Should I Wash My Cat and If So How?

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You all remember Phoebe from the famous series F.R.I.E.N.D.S and her Smelly cats. But in reality, have you come across any smelly cat? We are sure that’s a question you may think about for a longer time. But it may never arrive at the answer instantly because cats are one of the cleanest animals on the earth. They are known for their grooming habits.


It is rare to find cats smelling bad as they have a regular self-care routine, and cleaning is the central part of their life. Cats use their tongue to remove even the soft dirt on their body. You can easily observe that their paws and nails are clean.


If you are a new cat parent, you might be wondering if you should wash your cat or not. But on a general note, it is not necessary. Unless they smell or if they had a roll on the dirt and mud, you don’t have to be worried. For instance, when they get naughty while playing or hunting, they get nasty. So, they would need an extra hand to clean.


This article is written for the owners who are thinking about cleaning the cats and how you can wash them. It walks you through some of the essential things you must consider while you are washing the cats. Read further to know more.


The Times when the cat needs cleaning


If the cats start stinking

Do you take your cats for a walk? Do you allow them to play in public parks? If yes, you must see that the cats have been proactive. They have been extremely exercising, running, chasing, and jumping all over. A high level of activity means higher possibilities of stinking. Especially if this is in summers, their sweat level increases just like humans. When they come with the same sweat to home and play on the upholstery and other furniture, they start to stink too.


Hence cats will need some cleaning. Usually, in this case, the adult cats will try to wash away the sweat. But the kittens will be unaware or unsure about the grooming technique. So, in that case, you can wash your kitty to get rid of the bad smell. You can even use wet tissues, and that would solve the purpose.


You see that cats have become dirty

When you leave the cats alone, and if they are pro-active, they run around and may get into a dirty environment. You do know that cats instantly search the garbage, trash cans and scrounge the discarded food. When you have adopted a street cat, this is natural. It might break your heart when you encounter them in such activities. But they can’t help either. In this case, even when the cat tries to clean itself, it begs the question if you want them to ingest the pests from outside in your home.


When they get into sap, mud, and other dirt, toxic elements stick to their fur. It will affect you and everybody in your family. When you have kids or elderly at home, you may have to be extra careful in this situation. Instead of blaming your cat, you can wash them yourselves. Use gloves and good antiseptic dedicated toiletries for the cats to get rid of the dirt. Remember to take bath yourselves after cleaning.



Do you find bugs?

Since cats are furry animals, it’s expected that they attract bugs. Hence, there is no doubt or second thought if you find the bugs. Immediately, take them for some deep cleaning. Parasites that lay on the cats are hazardous to the pets and for the people at home. They can cause severe damage to the skin. And in the case of cats, parasites and bugs cause fatal diseases as well.


Fleas, might, lice, ticks are some of the common parasites that get onto the cat’s skin. When you leave them as it is or if it goes unnoticed, they start to feed on the cat’s blood, causing irritation and infection to the whole body.


When you wash your cat, you will eliminate the pests that are on the superficial level. But if you find the problem is severe, you should opt for dedicated pest removal shampoos and body wash. If you think this is getting out of your hands, reach out to the vet and get them treated with medicines. For the irritations caused on the skin, the doctor might prescribe some ointments to avoid further rashes.


These are the top reasons why you should wash your cat. However, there are other reasons that you might want to check out. The following table helps you figure out.

When do cats require washing?

Why should you wash them?

When cats have long hair If you have cats that have long hairs like Persians, they may require regular cleaning. Keeping the fur clean is essential as it becomes the home for insects and other mites. So, clean them regularly (Monthly, once or twice), depending upon the cat’s age.
When you have a specific  breed Particular cats like Sphynx may need frequent baths to get rid of excess oil produced by their body. Peterbald, Bambino, and other similar cats may require periodic body maintenance because they have less fur & tend to produce more oils. As a result, dirt may cause them allergies and rashes easily.
When you have a sick or elderly cat The most common challenge of having an elderly cat is that they develop mobility issues. When they lie in the same place, they might get sores on the skin. Since their mobility is restricted, they will not be able to clean themselves frequently. In such a case, it is great to wash your cat. Since the back part of the cat is delicate, it can quickly become flaky. You may have to wash at least once a month.



