Porky and Buddy Pet Health – How Do You Give A Cat A Bath?

Dear Porky and Buddy,
My cat, Nelly, is overweight and not in the best of health (not for reasons related to her weight, so don’t try to make me feel guilty about that) but as a result she is not very good at grooming herself.

In fact, she is sort of grungy.  I am thinking she would feel better, and so would I, if I could give her a bath.

Do you think that is a good idea?  And how would I go about doing it?

Dear Diane,
Cats generally do a good job of keeping themselves clean but, sometimes not so much, and it sounds like this is one of those times.  It can be done, but you need a plan.

Here is what we would suggest.

Get your stuff ready and use the kitchen sink. Because it is smaller than the tub it will likely be less frightening to Nelly. Put a rubber mat in the bottom and have your shampoo, several towels, cat shampoo, a large cup and a clean sponge or cloth all ready. Preferably also a helper.

Run about two to three inches of body-temperature water into the sink,  just enough to come up to Nelly’s s belly. (We love saying that.) It should not feel either hot or cold on your wrist.

Place a capful of the cat shampoo in a cup of warm water. You don’t want to scare her with cold shampoo.

Pick Nelly up and lower her gently but quickly into the water, talking calmly to her while you do it. This where your helper comes in handy.

Give her a few minutes to relax and get used to the water. Keep talking and petting her

Turn on the shower spray and, and holding it right up against her skin, wet her body, but not her face.

If the shower spray freaks her out, you can also try just a pitcher of body temperature water to slowly pour on her. You will definitely need a helper to do it that way.

When she is wet all over, pour the diluted shampoo evenly over her entire body, again staying away from the head.

Massage the shampoo gently into her fur for several minutes.

Rinse well, using body-temperature water and the shower nozzle, (or the pitcher of water) stroking it the way you would a brush, in long strokes from the base of her neck down over her tail. You can gently pat some water on her tummy  with your other hand.

Give her several long petting strokes with your hand to slick away excess water and to test for any remaining soapiness.

Keep rinsing until all evidence of soap is gone. This is very important, as soap residue can dry and irritate her skin.

With a clean cloth or sponge, wipe down the back of her head and her muzzle, again being careful to avoid her eyes, ears and mouth.

Using a large bath towel, lift Nelly out of the sink and pat her down, using the towel to blot up as much water as possible.

Do it again, using another clean towel, then leave her alone to continue the drying process by herself. Don’t forget to keep petting and talking to her. A treat won’t hurt.  She is obviously used to them!

And here is there the guilt comes in. Talk to your vet about how to get her weight under control. Really! That’s another column, but it’s an important issue for  pets.

Here’s  a thought! Nelly might lose some weight  if she had a playmate (other than you, of course). You could adopt one for her from the Oswego County Humane Society.

All of their wonderful, energetic and fun pets for adoption can be viewed at www.oswegohumane.org

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.

Phone (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because people and pets are good for each other!