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How to give your cat a bath (without losing an eye…)

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If your cat has a flea problem it might be time for a bath – but if you don't know what you’re doing, your cat may never forgive you. Here we take a look at how to shampoo your cat.
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Why bathe a cat?
Fleas can cause extreme irritation to cats, making them overgroom and leaving them vulnerable to infection. They can also cause skin allergies, anaemia and pass on tapeworms if swallowed by your cat while grooming. You can help avoid a flea infestation by regularly protecting your cat against fleas; there are a variety of treatment options available to do this including spot-ons and collars. But if you do find pests on your pet, a specially medicated cat shampoo for fleas can help to get rid of them.

Preparing for action
If you’re going to get your moggy soggy, you need to do some military planning. Trimming their claws ahead of time will help to protect your arms, and it’s also a good idea to brush any matted fur before getting it wet. If you’re using the family bath, put down a non-slip surface to stop the cat sliding around and help reduce any unnecessary stress. Have lots of towels handy and if you can call on a helper, all the better. Stay calm and don’t raise your voice. And if it starts going badly at any point, or if your cat seems too stressed, stop immediately.

Bath time
Run four or five inches of lukewarm water and carefully wet the area around their neck first with your hands. You want to try and keep their head dry for as long as possible (soaking it is the quickest way to freak them out) but the fleas will make an exodus for dry land unless you cut them off. Now introduce the cat to the water, talking to it calmly the whole time. Gently ladle water over the cat’s body rather than hosing it with the shower spray. Once the cat is wet all over, apply the shampoo and lather it in softly in the direction of the fur as if stroking, making sure to cover the cat’s undercarriage. It’s very important you use an approved cat flea shampoo because some dog shampoos can be extremely dangerous for cats.

Wrapping up
Work quickly and calmly – the sooner your cat is out of the water, the happier they will be. Rinse them thoroughly and wrap them in a soft towel to absorb the water as soon as they’re out, then use another to dry them properly. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to use a hair dryer, as they’re far too hot and noisy. Also your cat will never forgive you for giving them bouffant fur…if they ever forgive you for getting them wet in the first place!

Longer term
Bathing cats isn’t always much fun- for you or them; using regular flea treatment on your cat can help to protect them against an infestation, and avoid another trip to the shower.

Did you know…
There are four types of cat that can roar (lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards) but only one that can sing (Cat Stevens).

Avoid the wrath of a wet cat by keeping them protected against fleas. Click here to find out more about effective flea treatments.