It’s interesting to me that, whenever this question gets asked, it’s always about how often as opposed to at all. The question itself is an example of how we tend to look at cats through“dog-colored” glasses. Since it’s pretty well-established that dogs need to be bathed regularly, it is usually presumed that cats do, as well. But the truth is, there is simply no reason to bathe your cat.
So should you bathe your cat? NO! Absolutely not.
In fact, cats can spend up to 50% of their waking hours grooming to cover themselves with their scent. So when you step in and bathe them, you are essentially erasing their ID—a Raw Cat staple and a source of serious mojo. Moreover, if you choose to bathe your cat regularly, you are cultivating a negative association with merely handling her. It can get to the point where, even at times when you innocently reach out to love on her, she won’t necessarily know that you’re not about to haul her away to the tub, and she could take a defensive posture toward you. This kind of association can be difficult to break.
So now that we’ve established the no-bathing rule, we do want to point out that there are tub-less ways you can proactively clean your cat like…
- Clean inside of their ears
- Trim their nails
- Brush regularly, especially if your cat is a long hair
Here are a few notable exceptions to the no-bathing rule
- Your cat has been skunked, soiled himself, or rolled in some indescribable source of nasty;
- Your cat is a hairless breed, in which case(because of their unnatural physiology and production of excess oils) they’ll need to have a bath once a week;
- Your cat is a recent rescue from the street and is exceedingly filthy and/or covered with fleas;
- Your cat is either elderly and doesn’t groom much anymore, or is obese and can’t effectively clean themselves.(In either case, they can be wiped down with a baby wipe.)
Those exemptions aside, please remember the mojo mantra—“Cats are not dogs!”—and step away from the bathtub!
So if you ever find yourself in one of these above situational or breed related ‘exceptions’ we do have a few tips for making a trip to tub town a little less stressful for you and your cat.
- Fill the tub or sink with water beforehand, the sound of running water is never good for a cats nerves
- Clean the face first with a washcloth, covering their ears and eyes with water while trying to keep them still is a losing battle… trust us
- Research and consider DIY cleaning solutions, especially an unscented formula
- Clean on a non-skid surface, if they continually slip through the cleaning it will cause them to fight back even more
- Keep loads of towels on hand, we’re talking lots and lots of towels
- Take it slow, cats can sense our nerves so keep it cool
You can check out the full scoop when it comes to the million dollar question, “Should I bathe my cat?” in our video below.