I Just Had to Give a Cat a Bath!

And amazingly enough, I only got two scratches! My black cat Heket showed up at the door a distinctly different color except for her face. She came in and proceeded to make herself at home on the couch next to me. I tried petting her to see if whatever it was that was on her would come off, but it wouldn’t. I briefly toyed with the idea of letting her clean herself off, but quickly decided against that, because while the dirt, or whatever it was, might have been high in fiber, odds were she’d either proceed to hack it all up after bathing herself, thus requiring me to clean the carpet/couch/whatever inconvenient spot is most appealing to a cat or bazooka shit it out all over those self-same areas (with the added possibility of doing it on me).

Thus, I decided to take on the task which few mortal men dare to do: Bathe the cat in the tub. Naturally, her feline psychic powers were in full gear, because as soon as I picked her up, she started squirming and trying to get away. I was able to keep her calm enough to maintain a grip on her while I carried her into the bathroom, and didn’t lose hold of her as she struggled ever more valiantly against me as I turned the water on, and tried to find a comfortable temperature for her.

Once I splashed her with water, however, the battle was on. With one hand firmly, but gently, clamped around her belly, I used my other hand to catch water, pour it on to her fur, and then rub the dirt out. She was fierce in her opposition, thrashing about and making pathetic mewling sounds unlike any I’ve ever heard from a cat before. It was a deadly dance we weaved, she of the sharpened claws, and me of the soft, easily rendered flesh.

As the struggle grew, I realized that the simple splash and rub method wasn’t working, so it was time to change tactics. I was going to have to turn on the shower head and let that spray her. I briefly considered climbing into the shower after I’d turned it on, holding the cat and allowing both of us to get wet, but quickly discarded this idea as being unworkable. If I got into the shower with my clothes on, I’d ruin the things in my pocket (wallet, iPod, etc.), but to take them out, or remove my pants (which would leave my goody bits protected only by my undies, a risky proposition to say the least) would require the use of both my hands. Putting the cat down wasn’t an option. I wasn’t worried about her taking her revenge by sinking her claws in my suddenly exposed flesh, that’s not her style. No, Heket would most assuredly flee, and with there not being a door on my bathroom, it would be impossible for me to catch her again.

Turning on the shower head was more of challenge than I could have imagined. I had to move her slightly towards the faucet as I turned on the head and, somehow, she managed to find something on the metal to sink her claws into! I tried tugging her away gently, but quickly had to stop, as I was concerned that I was going to rip her claws from her paws. This meant going in with my free hand and prying them loose. She got one claw into my finger, and another one in my forearm, but I got her free without a significant loss of blood on my part.

The mewling increased in volume and odd quality, but the water running off of her turned to clear, and her fur appeared to have resumed its normal color. I finally cut the water off and bundled her into a towel to dry her off. She didn’t give me a typical “I hate you biped and will kill you the moment you turn your back on me” expression cat’s often do, but stared up at me with, “Whyfore you make me suffer like that, biped? Don’t you love me?”

Carrying her out of the bathroom, I dried her off by hand for as long as she would let me, then released her so that she could finish the job herself. I gave her some scritchels after a bit, and she purred and licked my arm, so I guess I’m safe.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! You have to sleep some time, you know.

(cute kitty)

You could march through the gates of Hell now! You’ve faced a wild beast.

Very cute kitty

So you didn’t want to use your tongue?

Tips a professional gave me include:

  1. Get a shampoo made for cats.
  2. Get a very short lead and leash your cat to the faucet - it’s long enough that the cat can’t hang itself but short enough that it can’t run away.
  3. Put a towel down in the sink/tub - the cat can sink its claws into the towel instead of feeling freaked out because it’s skidding around.
  4. Fill up a pitcher with warm water and pour that on the cat (while holding/washing with other hand) instead of trying to hose the beast down.

This worked on my 17 year old cat just fine. For a younger and more active animal I’d add a pair of leather gauntlets, a bottle of rum and a helper :slight_smile:

You did well. If you didn’t have to scruff her to the point your hand cramped up, she’s a really nice kitty.

Valgard’s advice is very good. If you wanted to side even more on cautious (if you ever need to do it again) and need to wash anywhere near the head, stuff some cotton in her ears to avoid water in there, and a couple drops of mineral oil in her eyes to protect them from soap (professionals use “artificial tears” ointment, but most folks don’t have that sitting around the house).

You made a valiant effort, and she’s probably the better for it. I’m glad she’s forgiven you so quickly. Bet she won’t be near the bathroom any time soon, though!

Tuckerfan, the next time you need to give your cat a bath, just follow these 8 easy steps.

  1. Thoroughly clean the toilet.
  2. Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water and have both lids lifted.
  3. Obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.
  4. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids (you may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape). CAUTION: Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge, as his paws will be reaching out for anything they can find. The cat will self-agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from your toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.
  5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a “power wash and rinse” which I found to be quite effective.
  6. Have someone open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door.
  7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can and quickly lift both lids.
  8. The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet and run outside where he will dry himself.
  • Please put away the torches and pitchforks. I’m just kidding. This is not intended as serious advice.

I’ve done the leash thing, but the cat still managed to hurt itself.

My preferred humane way: I used to get naked, take the cat into a shower stall, and just wash them, right in the water with them. They don’t have anywhere to go.

