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Aster's avatar

Cat owners: do you brush its teeth and give it baths?

Asked by Aster (18320points) January 28th, 2013

I read an article once on giving a cat a bath and I laughed until my stomach ached. It was discussing how the cat leaps Way up in the air before it takes off at high speed down the hall not to be seen again for 24 hours. Then another article by Martha Stewart on how she brushes her cat’s teeth. Do you do either ? How does it work out for you?

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33 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I only bathe my cats if something has gone horribly wrong, like a ride in the car that induced massive vomiting and it gets on the cat.

I’ve never brushed a cat’s teeth.

syz's avatar


DigitalBlue's avatar

No… no. I keep trying to elaborate on my response, but my brain just keeps saying “no.”

augustlan's avatar

I’ve given baths when needed, but have never brushed their teeth. I know I probably should. To piggyback on this question, does everyone clip their cats’ claws, or just a certain Milo-owning jelly? I’ve never done that, either…

DigitalBlue's avatar

@augustlan I don’t trim my cat’s claws, but I’ve tried. I feel like it is less destructive to my flesh to just let them keep the sharp ones.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Teeth…no, but I guess I should.

I use a waterless cat shampoo occasionally that seems to work quite well. I have to be in the mood to chase her though ‘cause she doesn’t like getting wet.

Actually, she really doesn’t mind getting wet…she prefers to get wet on her own.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Clipping nails?

1. No. Missy is an “outdoor cat”; she needs to be able to protect herself.

2. Declawing or cutting nails wrong can be painful for cats. I’d rather deal with the claws.

dxs's avatar

Bush teeth: yes
bathe: no
And I second @SABOTEUR, don’t cut a cat’s nails, they use them frequently in their everyday lives along with defending themselves.

Unbroken's avatar

Agree with @SABOTEUR my cat does indeed enjoy a dry bath and will give her self one often though there was one instance I had to step in and come to the rescue with corn starch brushing.

My cat is young and healthy has good breath and teeth she loves her dental treats… I use greenies, the hard ones.

As to declawing hell no, but in the winter she stays in and I clip once she draws blood or takes to sharpening her claws everywhere… she is normally well behaved in this regard. I have never cut to close as to draw blood from her and it is a painless process for both of us.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Oh, one thing that I do which may be along these lines is that I frequently wipe my pets down with baby wipes. My dogs get their faces washed daily (I have a white dog that is prone to tear-stains), but the cats also get wiped down. I feel like it helps to cut down on dander and loose fur, and they aren’t very receptive to brushing.

augustlan's avatar

One of my cats gets ‘eye boogers’, and I do wipe those out at least once a day. When they stain, I use a damp paper towel or toilet tissue to clean that area.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@augustlan Oh yes, I clean my cats’ eye boogers for them, too.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Oh my Missy loves her grooming time. I have one of those Zoom thingies with the rubber teeth? She goes ga-ga whenever she sees it. Closest thing to catnip; almost the same reaction.

Coloma's avatar

No teeth brushing, nope, but I do give them dental treats, for what it’s worth.
I have bathed my huge, fluffy cat several times on the rare occasions he gets some poo stuck on his massively fluffy pantaloons. lol
I shave him in the summer so this rarely happens and he is very mellow about having a bath, he is a Ragdoll.

My other cat is a sleek torti point siamese and she has never needed to be bathed. She keeps herself immaculately groomed and would probably peel my scalp off if I even held her over the bath tub. haha

I do brush them both, vigorously every night and they have very nice coats.

tedibear's avatar

Have never brushed a cat’s teeth, but we have one that has had his teeth cleaned three times. The other one just never needed it.

As for bathing, I’ve done it once to my long-haired cat because she had diarrhea. She yowled like I was killing her. Luckily, I’ve not had to do it since.

As for nail clipping, we occasionally do it to the other cat. If his nails get too long, he gives himself “razor burn” when he scratches his neck. Then we have to use the blue stuff I’m too lazy to go look at the bottle on the scrapes and he hates that. It’s easier to trim the very tips of his nails when he’s mostly asleep in a warm spot than to deal with his fussing because of the scrapes. Luckily, he doesn’t go outside so there’s not as much of a defense worry.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Martin, my three-legged kitty cat, loves to be brushed. I don’t give him baths, though, and I take him to a vet to have his claws trimmed.

Indoor cats don’t wear-down their claws the way a roaming, feral cat does; their claws grow so long that they become uncomfortable. Indoor cats also don’t need weapons within a safe, loving home. Thus, Martin gets subjected to regular manicures.

glacial's avatar

Baths… no, unless as @WillWorkForChocolate said, there has been an incident causing filthiness or smelliness.

