If you’ve ever wondered if your cat needs a bath, welcome. You’re in the right place.
Cat’s already spend 30-50% of their waking hours bathing themselves – so do they really need any help keeping clean? Side-note: Over-grooming is a common (but different) topic than covered here. Sometimes this is caused by stress or an underlying health issue, but it’s important to find the root issue.
It depends. And when it’s needed, it’s one of the most important things we can do for our cats.
First – let’s cover the difference between bathing cats and grooming cats – and when and why either or both is necessary.
Many people think cats should get baths as often as dogs – but this is not our opinion. Because cats keep themselves very clean, and their scent is so important, we only advocate bathing a cat when it’s necessary. We consider the below examples medically necessary – because neglecting these circumstances can lead to serious illness or needless suffering.
Your cat needs a bath if:
Your cat gets into something and needs help cleaning himself. This could be something potentially toxic (like paint or cleaners) or it could be something just dirty or smelly like getting into the trash or getting sprayed by a skunk. Basically, anything that we don’t want our cats ingesting.
Fleas, mites, lice – it is necessary to nip bugs in the bud. Let’s not wait for it to become a real health issue. There are many natural topical treatments for these issues, but bath time can also be a big help
Certain conditions that impair a cat’s ability to bathe themselves – like arthritis, age, illness, or obesity.
Skin Conditions – like dermatitis – or coat issues – like matting or greasiness.
None of these issues should be ignored and are considered ‘medically necessary’ because they can lead to serious health issues and needless suffering. Click here for a great video from Dr. Karen Becker about how to properly bathe your cat.
So – even if your cat doesn’t need a bath, it’s still possible they needs help grooming. Professional grooming is much more thorough than just brushing our cats to help eliminate some extra fur.
Does your cat need to see a groomer?
Different than bathing, grooming often starts with brushing, includes bathing, but also overall body maintenance like nail trimming (which should also be done before a bath to minimize potential scratching), paw pad and inner ear care, matt removal, and even haircuts (if needed).
There are certain breeds/coat types of cats that truly need regular grooming to be healthy. Commit to regular grooming for these known issues to mitigate any number of health issues along with minimizing the stress of a grooming session.
Thick undercoats is the one issue we are most familiar with that can get out of control easily. Matted fur can cause skin issues and terrible suffering if neglected.
Many of the same health issues above – like arthritis, obesity – can also make regular grooming necessary.
Haircuts – our opinion is that haircuts should never be given for aesthetic purposes – only if needed to mitigate issues like matting.
It’s so important to pay attention to our cats’ coats. The health of their coat is directly related to their overall health, so any changes – like matting or a greasy appearance – should never be ignored.