If you're a Ragdoll cat owner, you know how beautiful these felines' fur is! Cats have mastered the art of self-grooming. They lick their coats clean, no matter how dirty they get.
Yet, sometimes, the cat may struggle with health issues - like stomach pain, diarrhea, obesity, arthritis, etc. - they might not be able to take good care of their coats. And, with long-hair cats, sometimes, their poop gets stuck in their fur.
What's the easiest way to clean your cat? Is it time to give your cat a bath?
In this article, you'll learn everything you need to bathe and clean your cat, including exactly how to do it step by step.
All products featured on the site are carefully selected by the editor of Floppycats, Jenny Dean. In addition, we may earn a small commission when you purchase something through our affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Can You Clean Your Cat with Cat Wipes?
One of the questions I get asked a lot by cat owners is what kind of cat wipes I use on my cats for things like cleaning poop off of cat fur.
I have posted about dry shampoo and wipes before - I am really against them. Before using a wipe on your Ragdoll cat, think about this: whatever residue is left on their fur, they can and will lick it off.
Can you imagine doing that to yourself? Think about licking a baby wipe over and over again – and that’s what a cat has to do when you use a wipe on its fur.
Without using cat wipes, how can I take care of the immediate problem?
Below are many different suggestions from pet owners for how to get poop off a cat’s fur. This was discussed on our Facebook page, including some suggestions for how to clean cat fur without water. Please do keep in mind the disclaimer above before putting anything on your kitty’s fur.
There are times, I understand, when a wipe is necessary, so that's why I included them below.
Water and Rag to Clean Cat Poop off Their Fur
Keeping water and a rag handy is probably the simplest way to clean up and avoid using chemicals. You can simply keep some pieces of paper towel or a rag in a bag with a water bottle if you need to bring something with you on the go.
Brushing and Trimming
You can also brush and trim out dried poop clumps at home. Try putting a little powder on the clumps, if need be, to dry them out before brushing or trimming.
You can dilute some cat shampoo with water and use that to wipe off your cat or you can try a rinse-less spray shampoo like Biogroom.
Give your Cat a Bath
You can also always give them a bath if needed. If you have a calm kitty, you can give them a “butt bath” – just dipping their backside in the sink and wiping away the poop clumps.
Or if you give them a full bath, try to catch them at a time when they are a bit sleepy and will be more relaxed.
Use Cat Wipes
Some pet owners recommend wipes that are made to be more pet-friendly:
Potential Long-Term Solutions:
The poop-in-fur issue could be a result of your cat passing loose stool, which could be solved by reevaluating their diet (maybe switching to preservative and additive-free). Another helpful tip-mixing some canned pumpkin into wet food if it is a short-term cat health issue. Please read catinfo.org for more info on proper feline nutrition.
Adjust litter level
Try adjusting the litter level in the litter box. It could be too high or low and they are having some problems with squatting at the proper level.
Try taking your cat to a groomer or a vet for a hygiene cut. This is simply trimming the fur around the cat's bottom. You will need to do this regularly, but it can decrease the potential for poop to get stuck in the hair.
Before buying wipes for your cat, please check out the other options for how to clean a cat’s bottom, like rinsing it with water or a hygiene cut.
Bath Time for Your Cat: Tips and Tricks for a Stress-free Bath Cat Time
Bathing and grooming your cat are essential to maintaining their general health and well-being. As a responsible and loving cat owner, you want to keep your pet's skin and coat in good shape. But, as you may know, most cats, to put it mildly, dislike bathing.
They frequently get hostile or scared when you try to get them into a bath. This can make bathing a cat difficult for any cat owner. However, you may make it more bearable for you and your water-phobic buddy by making it a routine and starting early.
So, how frequently should you bathe your cat? Here's what you should know.
Is it OK to never bathe a cat?
Most cat breeds do not require frequent bathing. This is because cats are inherently tidy creatures capable of keeping themselves clean.
A cat's rough tongue is covered in papillae, little curved barbs that convey saliva through her fur. Each lap releases healthy natural oils throughout her coat and skin, making it seem like a miniature spa massage.
Those small spines also act as natural detanglers, so you'll frequently notice your cat licking and chewing at fur clumps until she soothes everything out.
Bathing or Grooming: Which is More Important for Your Cat?
Although a cat spends roughly 30% of its time on daily self-care, vets recommend keeping your cat groomed rather than bathing them. This is because frequent brushing and combing help disclose health concerns more rapidly.
