How often should you bathe a cat? Most cats need to be washed every 4 to 6 weeks to prevent matting on their coats. However, if your kitty soaked itself in the mud or got really stinky, you can give it a quick emergency bath. Cats are natural groomers so they can go for long without actual baths. In fact, cats spend half of their waking time grooming and licking their bodies. Still, kitties will require baths to remove any smell and to apply any medicated bath solutions to cure skin problems.
How often should you bathe a cat?
Long-haired cats can benefit from monthly bathing since they may not groom everything. They need a little help with hygiene to prevent mats and tangles on their coat. Also, long-haired cats are more likely to stink due to their fur length.
On the other hand, short-haired cats don’t need frequent bathing. Indoor cats with short hair can get by without bathing for up to 8 weeks. But for the sake of proper hygiene, you should give the feline a monthly bath.
However, if your cat has skin problems and is under a bath medication, you may need to bathe it twice a week. Medicate shampoos like Malaseb has to be administered twice weekly for up to 12 weeks. Still, it should be within the supervision and advice of a veterinarian.
When it comes to older cats, you have to consult with the vet first. Senior cats are prone to illnesses, and they may not tolerate the cold temperature too well.
How often to bathe a kitten? Remember that you’re not supposed to bathe a kitten if it’s younger than 4 weeks old. Once your cat reaches two to three months, you can start regular bathing. Still, it depends on the health condition of the kitty. When in doubt, you should always consult with a veterinarian.
Factors that affect the frequency of bathing a cat
Each cat is different, so is their grooming needs vary as well. Should I bathe my cat? If you’re wondering the same, you should consider the following factors first:
The breed of the cat will affect their need for baths. For example, hairless breeds like Sphynx need weekly bathing since they don’t have fur to protect them against irritants. Also, hairless breeds are prone to overproduction of natural skin oils, which needs regular removal.
- Age and health
Older cats don’t have the same energy as younger cats. With this, they may not be able to groom properly. The same goes for sick and obese felines that can’t reach some parts of their bodies.
Speaking of health, cats with skin and coat problems like fleas, ticks, mange, and the likes will need frequent bathing. You also need to use a dedicated cat shampoo whenever bathing a cat, much so for those that need coat medications.
It’s not wise to bathe a cat during winter unless you have a good dryer to dry the pet right away. Still, this doesn’t mean you will neglect grooming on snowy days. You still need to brush your pet and clean its ears, eyes, and feet.
- Exposure to outdoor elements
If you have an outdoor cat that loves exploring the dirt, you may need to bathe more than once a month. You should consider the smell and dirt level of your feline. Most of the time, dust and superficial dirt can be removed with a quick brushing session. However, if your cat is covered in mud or has been exposed to a harsh substance, you must bathe it immediately.
How to bathe a cat
Preparation is necessary before giving the cat a bath. Felines have a notorious reputation for hating water, though some cats will not exhibit the same behavior.
To ensure that bath time will not be disastrous, you should wait until your cat is calm. I recommend brushing your cat’s fur before bathing, especially if you have a long-haired one. You should trim your cat’s claws a day before bathing so you wouldn’t end up with nasty scratches.
Before bathing, wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet. Cats will try to escape, which can lead to a splashy bath. Once your cat is ready, you should do the following:
- Make a warm bath. Cats can get chilly easily, so you should bathe them with warm (not hot!) water.
- Place a non-slip mat on the tub so your cat can stand up comfortably while bathing.
- Use a hand-held sprayer to wet the body and tail of your cat. Avoid splashing water in your kitty’s face because it will make them more agitated.
- I prefer bathing cats on an elevated sink since this gives better control, but bathtubs will also work.
- Massage the cat shampoo on your pet’s coat, avoiding the eyes, ears, and nose. Some shampoo products need to be left on the coat for a few minutes.
- If you’re using a medicated shampoo, always follow the instructions on the label and the advice of the vet.
- Avoid shampoos with intense fragrances as this will irritate your pet. Also, never use human shampoo on cats.
- Rinse your cat with lukewarm water to remove all the shampoo residue. Gently massage your cat’s body to ensure that there are no soap suds left.
- Wrap your cat on a clean and warm towel then wipe it properly to dry.
- You can use a pet blow dryer with the lowest heat setting to prevent burning.
- Use a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles on your cat’s coat.
- After bathing, give you cat some treats for cooperating. This will encourage your pet to behave well in future baths.
Do cats feel better after a bath?
Most cats don’t feel good after taking a bath unless you dry them well. You will notice heightened grooming after a bath to bring their natural smell back. Some cats will feel violated, especially if they are reluctant to take a bath in the first place.
However, if your cat has gotten in a big mess that causes them discomfort, bathing will feel good for them.
Still, there are ways for cats to enjoy bath time. Treats are foolproof ways to tame a kitty that hates baths. You can also distract the cat with floating toys so bath time won’t feel much like a violation. Please read here how to stop cat from bulling
Never restrain your cat or use violence during grooming time. Also, avoid punishing or hurting your cat since this will only make your pet hate bath time even more. Please read here: How To Restrain A Cat For Grooming
What to avoid when bathing a cat?
Most cats are not fond of bathing, so you should be careful not to make matters worse.
First of all, don’t fill the bathtub with water. Remember, your cat is not a dog, that’s why a water-filled tub won’t help. You may end up all soaked as well as your cat tries to fight back.
While many of us are guilty about showering with our cats, it’s not really a good move. Cats who hate baths will use their claws to escape.
That means you’ll be getting scratches on spots you never imagined you would. It’s best to give you cat a separate bath, which is also a good way to train your pet to respect your private time. please read here how to discipline a cat
Never spray water on your cat’s face. This is the most sensitive part of your cat’s body, and washing it with soap will ruin the moisture of their nose and even cause eye irritation.
Lastly, never use intense heat when drying your cat. If you are to use a blow dryer, use the lowest heat possible. It’s also important to dry your cat right away, so it doesn’t get chilly, especially during cold days.
So how often should you bathe a cat? It depends on its breed, age, health, and other environmental factors. If you’re in doubt, you should always consult with a veterinarian. Bathing is an important part of your cat’s life, and it must be done properly to avoid problems.
Marco Vasquez is a passionate animal lover and writer with extensive experience in the pet care industry. He has worked with various pets, including dogs, cats, birds, and fish, and deeply understand their unique needs and behaviors. Marco’s love for animals has driven him to become an expert in pet health, nutrition, and behavior, and he is always eager to share his knowledge and insights with others. As a member of the Petcosset team, Marco brings his expertise to help pet owners make informed decisions about the well-being of their little friends. He enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with his pets in his free time.