How to Bathe a Cat, Reader Question

How to Bathe a Cat, Reader Question
Happy kitty?

Q: I rescued a cat who needs a bath. How do you bathe a cat? -- G.C., Las Vegas, NV.

A: "Carefully," begins Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners. "How quickly your cat can deal with water depends on how fearful of water the cat is. "

First, run the water while holding your cat nearby, but far enough away from the water so the cat isn't terrified and wanting to get away. Offer your cat treats while the water is running to associate the water with something yummy. That's the goal, anyway, but realistically, while some cats take to water, but most don't

Next, take a moistened towel or clean rag and get your cat just a little bit wet. Simultaneously, offer treats. If the cat isn't panicked by now, you can really get your kitty wet. However, never dunk the cat's head.

Colleran, a feline veterinarian in  Chico, CA, says she prefers to at least attempt the gradual method rather than force the cat, or to use waterless shampoo. Remember, whatever you put on a cat, the pet will lick off, which concerns Colleran.

By the way, congratulations on rescuing this cat!

©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services

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