HOW TO BATHE A CAT - I have resisted using flea meds, instinctively. Even when a $l0 package of topical applications was given to me, it sat for a year then I returned it to the donor, a pet owner who was a true believer in the stuff. I simply said "I'm not a believer, I've got my own holistic method." Now, on the news: 44,000 bad reactions to pet flea med and 1200 deaths! From that 'drop on the back' stuff.
I do flea maintenance on adult cats by fine-combing the cats, with a quart POT of hot soapy water nearby for comb cleaning. Vacuum the living room where the cats are when they're not in the gardens. With kittens, I'd bathe the babies. (JUST TRY BATHING AN ADULT even one you imagine is your friend!) Fleas go up the body (under water,) to the head, which is OUT.....and you pick them off.
Today was the first really hot day of the year so I gave a little kitten his first bath. He's about three mos old, a short hair silky black Tommy. He was relaxing in the shade, on a table, a full tummy, I snuck up on him. Gently carried him, he was relaxed so he was thinking, should I be anxious? But I was talking softly to him slowly softly walking toward kitchen where I already had two sinks full, warm water, bar soap, a DRY TOWEL AREA, (no tile for those paws.) a WRAPPER towel & a few hyacinth sticks with cotton wrapped around tips for ear cleaning, also all set up, already dunked in oil. I cleaned his ears first, used like 3 of these q tips for each ear, only bigger than q tips and stronger ....with a toxin on the tip, but mild, and scrubbing ears, then a clean hyacinth stick q tip for rinsing -- to get the oil and dead mites out.
He blinked at immersion, his first taste ever of water. He doesn't quite know what it is, but he's relaxed. He's seeing it's a non jeopardy situation, because I seem to like him. He doesn't think this is a drowning scenario. He gets soaped up, unscented soap so he won't sneeze. A lotta stroking like he's the king and this is a very good thing, then he's rinsed off, in the other sink. But oh oh No eyeglasses. If my glasses coulda been found I'd have picked off fleas into the soapy water, or even outside in the sunlight but without glasses I'm helpless.... next time.
I towel dried him out in sun and he was set down in his own sunbeam. He didn't run. He just did some extra cleaning work on himself. He seemed to like the whole thing. Then I did his sister, a real tabby short hair...she protested when I picked her up, so I murmurred soft nothings into her ear running for that same sink.
NOW, from experience, let me tell you that THE PERFECT bath has you more organized. You will have two sets of q tips sticks, your glasses, two sinks full, the hat ouside near your chair for going into the sun where you sit with eyes shadowed by the wide hat so you have no glare in your eyes. Your head is also cooler! But the cat is in your lap in bright sun. The sun hits those fleas now that the wet hair separates and lies down, you can see them shine like copper pennies. You pick them off and drop them into a basin of hot soapy water. So you have to set all that up before you get the cat wet. You don't need a comb for this. The fur is lying down, damp, you can see every single flea on him!
I've attemped this with adult cats but YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE INTO YOUR HANDS when you do that!
You're dead mister. Lemme tell you, it'll be a cold day
in Hell before I purr your way again, chum!
FOUND ONLINE: "Some people say cats never have to be bathed. They
say cats lick themselves clean. They say cats have a special enzyme of some sort in
their saliva that works like new, improved Wisk, dislodging the dirt
where it hides and whisking it away. I've spent most of my life
believing this folklore. Like most blind believers, I've been able to
discount all the facts to the contrary, the kitty odors that lurk in the
corners of the garage, and dirt smudges that cling to the throw rug by
the fireplace. The time comes, however, when a man must face reality;
when he must look squarely in the face of massive public sentiment to
the contrary and announce: "This cat smells like a port-a-potty on a hot
day in Juarez."
When that day arrives at your house, as it has in mine, I have some
advice you might consider as you place your feline friend under your arm
and head for the bathtub.
-- Know that although the cat has the advantage of quickness and lack of
concern for human life, you have the advantage of strength. Capitalize
on that advantage by selecting the battlefield. Don't try to bathe him
in an open area where he can force you to chase him. Pick a very small
bathroom. If your bathroom is more than four feet square, I recommend
that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding-glass doors
as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not
do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker
than a politician can shift positions.)
-- Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all the
skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know
how to dress to protect yourself. I recommend canvas overalls tucked
into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army
helmet, a hockey face mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.
-- Prepare everything in advance. There is no time to go out for a towel
when you have a cat digging a hole in your flak jacket. Draw the water.
Make sure the bottle of kitty shampoo is inside the glass enclosure.
Make sure the towel can be reached, even if you are lying on your back
in the water.
-- Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to
simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your
strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule. If
he does notice your garb, calmly explain that you are taking part in a
product testing experiment for J.C. Penney.)
-- Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In
a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub
enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water, and
squirt him with shampoo. You have begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of
-- Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the
problem is radically compounded. Do not expect to hold on to him for
more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however,
you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like
crazy. He'll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby
rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings,
so don't expect too much.)
-- Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers always assume this
part will be the most difficult, for humans generally are worn out at
this point, and the cat is just getting really determined. In fact, the
drying is simple compared to what you have just been through. That's
because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg.
You simply pop the drain plug with you foot, reach for your towel, and
wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of
your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake
him loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is
drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach down and dry
In a few days, the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He
will usually have nothing to say for about three weeks, and will spend a
lot of time sitting with his back to you. He might even become
psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine. You
will be tempted to assume he is angry. This isn't usually the case. As a
rule, he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure
you for life the next time you decide to give him a bath.
But at least now he smells a lot better."
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