International Bath Day- Does My Cat Need A Bath?
How often should you give a cat a bath? Well, the answer depends on a couple of factors. In general, cats don’t need baths. What they do need is brushing and or combing. For regular grooming, I like to use a flea comb. I kind of scrape it along Buddy and Mama’s neck, back, and sides to release any loose fur. Then I comb them in long strokes to the base of the tail. If they are going to have any pests hanging around, you are likely to find them there. Buddy and Mama never go outside so we just get loose fur, not pests.
Buddy and Mama are also young cats and have no health issues yet. This matters because if and more likely when your cat develops joint issues like arthritis, they may not be able to do as good of a job cleaning themselves as they used to. In that case, if regular grooming is not enough, they may need a bath now and then. If you have a long-haired cat it is a good idea to have them trimmed up around their privates and in between their toe pads, especially when they get older.
Usually, if a cat needs a bath there are specific reasons. When we rescued cats off of the street the first thing I did was give them a bath. Cats who have been living outside will have fleas and possibly tics as well. A Dawn bath goes a long way to getting rid of fleas. If you have an indoor-outdoor cat who receives regular flea and tick prevention you may only have to bathe them if they come home caked in mud, have been skunked, or have somehow found a nest of ticks. That last one happened to one of our babies. Her ear was covered in tiny ticks. I felt so bad for her because the tics did not want to come off easily.
Another reason your cat may need a bath is if you put something on them that does not wash off by itself. I put a little bit of coconut oil on one of our cats, but he couldn't or wouldn't clean it off, and his fur became greasy.
The main reason to give a cat a bath is that he can’t do it himself. Bathing a cat unnecessarily can actually cause more harm than good. Bathing can strip your cat’s fur of needed oils and dry out the skin sometimes causing irritation. If your cat’s fur feels a little oily to you, try brushing or combing them first. You would be surprised what a good brushing can accomplish. Long-haired cats need brushing every to every other day. Short and medium-haired cats should be brushed at least once a week. The more often you do it the more your cat will like it.
Never bathe kitty in human shampoo. Remember even the cats who aren’t good at grooming anymore will still be affected by chemicals in our shampoo. If you have to bath kitty, use Dawn or shampoo made for cats. If you are unsure, ask your vet.