Teeth… yes, when I first had cats, but I will admit that I’ve become lazy over time. I had one cat lose a single tooth, and she was very, very old when it happened.

@augustlan Nails clipped? Yes, fairly frequently. I feel if their claws are catching on fabric when they are picked up, it’s time for a clipping. I agree with @SadieMartinPaul that they also need it to avoid discomfort. I take care not to clip them too short, which can be a problem in itself.

Coloma's avatar

@augustlan Nail clipping is a chore. I just did it about 2 weeks ago and it took two days of a claw here, a claw there. Front paws one day,back paws the next. Major trauma event. haha

gondwanalon's avatar

We have two cats. Our 13 year old female is very good at grooming herself and has never had a bath. Our 19 year old male needs a bath now and then. He totally trusts me and he never fights me. He even seems to enjoys a nice warm bath and a good toweling off.

I don’t mess with our cat’s teeth. I let the vet clean them.

livelaughlove21's avatar

No. A cat’s biggest selling point is that they clean themselves. Our indoor cat is a year old, has never had a bath or teeth cleaning, and ways smells and looks and feels very clean. Those people that bathe their cats make me roll my eyes. There’s no need for it whatsoever unless the cat got into something really disgusting or dirty. In that case, maybe you should clean your house more often.

We do, however, trim her nails when they get too long. People here seem to think this is bad, but every vet and shelter I’ve been to suggests it. Declawing, not good, but their nails can be trimmed just like ours. It’s not cruel and it doesn’t take away their natural defenses.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t own any metal gauntlets so no.

Buttonstc's avatar

If the nails of indoor only cats aren’t clipped, there is the potential for the nail to grow so long that it becomes embedded in the flesh of the paw pad because they don’t grow out straight but rather curve inward. I once saw a few cats where that had happened and it must have been extremely painful.

As long as you don’t clip any further down than the apex of the curve of each nail, you won’t hit the vein.

As soon as I can feel her claw points digging into my shoulder when I pick her up, I get put the nail scissors.

I sit cross legged and put her in my lap on her back and cover the rear paws with a towel while I clip the fronts. I stroke her chin and tell her what a good kitty she is and give her a treat when I’m done and she’s really good about it.

I’ve never bathed a cat in my life nor ever brushed teeth (but I probably should do the teeth)

I brush her every few days, more often in warmer weather.

Buttonstc's avatar


Are you referring to commercial Baby wipes?

You should check with your vet because those are intended for external use only and contain oils and chemicals not intended for the insides of kitty stomachs. When the cat grooms itself, it is ingesting some of that from the residue left on its fur.

I know that they do have wipes available specifically for pets. But a plain damp washcloth should get the job done just as well.

augustlan's avatar

My (indoor) cats just seem to bite their claw tips off when they decide they’re too long. I’ve never seen any of them curl under, but I will keep an eye on it.

Coloma's avatar

My 2 are indoor/outdoor but they still need their claws trimmed in occasion. The dew claws especially can get very curved inwards and extra snaggy. Even though they run up and down the trees and have two scratching posts around the house their claws still get extremely sharp.

glacial's avatar

@augustlan I generally interpret that behaviour as “My claws are so damned long, I can’t take it anymore! I’d rather pull them out that withstand this another minute!”

Ok, in all likelihood, that’s not actually what they’re saying… but it still makes me pull out the clippers.

Shippy's avatar

I’ve never brushed a cats teeth, but I did used to always brush my dogs teeth. I have no idea with what though it was so long ago. Plus bath them. I am loath to bath a cat it is too dangerous and they are I think, a bit like self cleaning ovens.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Shippy Yeah, except cats do a good job of cleaning themselves. Self cleaning oven my ass. :)

Speaking of dog baths, my puppy is getting pretty stinky. Oh, why can’t dogs be as low maintenance as cats?

Coloma's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Geese are even better, they swim all day to keep their feathers beuatiful, no need to give my geese a bath, they have unlimited tubby time. Just look at how clean and sparkely white Marywn is in my avatar. Row, row, row your flappies….lol

glacial's avatar

@Shippy Though hopefully they self-clean by different means!

Shippy's avatar

^^ ha ha

Carinaponcho's avatar

I have been a cat owner for my whole life. We have never bathed our cats or brushed their teeth. We will brush their hair and clip their claws. None of my cats have like water. When my youngest cat was about seven or eight months old he decided to take a swim with me while I was taking a relaxing bath. He is still traumatized a year later and will not go near the tub.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Carinaponcho My cat hates water, too, but still hangs out on the edge of the tub while I’m in it. If I shower, she walks along the tiny edge of the shower above my head, which scares the hell out of me. If she ever fell into the water, I’d probably look like a stabbing victim. But alas, she refuses to let me get ready in the morning without her, so I can only hope her gracefulness holds out.

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