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How do you give a cat a bath?

HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
edited November 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Wasn't ever a cat person, then a couple of months ago I found a kitten that somebody abandoned near my place of work and adopted her.

Anyway, she smells kinda bad right now.

And she hates water.

What's the best way to go about this?

Horseshoe on
dmsigsmallek3.jpg

Posts

  • GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    We only give our cats baths once or twice a year, but it generally involves me holding them while my wife pours warm water over them in the tub. They howl like they think Armageddon has arrived though.

  • StoverStover Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Pick her up under her front shoulders, dunk her lower body in the tub a few times, towel her off.

    Though it may look like it, she won't actually hate you forever.

    outoftheloop.jpg
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    very carefully if you value your life...

    Though in truth, the majority of cats never need to be bathed at all. The only reasons I can really think of to do it would be if the cat is physically incapable of washing itself, or if they've gotten something on their fur that wouldn't be good for them to be licking.

    If you really do need to bathe the cat, you're first going to want to go to a pet store and get a shampoo that's designed for cats, as anything else may be too irritating to their skin. Do it in the bathroom with the door closed and use warm water (not hot or cold).

    A quick google search for giving a cat a bath turns up several links that go into much more detail (like getting something to put in their eyes so the shampoo doesn't get in, putting small cotton balls in their ears to avoid ear infections, etc).
    http://www.catsplay.com/thedailycat/2004-07-12/bringing_grooming/bath/bath.html
    http://www.ehow.com/how_2208_give-cat-bath.html
    http://www.petplace.com/cats/how-to-give-a-cat-a-bath/page1.aspx

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Have only bathed kitties: fill tub with warm soapy water up to the level where her shoulders would be submerged, grab a lot of neck scruff and dunk kitty (keep her nose/mouth out of water, repeat dunks as necessary, point wet-pissed-off-and-extremely-pointy kitty in a direction in which she can flee, release kitty.

    I'm sure there are other ways, but I grabbed scruff cause that's the only way I can hold her where she can't scratch me.

    Our inside cat keeps herself pretty clean, and the outside cat is ... always outside.


    Recycled picture of miserable bathed kitty.
    Spoiler:

  • PeenPeen Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    My wife decided that this needed to happen, so she puts on jeans and a sweatshirt, shuts the bathroom door so that the cat can't escape, gets in the tub with them, and uses a big cup to pour the water over them.

    You're pretty much going to get torn to shreds the first time you do it (that's why she wears the sweatshirt now); the only real advice I have is try to keep most of the water off of the cat's head, it seems to keep them calmer. My wife uses baby shampoo, for the same reason you use it on babies: it's a mild soap, won't hurt their eyes, and smells good.

  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    This is an inside/outside cat. She spends all day inside and I let her sleep inside because she's still pretty small and it's starting to get below 20 degrees at night this time of year. I think she got into something kinda whiffy.

    Thanks for the tips guys... she's a polydactyl and spends a lot of time sharpening her claws on her favorite tree, and going by your suggestions and links, it looks like there's some ways to help me from getting too much of the lady deathstrike treatment from her.


    edit: sonofabitch, it's like she knows I'm planning something. She just took a chunk out of my hand.

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Yeah, trim her claws first. My cats are "used to it," as in when they get in the water they just stand their and cry, then we put them in a towel and dry them off. But they don't like the first dunk, so we always make sure to trim their claws before we start.

    We keep them trimmed anyway, so they don't scratch us, but we usually time it so bath + trim coincide. We bathe our guys about 2-3 times a year, using cat shampoo (has keratin, which is naturally in their spit, so they don't get sick cleaning themselves and makes their coat soft).

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Richard_DastardlyRichard_Dastardly Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Just be careful when you trim the kitten's claws, because you have about >1mm difference between harmless trimming and fucking torture.

    I think you can also buy wipes for the cat too, but I've never tried them out.

    ಠ_ರೃ wrote: »
    cats are douches
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    The big thing is to plan on keeping them in the bathroom for a while. We usually lay down a few towels in the bathroom floor. Bath them, bundle them up in a towel and dry them off then just shut the door and let them air-dry. They will normally start grooming themselves after you get them toweled off and after a few hours they will by dry enough to come out of the bathroom without getting cold.

    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • oncelingonceling Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Using the scruff of the neck as someone else has suggested is the best way not to get scratched. You don't have to grip it like death, just enough to keep the cat in one place.

    Just as a general note, when my cats were young my boyfriend and I "manned up" and stopped reacting/pulling away if our cats tried to get scratchy or bitey during claw trims and baths. When they realised that I could care less that they were gnawing on my hand we got a pretty surprised cat o_O and they have resigned themselves to their fate during baths and trims now without fussing.

  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I usually just pin them to the ground with one hand (around the nape, so that they are 'sitting' with their stomach on the bath bottom) and use a cup with the other to rinse.

