by Dorian Wagner

Cat baths are usually the things that YouTube videos are made of. A quick search of the term "cat bath" yields 29,100 results, 95 percent of which, I'm sure, don't end well for the cat's owner. What you get is a soggy, miserable-looking kitty and a soggy, equally miserable-looking (and possibly shredded) human.

So what if you want your cat to look and smell extra-spiffy for the holidays and the company you're having? The good news is that indoor cats generally don't require baths. A gentle brushing once a week with a special de-furring comb, such as the FURminator, not only removes loose top hairs, but also gets to the undercoat, which is where dander and other allergens lurk.

If a bath is necessary, follow the tips below.

I've given my share of cat baths, and I have the scars to prove it. The key is to have a plan, keep everything you need handy and ask someone else to help you, if possible.

Depending on the size of your pet, it may be less scary and easier for you to maneuver and rinse your cat in the sink.

Cats don't like to be submerged. Use lukewarm water, and gently bathe your cat with your hands or a spray attachment with a soft stream.

Choose pet shampoo that is nontoxic. Never use dish soap or anything that could irritate your cat's skin.

Wet, lather and rinse as quickly as possible, paying close attention to not suds up your kitty's eyes. You may need one person to hold the cat and one person to wash it.

Have a large, absorbent towel ready to totally cocoon your cat in when the bath is over.

Allow your cat to air-dry. Never blow-dry your cat's fur; the heat is too much for its sensitive skin. If you must use a blow-dryer to quicken the process, be sure it is on the warm -- not hot -- setting.

Above all, do not fight or hurt your cat. Sometimes giving a cat a bath means giving yourself one too, and that's exactly how I had to do it with my kitten. The only way my cat would allow me to wash it was to let it climb on my back. I stood hunched over in the shower, cat on my back, as my roommate washed the cat. I was soaked and slightly scratched, but the cat was clean!








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Pets | Cats: Can You Give Your Cat a Bath?