The dry-cleaning alternative

If you survived giving your cat his first water bath, you might be thinking of possible alternatives. In cases where the cat isn’t terribly soiled, you can “dry clean” him by sprinkling him with talcum powder and then brushing it out. Pet stores also have dry shampoos that function the same way. Some owners give bran baths, using bran sold for either humans or horses.

The bran is heated in an oven, then massaged into the fur, then brushed out, taking dirt and oil with it. In the case of tar or oil on the hair, you can daub the spot with mineral oil, let it set for several hours, and then try to swab it off with soap and water.
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