HOW TO BATH A WEGIE............
Each wegie will need slightly different treatment to be presented in best coat at a show, and this article is about what I learned from others or from the school of hard knocks, during ten years of showing wegies. I am sure there are other ways to do this, but this way worked for me, and got the kitties to top in country a few years in a row.
Wegies are all diffrerent about bathing!
I have one who sits in the tub begging me to hurry up and switch on the water to fill around her, so she can see how far she can splash it, and play with her wind up alligator. Then I have one who prefers not to get her feet wet (the rest can get wet, it's just a foot fetish.) Neither of them thinks water is for washing! Well, let me adjust that a bit. The water maniac one is my housekeepng monitor. I always know when to vacuum - she washes her feet in the waterbowl - preferably noisily at 3am.
Bottom line - If you want to bath a wegie you need to turn it into a fun game that you share. Use every trick you can think of to do that, and the job will be easier. Toys R in! Introduce new kitties to the game, slowly. I try to adapt to what each cat likes. My black male will do almost anything for the massage through the towel that gets him dry. My blue girl wants the blow drier on her tummy (but not anywhere else.) She'd sit there all day getting her tummy blown. My silver torbie does not care how she is dried as long as it does not put a hair out of place in the process, and the tortie is happy on a lead in the sun outside where she can watch the birds while I dry. So I am quick about the part each does not like, and I allocate lots of time for the part they do, and lots of treats.
It's good to gather your tools of trade, before you get started with the bath. I like to collect together:
* Several large bath towels. These are for the wet cat to sit on, on your lap, and to use to massage the
cat dry. My boy who is into massage therapy, always wants another bath when I am done! Some
extra towels or a change of clothing for when you are done is also wise.
*Different color sponges, so you know which is for the face and which for the other end, and which are toys, and plastic container to scoop water over the cat.
* Mechanic's hand degreaser if you have a cat with stud tail (very greasy fur above the tail base). Black cats get it more often, but blue ones also get it, and it happens in males and females. I rub in a little in the super-greasy area above the tailbase which is called "stud tail", wait five minutes, then rinse off with a hand showerhead. Then I do the rest of the bath normally. When in doubt as to how greasy your cat is, do include this, it ensures a nice grease-free coat. Wegies have tail-top *grease* and fur *oil*. Not same thing! You don't need the grease, it is dull. The oil is good and gives a shine along with waterproofing.
* A couple of face cloths for noses and ears.
I'll mention here that I do not hold the cat in the bath. Cats detest being held and will fight you about it.
Don't hold, and they will not fight!
I let them sit or stand or put two paws on the tub edge, and just block their exit. For the ones with precharged pogostick back legs, they have two paws on the tub edge and my hand above the front legs, almost cupping the head, to block. If they try to jump, lift the hand to force the cat to look up and not see where to jump without actually being held. Before the bath I do remove any potentially disaster items from the bathroom (like litter trays) so that an escaped cat is no biggie. They go walkabout, and I put them back in the nice warm water. The bathroom is pretty waterproof, it will survive a wet cat. I use a hand-held showerhead. Not being circus-trained, I get everything easy to use with ONE hand in advance, enough shampoo for one cat in a little container for example. If you think you may be mistaken for a tree to climb, a tube of hypercal in stock will take care of any inadvertent rearrangement of your "bark" surface.
* Cat shampoo suitable for your cat. I use a general good quality cat shampoo for most of my cats, but a special gentle one for light colored cats, and a second followup shampoo for extra body for the fluffy areas of long haired show cats.
(I know I sound like a Biogroom ad here, and quite possibly other brands will work just as well. But as I found some that did not, and this does...it's what I know works.)
Choose One basic shampoo for the "main" bath:
* Biogroom UltaBlack for dark cats like black, black tortie and blue colors.
* Biogroom SuperWhite for white cats.
* Biogroom Bronze lustre for in-between colors like silvers, creams, bluecreams, reds.
* Biogroom protein-lanolin shampoo for cats with very dry coats, like cream smokes, blue smokes may have.
