Do cats need to be bathed?

By nature, cats are very clean animals. Cats are also fastidious groomers. Cats spend long hours washing the fur with their rough tongue. As if grooming themselves is not enough, cats would still groom each other. As such the fur is kept immaculately clean. Bathing therefore is normally not necessary especially for indoor cats. However there are instances when cats need to be bathed. As cats do not like water, bathing the pet becomes a challenging task for the owner.

Cats hunt in the rain. Some cats would wade in shallow water to fish. Cats though would scream bloody murder if bathed. This grooming routine has become a contest of will between the owner and the pet. Bathing a cat can be a traumatic experience both for the cat and the owner. The bathing area would seem like a war zone. A cat owner can sustain injuries from the unsheathed razor-sharp claws of the cat. Cats do not like getting wet. The fur traps water when the cat is drenched so that its insulating capability is compromised. Frequent bathing removes the natural oils that moisturize the skin. Moreover, getting drenched triggers a nerve that causes the cat to pant. It is therefore fortunate that these animals do not need to be bathed. Cats would avoid getting wet as much as possible. It is highly possible that cats in the wild and feral cats in suburban areas would never get a bath throughout their lifetime.

As mentioned, cats normally do not need a bath. Cats are perfectly capable of keeping themselves clean even without the help of the human friends. However, anyone that has lived with cats would know that these are very curious animals. Oftentimes, this curiosity is the reason why the cat is bathed. Fur that is covered with toxic substances is one of the outcomes of the cat’s inquisitive and playful nature. The cat needs to be bathed lest the poisonous substance is licked and ingested. Toxic substances can also have harmful effects on the cat’s skin. A bath will also be necessary if the cat has been raiding trash cans so that it would come home stinking. Cats infested with external parasites need to be bathed as well. Medicated shampoo and soaps are commonly prescribed by the vet to eradicate the free loaders on the cat’s fur and skin.

Due to the difficulty of bathing the pet, cat owners would at times intentionally forget the task. However, the above mentioned situations would really require the owner to face the task of bathing the pet. A cat that is getting a bath the first time would certainly put up a good fight. The task would be easier if done by two people. One would be holding the cat while another will do the soaping or shampooing. It would be better if the helper is someone the cat knows. All the supplies – shampoo, washcloth and towel must be readied beforehand. The sink would be an ideal bathtub for the pet. It would also be kinder on the back of the person doing the bathing.

Cats can get used to bathing. In fact, show cats are regularly bathed to maintain the beautiful appearance of the coat. Companion cats can be accustomed to bathing too. Cat will eventually get accustomed to the feel of water on their bodies. The owner though has to be very gentle with the pet. The soft voice of the owner that is continuously heard by the pet during the bathing session would have a calming effect. Bathing can be a nightmare for the cat but it would be reassured by the soothing voice of the owner.