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Do Cats Need Baths?

"Do cats need baths? As a general rule of thumb, no. Most veterinarians agree that cats don't usually need baths."

Should you bathe cats? If you have a cat at home, you’ve probably wondered whether bathing your furbaby is necessary or if giving them one would be good for them. In this article, we will figure out together the answer to the question of most cat parents: Do cats need baths? How often should you bathe a cat? Learn more about cat baths and when they are needed in this article.

Do cats need baths? Do cats need to be bathed regularly and how often should you bathe a cat? As a general rule of thumb, most cats do not need baths. Most veterinarians agree that cats don't usually need baths, according to The Central California SPCA (CCSPCA).

Why Cats Don’t Usually Need Baths

Cats are well-known for their grooming habits. They are very good at bathing themselves which is why many pet parents have never actually given a cat bath. They are naturally equipped with what they need to groom themselves. They usually lick themselves to groom. Cats use their paws by moistening them with their saliva to clean the rest of their body parts that they are not able to groom with their tongues, such as their face and ears.

As mentioned by Reader’s Digest, cats spend almost half of their day just grooming. Licking themselves does not only keep them clean but also helps them cool themselves down, help them distribute natural oils found in the skin, and help them promote proper blood flow. What’s even interesting is that your furbaby’s saliva special enzymes that serve as a natural antibiotic for when they have wounds.

Self-grooming is usually enough to keep their coat in a fabulous condition with some help of course from you and a good kind of brush. But of course, there are exceptions where the answer to “do cats need baths” is yes! There are actually some situations where it may be necessary to give your cat a bath, like when your cat gets too dirty, a flea bath for cats, or a few other scenarios.

When Do Cats Need Bathing?

You might wonder how often should you bathe a cat. How often to bathe a cat will depend on lifestyle mostly. Though cats usually do not need baths, here are some notable exceptions to the no-bathing rule:

  • If your cat soiled themselves, has been skunked, or has gotten into something and smelled. If your cat is prone to soiling themselves due to medical issues or behavioral issues, have them wear Pet Parents® Washable Cat Diapers. These premium cat diapers will help you stay on top of your furbaby’s hygiene and will also prevent them from developing diaper rash and urine burns because of its soft non-abrasive WickQuick® proprietary fabric. You can also opt to use a pet wipe instead of a full bath when using a cat diaper.
  • If your cat becomes uncomfortably dirty. Cats can get quite messy when eating. They often stick their heads in their bowls or walk in their food. Kittens also tend to have accidents around the house, play in their litterboxes and walk through their poo while they're still learning to go to the litter box on their own. Some cats also tend to scrounge around in discarded food in the trash. This is why it’s important to place Pawtect® Pads under litter boxes and food bowls to help prevent extra mess in your house. In addition, your cat can sure be adventurous most of the time. Some cats love roaming around the neighborhood, and it may not be long before they get themselves into sticky and muddy situations which will sometimes require a cat bath.
  • If your cat acquires or gets infested with parasites, then a flea bath for cats might be necessary. The most common external parasites for cats include fleas, ticks, and mites. These parasites cause discomfort to your furbaby and may even be life-threatening if not treated immediately. So aside from giving them a flea bath for cats , tick prevention methods are also essential.
  • If your cat has arthritis, is obese, is a senior, or suffers from something that cost them their flexibility to groom themselves properly. Cats need baths or alternative cleaning methods if they are not able to clean themselves effectively. You might consider using pet wipes on the spots they cannot reach if your cat hates baths. Pet wipes will be able to clean your cat without the extra stress of a cat bath.
  • If your cat belongs to a breed that particularly has long hair, like Persians, they definitely need a helping hand in cleaning themselves. If you have a long hair breed, you should definitely know how to bathe a cat and keep them calm as you are more likely to have to bathe your cat.
  • If your cat belongs to a hairless breed, like the Sphynx. You may be wondering why hairless cats still need to be bathed. Periodic baths are indeed needed for them in order to remove their body oils. How often to bathe a cat without hair will depend on environment and skin condition.