First, I get the cat wet. Half an hour later when that has been achieved, I use a facecloth on the face with plain water, clean the eyes first then the inner ears, then the nose, cleaning grunge off red and cream cat noses and suchlike. If it is hard grunge as some reds tend to get, I leave it wet and come back later. Still only with a wet facecloth - that has just the right abrasion without being rough.
For wegies, NEVER put shampoo on the top of the back. Studtail is already gone from the degreasing step,
and the last thing a wegies needs is its raincoat oil stripped out. During rinsing, some dilute shampoo leftovers
will get onto the back inadvertently - and that's fine, it's all it needs. It's the undercoat that benefits most from
this bath thing.
So apply the shampoo starting with bum, tail, back legs, undercarriage, front legs, under throat. Massage in, one direction only as yu are not in the business of adding knots, with a lot of water using a sponge as that gets it nice and frothy - then lift each foot and work shampoo lather into the areas between toes. Lastly get a little shamapoo lather on your fingers and carefully do the ears, I use fingers or a small sponge ripped off the main one - with emphasis on the earmuff area behind the ears. Don't put shampoo here directly - just "borrow" some lather. I then wipe the ears with a facecloth to blot as much soap as possible and so avoid getting any in the eyes later during rinsing. (During rinsing I always hold the front of the cat up and rinse off with a showerhead - squeezing water out of the coat and repeating a lot. One of the best tips is the rinsing. ANY residue and the coat will be dull. There is no such thing as too much rinsing for a wegie :-)))
So rinse well, most of the coat will not see the next shampoo layer.
Second shampoo only for the special wegie fluff areas: Ruff, tail, knickerbockers, nowhere else.
Don't skip this one :-)))
* Biogroom Extra-body shampoo.
This shampoo is my alltime favourite. I could not believe how well the tails fluffed compared to what I used
before. I used to bath the cats 5 days before the show as I took that long for the tails to fluff out again. But with
this shampoo, even the day before is okay - though I like 2 days before, better.
I think the secret here is to use the right amount of shampoo - enough to get a good lather in the fluff zones,
but not enough to contaminate the rest of the coat. Rinse carefully so you try not to get this shampoo all
over the coat. It will get around, but limit it.
Now you rinse and rinse and rinse and rinse, and squeeze water out, and rinse, and blot with a towel, and rinse one more time.
Here's the part where you gently squeeze-massage the coat dry through a towel, not rubbing, just squeezing. I face the cat away from me, as they seem to like it better. They can watch the world as I massage them dry. Some cats will help you. My black boy lies on his back and purrs, and while I do one side of a leg he licks the other. Make this a special time with your cat. When you have a few wet towels the cat is dry enough for a very coarse long-tooth comb. Then more squeeze-drying with a new towel. Then another coarse-comb, and it's time to blowdry.
The main thing to blow dry is the tail. The drier it is, the better it will fluff - but always dry a wegie from below so you do not damage the topcoat by burning the very fine tapered fur tips of the raincoat. Also, put your hand between the drier and the cat so you KNOW what heat is getting to the delicate furtips. Split ends are not okay, and wegie fur ismuch much finer than most people seem to realize. Just because the guardhairs are relatively coarse, so it is deceptive - but they have sharp tapered tips that burn and damage easily - and the undercoat is so fine it makes a chinchilla persian look coarse. The better the tip-fur condition the nicer the coat will look after grooming.
I like to have a day here for the coat to settle and any missed molecules to evaporate. Then the evening before the show, it's grooming time.
Here I use (even on black cats since there is no black one):
* Biogroom Pro-White SMOOTH-coat Grooming Powder. (NOT the "Coarse")
On all cats, I put a little of this behind the ears in the ear muffs. This is the part of a wegie tha can droop if you look at it. So I powder it the evening before, and the morning of, the show. And I do not touch with my greasy fingers, or it wll fall down like Humpty Dumpty.
I brush it out with a one inch circular genuine bristle brush, no artificial fibers. This brush goes to the show of course as those muffs need a fluff at the last second. In black cats it takes a lot of brushing and I use very little powder, and try not to get it "everywhere".
