Cats may need bathing for a number of reasons: shedding, flea infestation, family allergies or poor coat with matted fur. The cat may need to be shaved down with a Lion Cut as well. I shave from behind the ears to the first joint on each leg and to the end of the tail leaving a small fluffy tip. If they are long haired then they'll have a lion mane and the paws will have fluffy boots.
If no Lion Cut is needed, I bath with a de-shedding shampoo.
Shaving and bathing will give the cat healthier skin and a chance to grow a fresh new coat. The fleas, matts and dead hair will be gone and the cat will be much happier.
If there are allergies to the cat dander in the family, this may need to be done monthly. Otherwise, the cat may need this grooming every 2-4 months with the owner brushing in between.
Before the bath, I clean the ears and clip the nails. I shave most of the hair using blades that can range from a #10 (close to the skin) to a #5 (leaves a little fuzz) with the most common being #7. Then I secure an E-collar for the bathing and drying to protect the cat's face. I wrap the cat's paws after clipping nails with vet wrap - the bundling effect helps calm them and if they try to scratch me, I'm protected. I try not to put the wraps and collar on before the bath unless I feel the cat needs it.
In my mobile van, the cat does not sit in water; the shampoo/water mix is squirted from a bottle and massaged into the skin. The cat is rinsed off with a small hose, using warm water even in the summer. If the cat panics and scrambles around while leashed in the tub, I talk soothingly, shut everything down and place a small towel over the E-collar. Being covered usually calms them. Then I'll finish the rinsing.
After towel drying, I use a blow dryer set on low leaving the towel over the head if it makes the cat calmer. Sometimes the cat will begin to purr while I'm drying him, and then I'll take off the booty wraps and collar. I'll finish with a final shave to even out the coat.
I love how they strut when I return them to their house!