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Author Topic: How do you bathe a cat?  (Read 19746 times)

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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2013, 06:54:15 PM »
If it's a "cleanliness" issue, my suggestion is to take the cat to the V E T  and ask for a "sanitary shave." Some time back I bought a battery-powered mustache trimmer solely for that purpose.  My long-haired cat doesn't really like it, but she'll tolerate a quick trim job, though I also use it along her back to get some of the spots most prone to matting.  This does mean she has a little bit of a reverse mohawk down her back, but I think it's a fair tradeoff - no mats to bother her this way. 

Other suggestions include using a plastic storage type bin - not too big, not too small.  Put a towel on the bottom for traction, and run warm water slowly into the bin (have it running before you bring her into the bathroom) place cat in the bin with your  hand on her scruff, like mama cats do for kittens.  Having an assistant on hand to quickly bathe the cat really helps for this.  Wear clothes, despite the logic of "bathtub, water, don't wear clothes" why? Because claws, enough said.

You could also try various acclimation techniques.  Bring cat into the bathroom with similar setup when you are NOT planning to bathe her.  Let her sniff around, freak out, etc, let her out.  Work up to actually putting her in the water. 

^^This was a friend's method for bathing a particularly large, determined cat.

My own large cat gets the 'too bad you don't have thumbs' treatment. I lock us both in the very tiny bathroom and start cleaning. He escapes my grip, stops by the door, and howls. I grab and scrub. He runs again. Repeat until one of us is too tired to move. Door opens, cat bolts, spends five minutes under the couch until he realises that Mama has snacks (his memory for torture is frequently thwarted by his tummy :P ).

I'd like to climb into the tub with him, but then I'd have a wet, shrieking kitty on my head, trying to avoid the water. I'm not too fond of that idea. :-\
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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2013, 07:03:28 PM »
I remember trying to give my flatmates cat a bath once (can't remember why now) and it was a nightmare. Somehow she got all her paws spread around the edge of the laundry tub and refused to go in. We did get her clean in the end but we both got scratched.

Current cat has never had a bath. She's an indoor cat so hopefully will never need one


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2013, 07:19:57 PM »
i've had to give on of my very fluffy kitties a butt-bath when he wasn't well.  Its a 2 person job.  One to sit on edge of bath with kitty butt-out on back across knees and held down, one to wash and rinse butt.  Wrap kitty in towel when done, run away and allow kitty to free itself well out of arms reach.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 07:44:39 PM by katycoo »

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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2013, 07:22:15 PM »
kitkatswing, that was fantastic.  And oh, so true.

We had a cat that was a real hunter.  Mom had to bath him once when he ate something that didn't agree with him and he had scours.  He felt so rotten that he really didn't struggle much.  She washed him in the laundry sink - somewhat contained, high sides and she could stand instead of crouching over the tub.  She wrapped him up in a big beach towel, brought him upstairs and put him on the fireplace hearth (with the fire going).  He stayed there, basking in the warmth and licking his fur back into position.  Another time, he had a little encounter with a skunk.  I think that time he was pretty calm because the smell was grossing him out.

Me?  I'm taking my two to a professional, if they ever need it.  I have trouble even trimming their back claws.
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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2013, 07:50:18 PM »
The firs thing I thought when reading the title was, very carefully!

The easy option:

1) Thoroughly clean the toilet.

2) Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water, and have both lids lifted.

3) Obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.

4) In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids (you may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape). CAUTION: Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge, as his paws will be reaching out for any purchase they can find. The cat will self-agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from your toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.

5) Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "powerwash" and "rinse" which I have found to be quite effective.

6) Have someone open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door.

7)Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

8) The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet, and run outside where he will dry himself.

I am just kidding of course!


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2013, 08:20:33 PM »
There is absolutely no way I could persuade my DH aka the cat's father, to sit in the bath with only bathers on, and then give him the cat. 

I want to see a photo of this.


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2013, 08:53:46 PM »
I've thoroughly enjoyed some of these responses!  ;D

To answer another poster's question, I've bathed my cats when they've started to smell a bit. And I don't think it was a "cleanliness" issues since it was all over, but whatever. However they're indoor only cats, so they rarely get bathed. I think it's been about 3 years since I last bathed them. I don't deal well with smelly/dirty cats; partly why I keep them indoors only. Ha

And to answer the OP's question, I get everything ready, get my cat, then get into the bathtub w/them (fully clothed), and then bathe them under the running water. Haven't had a problem, although they certainly do try to escape a time or two but I keep a firm grip. However my cats aren't psycho in there, so I'm able to bathe them myself. If either of them were like a couple of the cats we had growing up who *freaked* when we attempted to bathe them, I'd probably have a pro do it.  :)


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2013, 09:14:45 PM »
I'd require a full-body blood transfusion before any one of my cats ever got cleaned. :-X


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2013, 09:30:34 PM »
My first 2 cats arrived with fleas.  I had to give them several baths.  Lucky for me they were only 6 weeks old when they were kidnapped from their feral mother so they weren't big enough to do serious damage to me. 

