“Why is my cat shaking after a bath?”, you mumble to yourself knowing you’re not getting an answer from the mischievous monster herself. “Why is my cat the one that hates anything to do with water? She doesn’t mind licking herself clean! Why does she mind when I try to do the work for her?”
Cats are curious creatures – and we don’t mean “curious” because they can’t seem to keep their paws out of everyone’s business. We mean “curious” because they’re strange and behave a certain way that makes you say something along the lines of “What’s wrong with her?”, “Why does she do that?”, and “What?!”
Oh, let’s be honest – there hasn’t even been a day since you hopped online and Googled “Why does my cat keep sleeping in the bathtub?” and learned that cats actually love spending time in the bathroom.
But, even though the two of you can’t even snuggle and cuddle without sweating your eyes out, she starts growling and grumbling at the thought of entering the bathtub.
Of course, the bathtub doesn’t seem to be the stumbling stone of the bathing problem – the moment that she catches a glimpse of water she storms out of the room!
And, even when you do manage to wipe her down with a damp cloth, she starts shaking and shivering like you’ve thrown her over the edge of the Golden Gate! “Argh, what’s the thing with cats and baths? Why is my cat shaking after a bath!?” Oh, the sheer frustration of the whole predicament!
But, don’t worry! We’re bringing you the scoop on how to survive the bathing time with your furry friend!
What’s the deal with cats and baths? Why does my cat hate bathing!?
Cats don’t hate bathing! Cats hate water and that’s why most cats shake and shiver at the thought of getting themselves wet – or even worse, allowing humans to get them wet! And, cats have the opinion that they can take care of themselves without the help of humans. Come on, they lick themselves clean!
You don’t believe that? Take a look at your TikTok right now and you will find a bunch of videos of cats falling into pools, bathtubs, and fishtanks, screaming in sheer horror because… water!
And, your fluffy friend might do a little splish splash while drinking water. But, that’s not to say that she’s comfortable with wetting her paws.
Why do cats hate water? Oh, there are a bunch of reasons why your furry friend might have a breakdown at the thought of bathing. But, cats are different from each other and they might have different experiences related to water. Some even enjoy an occasional bathtub party with rubber ducks and everything!
First things first, your four-legged’s purrsonal vendetta against ANY body of water might have started way, way back… when she was an African wildcat. Most domesticated cats descended from African wildcats which didn’t have much experience with swimming – and hence, evolved to fear water.
On the other hand, we can’t forget about your fluff’s survival skills. More times than not, cats that didn’t grow up around water don’t understand what they’re supposed to do (because they don’t know how to swim). They stay away from water because that’s the safe thing to do.
Oh and, you try carrying a bunch of water on your back! But, whatever her reasons might be, they don’t necessarily answer the question from the beginning of the article.
Why is my cat shaking after a bath?
For starters, cats clearly have something against bathing! As much as you’d want your precious purrincess to be the fluffiest and the cleanest kitty on the playground, there are going to be times when you are going to have to let her take care of her grooming. And, there’s nothing wrong with that!
As a matter of fact, most cats don’t even need to bathe as often as pet parents think. Shorthair cats can take care of themselves (especially when they don’t leave the house for most of the day). Longhair cats, on the other hand, require more of your time and attention with hygiene stuff.
Don’t get me wrong; bathing’s great because your four-legged friend gets rid of excess oil, dander, and shed hair. Not to mention the fact that she has the opportunity to learn that the water won’t hurt her – especially when you’re there. But, too much bathing can cause flaky skin and dry fluff… and shaking, apparently!
1. She’s furreezing!
That would be the obvious reason, wouldn’t it? Your furry friend might not be accustomed to the whole “getting your entire body wet to clean yourself” thing. Hence, she might have a hard time dealing with the water dripping from her fluff and weighing her down.
And, on a more serious note, she might even experience hypothermia when you don’t make sure to dry her off the moment you’re done bathing her. Some of the most common symptoms of hypothermia are shaking, difficulty breathing, panting, lethargy, and drowsiness.
When left untreated, symptoms can evolve to a decreased heart rate, coma, and death. Make sure you bathe your fluffy friend the right way (more on that later in the article!), dry her off, and provide her with blankets and other sources of heat.
2. She’s hot, maybe?
That would be a little less obvious, wouldn’t it? Apart from a decreased body temperature (and hypothermia), your fluffy friend can be shaking as a result of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia means her body temperature’s higher than what’s considered healthy – and you need to get her temperature down ASAP!
That’s not to say that your cat’s gotten a fever because of the bathing. But, the bathing’s certainly making the symptoms worse. Some other symptoms you might want to keep an eye out for are restlessness, grooming, panting, sweating (mainly paws), and staggering.
And, you can try to get her temperature down with fresh drinking water or a cold compress. But, contacting your vet and scheduling an appointment’s a better option for both hypothermia and hyperthermia.
3. Baths stress her out
“Why is my cat shaking after a bath? She hates bathing but she’s been behaving herself when getting a bath for the last couple of times. However, when we’re done with the bath she doesn’t stop shaking and shivering. What’s the deal with that?” Oh, anxiety and stress are common reasons for shaking – even in humans!