“Many skin issues are symptoms of underlying metabolic or gastrointestinal disorders, so talk to your doctor if your cat's fur coat has altered.” Routine salon visits with your cat also aid in the reduction of loose hair and the prevention of hairballs.
Using a metal comb, carefully release matted areas, particularly beneath her tummy and along her legs.
Afterward, use a rubber or bristle brush to remove dirt and stray hair from her whole body. Shorthaired cats should be groomed once a week, while long-haired beauties should be groomed daily.
What's The Best Time to Bathe Your Cat?
Most cats don't need to be bathed regularly, except for the hairless species like the Sphynx, which lacks adequate fur to absorb their skin's natural oils. However, cats with short and long fur coats may require occasional baths.
Here are several scenarios in which you should bathe a cat:
To Address a Tick or a Flea Infestation
Do you think your cat has ticks or fleas? Then, you'll want to wash them.
Most flea treatments need one, which will aid in drowning those pesky black critters before they can infest your carpets.
To Remove Dirt
- Litter box mishaps
- Cage accidents
- General disobedience.
All of these are common behaviors in kittens and young adult cats. In all of these cases, a quick bath session might be the best solution to eliminate the mess.
Your nose will alert you when it's time to bathe your cat. You'll want to bathe a cat to remove dirt on your cat's fur and paws if they have been playing around in the ground.
To Assist If They’re Sick or Old
Because of their mobility or energy levels, cats seem to have greater trouble keeping themselves clean as they age. But if you see your furry friend is struggling with grooming themselves, you should start giving them regular baths.
How Often Should You Wash Your Indoor Cat?
In general, the average indoor pet cat can withstand being washed once or twice a year. However, as I previously said, it is not a major issue if you never wash your cat at all. Many people don't give regular baths to their pets, and the cats seem unconcerned.
In fact, they are typically quite OK with it. Recognize that they do not require the same level of cleanliness that we do.
Long-haired cats and outdoor cats will require more regular washing and brushing to keep tangles at bay. As a result, they may ingest less hair, which helps to decrease hairballs.
Also, if you have a show-quality purebred cat, it goes without saying that you should wash them before every show.
Indoor and Outdoor Cats Bathing
Domestic cats also require different washing regimens than outdoor cats. They don't become filthy as quickly as the outdoor cats do.
The worst that could happen if you don't bathe your cat, is for their coats to accumulate dirt and oils over time, perhaps resulting in matted fur. This is not hazardous but washing your cat will make a considerable difference.
Last but not least, whether or not you give your cat a bath regularly, is determined and influenced by:
- The cat's personality
- Level of aggressiveness
- How accustomed your cat is to being washed (or will become).
A hairless cat will benefit from a wash as well, although to a lesser extent.
Bathe your cat from time to time. There is no need to overdo it.
If you have a kitten, it will most likely take the treatment extremely well. However, if your cat turns angry and hisses and spits, while you are right about to be bathing her, you may want to reconsider what you're planning to do.
You want to turn the bathing experience for your feline friend into a win-win situation, not a nightmare. In case you can't handle your cat's aggressive behavior, you might need to think about visiting a professional groomer.
How to Safely Bathe Your Cat
Bathing a cat doesn’t need to be difficult, especially if you know exactly what you’re doing. Here’s how to safely bathe your cat step by step:
How to Prep Before You Start
Some shorthaired cats may sometimes (if ever), require a wash, whereas cats with more hair and longer fur, require a bit more assistance with cleanliness.
Bathing your cat too frequently might cause skin dryness, so try to limit your bathing to every 4-6 weeks or so.
Elderly or severely sick cats are less tolerant of environmental changes, even if they are just temporary. The bathing may stress your cats out, so follow your veterinarian's advice in these cases.
It is critical to have all of your equipment ready and a strategy in place before bathing your cat.
Here are some ideas to help you turn your cat bath into a more pleasant process for both sides:
- You'll need some of your cat's favorite snacks to use to reward (and bribe) your cat.
- Take a pitcher and get in the sink or get your cat under the shower with a:
- Detachable shower head
- Pet-specific shampoo
- Plenty of towels.
- Lay down a towel, a non-slip bathmat, or even a cut-up yoga mat in your bathtub or your sink, so your cat doesn't stress out due to a slick surface.
- Fill only partially (a few inches) with warm water (not too hot).
- Gently position and keep your cat there, while you get your cat's coat wet with the pitcher/shower. You might use the help of an assistant here (a family member, friend, etc.)
