Do You Bathe Your Cat?

Julie’s comment on our last post about cat photos got me thinking: I haven’t given Buddy a bath since he was a kitten.

There are a few good reasons: Many veterinarians don’t think it’s necessary if the cat doesn’t go outdoors, doesn’t have any flea problems and doesn’t come into contact with potential toxins. A short-haired indoor cat who is healthy and flexible enough to thoroughly groom himself doesn’t need bathing, according to trusted animal organizations like the ASPCA.

Unless your cat is a rescue off the street, unable to groom herself or is one of the “hairless” breeds — like a Sphinx — caretakers should “absolutely not” bathe their cats, feline guru Jackson Galaxy agrees.

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Not a happy camper: Most domestic cats loathe baths. (Credit)

Since Buddy is young and healthy, and the little guy was always seriously distressed by taking a bath, I decided not to put him through the stress. Fear of water may seem ridiculous to us humans, but for cats it’s a big deal.

He does a good job grooming himself, I’ve never detected any odor on him, and perhaps most importantly I’d need heavy gloves, a plastic mask and a family size tube of antimicrobial ointment for the inevitable wounds in places where I’m not heavily armored.

I am, however, open to feedback. Are there good reasons why I should be bathing Bud? Have I been too eager to accept the anti-cat-bathing argument because I don’t want to get soaked and scratched by an angry cat? Am I being negligent by not bathing him?

If you do advocate bathing cats, how often do you bathe your own little buddies, and how do handle the ordeal?

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Cats may be stoic, but not when it comes to enduring baths. (Credit)

15 thoughts on “Do You Bathe Your Cat?”

  1. I have what I think might be a Chantilly-Tiffany — or a black Maine coon mix. Her fur is very fine and dense. I have only washed her when she got sprayed by a skunk. She was very good about it. Now that she’s old, I spend most of my time brushing her with an anti-matting comb and picking her mats out with a seam ripper. She is not as flexible as she used to be and is a bit lazy now about grooming. However, I have added Dasuquin to her diet and that has improved her mobility. She just prefers to be combed by me.

    I hear other people wash their cats to keep the shedding down. I believe that people who show their cats also bathe them. My cat has a mysterious past of 6 years before I got her and I believe she was a show cat at one time and that was why she was so good about getting washed. (There were other clues, especially the way she liked to be held, all stretched out.) She’s forgotten those times now that she’s 22. But she’s still a weirdo.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s obvious she’s well loved and well cared for if she’s still going strong at 22. I’d never heard of that breed before so I just googled some images and they’re strikingly beautiful cats.

      It’s good that your cat enjoys brushing. Buddy tolerates it but doesn’t like it. I think he understands I’m grooming him and maybe he thinks it’s unnecessary. Or maybe he’s insulted because he thinks I deem his grooming skills inadequate lol.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. She didn’t used to like to get brushed, not to the extent I’m doing it now. We are like an old couple and she tolerates just about any grooming I do to her. I think you’re right — they *do* get insulted that you might think their grooming skills are inadequate! lol You know how two cats get into “bathing wars,” trying to wash each other and one gets annoyed and starts slapping the crap out of the other? “You’re doing it wrong!” I think it has to do with something like that.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I think that bathing a healthy, flea-free car is idiotic.
    My cats had a terrible flea problem in West Virginia (which has a terrible flea problem statewide) and I had to bathe the bunch. I had scars up to my elbows and, guess what? Dawn dish detergent doesn’t kill fleas the way some people claim. Even the cat flea shampoo didn’t do that. Eventually I had to bomb the house (with a flea bomb: it was still standing when I was done) and I started using Advantage II, which worked.
    Possibly this is another example of dog people thinking that cats need to be treated like dogs.
    Dogs need regular baths. Cats clean themselves.
    You are removing the protective oils from the cat’s fur when you wash them in water.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tux was mortified when he got a little too close to the tub and fell in a couple of times as a kitten. He keeps himself quite clean, so I am just not going the bath route with him! Multiple old scars on arms from when he adopted us as a feral!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I only bathed my Jelly Bean after he got out a few times and got filthy! He was a white long-haired mostly Angora (we think) cat who had no idea how to handle the outdoors, yet was continually escaping the house and getting dirty. LOL. Chelsea was indoor/outdoor and only got dirty when she got old and couldn’t bathe herself anymore, but I was afraid she’d get too upset by a bath. Holly is super clean and is indoor only and has no trouble cleaning herself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s funny that this popped up in my email today. Today was the first time (that I know of) that my Mom’s cat Miss Kitty, got a bath. She’s over 20 and is just too old to care for herself now. She had gone to the vet earlier in the week and had to have a bath there after getting an enema. I was petting her last night and noticed a coating on her fur. They obviously didn’t get all the soap off her. So into the sink she went. She didn’t fight much and it wasn’t too much of a fight. Unfortunately, I don’t think we did a much better job than the vet techs did. Petted her tonight, and her tail is just coated in a film. Same with her belly. I think we’re gonna have to soak her in the sink again. The poor thing.

    Other than that, I’ve never thought you had to give a cat a bath unless it got dirty. I for one, have never relished the thought of having to do it. At least with a dog, you’re not facing murder mittens and yowling screeches and they’re easier to corral. I’d say, let Buddy do his thing and save yourself some major scratchage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re doing the right thing, Carmen. Even though Miss Kitty may dislike getting wet, if she has soap on her fur she could get very sick from inevitably licking it as she grooms herself.

      I hope she’s got more years ahead of her. It’s amazing to hear about all these cats living 20+ years.

      And yeah, avoiding major scratchage sounds like the smart play. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I bathe my cats every 2 weeks. They like feeling freshly washed. They start to groom me when I am overdue to give them their baths.
    It helps with allergies too. If you have an allergy to the enzyme in their saliva then regular baths will remove this from their fur.
    I have had quite a few people who insist they are allergic to cats not have a single problem with my cats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well as another commenter said, better to bathe them than have to surrender them to a shelter. Plus I’m sure if you start early and bathe them often, they get used to it. That ship has sailed for my cat.

      Like

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