If you’ve ever given your cat a bath, you might have experienced this firsthand: many cats really don’t like baths. Naturally, you hate doing anything that’s this stressful for your cat. Which is why you’ve found yourself asking this question: does my indoor cat need baths?
Luckily for you and your cat, the answer is… not really!
Cats are fantastic self-groomers, spending nearly 40% of their day cleaning themselves. Indoor cats also have less exposure to the natural elements than outdoor cats, so they’re less likely to track mud indoors or bring in outdoor pests in their fur. That means that most of the time, your cat doesn’t need any help from you when it comes to getting clean.
When baths are unavoidable
In some situations, though, baths are necessary. Your indoor cat will need baths if he...
- Has trouble grooming himself due to age, arthritis, obesity, or any other factors,
- Has fleas, ticks, or other pests that cling to fur,
- Has a skin condition that can be treated or soothed with baths,
- Is not grooming enough because of depression or illness.
If you do find yourself needing to give your cat a bath, there are some things you can do to make the experience less stressful for everyone involved.
1. Get your cat used to the bathtub.
Bathtubs are slippery and confining - pretty scary if you’ve never been inside one before! Before you even introduce water into the equation, let your cat explore the bathtub. Throw some toys in there, or sprinkle catnip inside the tub, so your cat will associate the bath with party time.
2. Make the surface less slippery.
As mentioned above, bathtubs are pretty slippery spaces. Help your cat get her footing by placing a rubber mat on the bottom of the tub, or giving her some other non-slip surface to hold onto during the bath.
3. Protect your cat’s ears, nose, and eyes from the water.
Don’t spray or pour water directly at any of the above. If your cat doesn’t mind, you can place some cotton in his ears before the bath to keep water from getting in.
4. Be quick.
The longer you take, the more likely your cat is to fidget and get impatient. Move quickly and efficiently - rinse, shampoo, rinse, and you’re done!
5. Dry your cat thoroughly after the bath.
Wrap a warm, dry towel around kitty and keep him away from drafts. A blow dryer is okay if your cat is fine with the noise, as long as you lower the heat setting.
6. Heap on the praise.
Treat your cat after a bath. Offer her favorite dinner, give her a treat, or spend some time grooming. The grooming will help you bond, help dry her fur, and is especially important for cats with longer fur.
Bathtime for kitty doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience. Try to make it as enjoyable, or at least tolerable, as you can. Chances are, though, you may never have to give your indoor cat a bath - his personal bathing habits are even better than yours!
- by Yuliya