Do indoor cats need baths? Unlike dogs, cats are very touchy when taking a bath. Cat’s relationship with water is not the best, and cats’ owners may risk their lives attempting to bathe their cats. On the other side, most people say cats do not need bathing anyway, while some others recommend bathing cats once in a while. So why is cat bathing a controversial subject?
Typically, indoor cats do not need baths unless they get into a mess, go outside and get their fur dirty, get attacked by fleas and bugs, or have other medical conditions. But, unless specific events, they can take care of their grooming and do not need human intervention.
Let’s dig deeper into the controversial topic of bathing cats and see why some advice to wash cats routinely and why some don’t.
IS IT CRUEL TO BATHE CATS?
It is not cruel to bathe a cat if it is not done often. However, cleaning them every day is unnecessary, and it can create unnecessary stress in your cat. Cats can do their grooming alone. In addition, bathing every day may not have any purpose since most cats, especially indoors, would not even have the time to recover from the previous bath.
Unless a cat goes outdoors and gets its fur greasy and dirty every day, there is no need for human intervention. Some cats get more stressed than others when forced to take a bath. On rare occasions, some cats like water and may not mind going under the water every day.
However, in most cases, it is unnecessary. I can’t imagine why a cat would need to be washed every day. It sounds exaggerated. I have had cats for most of my life, and I can remember bathing some of my cats maybe once in their entire life because they got outside and had a good idea to rub themselves against horrible things.
If you have a cat that likes to be touched, handheld, and doesn’t mind you doing anything to him, including bathing him or dressing him up, then you could wash him every day or every other day, but it is really unnecessary.
DO INDOOR CATS NEED BATHS?
Indoor cats do not need baths. However, cats owners can still decide to wash them once in a while or in case they get into some accident. For example, cats can have litter box accidents or get into sticky substances that you left accidentally around the house. In that case, they earned a bath.
In some cases, due to medical conditions, cats can stink. For example, they may have fleas or allergies and need to be treated with specific products. But, all of those instances are rare occasions. Long-haired cats can get their fur tangled and dirty more often, especially using the litter box.
Long-haired cats may need grooming actions such as brushing and baths. Hopefully, you have a cat that allows you to bathe him without too much drama. A typical indoor cat would spend all of his days eating, playing, sleeping, and grooming himself in a relatively clean home.
Cats owners do not have to intervene. In addition, even if their indoor cat gets dirty on a body part, it is often necessary to wash that part and not have your cat do a complete bath.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BATHE MY CAT?
Cats do not need bathing usually. However, some situations require cat owners to wash their cats. Here are some of the instances in which a cat may need bathing:
LONG HAIR CAT
If you have a long hair cat such as a Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest, or other, you may need to use the brush often and eventually bathe your cat every other week or every month. In some cases, you may need to wash often their backs and their butts because the fur can get dirty with poop and pee. Cats with long hair may not reach there and clean it.
Ultimately, even if you have a long hair cat, and you see that there aren’t incidents so often, you can bathe your cat every 2 or 3 months, as far as you keep routine brushing actions. But, if you have a long-hair cat that often goes outside and gets dirty, it is reasonable to think about bathing him every week.
SHORT HAIR CAT
An indoor short hair cat rarely needs bathing; they are low maintenance. Indoor cats who live in a clean environment can care for their fur and overall grooming. However, if you want to bathe them once every 4 to 6 months, doing a deep cleaning to maintain high hygiene is totally fine. But, even if you do not do it, they will be fine.
In my experience, with my short-haired cats, I wash with a cloth the part of their bodies they can’t reach once in a while or when they get dirty. If it is too dirty, I use running water with soap and wash that part in the bathtub or the shower.
MEDICAL REASONS AND OLD CATS
When a cat becomes old, it is possible to observe an overall lack of grooming. As a result, cats can decrease the time dedicated to washing and even stop any grooming action. In that case, you have to bathe them every week or every two weeks and use a clothe to wash most of their body parts in between bathing.
In addition, there is also the case of medical prescriptions. For example, cats may have flies and other bugs on them. So a vet may prescribe medical shampoo treatment, or you need to bathe them often until they get rid of their problem.
WHY IS IT CONTROVERSIAL TO SPEAK ABOUT BATHING CATS?
It is controversial to speak about bathing cats because there are many different viewpoints. Ultimately, cats owner have to observe and judge how clean their cats are. It is not an exact science. Some people have the perspective that cats should never get a bath. Some others think cats should be washed every day or every week.
Possibly, none of those two viewpoints is the final answer. For example, my long-haired black cat needs more attention, and I have to wash him often because he gets into litter box accidents or gets dirty when he manages to sneak outside. I can’t bathe him because he is smart enough to sneak away. I only get a lot of scratches with no results.
However, he gets cleaned with appropriate clothes and soap and gets his routine brushing. Each cat owner should evaluate what a good balance is. Obviously, bathing a cat every day is exaggerated. But, in the case of dirtiness, not intervening is also wrong.
In my view, the controversy is about attempting to answer the question on bathing cats with an absolute answer that fits all cats. Instead, every cat and every situation has a specific solution.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why Should You Never bathe a cat?
It is not true that you should never bathe a cat, but you have to consider that bathing can be a very stressful experience for most casts. Therefore, if unnecessary, it is better not to bathe a cat.
Should I dry my cat after a bath?
Yes, it would help if you dried your cat after a bath. However, you should make sure to remove all water and allow your cat to dry out thoroughly using a towel or if not too stressful for your cat, use a blowdryer ( using warm air, not hot).
Do cats like baths?
In general, cats do not like baths, and they do not like water. Bathing can be a very stressful experience for them. They can be terrified and act scared for days, hiding and not eating. Some cats are OK with water and bathing but are the minority. Cats owners should understand that it is better to leave cats to groom themselves if it is not necessary.