not really your friend
January 7, 2008 9:31 PM   Subscribe

How to wash a cat. Step #1: Dress for the occasion - a four-ply wet suit is suggested, with gloves and a face mask.
posted by plexi (43 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite cat washing video will always be Winston gets a bath...
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:40 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Comic Sans, it burns.
posted by neckro23 at 9:42 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

I've owned cats for years and have never had occasion to wash one of them. It seems like an inherently terrible idea for all concerned. One of the most endearing features of cats is that they're self-cleaning.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:43 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

Is it bad if I have actually done this? Well, as humanely as I could. I wore a thick sweatshirt and full gloves, had the towels ready, and pretty much went through the same process. That was one day my little devils will never forget.
posted by chime at 9:44 PM on January 7, 2008

Not all cats are totally self cleaning. One of my cats is a himalayan and he's pretty lazy about cleaning himself. So he needs baths from time to time but he never puts up a fight so it's okay for both parties.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:46 PM on January 7, 2008

What about transfuse blood you've had the foresight to bank for yourself?
posted by Keith Talent at 9:50 PM on January 7, 2008

This is the easiest, no fuss method I've seen for washing yer kitty.
posted by wfrgms at 9:50 PM on January 7, 2008

A couple of tips I can add if you do intend to wash a cat:
  1. Avoid running water as it scares them
  2. Clip their nails in advance
  3. Dry them thoroughly before they run out of the bathroom and hide under the sofa
  4. Fill up the bathtub a few inches deep and rinse the cat using standing water
  5. Be firm but careful
  6. Clean the litter box in advance and rub their paws in litter shortly after they're dry - you don't want them getting mad at your carpet
That's it for now. Above all, have fun :) This will be one ride neither of you'll ever forget.
posted by chime at 9:53 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

As an owner of 2 domestic short hairs, and just about everyone else with a cat can attest, bathing a cat is tantamount to assisted suicide.

Of course this might be best farmed out to your local emo kid as a 2-fer.
posted by MrLint at 9:55 PM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

That isn't the easiest, no fuss method, wfrgms. Since when did a living, breathing entity become an object that you can just stick into an automated washing machine? Einstein was right when he said that our technology is surpassing our humanity.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:56 PM on January 7, 2008

7. Have a camera on hand to record the event for posterity. If you're going to be in that much pain, at least make it slapstick.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:59 PM on January 7, 2008

I couldn't get past the welder's gloves, if I laugh any harder I'll wake the girl sleeping in my bed. And she won't like that anymore than a cat likes a bath.
posted by nola at 10:02 PM on January 7, 2008

My cats usually just howl like I'm cutting off their toes one at a time, but they stay nicely docile if I keep a firm grip on the nape of their neck like I'm a mommy cat rescuing them from a river. The other trick is to make sure they never face you, because if they sense an opportunity for escape it will be a vertical climb over you, which is never pleasant.

A friend of mine had a water-friendly cat, which always seemed unnatural.
posted by Kyol at 10:03 PM on January 7, 2008

For only mildly dirty cats (i.e., those that only need a rinse and dry), I like this method:

1. Fill the tub with warmish water.
2. Bring kitty into the bathroom.
3. Have an assistant close the door behind you.
4. Dump kitty into the tub and get away.
5. Wait for kitty to calm down (bring a book), then pat dry with a warmed towel.

It's probably still a bit traumatic, but at least the cat can exercise some control by getting the heck out of the water. For dirtier cats (i.e., those that need a shampoo and scrubbing), then, yeah, girding yourself for battle is the only way to go.

wfrgms: That thing is vile. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more frightened cat.
posted by jedicus at 10:12 PM on January 7, 2008

Kyol, Turkish Angoras are a breed of cat who actually enjoy the water. I remember having a friend who would turn on the faucet in the bathtub and the cat would jump right in and stand under the running water. It is very unnatural to see. So is a scuba diving cat.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:14 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Waterboarding for cats?
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 10:19 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can successfully bathe a cat if you follow the basic advice in the video. Just pre-run a few inches of water in a bath tub with proper sliding doors. The doors are crucial as the cat doesn't try to fight you under these circumstances. It either tolerates the situation stoically or puts all its energy against the door. It may be pissed that it has to go through this, but it won't be terrified. I think it probably takes reassurance from your presence in the tub, too.

