Cats generally don’t have to be bathed, but there are times when it is necessary. Cats can come home after spending some time outdoors, covered in dirt, mud or even grease. They may have fleas and ticks or have been sprayed by a skunk.
Brushing and combing will usually work to get rid of the dirt or using special cat wipes, but sometimes a bath is the only answer.
Preparation beforehand is very important.
Trim your cat’s nails to help avoid serious scratches. Comb or brush fur before bathing.
Oily patches can be pre-treated by massaging vegetable oil into the spot and wiping excess away with a dry cloth. Then massage shampoo into the area.
Never use your shampoo on your cat as it could be toxic. Use regular or flea shampoo made specifically for cats. In a pinch, you can use baby shampoo.
Place a rubber mat or towel in the tub or sink for the cat to stand on.
Wear something you don’t mind getting wet and something long-sleeved to cut down on scratch damage. If you’re comfortable with it, wear gloves. Have a couple of towels ready to dry your cat.
Fill the tub or sink with 4-5 inches of warm water. Now you’re ready for the battle of the bath.
Hold your cat firmly and gently wet the fur and massage in a small amount of shampoo. Avoid getting soap in eyes, mouth, ears or nose. If you prefer, you can use a washcloth. Rinse thoroughly, more than once if necessary, to remove all soap. In this case a sprayer works very well.
All the while speak to your cat in a soothing voice – it may calm him/her.
When the bath is over, gently dry your cat by blotting or rubbing with the handy towels. You can wrap your cat in a towel, just be sure your cat is only slightly damp and use a dry towel.
Short-haired cats dry more quickly. With long-haired cats, wait until they dry before combing as wet fur will mat easily.
Keep your cat out of drafts and in a warm area until completely dry. You can have that drink now, having gotten through the ordeal.