How to Bathe a Stray Cat (and Survive!)

Video how to bathe a stray cat

bathing a stray cat

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon an article that listed the most terrifying activities known to mankind. From parachuting to encountering a wild bear, the list covered it all. But there was one activity they forgot to mention—the art of giving a stray cat a bath without losing your limbs. If you’ve experienced the struggle of bathing a cat, you know exactly what I’m talking about. So, if you find yourself with a stray or foster cat in need of a cleaning, this article is for you.

Why Do Cats Hate Getting a Bath?

If you have kids at home, you’ll understand how challenging it can be to get them into the shower. And even if you succeed, it’s unlikely they’ll stay still and quiet until bath time is over. Cats are no different. While you may have seen videos of cats enjoying baths, the majority of them despise being drenched. Water is their mortal enemy. Additionally, cats dislike the process of getting scrubbed. Giving them a bath requires thorough cleaning, including their face, butt, belly, and paws—areas cats typically detest being touched.

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Why Is Bathing a Stray Cat More Difficult?

harder to shower stray cat

Bathing our own cats can be a real hassle, but at least they know us. When dealing with stray adult cats, it’s a different story. Strays are cautious and wary of strangers, and their teeth and claws can deliver serious harm. Even bathing a stray kitten isn’t a walk in the park. Their unretractable claws can leave you with some painful scratches.

Getting Ready to Shower a Stray Cat

Stray cats often find their way to us, seeking help and companionship. Whether you decide to take in a stray or foster one, it’s important to establish a connection before getting them wet. Take some time to offer them food as a peace offering. If the cat is friendly enough, examine them to check for dirt, open wounds, or infections. It’s best to avoid bathing a cat with injuries, as it can worsen their condition. If necessary, consult a vet or reach out to a local no-kill shelter for assistance.

Get Ready with the Essentials

towels for bathing cat

Before bringing the stray cat into the bathroom, gather all the necessary supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Towels: Cats have thick fur, so you’ll need a couple of towels to ensure they’re dry.
  • Shampoo: Use a cat shampoo or gentle baby shampoo. If neither is available, you can use dawn dish soap, as it’s safe for cats.
  • Non-slip mat: Place a non-slip mat in the bathtub to provide the cat with stability and prevent slipping.
  • Handheld shower head: A detachable shower head will make the cat feel more at ease, as the water will resemble rain.
  • Warm bathroom: If the weather is cold, warm up the bathroom using a heater. It’ll help the cat feel more comfortable during the bath.
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Showering the Stray Cat

Now, let’s get to the main event! Calmness is key. Don’t approach the situation as if you’re entering a lion’s den unarmed. Cats are sensitive to energy, so being nervous or anxious won’t help either of you. Start by gently wiping the cat with a small wet towel to mentally prepare them. If the cat responds well, hold them by the loose skin between the shoulder blades and turn on the lukewarm water. Avoid using full water pressure. The cat might struggle and vocalize, but hold them gently and speak soothingly. Before applying shampoo, turn off the water. Use only enough shampoo to ensure every part of the cat’s body and feet are clean. Rinse thoroughly, making sure there’s no residual shampoo. Remember, cats lick themselves after a bath, and ingesting residual shampoo can lead to stomach discomfort.

Towel Dry Your Cat

towel dry cat after shower

Once you’ve finished bathing the cat, gently towel dry them. Allow them to run off soaking wet, and they might catch a cold. This is especially crucial for stray kittens, as they struggle to regulate their body temperature. Avoid using a blow dryer, as the noise can scare the cat. Instead, use towels to gently dry their entire body until they’re almost dry.

What Not to Do When Showering a Stray Cat?

There are a few things you should avoid when bathing a cat.

Do Not Spray Water on the Face

Most cats dislike having their faces washed or sprayed. Water or soap in their eyes or noses can be painful. If the cat’s face needs cleaning, use a towel and warm water, avoiding any solutions that could irritate them.

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Do Not Force the Cat

If the cat becomes too distressed or unmanageable, stop the shower and towel dry them. Forcing a stressed-out cat to tolerate a shower can lead to them lashing out. If the cat is still dirty, use a wet cloth or pet wipes to clean them as much as possible.

Do Not Shower the Cat Naked

Bathing with a stray cat that hardly knows you isn’t the best bonding experience. Keep your clothes on during the process. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself in case the cat becomes frightened and uses its claws.

How to Bathe a Cat with Fleas?

How To Bathe A Stray Cat (And Survive!)

If you notice fleas on a stray cat, it’s best to use an anti-flea shampoo or dawn dish soap to remove as many as possible. However, bathing alone won’t eliminate a severe flea infestation. You’ll need a flea comb and anti-flea medication, such as Revolution, to fully address the issue.

Do Stray Cats Clean Themselves?

Cats are generally clean animals, spending up to five hours a day grooming themselves. However, stray cats or kittens, living in outdoor environments, often become quite dirty.

Should I Bathe a Stray Cat?

Bathing cats isn’t recommended for the inexperienced, but you can make the process easier by taking it slow. It’s difficult to predict a cat’s reaction until you start bathing them, so don’t force it if they absolutely hate it. By following the instructions provided, you’ll hopefully survive the ordeal and live to tell the tale.

Now that you’ve learned how to navigate the treacherous waters of bathing a stray cat, you can confidently offer your assistance to those in need. For more insightful articles and tips, visit 1mquotes.

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