Persian Cat Grooming & Bathing
Grooming a Persian cat is quite different than grooming other cat breeds. Persian cats need grooming on a daily basis, at least as far as combing or brushing goes. We use a wide-metal tooth, static free, comb. We do not use a brush; unless it is for "fluffing" the coat of the cat after all mats have been removed. Of course, if combing your Persian is part of your daily grooming, your Persian cat will not have any mats. Pay special attention to behind the Persian's ears, under the armpits, and around the rump and legs as mats collect faster in these areas.
Here is a link to our recommended Supply List for Persians.
Before you bathe your Persian, make sure you get all the mats out. To do this, take a wide toothed comb, and gently comb out the cat. Do NOT pull the mats out. If you come across a mat, gently pull (break) it apart using your fingers. If you pull the mat out with your comb, you will pull all the hair out right down to the skin and have a bald patch on your Persian. Worst case scenario, if the mats will not break up, you can use a dematting tool or cut it out with a pair of scissors. Again, whatever you do, please do not pull the mat out as it will not only ruin the coat, but cause a lot of pain to your Persian cat.
The frequency of baths will depend on your Persian's fur. A Persian cat will begin to look greasy as it becomes dirtier and mats will increase quickly if the cat is not bathed. A clean Persian's coat is not greasy and will not appear separated. An owner can either bathe their Persian themselves or take it to a professional groomer. However, the type of bath and the products used are important so if you opt to use a groomer make sure you know what products are being used.
Bathing Your Persian Yourself
Remove all mats and knots in your cat's coat before the bath.
Do no use sharp-pointed scissors as you could cut the cat if he moves or jumps. Additionally, the cat's skin is very thin and it is very easy to cut/slice the skin without much pressure. To remove the mats, work at them with a large toothed comb and pull them apart. If you have larger mats, pull them apart into smaller knots and use the comb to work them out from the skin side outwards. The skin beneath the mat can be very tender and sore so be gentle. If a mat is left too long, the skin can become infected. It is best to comb a Persian cat daily in order to avoid mats altogether. In between baths, powder will help to absorb the grease and decrease matting. Grooming powder not baby powder. :-)
Trim the cat's nails prior to bathing.
This will make the bath much more enjoyable for you. Take care not to cut them too short or they will bleed. You should always have styptic powder on hand in case you cut a nail too short and bleeding occurs. I like either:
- Top Performance Medistyp Powder with Benzocaine
Please visit the Pet Edge web site to order these products.
Degreasing a Persian Cat
I use my kitchen sink to degrease and bathe my Persians. The first step in a proper bath for a Persian is to degrease it.
After all the mats are removed, it is time to degrease the coat prior to bathing. There are a few good products that I recommend: Goop and/or Dawn dishwashing detergent.
- If using Goop, apply it directly to the dry coat and rub it in, paying attention to behind the ears and underarm areas where the coat is usually the greasiest. It is not unusual to use a whole container on one adult cat. Goop is great in the fact that it not only degreases, but cleans and moisturizes (AGAIN: I need to stress this: Goop is applied to a dry coat). You can purchase Goop at Wal-Mart (or similar type stores) in the automotive section. It comes in a white tub just make sure you buy the NON pumice kind.
- If using House of An-Ju, follow the directions on the bottle.
- If using Dawn, there are a couple of ways to use it and it depends on what you feel most comfortable with. Some people apply the detergent directly to a wet coat while others prefer to dilute it. You can fill the sink with warm, soapy water (Dawn). Put the cat in the sink and work the soapy water into the cat's coat until thoroughly coated. Wash thoroughly.
Whether using Dawn, Goop or House of An-Ju One Step Degreaser, after degreasing the coat it is important to rinse thoroughly. If using Goop, after applying to dry coat, add a small amount of water and lather the goop on the cat. Rinse thoroughly.
After degreasing your Persian's coat, rinse thoroughly. Float your cat's coat (picture below - see how the cat's coat is "floating" in the water?). Floating your Persian's coat is to gently ease the cat under the water (not its head) so that the coat rises up. Let the cat up immediately. Do this several times to make sure the water gets under the coat.
After using the Goop to degrease the cat, and rinsing thoroughly, then it is time for the first shampoo. Use Dawn (original) dish washing liquid to wash the cat for the first shampoo. Lather the cat up using lots of water. Do not use too much soap or it will be difficult to remove all the soap from the cat's fur.
Rinse thoroughly again. It is important to make sure you get all the shampoo and any residual degreaser out of the coat. Float the coat again.
The type of coat your Persian cat has will dictate the type of shampoo to use. If the coat tends to be on the dry side, use a moisturizing shampoo. If the coat is really fine, a human shampoo for body and volume can be used (i.e., Aussie, Nexus or Willow Lake). Wash your Persian thoroughly using whichever shampoo works best for your cat's coat.
