Have you ever given your cat a bath?
I have, many times.
And the cat in question was not my easygoing Tabby, Mack, or my “I’ll do anything because I am just so scared,” Clio. The cat who received so many baths was Snowball. My fearless, outgoing, hate-everyone-but-you cat who passed many years ago. Snowball would scare visitors with her “piss and vinegar” attitude, yowling if they got to close. She was more talk than action — her vocalizations were more than enough to cause friends to give her a wide berth.
Snowball was pure white, hence her name. This independent cat would never let her prissy color keep her from escaping into the garage to roll on the filthiest spot or, better yet, lie in wait for the kids to leave a door unlatched. She’d escape to the dirtiest place she could find. Afterward, scolding included the threat of a bath. After one such escape, my husband and step kids witnessed, with mouths agape and eyes wide, as I proceeded to bathe her calmly in the sink. Oh sure, Snowball loudly protested, but eventually gave up control to the bath. She must’ve known how beautiful she’d look after yet another bath.
When I adopted Snowball she was just a tiny, flea-ridden kitten. My first chore was to rid her of those fleas with gentle baths (no pesticides or soap). So unafraid of being wet, she’d often sit on the side of the tub while I took a leisurely bubble bath, poking her paws at the bubbles.
Snowball tolerated the bathing process and the towel drying. But what she really loved was blow drying. That warm wind all over her body even felt good enough for her to stop giving me the feline stink-eye.
January is officially “National Bath Safety Month”
Of course the focus is on creating a safe environment to bathe your child, not your cat. But I couldn’t resist offering my own feline twist. For tips on bathing kitty without his or her love for you going down the drain, go to catadoptionteam.org/pdf/CAT_tips_for_a_successful_cat_bath.pdf.
To complement this story and the cat-bathing tips, we captured a recent bath for the adorable Harvest, who is currently available for adoption through Cat Adoption Team. Meet Harvest and learn more about bathing kitty by viewing this video:
The key to a successful cat bath is knowing your cat well enough to be gentle while remaining firmly in control. If your cat really doesn’t need a bath, avoid it and opt for cleansing cloths or even a warm wet wash cloth. Why put yourself at risk while making your cat mad?!
National Bath Safety Month
Kathy is PR Manager for the Cat Adoption Team, author of the Cat's Meow Blog on OregonLive.com, and member of the Cat Writer's Association. She's worked for the Humane Society of the United States and the Oregon Humane Society. Kathy and her hubby live with two 'adopted from a shelter' cats - Mack and Clio.