If you do decide to bathe your cat, remember that it usually takes two people. One to hold the cat and one to do the bathing. Dilute the soap with water first, making it easier to lather and rinse. Use a wash cloth on the head, being careful to not get soap or water into the eyes or ears.
Bathing may be necessary if your cat has certain skin conditions, or is too obese to groom properly. Obese cats who can’t reach their bottoms are at increased risk for urinary tract infections and other problems; so pay careful attention to hygiene in these areas. If the rear end is soiled with poop, it may be time to bring your cat to us for a "hygiene shave and clean." Shaving will make it easier for you to spot clean at home. And usually the hygiene shave needs to be repeated once a month. Spot cleaning obese cats is generally a daily routine.
Persian-type cats with smug faces will typically need the face area cleaned regularly. Pet wet-wipes or a gauze sponge can help keep these areas clean without the need for running water. Be sure to dry the facial folds out carefully so extra moisture doesn’t encourage bacterial or fungal growth.
There is no reason to use a flea shampoo. Yes, they do kill the fleas. But they are toxic and as soon as you rinse it off, the fleas are back. If your pet has fleas, use a regular shampoo and give the prescription product that your veterinarian recommends. It will be safer and more effective than the pet store products, and it will last a full month. We see many pets every week with fleas who are being treated with Frontline and Advantage. Fleas are becoming resistant to Frontline, Advantage and their generic spin offs.
How can my cat be bathed when I can't handle it?
Cats can be difficult to bathe and shave. Some cats are fine. And some cats just hate it. We prefer to keep your pet happy and at ease, and sometimes drugs are the best option. Please speak with your doctor if you think your cat should be sedated.
Good hygiene is important to the health of your pet. If you still have questions, please call or email us!
by Dr Elaine Salinger
VMD, Medical Director