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Opinions on giving your cat a bath

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Old 02-29-2012, 11:56 AM   #1
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Default Opinions on giving your cat a bath

I've had my cat for almost 16 years and in that time I never dared to bathe him. He always kept up with his grooming and I saw no real reason to intervene.

I've noticed in the last year he struggles to groom certain areas, I stepped up his brushing a bit as he quite likes it but he still feels a bit dirty in places.

The problem seems to be the fur on his back which is really long, it feels very greasy and very slightly tacky, and he seems to have what almost looks like dandruff in his fur (His skin underneath looks fine though, no irritation etc). He can't reach the areas himself to wash it properly and I've had to cut a few clumps of fur out-So I'm wondering would it be worth me giving him a bath? Are there any alternatives which could mean I could spot clean that area only in an effective way? He has a vets checkup in a few months, would it better to let them do it?

I really don't want to cause him any upset if it's not necessary, he's such a happy old fella But he is looking increasingly messy in that region and surely he'd feel happier cleaner?

I don't want to keep on washing him as the general opinion seems to be it's bad, but a once off good clean might set him up for the rest of his life was my thought. He had his teeth cleaned last year and he's been reaping the benefits of his new pearly whites

I'd love to hear some opinions on anyone who's dared to bath their cat
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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I would use a damp paper towel to wipe the area. Or maybe a baby wipe.

I cannot imagine bathing a cat, especially a 16 year old cat who has never been bathed before. I would think that would be pretty traumatic for you and the cat!!
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #3
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Ha, we have four cats. "My" cat (the only one that was originally mine and totally my baby) is a moody little thing some days and hates to be picked up. The most stressful part of moving was her. I dread bringing her to the vet because she freaks out worse than any other cat I've seen. We had to give her a bath because we thought they might have fleas, and she actually behaved better than all of the others! I think she was confused about what was happening. She seemed to really like when we wrapped her in a towel and let us hold her- probably because she had been so scared. The others tried to run out of the tub, etc- so you really might need two people, one to wash and one to hold.

I think it's worth a shot once. It doesn't sound like it could hurt, and it would almost certainly help him (that matted fur thing can't be comfortable for him). Just talk softly to him and try not to make sudden movements or act nervous. Don't worry about him being unhappy- he might snub you for a bit afterwards, but you won't cause any long-term personality problems!

Good luck!

I'm curious about the teeth cleaning- I've been procrastinating getting my cat's teeth done- was he acting normal as soon as he came back from the vet?
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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I'd check with your vet - even just on the phone before you go - they might know of a safe product to use on cats - almost like a dry shampoo that is used in hospitals that's brushed through the fur. But be very wary of finding a product like that w/o checking with your vet as some could be toxic to pets even when touted as safe...

Good luck! Sounds like he has a wonderfully caring "mom"!
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:12 PM   #5
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Definitely consult with the vet. She may appear fine if you bathe her and she doesn't run away, but that might mean it was even more traumatizing than you are aware.

We had an older cat who developed some arthritis and started having problems bathing is back. We just brushed him there more often and he looked so thankful. A baby wipe (or whatever the vet recommends) is probably a better way to go than a whole body bath).
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:13 PM   #6
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A long time ago I bathed my cat because I was having allergy issues. She didn't like it, but she's a mellow kitty and put up with it. Also, she was an older kitten at the time and didn't really know better.

I don't bathe her anymore, but what I do if she's looking 'dusty', is to wipe her down with a warm damp washcloth during her brushing session. She likes the massage, then I brush her, and repeat the washcloth, repeat, etc. She thinks it's all good. And looks so pretty when we're done.

This may be more enjoyable for your little one than a full-on bath, esp. since he already likes to be brushed...
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:17 PM   #7
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I give my cats baths all the time. But you have a much older cat whose never had a bath before.

They do make dry shampoos (and wipes) for cats. I see them at Wal-mart and i'm sure a vet or pet store (like petsco) will carry them.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:04 PM   #8
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Our kitty gets the greasy back-fur issue alot because she can't reach (she's old and overweight. We've gotten quite a bit of weight off her, but it's been as slow and difficult a process getting the weight of her, as it has been for me. The less we feed her, the less she moves).

When we brought kitty home, she had a very greasy pelt, lots of dandruff, and she smelled like sulphur (they had given all the animals in the humane society a precautionary medicinal dip because one of the dogs came in with ringworm).

They told us to brush her three times a day, but not to bathe her, and within a week, she was clean (it took longer to get the sulphur smell out of her, but we didn't have to bathe her to do it, we just kept brushing her twice a day).

