Cat bath
January 13, 2015 5:17 AM   Subscribe

My 17 year old kitty, UFO, doesn't seem to be able to keep her fur clean and fluffy. I brush her, but that's not enough. I don't want to stress her with a wet bath. Does anyone have experience with dry bath products for kitties? Any suggestions are welcome.
posted by mightshould to Pets & Animals (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You might try wiping her down with a slightly-wetter-then-damp cloth. Not as traumatizing as a bath. I'd be wary of brushing anything into her fur that she might ingest.

Also, if she's got any other behaviors that are new recently.. take her to the vet. Not keeping himself clean was a sign of disease in one of my furballs.
posted by royalsong at 5:21 AM on January 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: We have had some luck with a wet washcloth - one cat seems to think it's like her mommy cat licking her. No experience with dry products, though.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:21 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have not used dry kitty cleaning products but is everything - besides age - okay? Have you checked with a vet? Not cleaning can be a sign of poor health. Also when I had to clean my stinky diabetes cat I would just sit in the tub with her. Use that method with caution. Also I've read and tested it's best to put them in a dry tub then slowly fill the water. They don't want to be dropped into water. If your kitties' temperament allows it they might get annoyed but they won't stay mad forever. Dry them good and blowdry lightly if possible.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:22 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: A warm damp face towel works fairly well. Just wipe her down like you are petting her.
posted by hooray at 5:22 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: They also make wet wipes to clean cat's fur. When my longhaired kitty stopped cleaning himself due to age and ill health, I used to wipe him down with these. They did a very nice job of freshening him up and he did not seem to mind the process too much.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:42 AM on January 13, 2015

Best answer: I had a terrible experience with a dry product years ago. The cat smelled like really strong floral perfume and was peeved. Ask your vet for a recommendation if you absolutely must do this.
posted by Toddles at 5:42 AM on January 13, 2015

We use some cat-specific wet wipes that we get at the pet store for our cat, who is too rotund to bathe himself effectively. We just rub him down all over with them and he purrs because someone is petting him.
posted by bedhead at 7:12 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I used to use cornstarch on my previous cat whenever she escaped and decided rolling in motor oil was awesome. It's edible, safe and absorbs most oils well. I put it in a salt shaker and would dust her, rub it in and then brush like crazy.

This is pretty normal for elderly cats because they just can't get around to all the spots anymore. I think it's like cat arthritis.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:14 AM on January 13, 2015

Best answer: I used the wet wipes that Serene Empress Dork linked to for my previous cat who had been abused and didn't know how to effectively groom herself. The wet wipes worked okay but definitely not as well as an actual cat tongue bath. I can't tell because you cat picture is very tiny if yours is a shorthair, but mine was not. I think they would have been much more effective for a short haired cat.

In addition to not knowing how to groom herself, my old cat had lots of joint problems. When I started her on glucosamine supplements (they make treats for cats that are strips of dehydrate chicken with glucosamine in them, they were scarfed down like almost nothing else), she did manage to get a little better at the grooming she attempted. Since your cat is a senior kitty, check to see if maybe something like a supplement will keep her more limber and able to maintain herself how she likes.

The wet wipes were best received when I had left them on a heating pad for a while, and then the cat got to hang out on the heating pad as she dried off.
posted by Mizu at 7:15 AM on January 13, 2015

Best answer: Agree with the above suggestions for cat wipes! Our boy is delighted by the pettingpettingpettingpetting, and he looks/feels/smells better afterwards.

these are the ones we use
posted by spinturtle at 7:25 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

It might take a few times wearing welding gloves, but incontinent old cats can fall in love with a warm bath. After the third time, there was no opposition. That cat loved being carried around in a beach towel afterwards.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:05 AM on January 13, 2015

Best answer: i have not had good luck with the "dry shampoo" type products. they are very smelly and aren't actually that effective. i have also used the cat wet wipes, and those work okay, but are also sometimes smelly, plus chemicals.

i think the best thing is, as others have said, a wet washcloth. not dripping wet. give UFO a good brushing, and then wipe down a few times with the washcloth. no smells, no chemicals, etc.

oh, and make sure it's warm water!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:00 AM on January 13, 2015

I wouldn't assume that a wet bath would be too stressful. My elderly cat learned to enjoy them because the warm water and gravity relief felt good on his old joints. Getting into the tub with him made him less skittish. Just make sure you have a warm room (preferably with a heating pad) for your cat to dry off in. Also, be warned that soaking in warm water will likely make your cat need to poop, and you'll need to rinse any litter off her wet paws before it dries and hardens.

If you really can't get your cat to enjoy wet baths, then I nth the above suggestions to use a wet washcloth. In my experience, elderly cats have the most difficultly reaching their butt and hindquarters and if there's any poop or litter stuck there you'll need to press the warm wet washcloth against it for a while to loosen it up first so that you can then remove it without pulling on your cat's fur.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:15 AM on January 13, 2015

Another vote for the "kitty wipes"--they helped with our elderly kitty who wasn't grooming as well as she used to. I think it's a fairly common thing for elderkitties.
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:43 AM on January 13, 2015

Sometimes when my cat starts to smell, I put him outside in the sun, not unlike pillows or linen. The sunshine + wind combination freshens him up in about 1h.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:14 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Seconding the corn starch and warm wet wash cloth. Over time, you can increase the wetness of the wash cloth a bit.

St. Peepsburg may be on to something there. Being outside certainly helps my barn cats to smell wonderful. Maybe you could rig up some kind of cage to sit in a sunny window? Cat would probably like that.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:24 PM on January 13, 2015

Response by poster: The answers all lead to a decent solution. I appreciate the comments about the wipes, and links led me to a good understanding that they may have an aroma that my kitty would not like, especially citrus.

My kitty's health is fine according to a recent vet visit, except that she's old, stiff and a bit senile.

I don't want to stress her with a bath (she hates them and they leave her stressed, plus cold while drying which I want to avoid), so I've settled on the warm wet cloths.

I greatly appreciate all the answers and guidance.
posted by mightshould at 1:59 PM on February 12, 2015

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