need To Be Bathed?

Generally speaking, no. However, if you’ve just adopted a kitten, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get your little buddy used to baths. That will make things much easier for you both if she ever gets something spilled on her fur or has a run-in with a skunk. Hairless kitties may also benefit from baths, as they can get a bit greasy without any fur to soak up the oil from their skin.

Check with your veterinarian before bathing your feline buddy. This goes double if Fluffy is a senior, very young kitten, or has medical conditions. Never bathe a cat who is recovering from wounds or surgery unless your vet specifically recommends it.

How Frequently Should I Give An Indoor Cat Baths?

If you choose to bathe your feline friend, you should only do so every four to six weeks. Otherwise, you might inadvertently end up overbathing her. That could potentially strip the oils from her skin and coat, which may cause more harm than good. Fluffy may end up looking dry and even a bit frizzy. It may also cause skin irritation. For more information, please consult your Wickenburg, AZ veterinarian.

Is There A Good Time To Bathe My Cat?

The best time of day really depends on what works for you. We do suggest doing this during the day when it’s warm or hot out, so your cat doesn’t get cold while she’s drying off. 

Why Do Kitties Hate Baths?

Many of our feline friends are naturally frightened of water. One reason for this is that they are just not good swimmers. They can easily get swept away even by gentle currents and are in over their heads in just a foot or two of water. Wet fur is quite uncomfortable for them. It also gives off a distinct scent that attracts predators. Another factor could be that rivers and ponds hide predators in the wild. 

Are Kitties Okay With Being Bathed?

We’re pretty sure that if we could ask our feline patients this directly, most of them would reply with a hard ‘No’. There are a few cats that didn’t get this memo. For instance, the Bengal and Turkish Angora both enjoy water, and even like swimming. That said, most of our feline friends prefer to see to their own beauty needs. (Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. Many cats absolutely hate being bathed.)

Should I Take My Feline Friend To A Groomer?

This is optional in most cases. However, some cats may benefit from going to the salon. If your cat is a senior, just being held may be uncomfortable for her. Kitties with thick, long, or matted fur may also need some extra help with their beauty regimes. Ask your Wickenburg, AZ vet for more information.

Should I Give My Cat A Flea Bath?

Be sure to consult your vet before using flea shampoo, especially one that you bought at a store. Unfortunately, some of these products are unsafe. 

Also, never double up on parasite prevention! Adding a bath to another parasite control method may expose your furry friend to dangerous amounts of chemicals. It is best to err on the side of caution and check with your vet, especially if you are using another parasite control method.

How Should I Bathe A Cat?

Giving your feline buddy a bath isn’t exactly rocket science. We do have a few tips to share, though.

Prep Work

Brush your cat before bathing her. This will remove any dead fur or dander from her coat. You don’t have to wear full-body armor and a helmet, but you may want to wear thick jeans and a long-sleeved shirt

Have a few towels on hand, and put a mat down in the tub or sink to prevent scratches.


Make sure the water isn’t too hot! Kitties have very sensitive skin, and even water that seems pleasant to us could burn your pet. Lukewarm is fine. The bathwater should not be any deeper than your cat’s chest.

Bath Time

Only use shampoos that were specifically formulated for our feline friends. Products made for dogs or humans are too strong for kitties. Be careful not to get suds in your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. Just wipe her face and ears with a washcloth. 

Rinse well! If you don’t have a sprayer, use a teapot or pitcher to rinse Fluffy gently. If you are using a sprayer, keep the pressure on low

As mentioned above, your cat may not be happy about getting bathed. If Fluffy decides to express her opinion, talk gently to her, and pet her to help calm her.

What Is The Best Way To Dry My Cat?

When you’re finished bathing your cat, wrap her in a towel. Don’t rub vigorously; just press the towel gently into her fur to soak up water. 

If Fluffy doesn’t mind, you can blow dry her, using a low heat and gentle setting. Some cats actually seem to enjoy being pampered this way. Others? Not so much. Don’t force the issue. If your cat is over it by that point, just let her go. She’ll most likely immediately start grooming herself to get her fur back in place. A new toy, a tasty treat, or maybe some catnip should improve her mood. 

Do Kitties Feel Better After Baths?

Suppose your feline friend is getting bathed because you accidentally dropped ketchup on her. In that case, she will probably feel much more comfortable afterward. Kitties that are infested with fleas will also feel relief after treatment, but we’re focusing more on regular baths than flea baths here. Flea baths would fall more under general medical care rather than beauty regimes.

Why Does My Cat Get Cuddly After A Bath?

We may never know the answer to this for sure, but there are a few possible options. Kitties have scent glands, which allow them to mark their territory with scent. It probably won’t be a huge shock to realize that cats see their humans as their property. She may be trying to ‘re-anoint’ you!

Conclusion: While kitties are normally very clean, you can bathe them if you like. Just check with your vet first and take precautions to ensure that you are doing so safely.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us at Hassayampa Veterinary Services, your local animal clinic, proudly serving Wickenburg and the surrounding communities, anytime! We are dedicated to offering great care to all our furry patients! 

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