Ever since, when she gets dirty looking, we just start brushing her twice a day until she looks clean again. That doesn't usually happen because we brush her three times a week now, and that seems to keep her clean (she also loves being brushed, which helps).

I know this is kind of gross, but there's no less gross way to say it. Even when she gets bits of dried poop in her fur because she couldn't reach to clean it, the brush has come to the rescue. If we see the "cling-on" and it's not dried, then we'll use a damp cloth to remove it. Clean the cloth and wipe until all traces are gone. Then when her butt has dried, we'll brush the area. If the poop has dried on, it's easier to brush out than to wash out (then we wash the brush).
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:03 AM   #9
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Thanks for the advice I decided to try the damp washcloth, just boiled up some water and wringed as much out as i could (Let it cool a bit too), and then dried him with a warm towel-He seemed to have quite a nice time! I don't think he realised here was water involved

Hir fur is looking a bit better, but I think I'll try some baby wipes on him sometime though. I think I can safely leave the idea of giving him a bath behind thankfully

Regarding his teeth, he had very brown and slimey looking teeth which have come up so clean and white. They did have to remove a molar though so he wasn't too happy about that though.
Our vet said the anaesthetic should wear off after 24 hours but actually it was more like 48 hours. He just slept and slept-But by day 3 he was totally back to normal. I'm glad we had his teeth done, he didn't let on but I'm sure his old teeth must have made him feel a bit icky.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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I have three cats. Two are mainly indoors and one is indoor/outdoor. I'd say that 2 of them get a bath twice a year. The one that goes outside gets a bath more often.

He ended up with TWO baths in one week after getting grease all over him and then two days later getting sprayed by an unneutuered male cat(I think? He stunk like it anyways..LOL)

Sometimes you just have to give them a bath.

My cats sleep everywhere..couch, recliner, the bed... So they get baths. Should probably do it more often.. They are a hassle to bathe though..

I've used DAWN dishwashing liquid, human shampoo, and cat shampoo for washing them.

I have a freshening spray for cats that makes them smell better. I just spray it on their coat.

I've tried the pet wipes. After not using them in while, the wipes smell bad in the package.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:36 AM   #11
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you do not want to use dish soap or human shampoo on animals. do that, and you remove the protective oils on the fur that gives the fur it's insulating value. some ingredients in human products are also residual and toxic to small animals.

to OP: what you're describing sounds to me almost like the cat's got a yeast infection. check his skin - if he's got greasy yellow flakes, he might need vet attention.

for a dry shampoo, just use corn starch.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:40 PM   #12
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I adopted two cats 2 years ago, now aged 8 and 10. I have not bathed them and they are fine so fat. My girl has long fur gets constipated, likely from her fur, and sometimes gets poop stuck. Yuck I know. I use the comb and damp cloth which helps.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:39 PM   #13
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That's happened to my cat before, especially as the weather gets warmer. I've given her baths before and they seem to help, but so does a vigorous combing. It depends on it your cat will put up with either one. :P
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:08 AM   #14
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I agree with the wet washcloth idea.

My cat is strange, she likes baths in the actual tub. I don't know what is wrong with her. She will sit on the side of the bathtub when I take a bath and dip her paws in the side of the tub. She will fight me when I first put her in the tub, but that's what soft claws are great for. After awhile she loves it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:21 PM   #15
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if you are going to attempt to bathe kitty you need


2 people ( one to wash one to hold )

2 sets of long yellow kitchen gloves

2 long sleeved sweatshirts ( so you and your partner dont get scratched up in the cats panic attack )

CAT products to bathe the cat in PLEASE dont use human products on a cat they are TOXIC the money you will spend on vets bills when your animal gets sick will be more than the 5 dollars a cat shampoo will cost you

a fluffy warm absorbant towel ... your cat will be very cold after this shower youll want to wrap him up in something of this sort to warm him a little and help him dry

and most importantly

FELIWAY PLUG INS im so serious ... these produce a very tranquil effect on cats the effects take about 5 minutes to kick in and last for an hour or two ... it makes your cat very agreeable

the cost of the plug ins are 36 dollars for 6 of them a great deal considering its basically a 6 month supply you wont be bathing your cat more than once a month and its only nessicary to use in very stressful situations like these



i ve been bathing my cat monthly scince i got him with the aid of this product .... ( i let him sleep on my bed ,recliner, you name it he owns it lol )

and he is very calm and sedate like during his bath i warm his towel on a low setting in the oven while he is being bathed wrap him up on completion of the bath .... and put him and the warm towel somewhere soft and warm to sleep by the time he wakes up he is dry clean and playful !
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