Why Cats Shouldn’t Be Washed Unnecessarily: Animal Charity’s Warning and Tips

An animal charity is warning owners not to wash their cats unnecessarily after noticing an uplift in cat bathing videos on social media sites.

Cats Protection is concerned that inexperienced cat lovers are being encouraged to bathe their cats which, it says, is rarely needed and often distressing.

The welfare charity warns that washing a cat can strip their coat of essential oils which are needed for their skin to add a layer of waterproofing and can also remove flea control treatments.

To raise awareness, Cats Protection has released a video on Instagram Reels and TikTok, which can be found www.instagram.com/catsprotection or www.tiktok.com/@cats_protection

“It’s no myth that cats don’t like water and, as long as they are grooming themselves, they should stay clean,” said Elin Williams, Cats Protection’s Regional Behaviour Officer. “If really necessary, using a soft cloth soaked in warm water will be enough to remove most dirt.”

Elin points out that domestic cats are evolved from the African wildcat, whose natural habitats were deserts, so being immersed in water is unnatural to them.

“It can also affect your cat’s pheromones which they use to scent mark their territory,” says Elin.”

The charity advises only bathing a cat if recommended by a vet and, in these cases, it should only be with water or a small amount of fragrance-free cat shampoo.

“Cats have a different skin PH to us so even a mild shampoo often too harsh for cats,” says Elin. Long-haired cats usually need extra help grooming, with daily brushing, to keep their fur in tip top shape.

“If your cat stops grooming themselves for whatever reason then we’d always suggest speaking to your vet first as any changes in behaviour may indicate there’s something wrong.”

More tips on grooming cats and other cat care videos are available on Cats Protection’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/@catsprotection

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