Thursday, October 21, 2010


Some of our pets have been having trouble with itching lately. I already gave you one home remedy for hay fever and allergies: bathing in cool water with colloidal oatmeal (like Aveeno). If you don’t have any colloidal oatmeal, you can substitute regular oatmeal. Just fill an old sock with oatmeal and tie it over the bathtub spout so water runs through it.

Where your pet itches can tell a lot about what’s causing the problem. Pets with fleas usually scratch the rear half of their bodies, especially above the tail and down the back of the legs. If your dog has hay fever, it is usually the front half that itches. Front half itching causes face rubbing, foot licking, armpit scratching and neck and chest scratching. Unlike dogs, cats with hay fever often itch all over. In addition, they may develop little scabby bumps underneath their fur. If your dog is itching all over, it could be a food allergy. Cats with food allergies, however, are more likely to itch around the face and neck.

Which brings me to this: How to give a cat a bath. For flea control or anything else, it is about as easy as wrestling with barbed wire. To clean your kitty without getting killed in the process, here’s what vets recommend:

1) Plan ahead: Cats hate the sound of running water, so fill the tub first, then bring in the kitty.
2) Keep her face dry: Getting wet above the neck will give almost any cat a fit. Try to ease her into the tub, to keep splashing to a minimum.
3) Bring an anchor: To keep your cat under control you may want to invest in a kitty harness that’s attached to a leash, with a suction cup on one end. The suction cup sticks to the tub or shower wall to leave your hands free to do the washing. Make sure the leash is short enough so she can’t jump out of the tub and choke herself.
4) Help her get a grip: Putting a plastic milk crate, rubber mat or some other similar object in the tub will give your clutching kitty something to grab, so she’s less likely to sink her claws into you.

Hopefully none of us will be bathing cats regularly, but I thought these steps might help when it’s necessary.

*These tips are home remedies only and should not ever be used as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your veterinarian. If your pet has a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical care.

Alice England


Mary said...

Snowbird, the cat, said even though she's got a bad allergy right now, there's no way *she* would fall for that trick! She watched the video over my shoulder. :) She says cats are perfectly capable of grooming themselves thank you very much! Humans are just there for the nice back-scratching with the kitty brush every once in awhile. :)

She laughed at the doggy in the tub though.

Three Wishes Collective said...

I know the oatmeal bath helped Velvet a lot! We're going to follow up with another one this weekend, and hopefully that will do the trick. She's been so miserable.

Art and Sew Forth said...

Itchy buttside must be fleas...Itchy head is allergies!
Good info! At first I thought the dog was a miniature in a sink! And that cat video was a riot!