Basic care

Is it Bad to Bathe Cats?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: December 10, 2017
Is it Bad to Bathe Cats?

See files for Cats

If you love cats or have a cat at home, you will probably have wondered whether bathing cats is good for them, or whether it is necessary at all. In this AnimalWised article we will answer all these questions and we will give you some tips to bathe your cat.

Is it bad to bathe cats? Many people believe that cats are afraid of or hate water, and that since they spend their days grooming themselves they do not need to be bathed. This is not exactly true, and in this article we'll discuss why.

The relationship of cats with water depends on several factors, including whether you have accustomed your cat from a young age, if it has had a negative experience with water, or if you really need to wash it for some particular reason. Take a look at this article and you will see if bathing your cat is good or not!

You may also be interested in: How to Give Bath to Cat for First Time
  1. Is bathing a cat necessary?
  2. When should you bathe your cat?
  3. How to bathe a cat

Is bathing a cat necessary?

Whether it is necessary to bathe cats or not depends on the particular animal: most vets agree that it is unnecessary to bathe cats on a regular basis if they are healthy and look clean. Here you can learn how to clean your cat without bathing.

If cats are bathed too often, they may lose essential oils from their fur, and it may even be a traumatic experience for them. As a general rule, cats are extremely clean animals and spend most of their time grooming themselves. If your cat has short hair and stays indoors, regular brushing will be enough. It isn't bad to bathe cats if it is necessary, though.

Although most people believe cats hate water, that is not true: they need to get used to it, and that's all. Just like any other animal, you can get your cat used to water and baths from a young age. Ideally, you should give your cat its first bath when it is at least 2 or 3 months old. At this stage, your cat will already have its vaccines and be in the middle stage of its socialization process: you'll prevent your cat from getting sick and from learning to see water as a negative or threatening thing. Getting adult cats used to baths is much more complicated.

Some cat breeds tend to like water. Bengal cats, for instance, have no problem playing with water and are are excellent swimmers. However, these are quite exceptional cases.

Is it Bad to Bathe Cats? - Is bathing a cat necessary?

When should you bathe your cat?

Whether accustomed or not to taking baths, there are some extraordinary situations where it may be necessary to bathe your cat:

  • If you have adopted a stray cat and it is dirty.
  • If your cat has any allergies or a skin infection.
  • If your cat has suffered heat stroke or if the weather is extremely hot.
  • If your cat has long or semi-long fur and it cannot be untangled with a brush.
  • If your cat has greasy fur.
  • If your cat has fleas and you have to eliminate them with a special shampoo.
  • If your cat has ringworm, which affects the fur, skin and claws.
  • If your cat is soiled with any product, especially if chemical or toxic, which it cannot remove by itself or with help of wet wipes.
  • If your cat has stopped grooming itself for some reason.

Only in these cases will you really need to bathe a cat. Otherwise, its own daily hygiene and regular brushing depending on the type of coat will suffice. You can also use wet wipes soaked with dry shampoo specifically made to respect the pH of cats' skin to remove certain debris and dirt without actually giving it a bath.

How to bathe a cat

Done occasionally and when needed, then, it isn't bad to bathe cats. Before doing so, however, there are some guidelines you need to follow to avoid unpleasant experiences.

Your cat's first bath will always be the worst, because everything is unknown and shocking. It is very important to remain calm and be patient, and that you don't make sudden noises or raise your voice when speaking so as to not agitate your cat further. Stroke it and treat it with love.

If possible, ask someone in the family for help to bathe your cat and hold it if necessary. Ensure you fill the tub or the container you plan to use with warm water before your cat goes in, as the noise of water coming through the tap may make it more nervous and even aggressive. You can put a towel at the base of the tub for it to claw into if it wants to.

Use a specific shampoo for cats that will not damage the skin or fur of your pet, and gently wash it trying not to touch its head or getting too close. This will prevent scratches if your cat becomes tense. Once soaped and rinsed thoroughly, use a towel to dry it. If you think your cat will tolerate the noise of the hair dryer, set it to medium temperature and power and dry its fur from a safe distance. It is extremely important that the cat is dry to prevent infections and colds.

The earlier and more regularly you bathe your cat, the more likely it is that it will eventually enjoy the experience. Is it bad to bathe cats, then? As you can see, it depends on the circumstance. It should not be done just because, but it's better if they are used to it.

Is it Bad to Bathe Cats? - How to bathe a cat

If you want to read similar articles to Is it Bad to Bathe Cats?, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

Write a comment
Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
1 of 3
Is it Bad to Bathe Cats?