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"Do you have any secrets for convincing an 18-year-old moggie to submit to a bath, peacefully? I'm worried he's going to claw me to pieces. He's always had a great coat but now it looks a little worse for wear."
Cats that haven't been brought up with baths are likely to bring out the claws at the mere mention of a scrub. But there is a way to pull off the seemingly impossible. The key is knowing how to give a bath without water. Sound strange? Well, provided your cat is fine with a pat it is quite easy.
Use a damp sponge instead of the bath tub. For a short-haired cat use a thin dish-cloth, while for a long-haired cat use a thicker (1cm or greater) sponge. Add a small amount of (preferably fragrance free) cat shampoo into a lukewarm bucket of water and dip the sponge in. With the sponge damp, but not dripping wet, run it through your cat's coat in a patting motion. To work it through the coat more effectively, and to loosen knots, run a brush through as well. Finish off the dry bath by running through a new sponge (with just water in it) to remove the remaining shampoo. A good brush at the end of the bath will prevent any knots from forming.
Tip: A sudden deterioration in the quality of the coat could mean that your cat needs a vet check-up. Arthritis (and difficulty grooming) could be one of the many potential causes.