A shower is quite refreshing. Stepping out into a warm, damp, almost tropical room that smells soapy fresh is satisfying on many levels.
It’s less than satisfying for most cats though. Most cats will not even get near water. If they can keep their feet dry they can spend hours watching the water go by in fascination, they may even drink some.
Unless your cat is a rare water baby, like the Bengals and the Turkish Vans usually are, they are probably not very fond of getting their feet wet. They may not feel the same way about a shower as you do.
Cats come with the necessary tools to clean themselves without the help of a shower. Unlike us, they actually get cleaner by licking themselves. This is because they have spines, called papillae, on their tongues which act like a hairbrush to remove dirt and debris from their fur.
Can I Give My Cat a Shower? Answer: If Necessary.
It is usually not necessary to give your cat a shower. That is good news for cats since they are generally not big fans of being showered or bathed. On the other hand, if your furry friend is extremely dirty, the occasional shower won’t harm them as long as you take certain points into consideration.
Use Shampoo for Cats
Despite how great your shower gel smells or how much it promises to protect and regenerate your skin, it will probably damage and irritate the skin of your cat. The risks of skin irritation are not worth having your cat smell of coconut and chamomile, so use a shampoo specifically designed for washing cats. These are widely available in all pet stores. If you are showering your cat because of problems with pests in their fur, such as fleas and ticks, use the appropriate shampoo or ask you veterinarian for a recommendation.
Not the Ears, Please
Using a shower head is actually a pretty effective method of bathing your cat. You can use one hand to hold them in place and the other to rinse the soap out with the shower head. However, if the shower head is not flexible it can be an inconvenient way to wash the cat since it can result in getting their ears wet. A cat’s ears are very sensitive and the water can alter the delicate pH balance and increase the chance of infections. If you must wash their head, use a moist washcloth to wipe out the dirt instead of sticking their head under the shower.
Tips to Wash Your Cat
There are a few practical tips to make the bath a little easier. Prepare, but subtlety is advised because your cat will hide when it senses something fishy that isn’t actual fish. Practice how you will hold your feline in the bath, how to reach your shampoo, and where your towel will be. Don’t panic, you need to use a calm tone to reassure your cat. Closing the doors and removing any fragile items is usually a good idea since a cat is difficult to catch when its mind is set on escaping.
It will be more effective if you can enlist some extra hands, so that one person can hold the cat and the other can wash it. It may be helpful, especially for long haired cats if you brush them prior to the shower. Try to make the water as close to the body temperature of the cat (102ºF/39ºC) as you can, because any colder will make it more uncomfortable for the cat. Your cat will probably complain by meowing, yowling, maybe even growling. Do not be intimidated. Remember to rinse the cat well, because the leftover shampoo residue could irritate the skin.
Drying Your Cat
After the shower is over an important aspect still remains. A wet cat is likely to get cold so dry them as fast as possible while keeping them warm. Hairdryers could be useful to dry a cat, as they are effective and provide warmth. Unfortunately, most cats are terrified of hairdryers so you will probably have to use towels. Warming the towels in the dryer will help to keep your furry friend warm. Your cat might appreciate it enough to forgive you.
Shower as Needed, But Keep the Head Dry
A shower can be used as an alternative method to bathing, but remember to keep the ears and head dry. If the shower head is fastened to the wall this could be very difficult, in such cases it is best to revert to traditional bathing. So a shower could be a good possibility if a cat really needs to be cleaned., but remember to always use shampoo and soap designed for cats to prevent any skin irritation.