I know, you’re supposed to start washing them regularly in kittenhood, so they get used to it, if they never actually enjoy it. But we neglected to do this when our younger cat was a kitten, and the older one came to us when she was already grown up and extremely nervous.
They seem to do fine grooming themselves and each other, but they occasionally get into something sticky that won’t wash out with just cat saliva. So I set out to find the lowest-stress method possible for washing a cat.
There are commercial products, of course, but on the Internet I also found recipes for homemade shampoos — and the oatmeal bath idea. You rub uncooked oats into the cat’s coat, where they soak up grease and dirt, then you brush them out. No one has to get wet! I had to try this.
First, you’re supposed to heat up the oatmeal in a 150 degree oven. Since we were making beef jerky that day, the oven was all set, so I just dumped a cup of oats on a baking sheet and put it in for about 15 minutes. Then I shut the warm oats, the younger cat, and myself into the bathroom.
The cat didn’t care about the oatmeal, once he decided not to eat it. The closed door bothered him, though. It was tricky rubbing oatmeal into his coat as he stood on his hind legs, scratching at the door. After a few minutes of rubbing and brushing, I let him out and put the rest of the oatmeal away until the next time someone (human) needs an anti-itching bath.
Was it worth it? It seems to me the cat smells a little cleaner and looks a little shinier. But I think I’ll put off his next oatmeal bath until he gets really greasy.