How often do you give a cat a bath?

NEVER, is the answer unless it is an emergency. I am a little disturbed by the advice provided on the Internet on this topic. You don’t need to give your cat a bath on a regular basis. You might need to give your cat a bath for a specific purpose such as to remove a substance from her coat which she cannot remove herself or which needs to be removed to prevent her ingesting the substance. But these events are quite rare.

Do you need to bathe your cat regularly? No.

Do you need to bathe your cat regularly? No. Image in the public domain.

Cats are well able to keep their skin and coat clean through self-grooming which is called ‘autogrooming’. It is the best way for a cat to keep clean. This is because they maintain the natural oils on their skin and in the fur which helps maintain good health. It also helps the cat to maintain their identity. If you bathe a cat, you remove their identity in terms of body odour.

And when this happens any cat living with a bathed cat might no longer recognised her until their natural scent has returned. You don’t need that kind of problem if you can avoid it. And you can avoid it because you don’t need to bathe your cat ?✔️.

The interesting aspect of this topic is that Purina, which Google often ranks very highly with their search engine, states that you should give your cat a bath once every 4-6 weeks. They are following the advice of the National Cat Groomers Institute of America.

Of course, the National Cat Groomers Institute of America will advise that people bathe their cat regularly because that is the kind of thing they do and they want more customers. In providing advice they hope that some cat owners will go to their members’ parlours to have their cat bathed professionally as it can be a bit tricky as cats normally don’t like it.

I am surprised that the authors of the Purina website have allowed themselves to fall for this trick or perhaps they are working with the cat groomers of America to make more money. Perhaps they’ve been paid to provide advice. But Purina’s advice is INCORRECT. Believe me.

They even say that if you bathe your cat, they smell nicer. WRONG. Cats smell beautiful if they live in a good home, are healthy, and they are allowed to self-groom daily which cats like to do. In fact, cats groom themselves more than once daily because they’re so fastidious about their cleanliness. Why interfere with that? Why apply soap and water to a poor cat.

Shampoos are problematic. They’d strip away the natural oils of a cat. What is the point of doing that?

Personally, I have lived with cats for decades and only on one occasion have I needed to bathe my cat. Yes, a single occasion and that was when my beautiful female cat fell into a tub of paint as I was painting the bathroom. It was that solid paint that you can buy. She walked along the edge of the bath, slipped and fell into the tub.

I responded immediately and bathed her in the bathroom wash basin, fully submerging her except for her head. She was compliant although unhappy. The objective was to avoid her licking the paint and therefore ingesting it. I was protecting her health but this sort of situation is the only kind of problem which demands that a cat owner needs to bathe their cat other than perhaps to apply medication to a cat holistically to deal with skin parasites but before doing that I would seek the advice of a good veterinarian.

Below are some more articles on bathing cats.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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