When I was in my teens, I had a fifteen pound, black domestic shorthair tomcat named Blackie. Well, he came home one afternoon, with blotches of tar on his fur, so I decided to bathe him, to get it out.
Really BAD idea- he wasn't too happy with me, and let me know in no uncertain terms. The clumped up fur dropped out, and grew over faster than my scratches did.
It's better than leaving the thing covered in tar.