Can I bathe my cat every day? In short, no it is not wise or necessary to bathe a cat every day. The reason for not bathing a cat daily is because cats are masters at grooming their coat and skin. They groom themselves for approximately five hours daily, every single day. Most cats do not need to be bathed at all.
There are a few exceptions. If any of the following apply then a bath or a wash is a good idea.
When Should I Bathe My Cat?
There is no particular rule about this, use your judgment. You may wish to bathe your cat if:
- Your cat has a flea infestation. A bath with a flea shampoo is a quick way to give the cat instant relief from the continual scratching associated with fleas. This is commonly done in cat shelters where flea infestations are common. In this case a cat flea shampoo is used.
- Likewise if the cat has become particularly dirty from rolling or walking through excrement or slime or some other unpleasantness, a bath may be in order.
- Often an elderly cat will benefit from being washed because they are no longer able to fully groom themselves and start to look ragged. A full bath is not required in this instance but more of a sponge bath to remove dust, grime and debris or an alternative is to use a dry foam shampoo. A brush with a massage glove will also help to remove dirt and dust. If you don’t already do this, I recommend it with cats of any age. It is relaxing and a lovely part of cat care.
- Some breeds of cat need bathing, for example, the Sphynx is a hairless breed of cat that actually does need bathing regularly to control the oiliness of their skin. The oily residue on their skin can mark bedding and soft furnishings. Bathing regularly from a young age means that they generally are happy around water.
- Matted fur is sometimes part of a regime of cat care that may include bathing. Sometimes the fur will also need a trim. If you are not confident with this procedure a trip to the vet or cat groomer would be advised.
Most cats, not all, dislike being bathed and may use their claws to show their displeasure. If it is absolutely necessary to bathe the cat, a quick and efficient clean will be best for everybody.
Why You Should Not Bathe Your Cat Every Day
Can I bathe my cat every day? I’m sure you have good intentions about bathing your cat, after all we don’t hesitate to give our dogs a bath when they start to smell less than desirable or just too “doggy”. However, there is a difference, dogs don’t groom themselves and every so often need a bath whereas cats are constant groomers.
When cats groom themselves it not only helps to keep the coat clean by distributing natural skin oils but also cools the cat down through the evaporation of saliva, stimulates circulation and helps to eliminate parasites.
If you bathe your cat, he will immediately start licking his fur once the bath is over to get his equilibrium back to normal.
Some cats tolerate water and your placid cat may put up with bath but it is totally unnecessary apart from the reasons listed at the top of this article.
How Do Cats Clean Themselves?
If a cat doesn’t need to be bathed, how do they groom themselves and keep clean? We know that cats spend approximately five hours daily licking to maintain a healthy coat. Cats are very well equipped to groom themselves.
Using a pet massage glove will also help your cat keep his coat in top shape.
The tongue of a cat feels rough, like sandpaper. You may have noticed this if your cat has ever licked you. The tongue is actually made of tiny sharp spines which hold the cat’s saliva. With long licking strokes the tongue is used to clean the legs, the shoulders and body of the cat. The spines on the tongue can reach to the cat’s skin.
To clean the face and head the procedure is slightly different. The cat moistens its forepaws with saliva and in a routine manner strokes the face and behind the ears. The cat does both sides of the face and head in the same manner. Picturing a cat in our mind will bring up these images instantly as the cat spends so much time making himself shipshape. The same procedure is always followed. It forms part of cat behavior.
Cats also groom to keep cool as they do not sweat like humans.
The Persian Cat breed has difficulty grooming using the tongue. The spines on the tongue are unable to reach the skin of the cat because of the long length of the fur. The fur can get matted easily so daily brushing is recommended when owning a Persian. In this case the coat length determines the need to bathe. Other long haired breeds of cat may also need to bathe from time to time.
Practical help – How To Bathe A Cat?
In this article there is detailed information about bathing a cat when dealing with cat fleas.
The first part of the article reviews different types of cat flea shampoo and which one works well to get rid of fleas.
The second half of the article gives tips for bathing your cat plus a link to a video that outlines the procedure of bathing a cat clearly.
If it is absolutely necessary to bathe the cat, try this tip which will assist with keeping the cat still while in the bathing receptacle.
Place a rubber mat or a folded towel in the bottom of the basin before filling with water. This will help to stop the cat from losing his footing and skidding which will lead to distress. A towel also allows the cat to stick his claws into the towel.
If the cat loses his footing he will want to disappear so best to avoid it happening in the first place if possible. It is important to keep the cat still while having a bath and to avoid any shampoo getting in the cat’s eyes, so that you have complete control over the procedure. If possible, have someone there to assist.
A medicated shampoo is suggested if your cat has a skin irritation.
Dry Shampoo or Waterless Bath
Cat shampoo that is described as waterless, is generally a foam product.
Cat Shampoo that is labelled as dry is often a wet product that is sprayed onto the cat’s coat. In this case the word “dry” refers to the cat not actually being bathed. This is not the sort of dry shampoo that we are used to using on our own hair which has a powdery base.
A dry cat shampoo is a good option when your cat may need to bathe but circumstances make that difficult.
How To Bathe A Cat Without Water
Using a dry or waterless shampoo is a good alternative to bathing a cat.
Spray the waterless shampoo onto the cat’s fur, avoiding the eye area
Work the dry shampoo into the fur
Brush the cat or use a pet massage glove to spread the shampoo over the cat’s body
Let the shampoo dry and brush the cat’s coat again.
What if the cat licks the waterless shampoo, is it safe?
Some are safe for the cat to lick whereas others recommend waiting a couple of minutes for the product to dry properly. Every product is different and this is something that you would definitely need to check before purchasing.
How Often Should I Bathe My Indoor Cat?
It perhaps seems as though this article relates more to cats that spend some time outdoors but there are also instances where indoor cats need to bathe.
An indoor cat can still get dirty enough that bathing is needed to clean the cat’s coat. To illustrate this point, one Reddit user had a nail polish incident with her indoor cat. That must have been a nightmare to remove.
Do You Shower Cats?
It would be exceedingly difficult to shower a cat, however you might find it convenient to bathe your cat in the shower stall whilst still using a receptacle such as a basin.
A flexible shower hose does allow for the water to be specifically directed, therefore avoiding the eye area and directing the stream of water only to the areas of need.
There is also the added advantage that being in the shower stall, it does not matter about excess water being spilled or splashed as it will be contained in the shower stall.
One drawback is that it could be uncomfortable crouching in the shower stall. Something I have often used for jobs such as this is a child’s plastic stool. Sometimes a child’s chair is just the right height for a tricky job.
As you have now probably concluded, there is no hard and fast rule about bathing your cat. Many people will own cat that has never had a bath. That is quite okay, just as it is acceptable to give a cat a bath when it is needed.
If you own a cat breed that will require more frequent bathing, for example, the Sphinx , it is recommended to begin at the kitten stage. The cat will then be accustomed to having regular baths and it will be no drama.
Let us know of any other reasons that you have had for giving your cat a bath.
One very good reason to give a cat a bath, is a flea bath using cat flea shampoo.
Try grooming your cat with a cat massage glove. It is really quite amazing the difference it makes.