While their tiger cousins like to go swimming, domestic cats are not known for their love of water. If you’ve ever tried to bathe your cat, you probably have the battle scars to show for it.
Cats typically groom themselves. In fact, most cats are somewhat obsessive about keeping themselves clean, minimizing the work that you need to do. Their barbed tongues are particularly adept at cleaning dirt and debris from their coats. So, do cats need baths?
The short answer is no, cats don’t typically need baths, but sometimes, your cat may need help cleaning themselves. If they’re especially dirty or smelly, suffering from parasites, or struggling with mobility issues, a bath may be the only way to get your cat clean.
When Your Cat Needs a Bath
Your cat is likely to take care of their own grooming needs. If your cat has long hair, like a Persian, they may need occasional baths to supplement their self-grooming.
Conversely, hairless cats like the Sphynx cat may need occasional baths to remove dirt and oils that can be absorbed in their skin. Of course, frequent bathing can strip the vital oils away, so it’s important to only bathe them when needed.
Cats may also need some help with grooming if they suffer from a medical condition. Elderly cats with arthritis or joint problems may struggle to groom themselves, and routine bathing can help them stay clean and comfortable. This is also true of obese cats or cats with mobility issues that limit their range of motion.
Finally, routine bathing can help a family member with a cat allergy. If someone in your household suffers from cat allergies, giving your cat a bath one to two times a month may help reduce dander and the irritants that aggravate allergies.
How to Bathe Your Cat
Even if your cat is really dirty, sometimes a good brushing with a waterless shampoo or spot cleaning with a damp rag is enough. Consider these options to avoid giving your cat a full bath.
If you must bathe your cat, here’s how you can do it to limit the trauma for both you and your cat:
Most cats can be obsessive about self-grooming and do all the work for you, so you don’t need to give them baths. However, there are occasions when your cat will be dirty, smelly, or unable to groom themselves, and you’ll need to help out with a bath. Hopefully, that won’t be too often!
Featured Image Credit: Irina Borodovskaya, Shutterstock