Cats are notorious for hating baths – we cat parents know all about it! Meticulous as they are, cats are proud of their grooming skills and that they do not need human assistance in that department. However, their curiosity can sometimes leave them dirty and smelly, and what their little tongues cannot remove can only be cleansed with a full bath!
In an effort to make bathing less frightening for our cats (and less painful for us, their caretakers), we want to make sure that the water is as comfortable as possible for them.
So – do cats like warm or cold water for baths? Let us find out below!
Ideal water temperature for bathing your cat
Bath times can turn any sweet, docile cat into a murderous monster. But, whether we like it or not, bathing is sometimes a necessity. And your cat has to oblige, even if it is against their will – it is for their own good, after all!
So how can you make your cat’s bathing more comfortable?
One of the big secrets to making bathing sessions peaceful and enjoyable for you and your kitty is the proper water temperature.
Ideally, the water temperature should be close to your cat’s own body temperature (the normal body temperature of a cat is around 102 degrees Fahrenheit). Note that this temperature is a little higher than our own. This means that their bath water must be a bit hotter than lukewarm – preferably about a degree or two higher. If the water is not close to this temperature, your cat might find it too hot or too chilly.
Checking your local weather conditions might help, too. For example, on a warm summer day, your cat is more likely to enjoy a cooler bath. Conversely, if it is winter, your cat might prefer warm water. Just keep in mind that water that is too hot can burn and irritate their skin. Water that is too cold can also frighten your cat, and leave you with several scratches! So always make sure to check the water temperature before bringing your cat to the tub.
Do cats like warm or cold water for baths?
Cats are frightened when they are bathed because they generally do not like water (except for some water-loving breeds like Bengals and Turkish Vans). So, is there a way to fix this hatred of getting wet? Will your cat like being bathed in cold or warm water?
As mentioned, your cat’s water preferences might vary depending on the weather. However, in normal weather conditions, it has been observed that most cats like a warm bath better.
Just remember that steaming hot water, which you might favor for a bath, can easily overheat or even scald your furry friend. To avoid accidents, make sure to use a thermometer to check if the water is within your cat’s comfortable range.
Do cats enjoy warm baths?
The answer is usually yes – most cats do enjoy warm baths, provided they are used to the water and are not forced into it!
Both humans and cats do not generally favor cold water for bathing, except perhaps on very hot days. Therefore, if you prefer warm showers, your cat will likely feel the same! The reason for this is that cats, being homeotherms, have a body temperature higher than that of humans.
Consequently, cats feel the chill more intensely when cold water is poured on them while taking a bath. You are likely to feel your cat’s wrath if you use water that is too cold for them!
How often to bathe your cat
This question tends to be very common among new and confused cat owners. While it may never be necessary to bathe some cats, others might need occasional help. The safest answer, then, is when your kitty needs it, from the look (or smell) of them.
Cats are well-known for their ability to take care of their own grooming needs. They generally do not need to rely on their owners for assistance, thanks to their comb-like tongues and paws which they use to keep their fur free of dirt and debris. That means if your feline spends most of their time indoors, you may never (or very seldom) need to bathe them.
However, if yours is a mischievous cat who is always getting into messy situations, then a full bath might be needed more often. Likewise for cats that are older or unwell, who may find it more challenging to groom themselves.
Obviously, a cat that is not well accustomed to bathing will strongly disapprove, so be prepared with your full armor to avoid those sharp claws and teeth!
Tips for calming your cat during baths
Despite loving efforts, bathing a cat can still be a nightmare for most fur parents. And you have probably learned some previous lessons, with the scratch marks on your arms and knees to prove it!
So, how do you make bath time less stressful for your kitty? Is there a way to help calm them down while in the tub?
Thankfully, there are a few proven tips that can help calm your cat during a bath (and help you get the job done without the scratches and bites).
1. Use the right water temperature
Bathing your cat can be a tricky process, but as mentioned before, there is one key factor that can make it a little easier, and that is using the right water temperature. You want to use lukewarm water (or a degree higher) for your cat’s bath. This is not only comfortable for them, but it is also the best temperature for getting them clean.
Water that is too hot or too cold can be uncomfortable and even scare your cat away from the bath altogether. So, before you begin the bath session, make sure to test the temperature of the water. It should be warm enough to relax your cat, but not so hot that it will burn them.
Once you have got the temperature just right, you will be one step closer to a clean and happy cat!
2. Give lots of treats
Most cats cannot resist a tasty treat! Giving your cat lots of treats and toys beforehand can make the bathtime experience much more enticing.
Start by offering your cat treats or a special toy that you know they love. This will help them form positive associations with the activity and make them more comfortable with the idea of being bathed. With the right preparation, bathing your feline friend can eventually become an easy and even enjoyable experience!
3. Take it slow
Bathing your cat should be done slowly and gently – you do not want your kitty to feel traumatized by water!
As mentioned, start by making sure the water is warm enough. Form a soapy lather and use gentle strokes starting from the neck down to the tail. Make sure not to get any shampoo in their eyes or ears. After the bath, use a towel to dry them off – or, if you prefer, let them air dry. A blow dryer is not a good idea, as the noise is sure to traumatize them – and leave you scarred, too!
With some patience and practice, you will become a cat-bathing pro in no time. Plus, your cat will be sure to appreciate the extra attention.
4. Use an anti-skid mat
Have you ever tried to bathe your cat and found yourself slipping and sliding all over the place? Well, there is an easy solution – an anti-skid mat!
Anti-skid mats are designed specifically for cat baths, with a textured surface that provides extra traction for both you and your kitty. Not only will it help you get a better grip; it will also keep your cat from slipping and sliding around during the bath. This will make bath time less frightening for them.
So, for your next bathing session, make sure you have an anti-skid mat on hand (we highly recommend this slip-resistant rubber mat from Pssopp Store). It will make the whole experience a lot easier, and a lot less slippery, too!
5. Use calming scents
Another way to make bath time less stressful for your cat is to use calming scents or pheromone diffusers. You can find diffusers specifically made for cats, such as Feliway, or use essential oils like lavender and chamomile. The calming aromas can help relax your cat while they are in the bath. You can even diffuse the oils in their sleeping area to keep them relaxed.
So, next time you give your cat a bath, do not forget to bring along some calming scents!
Cats generally prefer a nice, warm bath to a cold one. The water should be lukewarm or a degree hotter than lukewarm, to ensure that they can tolerate it. However, their water preferences might also change according to the weather. Some cats will appreciate a cold bath during the hottest days of the year, or a warm, relaxing bath during the cold months.
Calming scents, treats, toys, and slip-resistant mats will also help make bath times more bearable for both of you, so make sure to stock up on these beforehand!
Image: istockphoto.com / fotoedu