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.
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?
My humans are good people who serve me well despite their abysmal hunting skills. Every now and then I kill a juicy mouse or a lizard, you know, to show I can provide and pull my weight around here.
Sometimes I leave my gift on the kitchen counter, and sometimes I leave it on one of their pillows in their my bed. High visibility places, you know? Nothing says “You have been serving me adequately, have a delicious meal on me!” quite like leaving the gift where you know it’ll be stumbled upon.
Unfortunately they’re a bunch of ungrateful jerks! They start acting all dramatic, they put the fresh kill in a paper bag like it’s toxic waste and they throw it out. That’s just adding insult to injury.
Why can’t humans express gratitude?
– Maxwell in Maryland
I know exactly what you mean! I used to groom my Big Buddy, using my saliva to shampoo his hair, but he acted like I was the disgusting one.
Well, I solved the problem, yes I did! I wait and quietly groom my butt until my human falls asleep. Then I give my butt a few more thorough licks before climbing on top of my Big Buddy and grooming him, starting with his beard and working my way to his upper lip.
I find that grooming his beard immediately after grooming my butt is best because my poop gives the bristles on my tongue a more malleable quality, which is good for grooming human hair. Plus it leaves his beard smelling nice and familiar, like our home after I use the litterbox!
Humans are just ungrateful creatures, Maxwell, but night time affords many opportunities to help them when they don’t realize it. Why not drop a mouse into your human’s mouth while she’s asleep? Who knows? She might like it!
I know your advice column is meant for cats, but I thought you’d make an exception for a human who seeks your wise and benevolent guidance, Oh Great Handsome One, for who else is as smart and perceptive as Buddy?
My question is: Should I buy a Licki? You know, one of those silicon rubber “tongues” with spikes that are supposed to mimic a kitty’s bristled tongue. I’d like to bond with my cat, and according to the people who make the Licki, grooming my kitty just like a momma cat is the best way to bond.
What do you think?
– Human In Hawkins, Indiana
Oh hell no!
Big Buddy bought one of those things and creeped up on me all stealth-like when I was taking a nap one day. One second I’m dreaming about bountiful feasts with endless roast turkey, the next I’m waking up to that daft two-legs dragging a rubber tongue back and forth through my fur, looking like an epileptic seal.
I thought I was being attacked by a porcupine dipped in crazy glue! Once I realized what was happening, I gave Big Buddy a hard paw smack and bit his hand for emphasis: Get that weak shit out of my personal space!
So no, don’t buy a Licki. You’ll just waste $25 on a piece of rubber that makes your cats loathe you. Instead, provide massages on-demand and step your treats game up. Now that is something your kitties will appreciate.
– Buddy out
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.