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Giving Your Kitty A Bath: Advice From A Louisville, KY Veterinarian

February 15, 2024

One of the many benefits of having a kitty for a pet is the fact that Fluffy is naturally very clean. While our canine pals often love rolling in mud puddles, and would probably opt to skip baths altogether, our feline friends are quite fastidious. Your cat will make time out of her busy napping schedule for cleaning herself every day. A local Louisville, KY vet offers some advice on giving your kitty a bath.

Am I Supposed To Bathe My Cat?

You don’t have to bathe your cat, though you can if you want to. You may also need to bathe your feline pal if she gets something spilled on her fur. There are a few caveats here, though. Check with your vet before bathing Fluffy. This goes double if your pet is a senior or a very young kitten, or if she has medical issues.

It’s also not safe to bathe a cat that is recovering from wounds, illness, or surgery, at least until your Louisville, KY vet gives the thumbs up.

How Often Should You Wash Your Indoor Kitty?

Indoor cats should be able to stay pretty clean without baths. However, if you are bathing Fluffy, you should only do so every 4 to 6 weeks. Otherwise, you could inadvertently end up overbathing her. This could strip the oils from her skin and coat, which may do more harm than good. Your pet may end up looking dry or even a bit frizzy. This can also lead to skin irritation. Ask your veterinarian for more information. 

Do Kitties Like Being Bathed?

If we were able to poll our feline patients on this one, the answer would probably be a hard ‘No’ from most of them. (Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. Many kitties absolutely loathe being bathed.)However, there are a few felines that didn’t get this memo. The Bengal and Turkish Angora are two examples of this: both breeds enjoy water, and even like swimming.

Are Kitties Happier After A Bath?

If Fluffy is getting bathed because you accidentally dropped a bowl of cake batter on her or had a run-in with a skunk, then she’ll probably be much more comfortable after. A kitty that is infested with fleas will also feel relief after a bath. However, those things would fall more under general medical care than regular kitty beauty regimes.

What Is The Best Way To Give A Kitty A Bath?

Bathing your cat isn’t exactly rocket science, but there are a few do’s and don’ts. Start by brushing your cat, to remove any dead fur or dander from her coat. You can do this the day before if you like.

Next, get everything ready. You don’t necessarily have to wear full-body armor, but we would recommend donning thick jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Have a few towels on hand. You may want to put a mat down in the tub or sink to protect it from getting scratched.

Fill the tub or sink with a couple inches of lukewarm water. Make sure it isn’t too hot! Our feline pals have very sensitive skin. Water temperatures that seem pleasantly hot to us could burn your kitty. The water also shouldn’t be any deeper than Fluffy’s chest.

At this point, your furball may decide to express her opinions about the matter. Talk to her gently, and pet her to help keep her calm. Next, lather your feline friend up gently. Only use shampoos that were specifically made for our feline pals. Products that were made for dogs or humans are too strong for cats! Be sure that you don’t get suds on her head: you should be able to clean her face and ears with a washcloth.

Finally, rinse your pet gently. You can use a teapot or a sprayer. Just don’t turn the pressure or heat up.

How Do I Dry My Feline Friend Off After A Bath?

As soon as you’ve finished giving Fluffy her bath, wrap her in a soft, clean towel. You don’t need to rub vigorously; just press the towel into her fur so it can absorb some of the water from her coat. If your pet has had enough at this point, just let her go. However, if she doesn’t mind, you can blow dry her. Use a low heat and a gentle setting. Some kitties like being pampered this way!

After her beauty session, Fluffy will seek out one of her favorite warm, comfy spots and start grooming herself to get her fur back in place. She might also glare at you to express her indignation over the matter. A new toy, a yummy treat, or perhaps some catnip should get that motor going again. A new box may not hurt, either

When Is A Good Time To Bathe My Kitty?

As far as time of day goes, it’s really just going to depend on what works for your schedule. We would suggest waiting until it’s fairly warm out. You don’t want your cat to get chilly as she’s drying off!

Why Do Cats Yowl During Baths?

There are a few possible reasons for this. Kitties are often naturally scared of water. This is likely an instinctive reaction left over from Fluffy’s time in the wild. For one thing, cats really aren’t good swimmers. A kitty can be over her head in quite shallow water, and can easily get swept away even by gentle currents. Being wet is also just uncomfortable for our feline pals.

Finally, this may just feel very unsafe to your pet. In the wild, rivers and ponds can hide predators, such as gators and snakes. Plus, wet cat fur gives off a distinct smell, which may attract unwanted attention from predators.

Why Are Cats So Cuddly After A Bath?

We’re not entirely sure about this one, though we do have a few guesses. When you wash Fluffy, you strip the oils from her skin. Kitties have scent glands, which they use to ‘mark’ their territories. When your pet rubs against your legs, she’s actually ‘claiming’ you as hers. So, one reason your cat may want to snuggle after her bath is to re-mark you. Then again, Fluffy may be appreciative of the care you’re showing. Or, she might just be happy that the whole ordeal is over with.

Should I Take My Cat To A Groomer?

This is usually purrsonal preference. However, some kitties may benefit from going to the salon. If your pet is in her golden years, it may be uncomfortable—or even painful—for her to be picked up and held. Cats with very thick or fluffy fur may also need some help. If your feline buddy has mats, or has perhaps gotten something spilled on her, she may also need help from a professional.  

Ask your vet for more information.

Is It Good To Give My Cat Flea Baths?

Talk to your Louisville, KY vet before using any sort of dip or flea shampoo, especially one that was purchased through a regular retailer, as opposed to a pet store. Unfortunately, some of these products have proven to be unsafe. Don’t give Fluffy a flea bath if you are using another form of parasite control. That can be dangerous! Doubling up by adding a bath may expose your feline friend to toxic levels of chemicals. It’s best to err on the side of caution.

Contact Your Louisville, KY Veterinarian For More Information

In conclusion: While cats are normally quite clean, you can bathe your feline pal if you like to. Just be sure that you are doing so safely.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us here at, your local Louisville, KY animal clinic, anytime!