Cat Bath Problem


I wash my cats with flea shampoo and warm water, but they fear water. I need your advice.

Cat Bath Problem Editor Response:

Dear Rosida,

Thank you for your question and sorry to hear about your cat's fear of water.

Cats are self-groomers, which means they groom themselves frequently. Most cats do not like to take a bathe given by humans if they are not willing to.

Cat bathing is a relatively difficult matter. Even the friendliest cats can respond aggressively. Some cats, like yours, may have behavioral problem as well, i.e. they fear water.

As the question suggests, your cat has a flea infestation as well. That makes the condition relatively more complicated, as the cat is already under stress which results in the cat possibly showing more fear and aggressiveness.

Given these conditions, I suggest consulting your veterinarian who can prescribe an anti parasitic drug for your cat. There are several injections which can be administered as an alternative to a topical cat flea treatment.

Also, make sure that you discuss a disinfection plan for your home as well; fleas can reappear even after treatment due to fleas that hide in in the home and then reinfest the cat. Wash your cats belongings in warm water with detergent and spray your cat's environment with a quality room flea disinfectant such as Benzarid.

As mentioned, this doesn't help with your real concern regarding how to bathe a cat that fears water. Here are some cat bathing tips:

1. Behavioral problems in which a cat is afraid of a particular situation, like bathing, is usually treated with a “Desensitization Technique”.

This technique involves taking small steps towards gradual exposure to a situation. Make sure that you
speak calmly with your cat while you expose the cat to water. Be sure to praise every successful exposure. You can use some bath tub toys to keep your cat engaged while you proceed.

2. Frightened cats can respond aggressively and might hurt you with their claws. So, carefully trim the cat claws and apply some claw nail caps such as Soft Claws Nail Caps (commonly used to prevent cats from scratching and destroying furniture carpets etc).

You can try a natural remedy as well such as Pet Calm, to keep your pet calm while you bathe it.

3. Never try to bathe a frightened cat in open places. Always, make sure that you bathe it in closed premises; a bath placed in the home that is 4 feet in width is the most suitable place.

4. Try and only use tearless shampoo such as Magic Coat Tearless Cat Shampoo. Common irritating shampoos can cause your cat to respond more aggressively.

5. Make sure that you bathe your cat with luke-warm water. Initially the water level in the dish or tub should not be more then the height of cat’s knees. Once your cat is used to the water, you can use more water during the next bath.

6. Respond quickly, but gently to gestures and actions of your cat while bathing. Cats are usually hard to control in water, especially when they have slippery shampoo applied to their body.

7. After you bathe your cat, try to dry your fearful cat as soon as possible. Most cats respond more aggressively soon after a bath.

8. To enhance your results, you can give your cat an additional treat after the bath.

We hope this helps with the cat bath problem.

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Apr 28, 2010
by: Rozida Deedaur

Thank you for answering my question. I learn a lot from you.

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