So, when your furry friend’s doing anything she’s not comfortable with, you might notice she’s shaking, shivering, scratching your sofa, pawing at the carpet, and making sounds you haven’t heard before. That’s her way of communicating how she’s feeling.
The two of you may need to work on making bathing more enjoyable for her.
4. She’s terrified of bathing!?
Oh, you’ve probably considered the pawsibility that your feline friend might be scared of bathing. “But, what’s there to be scared of? She gets plenty of belly rubs, snuggles, and kisses afterward – not to mention her favorite treats (she won’t even enter the bathroom without turkey bites!)“
And, you might think there’s nothing scary about bathing. But, there’s a chance your feline might have experienced something traumatic while she was bathing when she was a kitten. You probably wouldn’t even know because that happened before you rescued or adopted her.
You can always ask a vet or an animal behaviorist for help. And, you can continue working on bonding with her and making her feel as comfortable as pawsible while she’s bathing.
5. Baths hurt her little beans
“Wait, what?!“ Don’t worry, we’re not talking about a bathroom monster that hurts your precious purrincess while she’s bathing. But, we’re talking about the fact that she might be shaking because she’s hurting – and not because she’s gotten hurt during the bath (even though that’s a pawsibility!)
But, you shouldn’t shy away from scheduling an appointment with your vet to check whether she’s hurt herself recently. She might have bumped her head on something or slipped over something – or, she might have even burned her little beans because of hot water!
Whatever the case might be, make sure you don’t overlook the possibility of a wound, a bruise, or a cut.
The dos and don’ts of grooming: how to bathe your cat and survive?
Now, the cold doesn’t seem to be the only reason why your cat’s shaking after a bath. But, the cold does seem to be the one that happens the most often. And, battling the cold might help your cat feel better about having a bath in the first place.
Actually, some of the most common precautions before bathing your fluffy friend are clipping her nails beforehand, brushing her fluff beforehand, making sure the bathroom’s warm and out of draft’s way, distracting her with fun activities, and staying away from scary objects (like mirrors!).
On the other hand, don’t forget to make your curious creature feel better after the bath, too! Other than showering her with love and affection (and a chicken nugget, or two), make sure you keep her warm and dry with any of the following tips.
1. Towel drying time!
“Why is my cat shaking after a bath?” Maybe because you haven’t dried her fluff properly? Maybe because she’s dripping droplets of water on everything and she’s dreading your reaction? Or, maybe because her fluff’s soaked enough water to last for a decade?
But, you can make sure to towel dry your fluffy friend and fight shy of her attacks when she gets angry with you for leaving her out to dry. And, how do you towel dry a cat? Prepare everything you can beforehand – trust me, the moment you’re done with the bath, you’re going to need some help.
Swaddle her quickly (like a little burrito) before she has a chance to escape. She should feel more safe and secure, and you should use that opportunity to gently pat her with another towel (or even to rub her fur thoroughly, depending on what she lets you do). And, voilà!
2. Provide the lady with a heating pad!?
Oh, heating pads are great for your little fluff when she’s looking for some warmth! When you’ve done the whole “towel drying” thing, feel free to place her on a heating pad to keep her warm and ensure her fluff dries thoroughly.
Go for the waterproof heating pad, though! Not every heating pad on the market’s suitable for cats (especially not dripping cats), and you shouldn’t waste your money on something that can’t even help you with the problem you have.
And, don’t forget to keep your eyes on your cat while she’s sleeping on the pad. Make sure she doesn’t overheat or you might end up with the same problem of shaking and shivering after a bath.
3. Give her a 90s babe blowout, maybe?
Oh, we’re messing with you! We’re not saying you should give your feline friend a 90s supermodel blowout. But, we are saying you should use the blowdryer to your advantage. Humans use these bad boys for a reason – there’s no better way to dry the fluff without the hassle of waiting for hours and hours.
But, make sure your feline’s fine with the sound the blowdryer makes. Cats can be pretty sensitive when they’re hanging out with vacuums, blow dryers, and other machines that make strange sounds. When she understands that the blowdryer won’t hurt her, feel free to dry her fluff on a low-heat setting!
4. Keep her beans nice and toasty with a hot water bottle!
“Why is my cat shaking after a bath? She isn’t afraid of bathing, but the moment that she gets out of the bath she starts shaking!” She’s probably cold because she’s dripping with water and you’re not doing anything to warm her up – that’s the number one rule of bathing!
But, don’t worry, you have plenty of gadgets and gizmos to choose from. And, when you’re a little low on pocket money, you might want to give the good old hot water bottle a try. Trust me, there isn’t a better (and cheaper) way to keep your fluffy friend warm after a bath.
Place your hot water bottle on the floor, place your cold cat on the hot water bottle, and voila! And, not only does the water bottle keep your fluffy friend warm. But, the heat helps her dry off quicker making her happier and healthier. Oh, we love a win-win!