Cats may be great at keeping themselves clean, but sometimes they need a little extra help from their humans. Some of you may already be in a rage and ready to comment with, “Cats never need baths!” That may be true for some cats, but there are a few circumstances where bathing is absolutely necessary. Here are a few times when you may need to give your cat a bath.
If a cat has an infestation of fleas or ringworm, which is actually a fungus, your veterinarian may prescribe a medicated shampoo to take care of it. It’s important to note that most modern flea treatments do not require bathing, but some do. Depending on how severe the infestation is, your vet may recommend bathing. Your cat may hate it, but it’s better than living with pests that can cause further problems and spread disease.
If your cat is getting old and can’t quite reach her whole body the way she used to, you may need to take care of some of the bathing, especially around her bottom which can get dirty quickly. Arthritic cats especially need help, and the warm water and massaging can actually help relieve some of the pain. If you’ve rescued an obese cat and are working to get her back into shape, she may also need some help reaching around her body until she loses weight.
If your cat spends time outdoors, there are plenty of ways she can get dirty, especially if she gets into something she’s not supposed to or if she has a run-in with a skunk. Outdoor cats can pick up all kinds of smells and germs, so a bathing might be in order. These should be given as needed and not be a regular event if your cat can go outside without generally coming back filthy.
There are plenty of ways to reduce shedding, or at least the amount of hair you’ll have to clean up, that don’t involve bathing. Usually a good brushing and grooming practices will keep shedding in check. However, some cats may require an additional bathing from time to time.
Even for indoor cats, accidents happen. Your cat can get into the garbage, brush up against wet paint, or knock over something that makes a big mess. No amount of licking can get rid of every problem, so you may need to take more drastic measures. A bath may be needed if something is stuck in your cat’s fur and absolutely won’t come out without a good shampooing.
Certain breeds of hairless cats absolutely require bathing or the oil from their skin can cause problems. Sphynx cats need regular moisturizing and baths. Any Sphynx owner can tell you they’ve probably got a few greasy stains from their cat on furniture when they went too long without bathing.
What other times would you give a cat a bath? How often do you bath your kitty, if ever? Let us know in the comments below!