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GeorgeGee's avatar

I've had my cat about a year and I'm planning on giving it its first bath tonight. Any problem with that?

Asked by GeorgeGee (4920points) June 10th, 2010

It smells a little gamy and its shedding, that’s the reason for the bath.

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19 Answers

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primigravida's avatar

If you’re going to go to the trouble, you might as well use a flea shampoo or something like that, just to keep her clean. Something that helps with my cat, don’t throw her in the tub full of water. Maybe stick her in there, play with her a little, give her a treat, and then stealthily fill up the tub. If it’s not a shock, it might make it go smoother. Or it might not. Have fun, either way!

Coloma's avatar

If you can afford it I’d take the cat in for grooming. The groomers have more experience and, usually, confine the cat in a cage or other area where bathing is easier.

You can stay with your cat, if you are concerned.

This is shedding season, so be aware that while the bath may freshen up kittys body oder it will have no impact on the shedding until the coat has been thinned on it’s own naturally.

You might just want to brush your cat more, and wipe him/her down with a damp cloth and maybe a little body spray diluted with water and sprayed on the washcoth.

A quick fix without the exspense or trauma of bathing.

I have a carpeted cat platform in my garage and am in process of acclimating my new longhaired siamese to a daily grooming.

A dematting brush and a slicker brush are the tools you will need. One for detangling and the other for finishing gloss. I use a plastic toothed brush and a boar bristle for the finish.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m not too sure what exactly you mean by “smelling gamey” but I’ve had loads of cats over the years and it’s very unusual for cats to smell bad unless there is a hidden infection somewhere.

Cats are basically self-cleaning. If that’s not happening for some reason, you really need to find the reason first.

If I had a cat who smelled bad, my first instinct would be a visit to the vet to figure out why.

It is EXTREMELY UNUSUAL for a cat to smell bad.

The only time I ever had a cat with a bad smell, her mouth smelled like a rotting corpse.

The vet discovered a horrible infection under her tongue due to a tumor.

Before trying a bath, get your kitty’s health checked out first.

It’s not unusual for dogs to smell bad. It’s VERY VERY unusual for a cat to smell bad.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, good point. Maybe teeth or ear mites.

You can and should clean your cats ears, I use a cotton ball and little bit of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Buttonstc's avatar

You didn’t say whether your cat is indoor only or if he does go outdoors.

It is not unusual for neighboring cats to get into fights. Because they have the ability to inflict deep puncture wounds with their claws ( unlike dogs who typically bite and tear) this could be hidden.

This type of wound can close over quickly but have a deep abcess hidden. The resultant smell from the infection is usually the chief clue.

If you have an indoor only cat, they DEFINITELY should not smell since the cat is grooming himself daily. If he isn’t grooming himself, then something is seriously wrong. This is such a strong instinct for cats. If a cat is not grooming it’s usually because they are very gravely ill.

SheWasAll_'s avatar

I just gave my one year old cat a bath last week (she got outside and in some mud). It went surprisingly well. I just filled the tub with about a half an inch of water and let her get her paws wet. Then I calmly poured some water over her back and used kitty-safe shampoo. I found if I kept calm and talked to her in a calm voice, she relaxed very quickly and it was a painless venture. Good luck!

Val123's avatar

I agree with everyone. Cats don’t need baths. Maybe she rolled in something dead? Do cats do that? In which case she’ll clean herself up.

lilikoi's avatar

I’ve never seen a cat roll in anything dead. Usually they stay away from anything that smells bad. If I ever need to know if meat/fish is absolutely fresh, I’ll let my cats take whiff. They’ll try to eat it if it is, and they’ll run away if it has any hint of age.

Agree w/ everyone else here about cats being clean freaks and baths being generally unnecessary for them. A damp cloth can effectively remove dust and what not from the coat. A bath is really the last resort. If you go that route, make sure the cat has a warm place to dry itself. The ‘gaminess’ may just be the cat’s natural smell. If that’s the case, a bath isn’t gonna get rid of it.

Val123's avatar

@lilikoi Thanks. I know dogs do it, but dogs are stupid!”

Buttonstc's avatar


Just for curiosity, have you ever had a cat or encountered one that smelled gamey ?

I’ve honestly never heard of that. The reason cats do all that grooming is to remove any traces of smell. This is instinct from their days in the wild.

Because cats in the wild have a totally carnivore diet, they are getting blood and guts all over themselves when they feed. But they are meticulous about removing every trace of that gamininess so they can effectively hunt their next game without smell betraying their presence.

Centuries of this instinct still persist in even the most pampered handfed housecat. In their instinctual mindset, it is still imperative to them to remove all trace of smell so they’ll be ready for the next hunt even if it’s only hunting a toy mouse or piece of dangled string :)

If a cat smells gamey, something is most likely seriously wrong.

YARNLADY's avatar

Take the cat to the vet and ask her for a complete exam to rule out any medical/physical reason for the problem, then follow her instructions.

mattbrowne's avatar

“Cats are known for their cleanliness, spending many hours licking their coats. The cat’s tongue has backwards-facing spines about 500 micrometres long, which are called papillae. These are quite rigid, as they contain keratin. These spines allow cats to groom themselves by licking their fur, with the rows of papillae acting like a hairbrush.

Aster's avatar

I heard you’re advised to wear rubber gloves, long sleeves, a face shield, long pants and to make sure both of you are enclosed in a very small shower.

Val123's avatar

Well! Did you give the cat a bath? You still among the living here??!! :)

GeorgeGee's avatar

Yes, I gave him his bath, it was comfortably warm water, I didn’t use any shampoo. I reassured him and he didn’t panic though he complained a bit and tried to get out of the tub several times. He appreciated being towel dried, and afterward was curious about the tub, looking in it several times. He smells better now and his fur is softer. It wasn’t a strong smell, just kind of a sweaty smell maybe from accumulated saliva and the humid weather. He’s an inside cat so no, no dead critter remnants in his fur.

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