Rub-A-Dub-Dub, the Cat Needs a Scrub!

SeaTac the cat, resting on the sofa in the sun. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

A diabolically foul odor that not even the Scentsy people could erase sometimes stalks me—haunting me as I work—driving me insane—causing me to accuse people I love of things they didn’t do. Here’s an example:

“Quit opening cans of tuna! Ugh! It stinks—all the way up here!” I shouted to Nate, from my upstairs office one day.

“We don’t have any tuna!” he shouted from the kitchen below.

“I’m pretty sure you’re making the house smell all the way up here.”

“It’s not me!”

“Well. . . it’s not me,” I replied.

And we went on and on like this until I finally followed my nose to the window behind my desk. In the window was SeaTac the family cat—enjoying the sun while perspiring gamey tuna smells. I immediately apologized to my husband for assuming that any horrible smells would come from him.

“Sorry, honey—it’s the cat. The cat smells. He’s reached his expiration date it seems. When’s the last time he’s had a bath?”

“I don’t know,” Nate replied.

“He needs a bath,” I said.

“I just use wipes. It’s really easy. Cats don’t like baths,” Nate replied.

I was intrigued. What were these mysterious wipes Nate was talking about? I just had to find out. SeaTac probably needed a real bath—with water and soap and everything—but we are pretty sure he would hate that concept, so we don’t subject him to it.

According to an article on WebMD, cats can be bathed in actual water. The trick is to use a non-slip bathmat for the tub or sink in which you’ll wash the cat. The water should be lukewarm and WebMD recommends a pet shampoo, since human shampoo could cause skin allergies for the cat. The article lists steps for drying the as well. The ASPCA also recommends putting cotton in the cat’s ears so that the water stays out. The most important thing though, is to keep the cat calm. Veterinarian Dr. Becker, in the following YouTube video explains that bathing stresses cats out. In this video, she gives extra details about grooming cats, preferred shampoos, and tips for keeping cats calm during bathing. (Great tip from Dr. Becker: If the cat “flips out,” just end the bath. Don’t keep trying.)

Did I follow any of the advice above before attempting to groom my cat? Did I try brushing him out first or gathering supplies? Nope. I just grabbed a box of the mysterious wipes my husband was talking about. Nate typically grooms the cat, but I smelled a new blog idea the minute I caught a whiff of our faithful family feline friend. I just had to be the one to wipe him down. The wipes in question are “GNC Pets” wipes called: Vitamin Enriched Multipurpose Deodorizing Grooming Wipes in “Energizing Citrus.” Last year we paid $11-$12 on one package of wipes and we still use them! Cats typically groom themselves so there really isn’t a need for a weekly bath, but when SeaTac takes on his gamey tuna smell—despite his fastidious nature—we know he’s reached the peak of his “freshness” date and needs some extra help. Here are the steps I followed:

1) I grabbed the package of wipes and walked over to SeaTac. He did not look happy.

2) I opened the package and started to just gently pet him with a wipe. He looked like he thought if felt weird, so he moved away from me.

3) I got some treats and placed them in front of him. He definitely wanted a treat, but he could clearly see that my other hand held the creepy wipes.

4) I continued to try to pet him with various wipes, but he crawled under the entertainment set in the living room.

5) I inspected the wipes I just used and found lots of stray cat hairs. “Perhaps I should brush him out first and then use the wipes,” I thought to myself.

6) I got the cat brush and started to brush the cat. He came out from underneath the entertainment set because he likes to be brushed.

7) I then alternated between wiping and brushing him. He didn’t know what to think.

8) Within five minutes he was already looking shiny and smelling a little bit better. I gave him lots of treats to reward him for tolerating the wipes. As a result, SeaTac must think, “She’s sort of kind of okay with her treats and brush and everything, but the wiping is super creepy.”

Your Turn: Do you have any tips for grooming/bathing a pet?





11 thoughts on “Rub-A-Dub-Dub, the Cat Needs a Scrub!

  1. Interesting. I’ve had cats for years and never once had them smell. I even have a Maine Coon (long hair), and while he weighs in at 27 pounds of full grown cat, he’s never once smelled.

    He does, however, insist on being brushed whenever I brush my hair. So, I bought a second brush. When he comes and demands brushing while I’m doing my hair in the morning, I pick up his brush and take a couple minutes to brush him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maine Coons are awesome! SeaTac doesn’t always smell–just every once in a while and I think you raise a good point about brushing. I don’t think we brush him often enough, which might help with his grooming–and cut down on hairballs. Thanks for visiting:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That might be the difference! Our kitties *demand* brushing. If you don’t, they tap your hand. If you still don’t, they wrap both paws around your arm. It sounds cute, but it’s annoying when you’re in a hurry!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My last couple cats were really good at being bathed…relatively speaking. I love using that old-fashioned pine tar soap to bathe them–smells really good!

    Liked by 1 person

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