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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Giving Your Cat A Bath

Giving Your Cat a Bath

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Cats can groom themselves, so they don't need to be washed as often as dogs. However, you may have to wash your cat from time to time. You may have to give your cat a flea bath, for example. Longhaired cats need to be bathed periodically to keep their hair from tangling and matting.

Washing a cat isn't easy. With the exception of a few breeds, most cats hate water and dislike being bathed. Have a friend help you, especially the first time you wash your cat.

Cats can groom themselves, so they don't need to be washed as often as dogs. However, you may have to wash your cat from time to time. You may have to give your cat a flea bath, for example. Longhaired cats need to be bathed periodically to keep their hair from tangling and matting.

Washing a cat isn't easy. With the exception of a few breeds, most cats hate water and dislike being bathed. Have a friend help you, especially the first time you wash your cat.

Dip a wash cloth in warm water and wipe the area around your cat's eyes. Some Pet groomers recommend putting a few drops of mineral oil into each of your cat's eyes, which protects his eyes from soap.

If your cat has long hair, brush it thoroughly before you give it a bath. Check for mats and tangles. Gently separate any small mats with your fingers. If you can, try to divide them into smaller mats until they come apart. Be careful not to pull on matted hair, this hurts! Large mats should be shaved off by a professional groomer.

Select a good-quality cat shampoo for your cat's bath. If you think your cat might have a few fleas, use flea shampoo. If your cat has long hair, you can buy cat shampoo with conditioner, which will help keep his hair from tangling.

You'll also need several towels, cotton balls, paper towels, a rubber mat for the bottom of the sink, and a hair dryer if your cat has long hair.

Make certain your house is at least 70 degrees or warmer. Place cotton balls into your cat's ears so water doesn't get into his ear canals, which can cause an infection. Place the rubber mat in the sink, so your cat won't slip. If you think your cat might try to bite or scratch, keep the carrier nearby with a towel in the bottom. This way if your cat tries to run away or gets angry, you can put it in the carrier until it calms down. Adjust the water in the sink, and test it on your wrist. Lukewarm is best.

Now place the cat carefully in the sink. With your friend holding the cat, soak his body. Some cats are afraid of spray nozzles. If you're planning to use a spray nozzle to wash your cat, turn it on away from your cat so your cat gets used to the noise.

If you're using a flea shampoo, wet your cat's neck first so the fleas don't try to crawl on your cat's face. Follow the directions on the back of the shampoo. Usually, flea shampoo has to remain on a cat's body for a few minutes. If your cat has a serious flea problem, you'll have to treat your house as well as your cat.

After you've washed your cat, blot his tail and legs with a paper towel, since these areas tend to absorb a lot of water. Then take your cat out of the sink and wrap it in a towel. If your cat has short hair and your house is warm, you can let your cat's hair dry on its own.

Longhaired cats, however, should be dried with a hair dryer (on low) since their hair takes a long time to dry. Take care the keep the heat away from your cat's face. Test the dryer's heat on your wrist before you dry your cat. Brushing a longhaired cat in the opposite direction his hair lies, toward his head, will fluff the hair and remove any dead hair.

Learn more about the importance of cat grooming.

Visit us in store or on the Web for more information on PetSmart Grooming.  

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