When I describe bathe a cat, I mean immerse gently with water, shampoo (with cat appropriate product, like Chubbs Bars) entire body thoroughly and rinse, at least TWICE.
Blow drying is an equally important component of a professional quality groom. If a cat is left to air dry naturally, or passively dry in a crate, any existing mats will shrink only tighter. A professional active drying system will remove loose hair, loosen tight mats, and fluff and straighten the coat creating a superior end result with less work to remove mats.
Some cats are good at self-maintenance but still benefit from a seasonal bath just from a hygienic roommate point of view. Many cats need regular grooming help for a variety of reasons such as length and type of coat, weight, illness, and age.
Here are some of the reasons to consider bathing and blow-drying a cat:
1. Licking is not the same as washing with soap and water. If I spent a great deal of time licking myself, would you consider me to be clean?
Cats do not have soap dispensers within their saliva glands, plus they have a lot more hair per square inch. There is lots of bacteria in the saliva. I would be very offended to live with a roommate who did not bathe regularly. Why do cats get a free pass card, when dogs don’t? Surely spreading spit around (which is very allergenic) does not equate with bathing with soap and water. I wouldn't use wipes and consider myself clean.
2. You cat smells like a litter box. How clean is your litter box……., really?
Kennel standards require a minimum of twice a day scooping of litter boxes. Less than that and your cat may be inadvertently taking the litter box with him wherever he goes in your home. You know, your bed, your lap, the kitchen counter, and your couch. Cats start to smell like the litter box too, which makes for a very pungent cuddle companion. Especially with dried feces stuck to the bottom, or paws soaked in urine.
3. You are tired of hair on your clothes and hairball vomit on the floor.
Indoor cats shed year round. If you are stepping in hairball vomit, finding drifts of hair on your clothes, bed, and couch, or have been to the vet for hairball problems, your cat needs help in staying ahead in the shedding cycle.
4. You cat has problems with recurring mats that you keep chopping out. It looks like your cat fought, and lost, against a weed wacker. Worse, you leave the mats in that are now turning into mushrooms or balls.
Not all loose hair simply falls out. If the cat is dirty or has longer hair, the loose hair stays trapped in the coat. Add spit, and you've got the recipe for mats. Loose hair + dirt/grease + moisture = mats. Mats usually start where the cat is dirtier like the chest or bottom, or where they can’t reach well, or at friction points like armpits. Without immediate attention mats grow and can fuse into one blanket of mats called a pelt. This is painful and unhealthy for the cats, and in severe cases can cause death by causing an cat to become septic. It can hid sores, parasites, and bruising caused by the constant pulling and lack of air circulation.
5 Your cat looks and feels like it’s been dipped in hair pomade.
Cats are naturally greasy. Some, especially males, have overactive oil glands. This is like adding more hair pomade each day and never washing it off. Ewww. While the messy look might be fashionable for humans, we at least, wash it out with soap and water. A clean cat’s hair d-r-a-p-e-s, falls straight, and feels soft. It shouldn't stand upright, feel chunky, or separate into peaks.
6. Your cat leaves a trail of flaky dandruff?
Large yellowish flakes floating in the hair is dead dirty skin, NOT dry skin. Wipes and dry shampoos don’t work. Brushing or combing seems to make matters worse. There is only one true solution. Please see our blog on dandruff for more details.
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Janet Wormitt, CFMG CFCG
Cat-a-lyst and Ad-vo-CATe