    And if it starts screaming like it's being tortured, it's been easier to quickly scold it than to start cooing and sympathizing. The former makes them quiet down and the latter keeps them whining the entire bath.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • NibbleNibble FormosaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I would never immerse my cat in water -- he's afraid to even step in a tiny puddle. When I bathe him, I just hold him with one hand and pet him with another, soapy hand. Then I slowly pour pre-mixed shampoo and warm water over him while I continue to rub his fur. I then repeat the process with fresh water to rinse him off. So far, this method has worked great for me.

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  • thepassengerthepassenger Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Bathing the cats in our household is a rare occurance since cats usually keep themselves pretty clean.

    But if we have to, I would recommend pour warm water on them from a pot/cup, never use the tap directly (as it freaks them the fuck out). As for holding, I would recommend having one person holding them by the "scruff" (fatty area on the back of the neck) with one hand not too tight, but just enough to keep them from moving, and using the other hand, hold their two front paws together (they can't scratch you if they're immobilized).

    Then just get the cat wet, shampoo (you can use special cat shampoo, we just roll with johnson & johnson baby shampoo), and then rinse.

    Definitely do not attempt to do it yourself if you value not having huge scratches on your arms. Clipping nails beforehand is a good idea too, but might want to space the clipping and bath an hour or so apart, so they're not all riled up from the nail clipping during the bath.

    PSN: ohvermie <- ADD ME FOR STREET FIGHTING ACTION!
  • thepassengerthepassenger Registered User
    edited November 2008
    bah double post

    PSN: ohvermie <- ADD ME FOR STREET FIGHTING ACTION!
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    It's not that she's not clean. When she's dirty it shows and she keeps her coat spotless, even with all the stuff that can get stuck in her fur when she's bounding through the pasture and the bushes outside. She's obsessed with being clean... if I'm lying down and near her head, she starts cleaning me.

    She just kinda smells bad and not like her normal self... like she picked up a smell that she can't necessarily wash off on her own.

    I live alone so I'm not likely to get much help on this one. But she does tend to freeze up when I pick her up by the scruff, I'll definitely be using that technique.

    I'm hesitant to clip her nails. I'd rather take a few cuts (I'm used to them, she plays rough and she knows it doesn't bother me) than leave her defenseless or unable to effectively climb out of harm's way if one of my asshole neighbor's asshole dogs makes it down the road to my house.

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • clsCorwinclsCorwin Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I've had good results with putting them in the shower (assuming you actually have doors and not a curtain, and leaving them on the ground, and just aim the nozzle to wet them. Then wash them, and re-aim nozzle to get soap off.

  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    The way my roomie and I used to give her cat a bath was to lock the three of us in the bathroom and we would run the water in the tub, get her wet using a cup and we wore long sleeves and yellow dishwashing gloves. It was never pretty and Vada held a wicked grudge against us for a few days but it worked.

  • DVGDVG Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Kitty Spa!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AleZLZjDUbs

    Not really, but I love this video.

    Diablo 3 - DVG#1857
  • CreepyCreepy Tucson, AzRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    It's rare but sometimes you just have to do it. (Cat had Giardia, 'nuff said...)

    We use a deep sink & warm water right from the sprayer, sprayer is really gentle though, not like the usual black sparayer you see on most sinks. Wife washes cat while I hold the cat with a hand on the cat's back of the neck and a hand on the cat's chest. (You can tell where they're going to go before they go, I've found)

    You will get scratched sometimes. The cat will get away from you sometimes.

    Most of the time it works ok.

    Live: Broichan

    PSN: Broichan
  • bigpandabigpanda Registered User
    edited November 2008
    K, too many posts to read through but since I was the honorary cat washer in our house and I've given my cat several baths (which he's kind of used to now) because he got into something really nasty.

    Anyhow, clothes, lots of big clothes like sweatshirts, sweatpants, thick socks, etc because they'll claw you if they get a chance. Second, rose gloves if you can get them. That way the cat can't claw through your hand.

    Second, lay a towel down in the tub so they don't freak out because the surface is too slippery for them, it will help to calm them down. Also, be calm yourself, animals pick up on your anxiety. Talk softly and slowly to them, they're freaked out since this isn't a normal activity.

    If you make it a habit of giving your cat a bath they'll get used to it and won't fight you as much. We went through a period with my cat (longhair) where it kept getting into really nasty stuff and I had to give him a bath almost weekly. He got kind of used to it for a while until I had to leave him with my parents who never bathe him (which he doesn't need as much anymore) so he hates it all over again.

    Lastly, you mentioned it's cold where you're at. Towels, lots of them, make sure you keep your cat warm, they're small and don't have a lot of mass and will get cold very easily. I wouldn't recommend a hairdryer as it will scare the bejesus out of them.

