Bathing your cat isn’t usually a fun job, but it’s necessary. While most cats will never be tripping over their paws to find the steady stream of running water that you’ve started in their honor, you can make it a little easier on them (and you) by doing a few simple things.
Get Them Accustomed to Water
The first thing that will help you in your cat bathing endeavors is to ease them into the idea by getting them accustomed to water when it’s not bath time. Don’t force this, but allow them to explore on their own account, as curious kitties will do naturally. Let the water run for a bit while they’re around, or fill up the tub to let them check it out. A cat will often be fearful of an unknown situation, so allowing them to explore on their own will make bath time a much more familiar (and less scary) situation.
Try Different Methods
Is it the tub of water that your cat is afraid of, or is it the sounds, splashes and sight of running water? Maybe it’s all of the above, but maybe it’s not. All cats are different, so you’d be remiss to not look into what your cat will tolerate. You may find that your cat is distracted by the fun stream of water that it can bat at while you bathe him; you may find that running water spooks him more than anything. Test it out to see which goes over better with your cat.
Make Sure It’s A Comfortable Temperature
Cats can’t deal with really cold water or really hot water. This may be common sense, but make it a relatively warm temperature that any human would handle well. Unlike dogs, who typically don’t care, cats like to be warm and they like to be comfortable. The warmer your cat, the more comfortable he will be.
Make It Quick
Most cats aren’t like kids – they don’t like to just hang out in the bathtub. Unless you have a particularly unique cat who loves water, you’re not doing them any favors by trying to draw out the process in an effort to make it more fun. Once they’re used to it, they’ll tolerate it, but it doesn’t mean that they like it. That said, make it quick.
Positive reinforcement will help, a lot. As your cat tolerates bath time, reward them with treats. Don’t reinforce behavior where they’re clearly not tolerating it, though, as that will just confuse them. Once bath time is over, continue to reinforce their good behavior. Eventually, they’ll understand better what their role is in the situation, and they may even come to view bath time as “treat time”.
Hopefully trying these little tips will help you make bath time quick, easy, and anxiety free for both you and your cat!