You saw that cute kitten’s eyes at the adoption center and knew it was love at first sight. After signing the papers and taking a closer look, you noticed that your new pet isn’t quite as clean as you expected. So should you bathe a cat after adoption? We did the research and consulted with animal experts to give you the answer to that question.
You might need to bathe your new cat after adoption if the feline is near other animals while staying in the shelter. Bathing will help remove the harmful bacteria and germs that latched onto your new pet. Otherwise, a bath might not be necessary because cats generally like to clean themselves.
Continue reading to learn more about expert reminders on bathing a cat after adoption. We'll also share ways for you to properly clean and dry your cat so your new feline companion doesn’t get sick from bacteria and germs.
Do I Need to Bathe a Cat After Adoption?
A 2018 study from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University states that cats like to spend about 50% of their waking moments licking and grooming themselves. This hygienic activity stems from different generations of felines as the complex nature of the cat’s tongue can help remove certain substances from their fur and skin.
Therefore, it might not be necessary to bathe your cat after adoption because the animal already cleaned their body countless times before you signed the acceptance forms. You can still bathe your new pet if the cat has been around other animals in the shelter for extended periods. For instance, cleaning your new cat can help remove flea infestations. Additionally, old or sick felines may need assistance to clean and groom themselves.
How do You Clean an Adopted Cat?
First-time cat parents might find it confusing and challenging to clean an adopted cat. Take note that cleaning your cat properly needs the right tools and procedure.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Cat-friendly shampoo
- Shower or a large bucket with warm water
- Detangling brush
Directions to Clean An Adopted Cat
- Brush the cat thoroughly to remove accumulated dirt.
- Use a detangling brush to remove knots.
- Gently hold the cat’s nape to hold them down while carefully wetting the body with warm water. Use your wet hand to wipe the pet’s face with water. Don’t splash water to the animal’s face as the liquid can get into their eyes, causing pain and discomfort.
- Soak the animal's body with cat-friendly shampoo. Massage the product in circles to ensure it penetrates deep into the cat's fur.
- Rinse the body to remove the shampoo completely.
You can also call a friend or household member to help bathe your cat. However, if the animal shows aggression, especially if it's your pet’s first bath, make an appointment with the vet. It’s because possible hostility might be coming from a past trauma, which the veterinarian can provide proper solutions to help you in assisting your feline.
How do You Dry a Cat After a Bath?
After rinsing your cat, dry the animal by using clean towels. You might need to use more than one towel to dry your pet completely. Start by wrapping the animal in a towel and gently rubbing their skin and fur. Use another towel if the first towel becomes damp and the cat is still fairly wet. Then, use a hairdryer at the lowest setting to help remove the excess moisture on the animal's body while giving the fur extra volume.
When Can I Bathe My Adopted Cat?
You can bathe your cat upon taking the pet home. Doing so can help remove fleas, germs, and harmful bacteria on the animal’s fur and skin while they were in the shelter. However, if the cat was recently neutered or spayed, don’t bathe your kitty as soon as you take them home. Otherwise, the incisions may open, increasing the risks of infection.
How Long Do You Have To Wait To Bathe A Cat After Being Spayed?
As per a document from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), you need to wait ten days after the surgery before you can bathe your cat. Otherwise, bathing the animal before this period puts the surgery site at risk of opening, which will delay the healing. Also, put your cat in an Elizabethan collar (also called the ‘cone of shame’) if the animal can’t seem to control licking the fresh wound.
Do Indoor Cats Need Baths?
Cats generally don't need baths because they're fairly clean animals. However, exceptions exist to that rule. For instance, bathe your kitty if it dives into something dirty and smelly like trash. Skunk attacks will also require a good bath to remove the stink on your feline who managed to sneak out. Another reason to bathe your cat is when it picks up fleas. If so, give your pet a flea bath to eliminate the pests.
Is It Okay To Never Bathe A Cat?
Yes, it's okay if you don't bathe a cat, especially if the animal spends most of its time indoors. However, you may bathe your kitty once or twice per year, particularly if you detect a foul smell coming from your pet.
Also, take note that long-haired cats need more frequent bathing than their short-haired counterparts. It's because long-haired felines may have difficulty getting deep into their fur.
What to do After Adopting a Cat?
Aside from bathing your cat after adoption, you can also do other things to make your new pet feel right at home in your household. These methods range from stocking up on kitty essentials to bringing the animal to the vet.
Stock Up on Cat Necessities
You can make your new cat feel welcome in your home by providing the pet with accessibility and comfort. Items like bedding, canned cat food, and a scratch post can help make the animal warm up to the new place. You can also purchase a collar with an identification tag to ensure others can identify your cat in case the feline decides to wander outside.
Buy Cat Toys
Many cats love to play despite some of them sleeping for many hours every day. You can purchase cat toys like teasers, interactive faux fishes, weather wands, and catnip scratch posts. If you're on a tight budget, you can give your new feline a cardboard box and watch as the animal snuggles into it.
However, avoid giving your cat things like dental floss, pins, paper clips, plastic bags, and rubber bands. According to a post from the Humane Society of the United States, your cat might ingest these items, causing risks of gagging, vomiting, and other health issues.
Visit the Vet
A trip to the veterinarian for a health and wellness exam for your new cat is important. Your pet might look clean and healthy on the outside, but it might be a different story in their body. The vet can check for hidden anomalies in your pet’s physical and psychological well-being. Plus, the animal professional can provide suggestions on how to deal with those issues.
Cats are generally meticulous self-groomers. Therefore, some cats might not need a bath when you bring them home. But you may bathe your cat after adoption to help remove dirt, germs, and harmful bacteria acquired while staying in the animal shelter. Aside from a bath, don't forget to give your new pet a special welcome by providing the necessities, such as a bed and canned cat food.