Friday, January 20, 2006

How often do you bathe your cats?

Hi, all you cat-loving people! Let me ask you… How often do you bathe your cats?

Why do I ask?

Because I’ve had this discussion with many people on many occasions. And I’m still not sure if there is a proper number for baths for cats.

I know very good owners and rescuers who bathe their cats once a month. I also know other very good owners and rescuers who bathe their cats once a year.

Me? I bathe my cats once a week. And if necessary, I give them a wipe-down with a wet towel with a wee bit of kitten shampoo mid week. I cuddle and cradle my kitties a lot, you see, so I like them to be as clean and sweet-smelling as possible. But I also don’t want to dry out their coats so I never bathe them more than that.

I’ve been told that a weekly bath is far too often and that my cats could come down with rheumatism when they get older.

That sounds about as true as the saying: If you kick a cat, you will develop rheumatism in that leg.

Rheumatism and arthritis are not caused by frequent baths. They are the natural wear and tear of the cartilage causing painful muscle spasms and inflamed joints. Poor diet and obesity are factors too. NOT frequent baths.

Here’s another reason why I prefer frequent baths. People who are allergic to cat fur are actually allergic to the cat’s saliva left on the fur. So while cats are quite capable of licking themselves clean enough, the saliva left on their coat will probably leave your family and friends in a sneezing fit.

And seriously, how well can a small tongue clean you?

So it seems that the frequency of cat baths is really a decision based on the caregiver’s lifestyle, not so much the cat’s health.

Is there a recommended number of baths we should all try to stick to then?

What is the magic number? Would you know?

~5-Cat Style


George, Tipper, Max & Misty said...

We never get baths, but we also are never allowed outside, so we don't get dirty. We had baths once as kittens when we came home from the shelter because we smelled so bad, but after that, nothing. Mom would bathe us if we got into something that stuck to our fur, but thinks otherwise we do OK ourselves.

CatDonna & Cats said...

There was a time when one of the new rescue cats had ringworm and, despite all efforts, it spread. For about a month I bathed all five scratching yowling cats every 48 hours. No rheumatism through???

They're all indoor cats so now the baths only happen when necessary.

I've just set up a new cat + adoption blog and would like to post a link to yours, if I may?

=^..^= said...

Hi Crew's Views,

Thank you for sharing! :) One more question... do you guys enjoy baths?

Hi Catdonna,

I'm happy to have our blogs linked. I've just visited yours and it is a fascinating read with gorgeous photos. Great work!

~5-Cat Style

cat_aunty said...

I just bathed Hat because he was dirty, and Spencer because it will be CNY.

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome blog. I work at Pet Lovers Centre at Holland Village as a part-time job when I'm off from school. I'm more familiar with dogs and when customers ask me abt cat stuff, I sometimes am dumbfounded. So I decided to pick up some reading from books and online. Glad to come across your blogs! God bless you and your lovely pets! :) -Elaine

=^..^= said...

Hi Cat Aunty,

Hat and Spencer look sparkling and fluffy! And Max looks like he should be in a circus as a little lion. ;)

Hi Elaine,

Thank you for such high compliments. I'm glad our blogs have been useful to you. I visit HV Pet Lovers quite often actually. The next time I'm there, I'll look you up! :)

~5-Cat Style

san said...

Well I never bathe my cats myself. Bujang taught me very well to leave him and his fur alone so i leave it to the groomers at pet safari every 2 months, who will always tell me after a harrowing session with him " Your cat is verrry fierce...we don't dare to put his collar again." But I will always use the wet kitty towel after every session in the park, where he eats grass and lie in the sun, so he smells mostly of mango. My other cat Akira is much milder. I have been thinking of bathing her...hmmmm

mrs budak said...

We only bathe Angel when necessary, which so far, in her 6 months with us, happened only once when she walked in her own poo. Otherwise I wipe her with a damp cloth about once a week.

=^..^= said...

Hi San,

Oooh... a mango-smelling cat... how delicious! ;) What wet wipes are these?

Hi Mrs Budak,

Angel is lovely. She has such large hypnotic eyes.

~5-Cat Style

Anonymous said...

I have 5 cats and bath them maybe once every 3, 4 weeks. Mainly to clean out their fur (from dust and litter dust). They don't like it at all but most endure it well, howling in the bathroom. Hahaha.....