- Lather with pet shampoo (your vet may recommend one, especially if the wash is required for medical reasons, such as ringworm).
- Using the pitcher or showerhead, thoroughly rinse the shampoo away (use a low flow rate, so it doesn't feel too scary for your cat).
- Using a lot of towels, dry your cat well. Use a blow-dryer only if your cat is used to it and allows you to do it.
How to Give Your Cat a Bath Step by Step
- Step 1: Fill a sink or tub with lukewarm (not hot!) water. You may discover that handling your cat in a sink is more uncomplicated since you won't have to stoop over the side of the tub. Soak your cat gently with the water sprayer or pitcher. Always be careful not to get it into their face or ears.
- Step 2: Dilute cat shampoo according to the package directions. Then, gently massage it into your cat's fur. Avoid the face and ears once again. Instead of applying the shampoo straight to their fur, try slathering it with your hands and massaging it in.
- Step 3: Using a damp washcloth, gently clean your cat's face, avoiding the eyes and ears. Remove your kitty from the tub and place a towel over it to absorb any extra water.
- Step 4: Brush your pet's hair gently to untangle it. If you're a Ragdoll owner, brushing before a bath is a must for your long-haired friend. Some cats don't mind using a blow dryer on the lowest setting, so they can get dry and warm quickly.
Bonus Tips to Bathe Your Cat
- Claws are one of your cat's primary means of protection. During bath time, an agitated cat may claw anybody close, including you. Cat scratches may often become infected, so trimming your cat's nails before bathing is in your best interest.
- Cats often shed their fur all year round. That extra fur is bad for your plumbing and makes it more difficult to keep your cat clean. If possible, brush your cat well before washing it to eliminate any stray hair and mats. You may also gently insert cotton balls into their ears to keep water out.
- Cats, in general, dislike being in the water. A cat with a lot of energy might object strongly to a bath, and it might turn into a fight. Plan the bath for a time when your cat is tired and relaxed, such as after a long play session.
End Your Bath Session with Cat Treats
Bathing a cat can be a very hectic part of your routine. But you can always make it fun with some cat treats.
When your cat is clean and dry, it's time for a reward. You both deserve it! Giving your cat biscuits as a reward will help him recall the wash as a happy experience.
Your cat may never learn to enjoy the tub, but with the proper preparation and method, bathing may be as stress-free as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions on Bathing Cats
How to Clean Cat's Ears and Fur?
Most cats have healthy, clean ears and do not require ear cleaning. However, cleaning your cat's ears is suggested if you observe discharge or an odor when inspecting the ear.
Your veterinarian may advise you on how frequently you should clean your cat's ears. The grooming equipment is commonly accessible - you can use a common or baby q-tip. You can use flea combs to remove dead hair, as well as to look for fleas.
Can You Use Regular Shampoo for Cats?
Human products should never be used on cats, since they may include chemicals that are safe for humans but might be harmful to kittens. To bathe cats, always use cat shampoo. It could be prescribed by your veterinarian or you can get a trustworthy brand from the pet store.
How to Bathe a Cat or Kitten Without Getting Scratched?
A bath or shower with a handheld showerhead.
Several towels to wipe her up and dry her off.
Cat shampoo and conditioner are available in a variety of scents. These are available at most pet stores, and your veterinarian will be able to advise you on which brand is best for your feline buddy.
How can I calm my cat down in the bath?
If you bathe your cat and the experience turns out to be a horror movie, you're doing it wrong.
Helpful tips to make bathing a cat less stressful for both you and your feline friend:
1. Get help from another person, preferably someone who knows and likes your cat. While you bathe the cat, the other person can help you hold it.
2. Trim your cat's nails using clippers before washing him.
3. If the cat's fur has any mats, placing it in the water will just make them tighter, so remove them before putting the cat in the water.
4. Classical music played quietly, may also be beneficial.
What to Do If Your Cat Hates Water?
Because most cats are scared of having their faces bathed, bathe them exclusively from the neck down. Pet wipes are typically more tolerable for cleaning the face or delicate regions like the ears.
Bathwater should be at a temperature appropriate for a newborn human baby. You might want to check baby bath monitors to keep your cat safe and comfortable.
If your cat is very sensitive to showers, try getting them used to the bathing area without water first. Place the cat in or near the bathing area and offer an incentive for remaining there.
What suggestions do you have for how to clean poop off cat fur? How did you do it the last time? Tell us in the comment section below!