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Bath Time
You think "no problem", a six pound cat can't be that hard to bathe. After all you have already mastered the ability of washing, clothes, dishes, kids, and dog with time to spare all in one week-end.

Unless one of the following are true, you may be setting your self up for an experience of a life time.

    Your cat loves water
    Your cat was introduced to baths at a young age.

    You are experienced at bathing cats.
This story is more common than people would like to admit.
    It's Saturday morning, an little kitty got into the chocolate Ding-Dongs last night. Of course he now has an upset tummy, and is making quite a few extra visits to the litter box. He needs a bath in the worst way, and you have been elected to do the duty.

    Knowing that he may not enjoy this, you put on your old clothing, pull your hair back into a pony tail, and grab a couple of towels and the baby shampoo. You think you are now ready, to do the deed.

    Little kitty appears to be doing fine, he looks at you pitifully, as if asking what did I do to deserve this?

    You have gently wet him down and just starting to lather him up, when he decides this is enough of this! He makes a break for it. He jumps on to the edge of the tub, catching your arm with the back claws on the way. From there on to the back of the toilet, "CRASH" there goes the the crystal soap dish, than on to the cabinet. As he goes at lightning speed, everything lands on the floor. Your senses are coming to you, you see him going out the door and heading down the hall. You are in "hot pursuit" down the hall, straight under the dinning room table. Just as you catch up, he goes out the other side, over the back of the couch, under the coffee table, over the chair, and back down the hall. You almost catch him, but catching a wet soapy, cat is much like a greased pig. There he goes down the hall passing the bathroom and straight for the kids room, under the bed he goes. You make a dive, like a kid sliding into home base, only to see him exit out the other side. As you are getting up, you see the tail just going out of sight through the door. The phone rings, another telamarketer hoping you are having a nice day. You hang up on the telamarketer, and start looking for little kitty. You find him under you King-size bed, about 3 inches out of reach, and looking like something from a horror movie. Ears are flat, showing teeth, hissing, and ready to rip the first thing that reaches him. Oh boy aren't we having fun.

The reason this story is so common, is that most cats don't need baths. When they do, we treat them like kids. "Get in the tub, sit still, the sooner I get you scrubbed, the sooner you can get out." It simply doesn't work like that. (Dog methods don't work either.)

The easiest way is to have a professional cat groomer do it. Be sure to tell the groomer exactly what you want. (see story below)
However professionals are expensive, not every town will have one, and you may have a situation where you can't wait for an appointment.

The next best thing is preventive maintenance. Start giving your kitty simple little baths at a young age, than one every 4 to 6 month. You don't even have to actuality use soap, just wet him, rub him, then dry him. This way he will understating what is happening, if he ever really does need one.

Now for the "real world" situation. You have an adult cat, that has never had a bath, you can't afford a groomer. Planning and doing your prep work first will make all the difference.

If at all possible have a second person helping. (4 hands are better than 2)

Trim claws before bathing. (just in case, he becomes upset)

Go to the pet shop and buy Kitty shampoo if possible. (baby shampoo is for babies, kitty shampoo is for kitties)

Grab some big thick towels, a couple of wash cloths, couple of cotton balls, and some mineral oil

Remove all breakables from bath room. (I'll let you figure out the reason for this.)

Decide if you are going to use the tub or sink. This may depend on the size of your cat, and the size of the sink. Some people use the kitchen sink, but I don't suggest it too many dangers, and he might try to escape.

If you are using the tub, placing an old window screen in the bottom tilting up toward the back will help. Your cat wont be standing in soapy water, he will less likely to slip, and if he decides to escape he will go up the screen instead of your arm and shoulder.

  • Give kitty a good brushing, to remove loose hair.

  • Turn on the telephone answering machine, or take phone off hook.

  • Place a couple of drops of mineral oil into each eye. This will cut down on irritation

  • Place cotton balls in his ears, this will keep soapy water out of his ears.

  • Gently place him in the sink or tub.

  • Turn on water slowly, keeping an eye on the temperature.

  • Do not spray or pour water over head, use a wash cloth.

  • After kitty has washed, and rinsed well.

  • Scoop him up in a towel, with only his head poking out.

  • Gently dry, him. If towel becomes too wet, grab the spare one.

  • You may wish to leave him in the warm bath room, until he is completely dry. So people use a blow dryer, but I don't recommend it. Many cats become hostel to it, also you must be careful not to burn him.

  • Grab a cup of coffee, and pat your self on the back.

  • Let kitty out, and give lots of love.
Short Story (back up)

Years ago we had a cat named Sulton a 20 pound, neutered, front declawed, Persian. One night our other cat jumped on top of the refrigerator, and attacked the Twinkies and Ding Dongs. He ripped open each one and ate the cream, than push the left over cake to the floor for Sulton. Sulton just loved Chocolate Ding Dongs, how ever they didn't agree with his digestive system. The next day he needed a bath, his backside was starting to matte, and he stunk. We opted to use a professional cat groomer. It sounded great for $30 she would come pick him up, bath him, and return him.

The groomer came by, scratched Sulton's back and talked to him. All seemed well, he like her. In the crate he went, and off to the shop. Late that day the groomer returned with Sulton. However the groomer didn't look so well. Her entire right forearm was bandaged. It would appear that Sulton became a little upset with his bath, and grabbed the groomer by the arm with his teeth, than drug his back claw down her arm.

We felt sorry for her, but this is one of the hazards of the profession. The the real shocker came, she opened the transport. Our cat looked more like a poodle! Everything was shaved from the neck down, with only little pom-poms on his feet, and the end of his tail. Sulton wasn't too happy, as he sulked out of the transport. We all tried not to laugh, but couldn't help it, it was the strangest thing any of us had seen.

After this experience, #2 daughter inherited the duty of cat bathing, Sulton understood.

Sulton is no longer with us, he died at the age of 10 from feline leukemia. However all the love, friendship, and funny stories will always remain with us.