A diagnosis of allergy to cats doesn’t mean you have to put your beloved feline up for adoption. That drastic step may be avoided by bathing your cat. Cats carry Fel d 1, better known as “cat allergen,” in their saliva which they transfer onto their hair and skin by grooming themselves.
Bathing a cat regularly can reduce the amount of “cat allergen” that you are exposed to as a cat owner. Recommendations on how often to bathe cats range from one to eight weeks. Check with a veterinarian to get the final word.
A regular bath routine may well be worth the effort, according to a 1987 study, that concluded that monthly bathing of cats reduced the amount of Fel d 1. You will get the best allergen reduction if you use a cat shampoo with a pH of 7.0-7.5, rather than a human shampoo which may sting your pet’s eyes and dry their skin.
Giving your cat a weekly bath may sound like a nightmare but it doesn’t have to be once you get your furry pal used to it. The best time to begin conditioning cats to bathing is when they are young. An adult cat that has never had a bath may need to be taken to a groomer unless you have nerves of steel. Consider asking your vet for some sort of tranquilizer for your pet. You also may want to get one for yourself (just kidding).
The key to a successful bathing experience is planning and preparation, and a hearty dose of determination. Follow these steps, and you and your kitty should still be friends afterwards.
•Try to plan the bath around the time of day when your kitty is nice and mellow. Say right after a meal and during nap time. Make sure your house is warm to help speed drying time.
•A tub with a glass enclosure to prevent your cat’s escape is the best location for bathing. Do yourself a favor if your bathtub has a shower curtain, and remove it or tie it up to prevent shredding by a panic-stricken feline.
•Bribe a friend or family member to help you. Don’t worry you can do it yourself if no one accepts your bribe.
•Assemble your “tools” in the bathing area: at least two thick towels, cat shampoo, two large cups or mugs for pouring water. Put towels all around the outer edge of the bathtub. Place a rubber shower mat in the bottom of the tub to prevent your cat from slipping and sliding.
•Get dressed in protective clothing such as an old sweatshirt and jeans, and a pair of gardening gloves.
•Run about two to three inches of body temperature water into the tub, just enough to come up the cat’s belly. Place a capful of cat shampoo in a mug of warm water and mix well.
•Once you begin it will be important to work quickly and efficiently no matter what happens. Create a calming atmosphere by playing soft music.
•Bring the cat into the bathroom and close the door. This may seem foolish but get into the tub with your pet and close the glass enclosure if available.
•Get the cat soaked, pour the prepared shampoo in the mug over the animal’s body, lather and rinse well. Repeat this process three times. Prepare yourself for lots of yowling and struggling, and a scratch or two or three.
•Wrap a towel securely around the cat and step out of the tub. Continuing drying the cat with other towels.
•Finally, open the bathroom door and release the feline from your “torture.” Offer your cat some treats if they haven’t already taken off for their favorite hiding place. Then, go reward yourself with a nice cup of tea or coffee, and get a good laugh by watching a cat bath video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9QwK5EHSmg.