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How to Show Bath a Nervous Cat

Posted on September 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Sometimes cats are so anxious that it is helpful to introduce them more slowly to bathing.

We resisted this method at first, as we were concerned submerging would be frighteming, and also couldn't conceive of the size bucket needd to bathe a full Siberian male... maybe a female Singapura 

Below is the technique we worked out when we started to show our anxious boy, Wyatt, maybe you will find it helpful, too. Simply substitue the shampoos you like best where I indicate conditioner and F1R2. 

Tip: Save eight to ten of the 35 # pound size Tidy Cats Purina brand clumping litter plastic bins to make show bathing simpler.

Fill each bin with bath temp H2O and add to it:

Bin #1 Dawn detergent

Bin #2 nothing (only water)

Bin # 3 F1R2

Bin # 4 nothing (water)

Bin # 5 1/2 - 1 cup white vinegar

Bin # 6 conditioner at 1:12 dilution

Bin # 7 nothing

Set yourself up for the post bath: two very thick terry towlels, brush and comb, blow dryer. Have the bath room extra warm and not humid, and keep cat there overnight post bath to be sure he doesn't become chilled.

Next (or the day before for fussy cats who need less handling):

Tools needed for pre-bath prep: nail clippers, epi-otic solution, q-tips and a sturdy kleenex, Greyhound comb and double tiered rotating tine rake. Goop (NOT Groomer's goop - that has lanolin, not effective when you are trying to take grease OUT, lol). 

Now, remaining calm: 

1. clip nails.

2. clean ears

3. comb out cat.

If all continues well, proceed to bathing: 

4. apply GOOP to neck ruff, behind ears, rump, bottom 1/2 of tail, butt.

5. Rub in and let sit a few minutes.

6. Using a second person to help move buckets makes this easier and you do not risk loosing a wet and upset cat.

A. Submerge cat to neck in dawn bucket, reach in and using small plastic cup, pour the water over any coat not wet. Suds up cat. Pay special attention to gooped areas.

B. lift cat out of Dawn bucket, submerge in clean water, using hands, fluff out coat in water to get the soap out

C. If possible, use sprayer to further rinse out cat - or another bucket or two of warm water - helpful to have these already ready in which case up number of Tidy Cat bins as high as necessary (eg three clean warm water rinse buckets per step is not unreasonable).

D. F1R2 shampoo.

E. Rinse in water, then vinegar rinse.

F. Conditioner bucket.

G. Then, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse. And, repeat rinsing  (really).

7. Dry your cat: first, towel dry. Let fussy cats recover. Blow dry with one person holding cat and using brush to lift hair and other to manage dryer - this really makes working with a fussy male cat a lot safer for all and less anxiety producing for the cat. You might prefer to let the cat air dry along time, then finish with the dryer to prevent a wavvy coat in areas.


Categories: Cat Shows, Problem Solving, Care Practices