After closing the bathroom door, get in in the tub with the cat, close the door, place the cat in the water, scrub it, rinse it from a separate bucket of fresh warm water placed in the tub (as chime says, running the water will freak out most cats), then open the door and let it out into the bathroom proper. Wrap it in a towel as long as it will tolerate it (say, 3 seconds). Ideally, it will lie on a towel next to a heat lamp or other source of warmth to dry further, but in practice, it will jump on your couch and leave a huge wet spot while trying to dry its entire body with its tongue. Let it have its pride, work ethic and vengeance. The damn thing is clean(er) and the dander level has been much improved.

The most extreme reaction I've gotten from the house drama queen was non-stop howling and pathetic scrabbling at the shower door. The Burmese just planted its legs like tree trunks and looked at me mournfully for the duration. I haven't worn more than a bathing suit doing this and neither cat ever left a mark on me.
posted by maudlin at 10:21 PM on January 7, 2008

The bathing of cats is a time for deep reflection.

If you ever find yourself bathing a cat, it's time to sit back and ask yourself what's gone so terribly wrong in your life that you're washing a cat.

Sometimes, cats need shaving because we've bred them into miserable powderpuffs, but they never need bathing.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 10:21 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, woah, that chick is well fit.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:48 PM on January 7, 2008

/cue gif of chimpanzee vigorously washing cat from circa 1946

posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:57 PM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

I once lived with a person who was very allergic to cats, but nevertheless loved cats. So we had three cats. One way to deal with the allergies is to give them a bath about once a month (we knew it was time when she started sneazing and getting headaches).

So I became somewhat of an expert, and this video is not all that bad. I wish I had used welder's gloves.

One of the cats was a Turkish Angora, which, as mentioned earlier, likes water. It would really give me a wake up shock in morning when I would take a shower in the shower/tub and would turn around and see the cat sitting in the tub looking up at me--with a "What are you doing?" look. (This cat also liked to go on walks with a leash.)

Though the cat would step into non-soapy water (up to her neck) and walk around in it by herself, she hated baths much more than the other cats. And Turkish Angoras, if this cat was at all representative, are also very smart and energetic. So it was quite an undertaking.

Nevertheless, oh how I miss that cat!!!
posted by eye of newt at 11:09 PM on January 7, 2008

That thing is vile.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:11 PM on January 7, 2008

Oh my, I really want those minutes of my life watching that video back. Cat people are a distinct breed.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 12:23 AM on January 8, 2008

oh, that winston is such a pip!
posted by CitizenD at 12:43 AM on January 8, 2008

I used to bathe and flowbee my Maine coon runt Catarugus, about twice a year. He never struggled and would sit in the sink while I fetched the towel ,the flowbee took some time but as long as it felt like stroking he sat still for his haircuts, the one time I got it too short he let out a pitiful meow and hid under the bed for days,when the proper attachments were used he arched his back and took off happily running around the place like a dog after a bath. lucky to share time with such a sensitive and empathic creature.
posted by hortense at 12:46 AM on January 8, 2008

We wash our cat in the shower with us, and she's not too happy about it, but she sits still and hangs in there.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:15 AM on January 8, 2008

1) teach them that baths are OK when they are kittens.

I've taught most of my cats to bathe when they are young. Lukewarm (not too hot, they hate hot) water and a serious drying regime with several towels and a good warm hiding spot for kitty to dry themselves in will go a long way in teaching your kitty that a bath ain't that bad. Also, never ever use shampoo not designed for cats on them, you'll mess up their fur-oil and they'll get itchy skin and hate you (and baths) for it. Plus the fur gets dirtier when the natural oil is off balance. Crazy people suggest using washing up liquid, which is insane and itches like nuts afterward.

Once a kitty has done a few baths and gotten lots of dry towel love, they'll know that getting wet is a temporary thing they can cope with since you help them dry out, and be much more co-operative in future baths. It's going around wet with the bottom fur layer wet that they can't stand, it makes them cold, and that is not nice.
When they've learned this you can then bathe them when you need too. Like when they're rolled around in a pile of mud or attracted an entire flea circus. Some cats even fancy it in the end, my current cat jumps into the shower with me on a regular basis, he's a clean freak.
posted by dabitch at 3:26 AM on January 8, 2008

I see the 7000 in the URL, but I can't figure out how they knew how many times I've gotten the "how to wash a cat" chain email.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:40 AM on January 8, 2008

wfrgms We've been down that road here before, and it did not end well.

