Cat bathing frequency has been the topic of many debates. As cats groom themselves a lot, a healthy cat can go her entire life without a bath; still, you may need to bathe her, so it's best to get her accustomed to bathing when she is still a kitten.
Do Cats Need Bathing?
Cats groom themselves a lot as their saliva is important for the well being of their skin. So, for the average healthy cat, brushing is enough. However there are circumstances when a bath can help cure a health condition, avoid intoxication or simply help the cat feel better:
Cats recovering from skin infections benefit from regular baths which help keep the infection away. Sometimes your veterinarian might recommend bathing your cat with shampoo against fleas and other parasites.
If your cat was sprayed by a skunk or has chemicals stuck on her fur, she will also need you to bathe her as soon as possible.
Excessive dirt on a cat's fur is a good reason for a bath, as you may be bothered by the cat’s appearance and smell.
Overweight or old cats have trouble grooming themselves, so a bath is necessary.
Some veterinarians advise regular baths: Twice a year for short haired cats and 3 to 4 times a year for medium or long hair breeds.
How Can Bathing Harm a Cat?
As most cats don’t like water and under normal circumstances, they don't need to be bathed, you should be aware that bathing can harm your pet.
Frequent bathing will stop the cat's skin from producing the natural oils. Dry skin in a cat will cause more health problems. Bathing a cat with human shampoo can cause allergies, so, if you need to give her a bath, use special products.
For older cats that have not been accustomed to being bathed, a bath can be a source of stress and may even cause cardiac arrhythmia.
How to Bathe a Cat
In order to make the bathing less stressful, you will need to prepare:
- Prepare the bath: pour water in a deep sink, put a mat or a towel on the bottom so the cat has something to cling to, make sure you have the shampoo and the towel close by
- Put cotton balls in her ears to prevent water from getting inside
- Start with a little brushing to relax her and continue with a gentle massage
Help your cat get accustomed to being bathed starting from the time she is a kitten, make the activity feel more like fun time.
While bathing your cat may not be required frequently, grooming is important.
Regular grooming does not only make the cat’s coat look good, but it will also massage the skin and stimulate circulation, removing various debris and loose hair. Also, while grooming your pet, you will be able to check for lesions, mats, tangles, irritation or fleas.