With her built-in grooming tools (tongue and teeth, of course), your fastidious feline is well-equipped to tackle her own haircare needs. But if she is very dirty or gets into something sticky or smelly, you may need to give her a bath. Read the following tips before you begin to ensure minimal stress and maximum efficiency.
1. Perfect timing: Schedule baths when your cat’s at her most mellow. A play session with a cat dancer or other toy of choice can help tire out even the friskiest of felines.
2. Clip, snip: For your own protection, ASPCA experts recommend trimming Fluffy’s claws before bathing.
3. The brush-off: Next, give your cat a good brushing to remove any loose hair and mats. Now’s also a good time to gently place some cotton in her ears to keep the water out.
4. Stand firm: Place a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub where you’ll be bathing your kitty so she doesn’t slip. Fill with three to four inches of lukewarm (not hot, please!) water.
5. Just add water: Use a hand-held spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes and nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup works great.
6. Lather up: Gently massage your pet with a solution of one part cat shampoo (human shampoo can dry out her skin) to five parts water, working from head to tail, in the direction of hair growth. Take care to avoid the face, ears and eyes.
7. All clear: Thoroughly rinse the shampoo off your cat with a spray hose or pitcher; again, be sure the water is lukewarm. Take good care that all residue has been removed, as it can irritate the skin and act as a magnet for dirt.
8. About face: Use a washcloth to carefully wipe your pet’s face. Plain water is fine unless her face is very dirty—in which case, we recommend using an extra-diluted solution of shampoo, being very cautious around her ears and eyes.
9. Dry idea: You’re almost there! Wrap your cat in a large towel and dry her with it in a warm place, away from drafts. If your kitty doesn’t mind the noise, you can use a blow dryer—on the lowest heat setting. And please note, if your pet has long hair, you may need to carefully untangle her fur with a wide-toothed comb.
10. Good girl!: Your little bathing beauty deserves endless praise—and her favorite treat—after all this! And with such a happy ending, next time she may find that bath time isn’t so bad.