Only in these cases will your cat really need to be bathed. Otherwise, their own daily grooming and of course, with your help, regular brushing of their coat will be enough. You can also use cat-safe pet wipes, like Pet WiPees™ Cat All Purpose Wipes to remove certain debris and dirt without actually giving your furbaby a bath. In fact, in certain cases, you might find that pet wipes are more convenient and less stressful than giving your cat a bath.

A Few Tips on How to Bathe a Cat Smoothly

do cats need baths, how often should you bathe a cat

Now that you know how often to bathe a cat comes the next step, learning how to bathe a cat. Believe it or not, not all cats hate baths. Some breeds like Bengal, Sphynx, Maine Coon, American Shorthair actually handle baths well and are known for their fondness of water. For most of the other cat breeds, however, it’s better to get equipped with some tips on how to bathe a cat that hates water to minimize the problems that may occur during their bath time.

How to Bathe a Cat That Hates Water

It is recommended to schedule the bath beforehand especially when learning how to bathe a cat that hates water. You may choose to do it after your cat’s playtime as this can help tire your cat out. It is also better to get your cat used to the tub or sink first where you will bathe them. You may do this by placing them in the tub or sink a couple of days before their scheduled bath. If you’re wondering how to bathe a cat with claws, it is advised to trim your cat’s nails beforehand to protect yourself from possible scratches while bathing.

It is also advised to prepare everything you need in advance. You'll need plenty of towels, a trusted cat safe shampoo, a comb or brush, a jug or a handheld spray faucet, a rubber mat, and Pawtect® Pads for them to stand on after the bath. You can also try floating a ping-pong ball in the water to distract your cat during bath time as it may encourage them to fish it out.

Just like dogs, bathing is not the only grooming activity to consider when caring for a cat. Grooming your cat also involves other grooming activities, such as trimming their nails, maintaining good dental and oral hygiene, and cleaning their inner ears and paw pads. It is important to know how to bathe a cat, even though cats don’t generally require baths.

How to Dry a Cat After a Bath

How to dry a cat after a bath can be another challenge. Most cats will not sit still for you to blow them try with a hair dryer, so you can opt for towel drying and air drying. Afterwards, allow your cat to relax. Many cats will not like baths and will become stressed, so give them some time and a place to decompress. You can allow them to curl up on a Pawtect® Blanket while they dry and settle down. These cat blankets are waterproof and cozy so that your cat can relax without getting your furniture wet after a bath.

"In certain cases, you might find that pet wipes are more convenient and less stressful than giving your cat a bath."

Pet Wipes for Cats

In many cases, a bath can be a stressful occasion for a cat. You may consider using pet wipes for cats rather than a full bath if your cat only needs help cleaning. Pet wipes for cats can also be used between baths for cats that cannot groom themselves or need a bath for the reasons listed above. When choosing pet wipes for cats, be sure that they are cat safe scents and the ingredients are gentle enough not to damage their skin and hair, like Pet WiPees™

Pet WiPees™ Call All Purpose Wipes provide more than just a quick clean! These hypoallergenic wipes work to keep skin healthy and moisturized with omega oils.  Plus, they reduce cat dander that leads to human allergies and wipe away environmental irritants. With an enzyme blend and probiotic blend, these cat wipes promote healthier skin and coat, so they are safe for use every single day!

Bio-based ingredients are ideal for your cat. Pet WiPees™ are free from sulfates, alcohols, harsh chemicals, and parabens. Betaine is a common cleanser that is harmful to skin and coat, so Pet WiPees™ are Betaine-free. When made with the best ingredients, cat wipes are a wonderful alternative to cat baths.

Make sure you do these things regularly to always keep your furbaby happy and well-groomed. You can do them one at a time to avoid additional stress both to you and your cat. And in any case that you’re anxious and scared of having to do these all, you may always ask professional help from trusted grooming services in your local community.