Do I Need to Bathe My New Kitty?
No, is the short answer you’ll be relieved to know. However, it’s a “no” that comes with a proviso. Your kitty may be a little bit too small to bathe now, but it’s never too soon to start getting it used to an idea it’s going to hate when it gets a little older and you have the flea shampoo ready!
The best way to bathe your cat is with patient preparation – and the time to start preparing kitty is as soon as it moves into your home. You won’t be using the bath, but you can get him used to the procedure so that once the real thing starts to happen, he isn’t going to get a shock.
Prepare a bowl that’s big enough to bath a half-grown cat. The first couple of times, don’t put any water in it. Just put the dish on the floor in the bathroom, assemble items you would use in the event that you were actually bathing him such as shampoo, towel, comb, towel plus have a warm (not hot) damp face cloth to hand.
Put the kitten into the dish so that he’s standing, and firmly hold him there. Talk softly and reassuring to him. Stroke him from head down then along his body and up to the top of his tail. When he’s used to you doing that, take the face cloth in the same hand and do the same only with the damp face cloth touching his fur, constantly talking to him in a gentle reassuring voice. After a few weeks, have a little bit of luke warm water – just covering the bottom of the dish – for him to stand in, and hold him firm whilst talking reassuringly until he gets used to the feeling. After a few more weeks, raise the water so that it just covers the top of his paws.
It may seem like a lot of work but most cats are terrified of water, and so spending this growing/learning time with your kitten will ensure that when it comes to doing the “real deal” bathing, your cat is going to have some positive experiences to fall back on, and it shouldn’t be such a traumatic exercise for either of you.