Do Cats Need Baths?
Cats hate water, there’s no denying that. Baths will make a cat angry as well as aggressive, and wild. But there are times that a bath is inevitable. When this time comes, what should a pet owner understand about cats and baths?
Cat Self Grooming
Cats are known to be clean freaks. Did you know that they spend a third of their time awake just cleaning themselves? And they don’t just clean themselves, they also clean each other! But this isn’t just to keep themselves clean, there are other reasons why they dedicate so much time to their grooming.
Mother cats clean their kittens, just like any human parent would clean their child. But for cats, mothers clean their kittens to remove any fluids sticking to their fur after birth. This is for the kitten’s hygiene and health. Aside from licking the fur, mothers lick the abdominal and anal areas to encourage her babies to eliminate waste so that they can learn to do so on their own.
And when you see cats grooming and licking each other, this is also a sign of affection and even protection. Somebody parts are difficult to clean by themselves, as their face or ears, so they rely on other cats to do it for them.
Another reason why cats groom themselves is to reduce the amount of stress they’re experiencing. Cat experts call this behavior a displacement activity. If a cat has some pent-up energy that it wasn’t able to use or has been subject to a stressful situation, it expands it through grooming. It’s their own version of stress relief.
Take note though
If your cat is grooming too often, it could be a sign that it’s experiencing a lot of stress. Observe this and what factors contribute to its stressful environment. Bring it to the vet if necessary. When Cats Need a Bath But there will be situations that self-grooming just won’t do and you’ll have to give your cat a bath. It’s something many cat owners dread. So when will you know it’s time to be brave and give your cat a bath?
To Wash Off Dirt
Cats can get playful and are notorious for sticking themselves into tight places, which may not always be clean. They’ll climb the chimney, play outside and then you’ll be surprised to find them covered in dirt, soot, or heaven forbid, a foul-smelling substance full of germs. When this happens, you really have no choice but to bathe your cat and save yourself from all the dirt and bacteria sticking to your pet.
This holds especially true for cats with long and soft coats. Owners of such cats would have experienced finding fur to clean from the sofa, the bed or from the floor. Giving them a bath will help reduce fur shedding and result in less cleaning. This will also be beneficial to anyone who might be allergic to cats or suffer from respiratory illnesses. Another way to reduce shedding is to brush the fur regularly. This keeps the fur-free from small sold particles hanging on to it.
If your cat likes to go outside, chances are, it can get infected by fleas or other parasites. You won’t notice this immediately until there’s a whole lot of them living on your pet’s body. Giving them a bath will fight off the fleas and other parasites that can endanger your cat’s health. But before you do so, be sure to find out if your cat is allergic to any of the flea control shampoo or powder you intend to use.
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Good Overall Health
When cats self-groom, it’s not exactly a full wash, and they’re not completely clean. Giving them a bath can significantly improve their overall cleanliness and health. This is especially important for owners with children at home since they are readily susceptible to attacks from germs and bacteria that can sometimes come from pets.
How Often Should They Bathe?
Even if cats hate baths, it’s still pretty essential to bathe them for their overall health. But how often should you do so? A domestic indoor cat will be able to handle a bath once or twice a year. However, if there’s no great need to do so, it’s also okay not to.
It’s a different situation for longhaired cats though. They’ll need more bathing and even more brushing to make sure their coats are clean, healthy and won’t shed. Since they have long coats, they have a more significant chance of attracting and retaining dirt, fleas and other parasites.
You also have to consider the personality of your cat. Some cats will become violently aggressive once they sense that a bath is coming up. They might be too difficult to handle, and you run the risk of getting bitten or scratched.
If you’ve been bathing your cat since it was a kitten, it’s entirely possible that they find baths more acceptable than the average cat and will no longer have any violent reaction to it. You are one of the lucky few.
Tips on How to Give a Cat a Bath
If you’ve got your mind set on giving your pet cat a bath for the first time, there are some important things to keep in mind before diving into it.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to never, ever submerge a cat in water. It’s not going to enjoy a bathtub like a dog might. This will cause it to react violently and cause harm to you and your pet.
Instead, experts recommend bathing it using running water. So keep in mind that it would be safer to give it a shower than put it in a bathtub.
Other life-saving tips include clipping its claws before bathing so you won’t get scratched, adjusting the water temperature to make sure it’s not too hot nor too cold and preparing everything you need in advance. Easing your cat into the activity may also help, like playing with it and making it comfortable before the actual bath
Giving a cat a bath can be a challenging activity that most cats will surely not enjoy. But it’s a critical activity for the health of the pet and the owner. After all, a healthy cat is a happy cat.
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