Think bathing them every week may be a bit too much as it takes a couple of days before their natural oil coat their fur again. Maybe you can bath them every fortnightly?

kuro.shiro.neko said...

I have 6 and bathing all of them is akin to running a marathon, well, ok, not quite, maybe half a m'thon?

also, not forgetting giving myself a bath too :)

i agree with the rest that weekly is too frequent. fortnightly would be better. but if you're using a mild shampoo (not those medicated flea and tick ones though) and they enjoy it, why not?

=^..^= said...

Hi Anonymous & Kuro.shiro.neko,

Yes, I suppose I could cut it down to a fortnightly bath for the kitties. And maybe use those mango-scented wipes in between.

Thanks for sharing! :)

~5-Cat Style

san said...

Ahh... there is nothing like mango-smelling kitties. :) I use Vetbasis called "Petlettes". They come in a purple package and it's a bath alternative. It has only 8 Bath wipes *GRRR*. But you can give your cats a very thorough washing because the napkin is thick and strong. I also sometimes use "Kitty Wipes" by Petkin - Instant Pet bath. It has 15 wipes :) in it so its a much cheaper alternative especially if you plan to wipe them all weekly. This one smells of baby powder :)) so I am quite happy with them.

=^..^= said...

Hi San,

Many thanks for your recommendations! :)

~5-Cat Style

Nicky's Mommy said...

I am reading this because the person I live with is allergic to my cat and the most recent suggestion from the allergist is to bathe him weekly.

While I admit that he's an angel compared to most cat bathing stories I hear (he sits and lets me bathe him without trying to escape and only yowls occasionally), I am not sure he would be up for it weekly.

I wonder too if the oils will be washed away too frequently, but I also understand that brushing helps stimulate oil production.

Plus, as a person who washes her hair every day, I know that I experience very oily hair if I skip one day. I am told by ladies who wash their hair every several days that if I stopped washing so often, the oil production in my hair would slow down and it wouldn't be so bad.

So I wonder if it works on cats, and if it works in reverse... if I start bathing him more, I wonder if his oil production will increase.

Also I wanted to mention to those who buy wipes - a wet paper towel actually goes a long way, and I think the owner of this blog even mentioned using a towel with a little kitten shampoo on it. Consider saving your money for more toys! :)

My next endeavor is shampoo recommendations ...

Anonymous said...

I am a Landlordand I told the tenants before moving in that no cats were allowed in the home. I am allergic to cats. They rescued a cat and brought the cat to the home which I later found out. I started sneezing and my face started getting red. I asked them to remove the cat from the home which they did. Is that considered kicking the cat? I never kicked him with my leg. Just had the the tenants remove him from my home.

vivien khoo said...

I bathe my cat once every 3-4 weeks to wash away litter residue, dust, oils, and just general grime. She hates it but doesn't scratch. Meows loudly and tries to escape though. I put her in a pail of soapy water and just rinse her off after, takes 3 mins. After that I wrap her in a towel and clean her ears, clip her nails, and trim the fur under the paw. I brush her well before the bath to prevent tangles, and I try to use a slicker brush on her after the bath to keep her hair fluffy, she's a cross Persian.she's so fluffy and clean after her bath and I think it's just the right frequency. Her fur gets ratty and clumpy after a couple of weeks and it just looks sad. It's too much fur for her to clean by herself, maybe short hair breeds don't need bathes ever but medium to long haired will benefit from a bath ever month or two.

Anonymous said...

I bathe Hugo (my cat) once a week too but only because I'm allergic to their saliva on the fur. I use an oatmeal based shampoo so his skin and hair wouldn't dry out that much. I brush his hair too maybe once or twice a week because after a few days my allergies start coming back again. I think the brushing helps to control the hairballs as he seems to throw up wet hairballs when he hasn't been brushed for a week or two.

Anonymous said...

You could ask them to bathe the cats every week? I have a cat allergy too and bathe mine once a week to control the dander

Azian Ziana said...

I bathe my cat once in 2-3 weeks, it really depends on how she smells. Her breath smells of her food and she licks herself, hence her coat smells fishy sometimes. When it’s too fishy, I’ll give her a bath. She climbs onto our bed everyday so it’s important for us that she is clean.