HOW TO GIVE A CAT A BATH
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING? WHAT TORTURE MANUAL DID YOU GET THIS OUT OF?
GUANTANAMO, RIGHT? DICK CHENEY MANEUVER?
First, don't ever try to give a bath to an adult cat. Not if he hasn't had
regular baths all his life. Only bathe kittens. Or you'll need plastic surgery
or a glass eye.
Today I gave little LIGHT EAGLE his first bath. He got his name from a
newage pal who swears her shaman named HER that.....and this kitten was
doing feats that week, when he earned his name, feats like climbing tree
right outside my window where I worked, so very conspicuous.
He's about three months old, a short hair silky black black boycat.
Today, He was relaxing in shade, on 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 had two sinks full,warm water, bar soap, many hyacinth
sticks with cotton wrapped around them, set up,already dunked in
teatree/lemon mix. 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 rinsing to get all mites out,
Then immersion, back down in water, he doesn't quite know what it is,
but he's relaxed. He's seeing it's a non jeopardy situation, he gets
soaped up, lotta stroking like he's the king and this is a very good
thing, then rinsed off, in the other sink.... if my glasses coulda
stayed on, ida picked off fleas but without glasses i'm helpless....
I towel dried him out in sun and he was loosed but 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....you can't let them see you coming......
I've even done some adults recently. YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE INTO YOUR HANDS
when you do that tho.
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 slick, 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 arm.
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.
*NOTE: A serious warning. No water must get in their lungs. So no nose
near the water. Lungs can't take water. They get pneumonia. Of course, by
now, you wish he WOULD.
<===== BACK TO THE PET INDEX PAGE