Surviving the Bathing Process
A cat doesn’t need to be bathed as frequently as a dog, but there may be times when a cat shampoo is called for. Maybe your cat got into something they shouldn’t have and smells less than delightful, or has a skin condition which calls for a medicated shampoo.
Cats don’t usually take well to bath time, so before you embark on the process make sure you have all the necessary equipment on hand. Fill your container with warm water, lay out plenty of towels for the drying process, and have the shampoo ready.
The first thing to mention is that you must always use a shampoo that has been specifically formulated for cats. Human, baby, or even shampoo designed for another animal, such as a dog, is not suitable for a cat. The pH level will be different, and this could irritate your cat’s skin and affect the condition of their coat.
It’s also important to ensure the shampoo is safe for cats, just in case they ingest a little during the bathing process.
Once you are set on buying a cat shampoo, you will find there is a wide range of options available.
1. Cat Shampoos That Restrict Harsh Chemicals
Some cat shampoos might be branded as extra gentle, or even organic. You will need to read the labels to research what they include, and decide what is right for your pet. One thing you may want to avoid is a heavy fragrance; while some cats might be fine with this, others will find it irritates their skin. You won’t know which camp your cat falls into until you have used it.
The other chemicals to watch out for and avoid are: parabens, artificial dyes, sodium laurel sulfate, pyrethroids, and petrochemicals.
2. Specialized Cat Shampoos
Some cat shampoos will be marketed for a particular age of a cat, such as a kitten or senior, or one who has special needs, such as a long coat or very sensitive skin. Some cats are averse to going near water, and if this is the case, you might want to try a dry shampoo.
Even if the shampoo is right for your cat, always check the ingredients to limit the number of chemicals you are exposing your pet to. Buying a kitten shampoo is a good idea, because if you can get your young cat used to being bathed from an early age, it will make life much easier going forward.
3. Cat Shampoos for Specific Conditions
Finally, you might need to bathe your cat because of a particular health condition.
There are shampoos available that help minimize the amount of hair your cat sheds, and in the process reduces their risk of hairballs. There are also shampoos that help with dandruff, ringworm, and other skin conditions, and there are some that help battle fleas and ticks.
You may want to speak to your veterinarian and see what they suggest if you are looking for a shampoo for a particular health concern.
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After giving your cat a bath it is usually best to try to remove as much water from your cat’s coat as you can with towels. Very few cats will enjoy the warm air from a hairdryer, although if you can get them used to it, preferably on a non-bath day, it will speed up the drying process. To do this, gently move the air from the hairdryer across them the next time you are drying your own hair.
You will quickly find out if this is something they will enjoy, or whether you’ll to coax them down from the top of the curtains. It’s better to do it ahead of bath time, and not when you’re trying to wrangle a wet cat.
As we have seen, there are plenty of choices out there when it comes to selecting a cat shampoo. Always choose a shampoo that is specially formulated for cats, and look for one that fits the specific needs of your cat.
Your cat may not thank you when they are going through the bathing process, but they will be extra grateful when they smell and look good again. Between baths you may even want to pick up some cat wipes to keep your cat’s contact with water to a minimum. That way both of you will be happy.