On lighter cats I use the powder in the ruff and tail and knickerboclers as well. On the black ones you just have to hope you rinsed well enough!!! I have a larger round bristle brush to get the powder out here.
Now to groom the cat:
TAIL Hold the tail up by the tip, and starting at the tailbase and working up, comb down (against the natural directon) a tiny bit of fur at a time, working your way up the tail in tiny bits of fur all the way round. This fluffs out the tail wonderfully well. I do this the night before, and again the morning of the show before I leave - and if need be on arrival at the showhall. Do the same against the fur number with a little bit of fur at a time, on the knickerbockers and ruff. Be sure to brush the undercarriage too so it looks good.
If any part of the smooth raincoat area looks dull, you can put a little bay-rum on your hands, and just smooth them over the coat a few times - or you can use a geniune chamois and smooth that over the coat.
If you are in a superdried air area, Biogroom has an anti-static product that you can spray on, but make sure you miss the fluff areas. I would not use it unless you really need it.
Be sure that any comb you use on a wegie has VERY well rounded tips, and no rough aspects. My preference is a comb with rotating teeth, anything o look after those delicate furtips, and not scratch the skin. Scratching the skin also makes the cat subject to fungal attack if there are any ringworm spores floating about at a show. The ringworm can only attack if it finds a breach in the skin defences through which to get in.
If you live in a flea capital, or forgot to do Frontline, then do a fleacomb after a coarse comb during the bath, so that stuck-on fleadirt gets unstuck.
If your wegie has matts, rub in cornflour in the matt, before the bath, and get the coat mattfree while dry.
Liking the bath:
I bring them up to like water rather than to be afraid of it. There are no squirtguns of water in my house. It seems to me illogical if you want the cat to run from a little squirt of water, and then want it to like a lot of water in a bath. Cats respond very poorly to negative ideas like squirt guns anyway. It is better to train with positive ideas. For example I encourage them to play a little in the dishwashing water - and they will always go to the washing up out of curiosity. I encourage a few games involving water in other ways - such as the bathtub, with a few bath bubbles, and a favourite toy for them to bat about in the water. There are always bright toys floating in the tub when I bring the cat into the bathroom for a bath - afte the noisy water has run in. they see the toys not the water.
The way you talk to your cat also helps. Mine know what "want a treat?" means, and I suggest you teach yours. That way, you can talk about treats in the bathing process, and if the cat is good, treat with a reward during the bath. If you instead sound all frustrated that this bath is all kiinds of trouble, your cat will pick up on that. So chat in a friendly way as if this is the most wonderful thing you ever had the opportunity to do with your cat. The more genuine you sound, the more your cat will go along with this activity, and the less your friends will think you sane. Cats love fun. You should make the maximum use of that fact!!! Be as sneaky as necessary, but make it fun, and allow lots of time. You must surely have noticed that cats are not good at being rushed. Training them to find water fun, will take time. Go slowly at first, and use opportunities that you see.
Cats do nothing for free, they expect to be paid. And they have better memories than elephants, so: Be sure after the bath, to give your kitty LOTS of treats.
I have yet to meet a wegie that hates water, but I suppose it might happen. Fr those, I would give a giant capsule of Pet Power Tranquility about 1/2 hour before the bath. If even that is not helpful, then you'll need to discuss Acepromazine with your vet. It's on prescription and dosed by weight, and with the right dosage it will knock the strength out of the legs.
On the other hand, the one time I used "Ace" on a wegie (he was freaking in the car when we were caught in a terrible storm and I needed all my concentration to drive - I had the Ace with me "for incase".) it did not turn out as expected. Loki decided to sit up shortly after the dose, fell down, tried again, and looked at me in fury - YOU DID THIS TO ME could not have been clearer, and he was SO angry at the principle! He fought it so much it was worse than without the Ace. So if you use it on one of these bright spark wegies, do it surreptitiously a good 3/4 hr in advance :-))) I will not try it myself, a Bach remedy training period for a month would be my alternative choice.
Good luck with your cat bath. I hope it is, or soon will be, a pleasant experience for you and your cat.
This is why it takes so long to wet a wegie for a bath - they do have proper waterproofing!!!!