I would not dare put my naked dangly bits anywhere near a freaked-out cat. :smiley:

You know when she licked your arm? She was just tasting you. :stuck_out_tongue:

My great big 20-pound mean as the all outdoors fluffy white longhair old tom Manfred is a baaaad mofo. Our vet is terrified of him; once he put a muzzle on him and Manfred got it off. Yow.

He is strong as hell and when he gets truly agitated (you do not want to get Manfred truly agitated) he eyes turn all black and he swells up to twice his size and he turns into DEBBIL KITTY. He emits these hideous otherworldly shrieks, noises I did not think cats were capable of making.

He is a shitheel of the first degree. He has gotten indifferent to personal hygiene as the years have passed, as many old toms do, and he has never upon pain of fearsome kitty shreddage allowed us to comb him more than a few strokes. He is so matted on his belly that he looks like one of those woven doormats.

The funny part is that he was the most gorgeous kitten I’ve ever seen before or since. Really silky, white, amber eyes. My wife thinks he is so mean because he hates being beautiful.

Anyways, although he is dumber than a box of hair, he has a certain ability to sense when he really needs help. He had bad diarrhea a few years ago, all over his back end, and I was home alone with a cast! on one arm. He let me put him in the tub and rinse him off without forfeiting my life, or biting and scratching even a little. Weird. Try to bathe him in different circumstances and it’s Tasmanian Devil time.

And the last time he got an abcess it was on his chest. He allowed the tiny vet at the emergency hospital to shave his chest while I held him. She suggested we go for some of his mats on his belly and he started to lose it immediately. It’s as if he knew he needed to get his chest shaved and the belly was to his mind extraneous bullshit.

I used to be a big fan of the toilet kitteh washing method till I found http://icanhascheezburger.com/
Just to ease the minds of all concerned - I am not a cat owner, I have never actually washed a cat.

Nice :smiley:

We bathed a cat once, it was pregnant so couldn’t really do much in the way of protest. The hairdryer afterwards didn’t calm it either, it just sat there quite motionless with it’s pupils widely dilated.

We bathed a cat in a tub with sliding glass doors. The preferred method was to stick the cat in the tub, turn on the water to a safe temp (while the cat runs to the back of the tub and can’t get out because of the door), then turn on the shower and slide the other door shut. Listen to the unearthly meowls coming from the cat that sound like she’s being tortured, then finally pull open the sliding door closest to the bathroom door (and don’t stand in the path) and let the soaking wet cat fly out of the tub and hide for the next hour, probably in your bed so that you have a big wet spot when you discover it that night.

My cat actually doesn’t mind getting a bath. I get in the shower with him (sliding doors) and rinse him off with warm water from the shower head.

He’s a weirdo though. He likes to sit on the edge of the tub and lick the water from the spray while I take a shower.

We had a white cat who came in filthy one day and I decided to give Tomtom a bath. I managed to get him wet, but when I was rubbing him with shampoo he clamped down on my right wrist and would not let go. I finally had to put him underwater and smack his nose. I still have the scars of four puncture wounds from his teeth. That cat meant business.

I’ll never give another cat a bath, but I’ve heard putting them in a mesh bag with their head sticking out is a good method. You can wash and dry them, but they can’t scratch you.

I second this approach. I used a pillowcase myself - squirted some pet shampoo into the pillowcase, inserted the cat (up to the neck), and held the opening snug around his neck along with the scruff (for added immobility) while I worked up a lather through the pillowcase. If I’d had a mesh bag I would have used that instead – it sounds like it would be a lot easier to rinse the cat off afterwards.

When I had my first cat, I was running a weekly D&D game. One of the players loved cats and always wanted to cuddle them. Lucky for him, my cat loved to be cuddled, and the kitty was always curled up in lap during our gaming sessions. The only problem was that this friend was also a chain smoker. After he would leave, both the chair he sat on and the cat positively reeked of cigarette smoke. I’ve never smoked and never lived with a smoker, so I’m pretty sensitive to the smell of smoke since I never had a chance to get used to it. So after the friend let, the chair would get febreezed and the cat would get a bath.

You’d think that getting a bath once a week every week would make a cat get used to being bathed.

It doesn’t.

Jesus, we tried to bathe my friend’s obese cat last winter because she was all stinky and matted. I took the brunt of the damage. One of her nail sheathes came off when she scratched me and lodged in my arm, so I have a nice scar there, and we didn’t even get her that clean. We were afraid she was going to have a heart attack if we kept going, so we toweled her off a bit and let her waddle away. I think we’re going to see if there’s any groomers that will sedate her so she can have the mats shaved off and get cleaned.

My big tomcat is a lovely bright white, but he’s not the most fastidious cat so he’ll come in every once in awhile covered in dirt or he’ll just slowly turn beige from accumulated grunge. Bathing him is definitely not a fun process. He usually manages to climb up my chest and over my back, leaving me bleeding and soaking wet while he’s barely lathered. I’ve taken to throwing him in the tub and trying to get him a bit wet, then letting him get out so I can shampoo him while he cowers in the corner. After that, his spirit is (hopefully) broken enough for me to get him back in the tub to be rinsed. Luckily, the more I bathe him the longer the interval is between baths.

I’ve found that although most cats hate standing in water, they are not nearly as adverse to standing on firm ground while being bathed with a wet washcloth.