Cats are the clean freaks of the animal world. In their top 10 favorite activities, grooming is right up there between napping and stalking prey. Most cats can go their entire lives without a bath. Occasionally there are special circumstances when bathing your cat might be necessary.
If your cat has a flea problem, bathing her is an effective start to eradicating them. Submersing your cat partially in water, sudsing her up with shampoo formulated for cats, and thoroughly rinsing her off will drown most if not all of the fleas, allowing you to drain them away with the bathwater.
Excessive shedding is a hairy problem that can usually be controlled with frequent brushing. If a change in the weather or other situation has your cat shedding more than normal, bathing her in warm water will help loosen her coat, according to "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats." Once she's out of the bath, you can brush or comb your cat to remove loose excess hair. If your cat has a hair-matting problem, take the time to remove the mats before you bathe her, as they can be more difficult to get out of wet fur.
Kitties with a dandruff problem add an extra dimension to the shedding predicament. In addition to loose hair everywhere, there's little flakes of kitty dandruff sprinkled in the mix. Bathing your cat can considerably decrease the dandruff she sheds. You shouldn't have to find a special dandruff formula shampoo for her, but do be sure that the product you use is specifically for cats.
Clean as she likes to be, there are times when your cat might get into something or become more soiled than she can handle. Things like being sprayed by a skunk, getting oil from a car on her fur or coming in contact with chemicals are all reasons to bathe your cat. Always use a shampoo formulated for cats and don't press the issue to the point of trauma. Most cats don't like water in general and you don't want to cause your cat stress or harm. If submersing your cat in water ends up not being an option, you can use a damp cloth to wipe your cat down and cleanse her fur. Most pet supply stores carry cat bathing towelettes that have been pre-moistened with a cleansing solution that is safe for use on cats.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.