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Giving a Cat a Bath

Giving a Cat a Bath

bathing a cat

If you’ve ever attempted to bathe a cat, you might already know that generally, cats do not like baths. Most cats do not like to swim or be immersed in water and will fight it vigorously. A cat threatened with a bath may bite, claw and scratch to get free. It can be a very frustrating experience, both for the cat and the cat owner. Some of the funniest photos and videos on the Internet are of people attempting to bathe a cat and the cat’s evasive maneuvers to avoid the bath at all costs.

The behavior they exhibit when trying to bathe a cat is out of fear. They don’t know what is going on or why someone would have the audacity to subject them to this, so they object in every way possible. To make the bath go smoother, make sure you have everything prepared before you bring the cat in. Run the bath water, have towels and shampoo and a comb at hand and then bring the cat in.

Remain calm and make soothing noises as you put your cat into the water. Do not panic or shout or punish the cat if they scratch you. Imagine how frightened they must be and try to accomplish the task calmly. Have a firm hold on the cat as you bath it. You don’t want them flailing about and panicking. Remain as calm as you can and your cat is more likely to be calmer. Bathe the cat as quickly as you can to reduce the stress on both you and the cat.

Some breeds may never get to a point where they actually like a bath, but some breeds definitely do. I have had Persian cats that were bathed regularly from the time they were kittens and soon came to like their bath and even blow drying. If you get your cat while it is a kitten, it is much easier to get them accustomed to a bath than if you get an older cat that has not been bathed regularly.

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Is Your Cat a Bully?

If you live in a multi-cat house, you might find that one of the cats is aggressive and bullies the other cats in the house. This is usually called territorial aggression, but in reality, it is not always territorial issues that are the problem.

Sometimes, the aggressive cat may pick on just one of the other cats. That cat might be a new cat in the group, or it can even be a cat that the bully cat has gotten along with previously. It often occurs when the cat anywhere from 8 months to 2 years old, and often the aggression will develop over time, starting with just growling and hissing. It can then progress to chasing and swatting and fighting or attacks.

The cat or cats that are being bullied become afraid of the aggressive cat and may begin to hide in areas away from the bully cat and can even experience litter box problems due to not having access to the area that the litter box is kept because of the presence of the aggressive cat. Obviously, the victimized cat needs to have an area that they feel safe in and that they have access to food, water and a litter box. They also need protection from injury and stress.

To help alleviate the problem, separate the cats when feeding. Put the aggressive cat in a room alone to eat instead of feeding them all together. When they are done eating, remove the food and water bowls to avoid this territorial aggression. Much like a child that is misbehaving, if you see the lead cat being aggressive, give them a time-out by again, separating them. They’ll soon learn that the aggressive behavior isn’t working out for them.

You may have to go as far as to separate the cats temporarily and reintroduce them in the same way that you would introduce a new cat, slowly letting them become accustomed to each other all over again, separating them again at the first sign of aggression.

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Correcting Problem Cat Behavior

While pain acts as a deterrent for bad cat behavior, beating or hitting a cat is not an acceptable way to train a cat. It is particularly ineffective to punish a cat after the fact. The cat will not know what it has done to deserve punishment, and will do nothing to change the behavior that you’re trying to change. Acting out of anger is not the way to train a cat. There are far more effective ways to change bad cat behavior.

The most effective way to change cat behavior is to alter the cat’s environment and provide alternative ways for cats to be cats and do the things that cats like to do. A lot of cat behavior is normal cat behavior, but is destructive to the house or furniture if not channeled into acceptable activities. You have to provide mental stimulation for your cat and provide a stress free environment for them. Modifying the cat’s environment through some simple changes will provide them with a sense of security as well as relieve their boredom and reduce the stress between cats if you have more than one cat in the house.

These changes include litter box management and management, providing a scratching post where it is ok for them to scratch, providing places for them to hide or climb such as a cat tree, and providing them with plenty of toys to play with. Particularly good are toys that look like their natural prey to satisfy their natural predatory instincts.

While offering a secure and fun environment for your cat is essential for behavior modification, at times a cat will behave badly anyway. There are numerous ways to persuade your cat that their behavior is unacceptable by making it uncomfortable for the cat when they behave badly. Noise aversion or a spray of water from a spray bottle both work very well to deter a cat from bad behavior. If you use either one consistently, the cat will soon get the message and change their behavior. When applied consistently, just reaching for the water bottle can deter a cat from undesired behavior.

Instead of physical punishment that inflicts pain, it is much better to encourage your cat to behave in a more reasonable way by making the actions which bother you uncomfortable for the cat. Therefore, if you are sick of your cat climbing the curtains, a fine mist of water sprayed from a nozzle can be a whole lot more effective than a slap. By being consistent in this response, you can get to the stage where even reaching for the bottle will warn your cat.

For a cat marking issue where a cat urinates in a certain spot, using a little lemon juice deters the cat from using that spot. Cats don’t like a citrus smell, so lemon juice works very well to dissuade them from “going” in a undesired spot.

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Litter Training and Your Cat

Cats are generally clean animals and instinctively want to “go” where they can bury it. The cat litter box filled with litter provides an area where the can bury their waste. Most cats quickly adapt to litter box use if you follow a few guidelines on litter box management.

The litter box should be placed in a clean, quiet location that is easily accessible to the cat. Do not place it in high traffic areas and keep the litter box away from children and other animals in the house. Below are some tips for successful litter training.

    • First thing to do is to show your cat where the litter box is. Place your cat in the box. She will sniff around. You can rake your fingers through the litter to show your cat what to do with it.

    • If you have a multi-cat household, you might want to have more than one litter box. Some cats are territorial about their litter boxes and cats generally don’t like to use the same area as other cats to eliminate.

    • Cats like a clean litter box. Scoop the waste out daily and change the litter completely at least once a week. A solution of water and vinegar will help to eliminate odor when cleaning the litter box. Baking soda added to the litter will also help to eliminate cat box odor. Pour about an inch and a half of clean litter into the box when changing the litter.

    • Keep the litter box away from your cat’s food and water bowls. Cats don’t like to eliminate close to where they eat.

    • If your cat does have an accident, clean the area immediately with a solution of white vinegar and water (half water and half vinegar). You can also use the commercial cat urine neutralizers sold in pet stores. This will help to prevent your cat from returning to that area to eliminate.

    • Do not use punishment when litter training your cat. Just firmly say “no” if they have an accident and place the cat in the litter box and praise her.

    • Cats digest food very quickly, so place your cat in the litter box a few minutes after a feeding.

Once a cat discovers they can bury their waste, they will quickly become acclimated to using the litter box.

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