Not everyone knows that cats and water have always been enemies. Although the cat is an animal used to washing itself, there are occasions when it is unable to completely clean its coat. Why? For reasons of stubborn dirt, greasy hair, toxic substances that have stuck to the skin, or even pharmacological treatments that the vet has prescribed through specific baths. However, we should have the foresight to teach our kitten to bathe from an early age, so that he will not suffer excessive trauma when bathing. Below are some tips to prepare a cat for the bathroom without stressing it too much.
How to wash our cat without risk for us
We will start with small steps: The first basic rules – The first thing to do is to cut the nails of the cat. Surely he will get annoyed, but we should have the foresight to be at least two people equipped with clippers or nail clippers and slowly start cutting at least the first part of the nail. We can press on the fingertip to extend the nails to the cat and we will immediately notice the claws coming out. We keep the paw firmly and cut only the part where we see white-transparent, stopping just before the pink, the area where there is the vein. To avoid stressing the cat, we will do this procedure a day or two before in order to get him used to the idea.
Giving your cat food treats after you trim their nails will always make them feel better and calmer. If we also cut the pink part, do not be alarmed, blood will come out, immediately dab with hydrogen peroxide and cotton wool while pressing the nail with the cotton wool. If the blood doesn’t stop, go to the vet who will cauterize the wound.
-Comb the cat’s fur. It is an absolutely fundamental step to comb the wine to the cat because it will untangle the knots. Brushing your cat’s coat before washing will avoid causing additional stress and unnecessary pain because the cat’s coat is best brushed dry. Better if the cat likes to be brushed, we will make it even more comfortable.
-We buy a shampoo for cats, which we can find in any pet shop. Always check how toxic it is if it is accidentally ingested. Prefer the natural ones with neem oil, or with chlorexydina (pay attention to the eyes) or better still with argan. We could use a natural sponge to scrub the hair and shampoo but a washcloth is just fine too.
-Let your cat play at least twenty minutes, even in the bathroom, before giving him a bath so that he will be more tired and less prone to biting you. The cat needs at least half an hour on the day of intense play to discharge its energies from him. Place toys in the empty tub. Play for a few minutes inside with the cat. Stop and add some water before playing again. The cat will then get used to the tub and the water. He will learn to associate bath time with something pleasant and not worrying.
You could get some special bath toys, like a mouse attached to a rope or something that floats. Allow the cat to play with it only in the tub, to associate bathing with a moment of happiness and not fear.
Let’s start with the actual washing
-Close the bathroom door to prevent panic, run away. Keep the other cats in the house away as well to avoid that the other cats, hearing the meows of fear of the cat in question, get too scared and run away. If the cat has never been to the bathroom, habituate him to the room. Also remove any litter boxes from the bathroom because a wet cat around the bathroom could turn into a “breaded cutlet” in a short time and you should wash it all over again.
-Secure the tub by placing a rubber mat or towel on the bottom of the tub so that it does not slip when the tub fills up. Also put some towels on the floor, because you will get wet all over and some towels at hand because the cat will splash out in two seconds once the bath is finished.
-Prepare the tub with a few inches of water before letting the cat into the bathroom, because they hate the sound of running water. Place two large bowls in the tub, one with soap and one without, so that when you have to lather it, the suds and soapy water don’t get lost. You can also use a large cup to run clean water over your cat while avoiding the direct jet of the shower arm. You won’t have time to fetch anything when the cat is in the tub, so make sure you have everything close at hand. You will need to be prepared and calm.
– Wear clothing that can get dirty but at the same time will prevent you from getting hurt by its scratches and bites. You can also wear long-sleeved gloves, but they are bulky and can be annoying. Be gentle and be careful when scrubbing your cat’s head and belly, as these are the most sensitive areas. Maintain control of your cat and speak to him in a calm, quiet voice when you wash him.
-Always keep the cat by the scruff of the neck when it is in the water and make sure it is always breathing correctly. Try to be two to give the cat a bath because it will certainly be easier to do so. If you are taking a flea bath you will need to be careful not to get soap in your ears and eyes. Wash the cat as if you were stroking it and hold it firmly to your chest.
Soap the cat well until the dirt has descended well, and put the cat in the basin with clean water and rinse until the foam runs out. Try to turn on the shower water and slide the shower arm into the basin so the noise doesn’t scare him.
– Diluting the shampoo before starting will avoid using too much shampoo which will be difficult to rinse. Wash the cat’s face with water and a washcloth. You can wash his head at another time if you have managed to give him a bath. Never hold a cat’s head under water. You will definitely panic him.
-In the event that the cat is totally averse to the bathroom and goes into hyperventilation, avoid washing it and give up, perhaps switching to a dry foam that will certainly be easier to use. It will be enough to remove surface dirt and clean the animal. You will find treated cloths in pet stores, which do not have to be wet. Often, they also have a pleasant smell.
Let’s move on to the actual drying
-Take the towel and start dabbing the excess water, change the towel and start gently scrubbing the cat without doing too vigorously to frighten it. Change your hand and wrap your cat in a gentle way and cuddle him. If you can, take a cat brush and start combing it, if the cat likes to be brushed go all the way and brush all the hair well.
-Finish drying the cat. Short-haired cats can finish drying themselves in the bathroom if they stay away from drafts. They appreciate heat sources (radiators or air conditioners) and a dry towel to sit on. For the long-haired ones, however, you will need to use a comb and other towels. Long hair gets tangled more easily when wet, so you should comb it until it is completely dry. If the cat is not afraid of the phone, use it at the minimum speed with the medium temperature because you could also burn it.
-Reward the cat with tidbits so that he will not have a traumatic and annoying event in his memories. Pairing the bathroom with a delicious treat, she will be looking forward to the next one. At the end of the bath, you should also praise the cat by stroking him, telling him how good he is, and giving him lots of attention.