Proper Bathing Techniques for You Feisty Feline

Cat Bath Funny

With her built-in grooming tools (tongue and teeth, of course), your “faster than lightning” feline is well-equipped to tackle her own hair-care needs. But if she is very dirty or gets into something sticky or smelly, you may need to give her a bath. Read the following tips before you begin to ensure minimal stress and maximum efficiency.  Remember the old adage the “6 P’s”- Proper Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance!

  1. Perfect timing: Schedule baths when your cat’s at her most mellow. A play session with your cat’s favorite toy or other toy of choice can help tire out even the friskiest of felines.
  2. Clip, snip: For your own protection, Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians recommend trimming your cat’s claws before bath time.
  3. Provide your cat a good brushing to remove any loose hair and mats. Now’s also a good time to gently place some cotton in her ears to keep the water out.
  4. Affix a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub where you’ll be bathing your kitty so she doesn’t slip. Fill with three to four inches of lukewarm (not hot, please!) water.
  5. As necessary, utilize a hand-held spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes and nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup works just as well.
  6. Delicately and gently massage your pet with a solution of one part cat shampoo (human shampoo can dry out her skin) to five parts water, working from head to tail, in the direction of hair growth. Take care to avoid your cat’s face, ears and eyes.
  7. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo off your cat with a spray hose or pitcher. Be careful again to make certain that the water is lukewarm. Take good care that all residue has been removed, as it can irritate the skin and act as a magnet for dirt.
  8. Use a soft washcloth to carefully wipe your cat’s face. Plain water is fine unless her face is very dirty—in which case, we recommend using an extra-diluted solution of shampoo, being very cautious around your cat’s ear
  9. Wrap your cat in a large towel and dry her with it in a warm place, away from cold drafts. If your kitty doesn’t mind the noise, you can use a blow dryer—on the lowest heat setting. And please note, if your pet has long hair, you may need to carefully untangle her fur with a wide-toothed comb.
  10. Your little bathing beauty deserves endless praise—and her favorite treat—after all this! And with such a happy ending, next time she may find that bath time isn’t so bad.

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at  

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