The table above is an elaborate way to understand when you have to wash your cat. When you crack this, the very next question is to know how you can wash them. Especially when you are a new cat parent, you may have been puzzled about the procedure of washing the cat or what products to use, etc. Also, this article will put light on the fundamental ways to keep your furry buddy clean!


How to clean a cat?

While talking to your cat, offer reassurance that you will be with them during the cleaning process. And then gently place the cat in the shower tray. When you start, it’s better to use the shower head to control the water flow.


Washing your cat using a showerhead is relatively much easier than washing it in the bathtub filled with water. The reason behind it is that your cat will become anxious, start screaming and act weird. If it’s necessary, the maximum water level that you can keep is up to 4 inches.


First of all, don’t leave them in the bath as it is. Hold your cat near the scruff to control them. They will feel confident when you have a hand around them. Once you start cleaning them, first give them gentle strokes and make them feel safe with water. As you must be aware, cats are very intuitive when it comes to being on the water; they pick up stress more quickly than usual. However, when you are going to wash a kitten, they will react differently. Instead of you getting panicked along with them, figure out a process.


Give the cats some breathing space to adapt to the change in temperature. If you drop them altogether, they will lash out and try running out of the water. Now put some water on your cat’s body. Apply a small amount of shampoo. Depending upon the dirt, the amount of shampoo could vary. Most owners think that since the cat doesn’t take a bath, they can give a full shampoo bath to get rid of the bad smell. But honestly, it doesn’t work that way. The cat doesn’t catch a bad smell unless they roll on the mud or near the garbage. The lesser the shampoo, the better your cat will feel.


Most importantly, while cleaning the cat, be careful that the shampoo or the water should not get into the eyes and nose. The cats have highly sensitive eyes and noses. So, it may lead to irritation. Some doctor records even claim that the irritation from the hard water has led to partial blindness. So, it is highly important to use the right shampoo, and at the same time, carefully follow the right direction of the usage.


The following table will talk in detail about the supplies that you need for the cleaning.


Why do you need them?

Cat shampoo Many natural DIY mixtures can help in cleaning the cats. However, if you want the instant effect, you can go for the shampoos suggested by the doctors. Do not use the same shampoo used by humans for the cat. It will not affect them. Depending on the problem, you can choose shampoo. For instance, there are pest-repellent shampoos if you want to clean the cat to avoid pests. On the other hand, if you are looking for odorless shampoos, you have multiple options. Choose according to the preference and comfortability of your pet cat. You can also buy Breezytail PetO’ Cera Cat shampoo for your feline.
Cotton balls Cotton balls are important while cleaning the cats. To avoid the soap or to drain the water, the cotton balls will help you. Even after cleaning, this soap water might stick to the top layer of the skin. With the help of cotton balls, you can remove them gently from the skin. Don’t press against the skin harshly, causing them injury. The cleaning will not be complete without this procedure.
Towels Once the cat is done with the bathing, gently rub them with the towels. Get a soft, gentle fabric towel to clean them. Also, don’t be harsh while rubbing them with the towel. It is a time-consuming process. When your cat has more fur, it takes a longer time to dry. Some cat parents make the mistake of using the dryer to dry the pet. But it can cause roughness in the skin. And the air from the drier may cause even hair fall.



These are some of the important supplies you may need if you have decided to wash the cat. Apart from the situations where you need to clean the cat with water, you can simply choose an alternative option to groom them.


Brush them regularly to keep the cat’s coats tangle-free and do not invite the pest easily. It also stimulates healthy oil production from the body, which will keep the cat’s skin healthy naturally. Also, it will keep the bad odor away.


Secondly, you can vacuum the places where the cat lives. When they groom themselves, they shed hair, and hence when you vacuum it, the vacuum will suck up all the unwanted hair. And they don’t have to stick with the smell of unwanted hairs or dirt from the body.


Lastly, for the people who think your cat smells bad, it might also be because of the smelly litter pan that they are using. So, you have to clean that frequently to avoid the odor from the cat.


The Bottom Line

While cleaning the cat, it is important that you also take safety precautions as you may not be aware of the dirt or parasite that are not visible to human eyes. They can cause allergies for you and could be communicable. Always wear a mask and gloves, especially when you are cleaning the cat. If you find something suspicious about the smell and unusual about the behavior, it is also recommended that you take them to the doctor before you conclude.


We hope that article helps you understand when the cat really needs bathing and how you could clean them.

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