How Often Should You Wash Your Cat? When and How?

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How Often Should You Wash Your Cat? When and How?

Should you wash your cat?

First of all, before asking “how to wash my cat”, you have to ask yourself whether it is necessary to wash your cat.

Should we wash our cat?

Indeed, cats spend a lot of time every day cleaning their fur and grooming. And they conscientiously cleanse their bodies on their own, without outside help! It is therefore not necessary to wash your cat in the tub with cat shampoo or soap.

Especially since it can cause fear and stress in our feline friends, who for the most part are not known to love water … Avoid as much as possible these uncomfortable moments for your cat.

Disadvantages of bathing the cat

In addition, any shampoo or soap attacks the natural fatty film of its skin, and certain fragrances, which are certainly pleasant for humans, can be disturbing or even irritating for cats.

In a bath, the cat’s fur completely fills with water: the water penetrates to its skin and this has a strong cooling effect for your cat. Cats thus run the risk of catching a cold after a bath. Therefore, washing cats is not inherently necessary and should be avoided as much as possible, except in certain exceptional situations.

A stressful situation for the cat

Since it is extremely stressful for cats to loosen tangled hairs from their coats, keep tangles as much as possible by taking care to brush them daily.

If this does happen, a light sedation can help you completely clean their fur and remove any knots or clumped hairs. Mowing may be considered in cases of hairs being very stuck to each other.

When to wash your cat?

In the event of heavy soiling

A healthy cat spends a lot of time on a daily basis cleaning its body and grooming its coat. A bath is not necessary and does It more harm than good. However, if your cat has access to the outdoors and comes home with heavy soiling that they can no longer cope with on their own as part of their grooming, you could definitely use a cat shampoo, specially designed for their use.

This is the case if It returns from a walk having rolled in excrement, or having waded in a stinking liquid!

Only cat shampoo or medical shampoo prescribed by the veterinarian should be used.

If your cat is affected by certain diseases

Certain painful diseases of the musculoskeletal system do not allow them to continue their daily toilet needs: for example osteoarthritis. This makes it difficult for cats to take care of their coat in the affected area, especially on the back.

Thus, tangles of agglutinated hairs can form there, due to colonization of the skin by bacterial flora, which can lead to dermatitis.

Likewise, for certain skin diseases, or in the event of a massive ectoparasitic infestation, washing with a medicinal or antiparasitic shampoo may be necessary.

Take care before bathing in case of illness!

If an illness is the cause, make sure your cat is not in pain before washing it, as just touching and bathing it will cause it unnecessary pain. Also, cat owners should familiarize them with contact with water from an early age, in order to avoid any stress during a possible bath.

How to wash your cat?

Preparations for the bath

If you are planning to bathe your cat, be well prepared, and have someone to help you. Think about where you are going to bathe It in advance and cover the floor with a rubber mat so that the cat has a firm grip and does not slip.

Above all, have all the necessary utensils on hand to avoid unnecessary research when the cat is already in the water. Then fill the tub with lukewarm water (or the chosen container) to a level of about 4 inches.

Washing your cat

Since cats are very afraid of water, it is recommended that a person supervise and talk to the cat at all times. And of course, you have to proceed very carefully before putting it in the water. Avoid using the showerhead.

Instead, use a cup or bowl to gently and gradually wet their coat, while avoiding wetting their head. Then apply the shampoo to the body and rub it with gentle movements.

Then use your hand or a damp towel to wash Its head.

Rinsing and drying

Then carefully rinse the shampoo until it disappears, using the cup or bowl. Take the cat and dry it quickly in a towel because cats quickly catch cold.

In case of light or too heavy soiling

For small stains, it is sufficient to wipe and clean the affected parts of the body with a damp cloth or with a wet hand.

However, if the fur is too dirty, very sticky, or so matted that you can’t do it on your own, take your cat to a vet’s office. Your vet will show you how to take care of it.

How often to wash your cat?

Whenever possible, wash the cat. If your cat is not able to take care of itself, as part of Its toilet routine, or remove significant dirt from Its fur, or if the veterinarian has prescribed a medical shampoo against a disease, then the question must be asked. frequency.

How many times?

In general, for heavy soiling, one bath is sufficient.

On the other hand, depending on the disease in question, it may be necessary to wash your cat several times (depending on the condition of its skin, depending on its pathology, depending on its general condition). In the end, respect the veterinarian’s recommendation!

Don’t increase the frequency on your own!

A healthy cat spends most of its day cleaning and caring for its coat. An additional washing or bathing of the cat is therefore absolutely not necessary. On the contrary, it harms your cat!

On the one hand, washing your cat will stress It greatly. On the other hand, by using scented shampoos, you will mask your cat’s natural scent and this will irritate It. You also risk destroying the natural protective oily film that prevents the skin from drying out.

How Often Should You Wash Your Cat? When and How?

What to wash your cat with?

We must use a cat shampoo, specially developed for our feline friends and their fur. Check that it does not contain additives such as perfumes or other olfactory substances, and can be used in case of heavy soiling.

However, if an illness makes bathing necessary, an appropriate medical shampoo will be prescribed by the veterinarian. This measure is however quite rare.

Familiarize your cat with water and bathing.

The Younger TheBetter!

We, therefore, recommend that you get your cat used to water from an early age.

Kittens in particular are very curious, and it is easier to familiarize them with this new element on their body. With patience, slow movements, talking calmly to It, you should be able to get your kitten accustomed to the water.

Reward It with food or a snack, this will encourage It and should help speed up the familiarization!

Combine brushing and rewarding with food

When it comes to shampooing, you can also combine brushing in a fun way with long strokes in the tub. Cats, especially long-haired breeds, should be brushed regularly, if possible every day.

You can combine these two elements with each other and combine brushing with shampoo. If you get your cat used to being brushed in the tub from a young age, for example, It will already be used to receiving care.

And by feeding it afterward, you make a positive connection between the care of its fur and the food it receives. This can be useful later for other types of care.

The cat does not like water by nature

However, keep in mind that cats, with a few exceptions, don’t like water. And that washing them, despite all the familiarization efforts you have made before, will cause them stress.

Accordingly, bathing and washing should be as short as possible. Always have another person holding the cat to help you. And when you brush your cat and take care of It, take the opportunity to scan Its skin directly for knots, clumped hairs, pimples or other protuberances, small wounds, or ectoparasites.

 Cat Breeds That Need To Be Washed

There are some breeds of cats that should be supported in the maintenance of their coat: we can mention in particular the Sphynx cats. These “naked” cats do not have fur capable of absorbing the natural fatty film of the skin: thus a fine film of sebum remains on the surface of the cat’s skin.

Some breeds like the Maine Coon and the Siberian cat love and enjoy the water.

Final Thoughts

Remember here that for the most part, the cat is a very clean animal that is very well equipped by nature to groom and take care of its coat on its own. Normally, you should only need to wash or bathe it in very rare situations.

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About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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