Rinse thoroughly again. It is important to make sure you get all the shampoo out of the coat. Float the coat again. If you fail to rinse all of the shampoo out, the coat will appear dirty and greasy within a few days.
If you want, now is the time to use a shampoo that is formulated for the color of your Persian.
Some breeders and show people will sometimes use a water/apple cider vinegar mixture after this rinse to help restore the cat's natural PH. Add 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to a cup or so of water, pour this thoroughly through the coat and then RINSE the coat with warm clear water AGAIN.
Moisturize - if needed
To add back moisture/oil to a stripped coat use a medicated shampoo or a cool, hot-oil treatment. I say cool, hot-oil because you do not want it so hot that you burn the cat's skin. You will need to experiment with different shampoos and products to see what works best on your Persian's coat and if it needs a moisturizer or not. I like the Medicated Oatmeal Shampoo by EZ-Groom. If you use a hot-oil treatment on the cat, you will then need to wash it out and rinse again.
Prior to a final rinse you want to make sure that there is no soap in the cat's eyes. Flush or rinse the eyes with an approved eyewash such as Opticlear which can be found in most breeder catalogs and retail pet stores such as Petsmart. Purchase Opticlear on-line from Petsmart. WARNING: Do not use anything in your cat's eyes that says it gets the red out.
Washing a Persian's Face
Wash a Persian's face by mixing up some baby shampoo with water. About a 20% shampoo to 80% water mixture. Gently wash the cat's face with this mixture. You can use a very soft baby toothbrush to gently scrub around his eyes and nose. Rinse thoroughly. Make sure that while rinsing that you sweep the water from the cat's eyes and nose area with your hand often to avoid getting water up the cat's nose and making the cat feel that he is drowning. :-)
Rinse your Persian one last time. Make sure the water runs clear and pay special attention to the underarms and stomach. If there is any shampoo left on the coat at all, the coat will appear flat and greasy looking within a very short time. Float the coat again.
Squeeze the excess water from the coat, pat the coat dry with a towel, dry the cat's face with a towel, and then dry the cat with a dryer.
There are a few ways to dry a Persian cat: cage dryer, or by blowing dry with an animal dryer (not your hair dryer). I use both. However, it is important that whatever you use to dry your Persian that you do not burn him. I prefer the Metro Force dryers as they blow the water off the coat with cooler air. It is not necessary to comb out the coat until the hair is almost dry. Metro Force dryers at Pet Edge. There are more expensive models than the one from this link, but this one is quite adequate for most owners' use.
There is also a great dryer that can dry a Persian safely in a very short amount of time. The Pet Dryer can be reached by following this link. We have one of these dryers and love it!
Wash your Persian's ears after degreasing, but before the shampoo. There are commercial products designed for this. Petkin Wipes are handy for cleaning ears (available online at Petsmart).
To remove static from your Persian's coat, you can mix a small amount of fabric softener in a gallon of water. Pour it through the coat, spreading it thoroughly and then RINSE AGAIN! After you have washed your Persian cat a few times, you will be able to tell if you need to remove static from his coat and will need to use the fabric softener/water mixture or not.
Never flea bath or flea dip a kitten!
Different coat colors will require a different bath shampoo. For example, for a white coat there are shampoos specially designed with a brightening or bluing formula to whiten the coat. There are shampoos formulated for black coats. There are shampoos formulated for red coats. So when shopping for a shampoo keep in mind the coat color of your Persian. Most of the commercial shampoo products will specify exactly what they are intended to do. Shop around. There are some good suggestions for these shampoos on our Supply List.
Some people do not like the grooming that some Persians need and opt to shave their cats into a "lion cut". A lion cut is where the body is shaved and the tip of the tail, legs and head remain unshaven. It is really a cute cut. Of course, if you are showing your Persian cat, you cannot show a Persian with its coat all shaved off. If shaving is needed, contact a groomer or your vet.
Powder can help absorb some of the grease. I suggest using soft white grooming powder between baths.
Now you are an expert on bathing and grooming your Persian cat. Make it an enjoyable activity by being extremely patience with your cat. Many Persians learn to love their baths, some merely tolerate it. However, the more you bathe your Persian, the more he will get used to it.
More information on bathing and grooming Persians. This article offers written information as well as a couple of videos on grooming and bathing Persian cats.
PLEASE NOTE: Pelaqita Persians provides the feline information on this site as a service to the public. Pelaqita Persians does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, or product. Diagnosis and treatment of specific conditions should ALWAYS be in consultation with one's own veterinarian. Pelaqita Persians', and Susan and/or John MacArthur, disclaim all warranties and liability related to the veterinary advice and information provided on this site.