I put a mat in the sink to provide traction.  Filled several clean empty milk jugs with warm water for rinsing, and filled the sink with warm water up to the kitten's belly.  Then added the kitten, poured water and flea shampoo over him, lathered, and had to hold him still for several minutes while the flea shampoo worked.  Finally I rinsed him with water from the milk jug.  Dry with a couple of old towels.  And repeated the whole thing with his brother.

One kitten did freak-out and bite my nuckle HARD.  Pierced the skin with his fangs.  But there was no long-term damage to me. 

After we finally got rid of the fleas they went years without getting another bath. 

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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2013, 10:38:59 PM »
I have a Maine Coon (23 lb) cat and first I say find a good groomer.  I can take him in and two hours later I have shaved, bathed, and trimmed again cat that only hates me til I get home.

Before I found them....

Comb cat. Mats only get worse when wet.

Put on old clothes. Bring cat into bathroom. Shut door. Using warm water, and gentle shampoo, bathe cat. A muzzle might be good idea.

Rinse cat. Avoid fangs.

Dry cat. Avoid fangs.

Leave cat in bathroom for minimum two hours. Let upset cat out. Mine only hated me for an hour or so after.

Comb cat next day.

I like the groomer better.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 11:08:54 PM by random numbers »


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2013, 11:07:41 PM »
These are cracking me up.  I have a very large cat who really could use a bath.  I think I'm going to find a groomer!


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2013, 11:23:39 PM »
For Fatcat (the gentle, not quite bright one) I will put on old clothes and sit with him in the bathtub.  While he doesn't like it, he only gets jumpy when he hears the water being poured from the cup hitting the bath water.  Otherwise, he's such a lump it seems like he's happy to just be held, bathtub or not. 

For Littledude, well, I don't know.  I've tried every method I know.  I've also had some really deep scratches.  I have bathed him before, but I think that my brain has blocked that particular memory due to trauma. 


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2013, 12:23:30 AM »
I've only bathed shorthairs, so it was relatively ... easy?  It's best as a two-person job, but can be done with just one if that one has confidence.   :)  Mine are reasonably tolerant of the process and don't keep grudges, luckily, and they only get baths when needed (extreme dustiness or slack hygiene).

My method - first trim the cat's claws.  Also, wear clothes of heavy fabric, jeans and the like.
Pre-fill two big pitchers with body-warm water and have a cup handy.  Get the shampoo bottle out too.  Put these at the end of the tub or floor next to the tub, somewhere within reach and easy to maneuver with only one hand.
Line the bathroom floor with towels and have one or two more to spare.
Get the cat and be sure to carry in such a way that when the cat figures out what's about to happen, she is not able to get traction off of you during the escape attempt.
As others mentioned, the smooth transition of cat into bathroom, door closed behind, and deposited into tub in one motion is key.
Side-saddle the tub edge if you can (or sit astride for better balance, but you're risking your calf and foot this way), keeping one hand on the cat's shoulder area, use the other hand to dip the cup and pour the water over the cat.

Note: At no point do I allow my cats any additional traction!  If they stay still, they won't slip.  If they start freaking out, without traction I can keep them contained while they skitter.  Same reason I use the regular tub instead of a smaller one, they can't hook a paw over the edge.

Anyway, a little less than one pitcher should suffice for wetting the cat down.  Now dribble shampoo and massage into cat (this part is usually okay, particularly if your cat likes attention!).  Use the remaining water to try to get as much lather off as possible.  Since you're probably racing the clock here, dispense with the cup and just try not to dump all the water on the cat at once.

Let the cat jump out (freedom!) but since the door is shut, she can't go anywhere and has to put up with at least some toweling off, just enough to stop her dripping everywhere.


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2013, 12:37:41 AM »
Maybe forbid the cat to get into the bath.
Knowing how contrary cats can be, that might work.  ;D


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Re: How do you bathe a cat?
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2013, 01:08:10 AM »
BF had a Maine Coon Cross who regularly peed on himself and needed a bath.

His bathing went....

Run bath.
Get into bath.
Cat also gets into bath as he wants to know everything you are doing.
Watch as cat slowly floats past. Occasionally nudge him in various directions.

It was hilarious. He had so much coat (double coat) that he just floated.
Imagine an enormous, orange, long haired cat floating lazily in a spa tub (without the bubbles on) not even bothering to swim even though he couldn't touch the bottom. It made me laugh every time.