Winston, on the other hand, got a very nice, loving bath from a very calm, patient cat owner. Sometimes cats get into things that make them smell horrible, or as someone mentioned above, your cat might just be missing the hygiene instinct. I've had one of the latter -- he was a long-haired slob. We'd have to get him trimmed once a year, because even with the bathing and brushing, we couldn't keep up with the mats. Man, he hated the haircuts, but he really needed them (cats are obviously capable of feeling shame and embarrassment). I have had cats go their entire natural lives without ever needing a bath, though.

One has to wonder also, where the fear of water with domesticated cats comes from. Tigers love to swim, as do quite a few other wild cats -- how come it's in Puffball's genetic makeup to fear & hate immersion?
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:52 AM on January 8, 2008

Cats who like to spend time under cars often need bathing. The method here is along the line I use, but I use deeper water. I dip the cat (up to the neck only! NEVER get water in a cat's ears!), transfer to sink for the shampoo, then back to the water for a good rinsing, return to sink for the drying. Cat may complain, but this shouldn't be unbearable.

MaryDellamorte: Thanks for the scuba story! Spent last weekend finishing confined water dives for my certificate :-)
posted by Goofyy at 4:27 AM on January 8, 2008

Sometimes, cats need shaving because we've bred them into miserable powderpuffs, but they never need bathing.

they do if your 3 year old dumps a tube of toothpaste on them
posted by pyramid termite at 4:47 AM on January 8, 2008

Hee. Neither of my cats has ever needed a full bath, although I once plunked Victoria onto the sink, stuck her paint-daubed tail under the faucet, and scrubbed. Amazingly, she sat still for that (albeit with a rather bemused look on her face).
posted by thomas j wise at 6:14 AM on January 8, 2008

they do if your 3 year old dumps a tube of toothpaste on them

Please tell me that after this, you changed the cat's name to Macavity.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:28 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

When we first got our cat, she had fleas (as she had been a barn kitty). Our vet told us that we needed to wash her shortly after using the flea removal medicine, so as to quickly remove all the dead fleas and other assorted stuff.

Wet kittens, especially long-haired wet kittens, are very cute.
posted by Lucinda at 6:35 AM on January 8, 2008


Loved the background music, a little Thelonious Monk feeling blue.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:46 AM on January 8, 2008

I lived in France for a while when I was young, with a family that lived in a framhouse in NOrmandy. They had a brilliant cat called Scapin, who was elderly, demented, and a counter-example to everything we think of as "typical" cat behaviour. He snored, farted, drooled, was incredibly clumsy, and he got himself filthy, and he had (theoretically) white fur, so it really showed. He seemed to like being dirty, and he had to be bathed at least once a week, which he hated. As soon as it was done, he would shoot into the fields to roll around in filth.

He was a wonderful cat. But a bit whiffy.
posted by WPW at 7:36 AM on January 8, 2008

I love the fact that included in the sedatives that they "don't recommend" are a couple lines of coke...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:15 AM on January 8, 2008

that video is a total win. especially for the cat attached on the "right leg". why is it always the right leg :D
posted by liza at 9:43 AM on January 8, 2008

One of my cats sometimes has to have his paws washed. He doesn't like that. One of the other cats, though, (this one) will take the self-cleaning thing the extra mile by actually climbing into the shower with you, while the water is running, and sitting in a place guaranteed to soak him. He doesn't do it every day, but often enough that it's clear he's part swimming tiger.
posted by rtha at 9:45 AM on January 8, 2008

MaryDellamorte: "My favorite cat washing video will always be Winston gets a bath..."

Huh. Turns out waterboarding isn't torture after all.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:07 AM on January 8, 2008

Damn, Jumpin Jack Flash.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:09 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

At first I believed, as others above had suggested, that the best way to bathe a cat was to introduce them to a partially full tub, and then gently use a cup to pour the warm water onto them.

Now I have a new method, I slap on the kevlar and a riot helmet, I grab the power-washer, and we release our four cats and both our dogs into the room at once. You would think that I would have an edge, but my clothes have been covered in A1 sauce and catnip,

As the pets close the distance, I have to try to get them cleaned before they descend on me in a whirling dervish of claws and teeth, all trying to get revenge and the delicious food and drugs that coat me.

So far I've only lost three fingers, two toes and an eye, but the pets are clean.

Other than my blood, obviously.
posted by quin at 10:41 AM on January 8, 2008

My kitten would 'mew' and beg to be let into the shower almost every time. She loved it. Strange cat.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:33 PM on January 8, 2008

« Older Let's go. We can't. Why not?   |   . . .& I'll Go Mine Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments