Cat Grooming 101: Do cats need baths?

Cats are known for their meticulous grooming methods, thanks to their sandpaper-like tongues and penchant for hours of leisurely downtime. So should you give your cat a bath? And if so, how often do you need to bathe your cat? Read on to learn more.

How often should you bathe a cat?

Since cats clean themselves regularly, baths aren’t especially necessary — though there are some exceptions. Here are some quick tips if you’re wondering, “Do I need to give my cat a bath?”

  • If your short-haired cat gets dirty, you may only need to give them a partial bath depending on the amount of dirt. Make sure to use a cat-safe shampoo and dry their hair thoroughly with a towel. If you want to skip the water, you can opt for waterless shampoo wipes or bathless spray, both of which can remove dirt and dander with a little less stress than a full-on bath.
  • If you have a long-haired cat kid, you’re probably accustomed to a grooming routine that includes brushing to prevent hair matting. You can also bathe them with a cat-safe, degreasing shampoo no more than every six weeks, and only if necessary. Too much bathing could cause dry, irritated skin.

Bath time tips

When it comes to bath time, the ASPCA recommends an 11-step process that includes:

  • Trimming your cat kid’s nails before bathing them
  • Diluting a cat-safe shampoo with five parts water
  • Giving them a bath in no more than four inches of lukewarm water in the tub or sink (whatever works best for the two of you)
  • Drying them carefully and thoroughly with a large towel

Remember, if you have any concerns about giving your cat a bath, make sure you ask your vet first!


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