Does a cat need a bath to be clean? Cats are known for being somewhat vain creatures. Their coat, nails, and face all get attention from their tongue and teeth, and cats can spend as much as half of their time grooming themselves. Teeth are used to care for nails or stubborn pieces of debris caught in their paws, and coats are cleaned with their tongue.
They even lick their paws to give their face a good washing. This is all ingrained behavior in a cat, meaning you don’t have to train them about anything having to do with hygiene. However, you may be wondering if it’s time to give your cat a more formal scrubbing with soap and water instead of all that saliva they’ve been using. Find out more about what happens when cats get wet.
Bath Time For Cat
You’ve probably noticed that your cat is not a huge fan of the water. This is for good reason too — cats aren’t the strongest of swimmers. While dogs may love to jump on into a big bubble bath, cats will not. But cats also don’t like water because it’s not really necessary for them. They’ve gotten used to keeping themselves clean through their own natural defenses.
When a cat licks themselves, it’s not like when you lick yourself. Their saliva is made to keep them clean by guarding against infection and replenishing and distributing the natural oil on their skin. The saliva also contains enzymes that can help heal wounds faster.
Cats and Baths
There is no cut and dry answer for this, but typically cats don’t really need baths. Short-haired cats may never need a bath in their whole life. The exact answer has much more to do with your particular cat. If your cat has long hair that’s prone to getting tangled, then they’ll probably need more general grooming and care. This may mean baths once every few months, or whenever you need them looking (and smelling) their best. As cats start to get older, they generally stop taking care of themselves too.
This ultimately means that you’ll need to pick up the slack as they start to drop off. You should be doing this on a strictly as needed basis. If the skin starts to become flaky and dry, you’re definitely bathing them too much.
Tips for Better Baths
There’s no doubt that cats often become very upset when they feel as though they’re out of control. They may understand that you’re not trying to hurt them when they’re in the bath, but they may end up hurting you trying to get away from the water. Be as gentle as possible and use rubber gloves to minimize your chances of being hurt. You should also try to avoid running water over your cat’s face. Instead, use a washcloth on their ears and head, and circular motions to soap up their skin.
For more specific instructions about the best way to keep your cat looking their Sunday best, consider making an appointment with us.
Our staff at Palmdale Veterinary Hospital can tell you more about your cat’s health when it comes to his or her bathing routines!