Here in Texas snow is a rare and beautiful event. Bathing a cat is an even more rare. Also, washing the cat is an excellent exercise in two grown humans trying to collaborate on a task that many claim is not do-able. The fact the said humans are married, and wish to remain so, may grease the wheels a bit.
This undertaking did not come about because of a whimsical urge or boredom. It arose from the fact that kitty suffered from some sort of intestinal outrage during the night and evidently rolled around in it. He and his bed smelled beyond horrible. Being one of those cats that likes to greet you at the crack of dawn by sticking his butt in your face added to the necessity of immediate action.
Checked the internet first with varied results on advice. Some fell under the “well duh” category. Fill tub with water, place cat in tub. Really? Some articles offered advice about protective gloves and such. I have found that if your cat is fighting so hard that protective gear is needed, the battle is already lost. Give it up. Tomorrow is another day.
This is my method for bathing a cat, based on decades as a rather laissez-faire cat owner, and a little research on the internet:
- Instruct Husband to get camera.
- Put on old clothes that you can toss in wash afterwards.
- Fill tub about 6 inches deep with warm water, depending on size of cat. ( less for a tiny kitty obviously) Don’t ask me how I know this, just trust me, Mkay?
- Toss a bunch of old towels and a plastic cup for rinsing in the bathroom.
- By this time curious cat and husband should be in the bathroom investigating, so just close the door. Or fetch cat.
- Fold a couple of towels to kneel on and place them near where you are going to open shower door. (if you have enclosed tub/shower). Put another folded towel over the edge of the tub helps if you want to give your back a break and lean on it a bit.
- Pick up Kitty, who is now getting suspicious, and lower into tub of water, while speaking abundant kitty praise in a low and soothing tone.
- Be prepared to quickly switch to a proper scruff of the neck hold on the cat because this is the most likely point for them to try to bail. If you are not familiar with this hold, and do not know how to do so without injuring the cat or yourself, forget this whole process and take kitty to the vet. However, relying on outside assistance won’t help much in future filth and yucky poo emergencies such as feces or skunk spray, so I strongly advise you to learn this skill.
- Maintain scruff of the neck hold for a few minutes until cat calms down and recovers his or her dignity. Some cats seem to feel better if you let them stand in the tub on hind legs with front paws on the side of the tub.
- Instruct husband to take pictures and not aim the camera up your nostrils if at all possible.
- Have husband squirt kitty soap or baby shampoo in your hand, NOT on the cat. Very important! Some unsupervised husbands will squirt enough soap directly on kitty to degrease an 18 wheeler so take heed of this warning. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be by needing to rinse the cat 87 times.
- Bathe cat however it suits your fancy. However, if you are using flea shampoo start at the neck so fleas are prevented from evacuating to the cat’s head. This is a sight I promise you don’t want to see. (Ignore husband’s advice at this point. If he thought he could do it better, he should have plunked his happy behind down here on the floor and bloody well did it himself. His job is to photograph the evidence.)
- Rinse cat well. (duh) Hopefully by now kitty is resigned to it’s fate and will go down to all fours long enough for you to rinse the belly easily.
- Have husband hand you a towel. This step is optional and it’s usually easier to allow kitty to exit the tub in whatever manner it chooses.
- Dry kitty, who is probably cowering under the vanity, with towels as much as possible.
- Use blow dryer on low setting. If kitty has not experienced this before, it helps to let it run for a minute or 2 before you aim it at the cat to allow him to get used to the sound. Start blow drying cat, ruffling his fur, while holding dryer at a safe distance. A safe distance is defined as; if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for the cat. Also, If he’s cowering in the corner it may be easier to let him stay there instead of trying force him to your arms, counter etc. After a few minutes kitty will realize the he is cold and the warm hair dryer feels pretty darn good. You may notice that his ears, that were back, relax so he will willingly submit to this further indignity.
- When you decide kitty is dry enough or your hips give out from sitting on the cold bathroom floor, open door and allow husband and kitty to stalk out of the bathroom.
Now, wasn’t that easy?