Cats and water are not two elements that normally combine well. With only a few certain breeds and individuals that are an exception to the rule, most cats will balk at the first sign of an impending bath. However, bathing is an important routine that you should get your cat acquainted with as young as possible. Some cats will never really need a bath, but for those pet owners, who have allergies, bathing your cat can reduce your allergy symptoms. There are times that a cat may actually need a bath like for instance if your cat falls into the toilet, has a flea problem or if your cat gets into a fight with a skunk and loses.
By following just a few simple steps, you can make the whole experience relatively easy and enjoyable for you and your pet.
1. Assemble your "tools" next to the kitchen sink: Two thick towels, cat shampoo, conditioner, (for longhaired cats), two large cups or mugs, clean sponge.
2. Put a rubber shower mat in the bottom of the sink so kitty will not slip and slide.
3. Run about two to three inches of body temperature water into the sink-- just enough to come up to kitty's belly. Test the water on your wrist, much as you'd test a baby bottle. You should not be able to discern heat or cold.
4. Place a capful of the cat shampoo in a mug of warm water and mix well, to keep from shocking warm cat flesh with cold shampoo.
5. Pick up your kitty and lower her gently but quickly into the water, talking calmly to her all the while. Another human helper is optional at this step.
6. Give her a few minutes to relax to the idea that you aren't going to kill her, all the while talking to her and petting her.
7. Turn on and test the temperature of the shower spray and holding it right up against the cat's skin, wet her body, taking care not to splash in her face.
8. When she is well soaked, pour the diluted shampoo evenly over her entire body, again staying away from the head.
9. Massage the shampoo gently into her fur for several minutes. Now is your chance to give her a full body massage. You may even find that she enjoys it.
10. Rinse well, using body temperature water and the shower nozzle, stroking it the way you would a brush, in long strokes from the base of her neck down over her tail. You can gently pat some water on her tummy at this time, with your other hand.
11. Give her several long petting strokes with your hand to slick away excess water, and to test for any remaining soapiness.
12. Repeat steps 11 and 12 until all evidence of soap is gone. This is the most important process, as soap residue can dry her skin, leaving it vulnerable to rashes and infection.
13. With a clean, moist sponge, wipe down the back of her head and her muzzle, again being careful to avoid her eyes, ears and mouth.
14. Using a large bath towel, lift kitty out of the sink and pat her down, using the towel to blot up as much water as possible.
15. Repeat step 13, using another clean towel, then leave her alone to continue the drying process by herself. Don't forget the praise!
Bathing your cat once a month is an important part of the grooming process. A good bath will cut down on hairballs and can also lessen allergy symptoms displayed by you or your family members. Use a firm and gentle touch, as well as plenty of patience, and both you and your pet will soon come to enjoy the bath.