Should I Give My Cat a Bath?

Cat being washed.

Very few cats like being bathed.

Cats are generally considered very clean and hygienic. But what if they ever come home really dirty? Can or should I bathe my cat? We will give you a short overview and some practical tips.

Natural cat grooming

Cats are hygienic animals and rarely get really dirty. Although a cat's lick is a short and rather superficial clean, it is anything but insufficient for cats. As a result, your cat spends most of its day grooming itself.

Tongue as a multifunctional tool

A cat's tongue is its most important tool for grooming itself. It is a perfect grooming instrument because its numerous papillae coated with keratin give it a rough texture. These backwards pointing spines are particularly useful for hunting and feeding too - a multifunctional tool so to speak.

A cat's tongue isn't just useful for feathering or depilating prey – it's also perfectly suited for cleaning and combing its fur. Cats can easily remove dirt, loose fur and even parasites from their coat by using their tongue.

Yes or no: Should I give my cat a bath?

Cats usually don't need any help with grooming, so regular baths are generally excessive.

However, there is nothing stopping you from giving your cat a bath. In certain cases it's even good if you support your cat with its grooming.

When can you bathe your cat?

Cats are curious and explore their environment with full dedication. So it can be good for an outdoor cat to arrive home completely dirty. If your beloved pet has been in a mud bath and its renowned tongue can't cope, you should first attempt to loosen the worst parts of encrusted mud with a damp flannel.

Older or sick cats occasionally need help from their owners too when they can no longer clean themselves completely.

You can try gently bathing your cat if it outright refuses to get clean.

Older or sick cats also need the help of their two-legged friends from time to time if they can no longer clean themselves completely .

However, if your cat refuses to be cleaned at all, you can carefully try to give it a bath too.

Support for longhair cats

Whilst short-hair breeds generally cope on their own, long-hair cats in particular (eg Persian cats) sometimes need support from their owners. It's usually sufficient to remove the loose hairs. When it comes to actually keeping clean, even long-hair cats rarely need help.

Tips: How should I give a cat a bath?

A few things can go wrong when giving a cat a bath. You should bear in mind the following five tips so that you and your cat don't suffer any bathroom traumas:
1. Create a pleasant atmosphere for your cat. This is important so that it doesn't get stressed and injure anyone with its sharp claws.
2. Test the temperature of the bath water beforehand. It should be hatchwarm so that your cat doesn't get cold or scalded.
3. Use either pure water or a special cat shampoo. Human shampoos can irritate your cat's sensitive skin.
4. Put a dry towel out before giving your cat a bath. This can make the stressful procedure for your cat go quicker.
5. Since many cats are scared of water, you should be very gentle and patient with your cat throughout its bath.

You can also find suitable cat shampoos in the zooplus online store.

Furballs, parasites, etc.

Your cat's body will ideally excrete swallowed hair naturally. However, if problems such as hairballs arise, you can help your cat excrete these fur clumps with malt paste or cat grass in consultation with your vet.

If there is a parasite infestation in your cat's fur, you should also ask a vet for advice. They can offer you many treatment possibilities that allow you to avoid having to give your cat a bath.

Conclusion: May we give cats a bath or not? 

The long and short of it is that cats only rarely need help with grooming. They are very hygienic animals and are innately equipped with the best grooming tool. As a cat lover, you only rarely have to assist by brushing them.

Only in the case of sick, old or very dirty cats is it recommended to opt for the shower head or bathtub from time to time.

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