    Also; cat thread. Pictures needed.

  • MeeOkMeeOk Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I think I must have had a really mellow cat. I actually wore a tank top or something so that if he tried to get away, and splashed water, less clothing got wet. I would have him by the scruff of the neck and use a cup of water to pour it over him. I agree with the nail clipping though. I gave my cat a bath every 3 months or so, because he was indoor/outdoor and just got kinda, especially since he hunted all the time, and liked rolling around in the dust/dirt. He typically just made pitiful noises and kinda huddled in the tub. I liked bathroom doors so there is less chance of a fleeing feline. Be prepared for lots of dirty looks when she/he is bathing themselves, to get their fur back to normal. ^^;;

    "Everyone I love dies violently, unnaturally. I'm cursed! Why go on? I'll just hurt others."
  • bigpandabigpanda Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Yes, closed bathroom doors are a necessity.

  • GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    bigpanda wrote: »
    Yes, closed bathroom doors are a necessity.

    Yeah, the first time the cat went apeshit, got out of the tub and then hauled ass all over the apartment with water going everywhere.

    The only time I've seen the cat run faster was when he accidentally got a paper bag handle stuck around his head and thought the bag was his own personal grim reaper trying to chase him or something.

  • EverywhereasignEverywhereasign Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Although mine tends to go, for lack of a better word, catatonic when being bathed. I've been told that using 2 or three clothes pegs on the cats scruff will keep them docile while bathing.

    Buy baby soap, it's cheaper then "cat soap" and much easier to find. Have a large volume of towels nearby and close the bathroom door.

    "What are you dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman!"
  • taerictaeric Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2008
    If it is a kitten, just give it a daily bath for a few weeks. This should get the cat used to water, and then you are fine. Our cats don't like baths, but they do not try to get away or swipe at us. You just can't wait 6 months and expect the cat to love being tossed into water.

  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    bigpanda wrote: »
    Also; cat thread. Pictures needed.

    This is her at about three months old.

    11155226dy1.jpg

    D'awww

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • SiskaSiska Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Only do it if the coat looks or smells like it needs it. Many cats are good at cleaning themselves and don't need assistance. If small enough to fit in the kitchen sink, I recommend that. If it's too big for a sink then bathtub. Helps if you have another person there to assist. Either use pet or unscented baby shampoo. Don't wash the head.

    My cat would always be furious. But after it was over he wasn't afraid. He would usually dart under the nearest table but would have no issues with me pulling him back out to towel him off. So basically as soon as he got out of the bathroom all was forgiven.

    Izuela.png
  • sinnsinn Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Having 8 cats (rescues mostly) I've gotten this pretty much down to a science. Thankfully mine rarely need baths unless they've gotten themselves into something messy (I swear one came home covered in grape jelly).

    1) Lure kitty into the bathroom and shut the door behind you.

    2) I usually let mine watch the tub fill up, usually only about 4 inches deep. They seem to enjoy WATCHING water.

    3) I close the shower curtain 80% of the way, leaving about a human's width at the end nearest the wall. This closes off possible avenues of escape.

    4) Getting them in without losing a digit is usually the hardest part. Just have to do it quick before they realize what's happening and declare nuclear war on you.

    5) Once in the warm water, they'll let loose the most piteous cries, but usally if you block off whatever opening is left they'll stay put. Use a cup to pour water over them, and use cat or baby shampoo. Avoiding their head and eyes if possible.

    6) Depending on the cat they may tolerate getting rinsed from the tap, but if not just use the cup again.

    7) Wrap in a towel and rub kitty down as much as you can get away with. Then expect to spend the rest of the night being glowered at from a hard-to reach shelf as kitty plots her revenge.

    He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    sinn wrote: »
    2) I usually let mine watch the tub fill up, usually only about 4 inches deep. They seem to enjoy WATCHING water.

    My cat also seems to like playing with water - he'll try to stick his head in glasses, tip over buckets, and slap at the stream from the faucet. They just don't like being immersed - really, my cat doesn't like ANYTHING that isn't on his terms, and I think the problem with bathing is more that than water, as he's managed to get himself wet without my help and not brought down ruin upon the earth.

    I've had better results with a wet rag or sponge bath than dunking him in water. He hates it, but generally doesn't freak out too much. He's an indoor cat, so he doesn't get that smelly, and can go months without a bath really, but it is part of the monthly routine of trimming his nails. I figure if he's going to hate me for three days anyway, I might as well get all the things he hates me for done at the same time.

  • MoSiAcMoSiAc Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    The best way my family washed our three cats was the rag method. Damp with soap on it and rub them. They seemed to enjoy this much more than any sort of tub or sink. Afterwards use a different rag to rinse them off and then dry them. It isn't as good as a bath but it got the job done for what we needed.

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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2008
    Push it under until it stops moving.:lol:

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
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