How To Bathe A Cat – Complete Guide

How to bathe a cat? Let’s face it, as cat owners, we all know how terrifying water can be for cats. It isn’t fun for your cat and can be very irritating. That makes this article an interesting one! We are going to learn how to make cat bathing easier and fun.

Let’s begin!

Should you bathe cats?

Here is a common question we get asked a lot. Since cats are naturally self-cleaning, do they still need a bathe? The question would depend on your cat and its activities outdoors.

If your cat is an indoor one, you do not really need to bathe your cat every now and then. A bathe in two-three months can be fine too as long as you see your cat is clean. On the other hand, if your cat gets dirty and loves to spend time outdoors, then having a bathe once in every 20 days should be sufficient.

So in short, yes! Your cats need to have regular bathes and you are responsible for making that happen no matter how difficult it sounds!

Now that we have the premise set, it is time to actually go through the steps on how to bathe a cat. It is a tough task but if you go through these proper steps, the task will actually be a lot easier for you. Let’s begin!

How to bathe a cat step by step

Time needed: 1 hour.

How to Bathe a Cat

  1. Step 1: Is your cat ready?

    So the first step in bathing our cat is preparing your pet for the session. If your cat is not ready for the bathe, things are going to get even tougher. Nobody wants that to happen. So what can we do?
    At first, trim the nails of your cat and give her cat treats to appreciate the process.
    Related guide: Best Cat Nail Clippers
    Remember, we are not telling you to trim your cat’s nails immediately before the bathe. You can do it a few hours earlier or even a day before if you want to. Trimming the nails will make sure that your cat doesn’t cause you harm while you are bathing it.

    The next task is to brush your cat. This should be fun. Cats are furry and they often have knots or stiff areas in their body. Using a brush will make sure that the fur is well prepared before the bathe! Those stiff areas or knots are tough to clean when your cat is wet, therefore, the best idea is to do it early.

    If your cat likes the feel of brushing (a lot of the cats do) then you can actually use that to your advantage. You can brush your cat when you are clipping its nails to distract the attention. That is a good strategy to go for.

  2. Step 2: Let’s play

    This might seem unethical but this is not! Start playing your cat and play with him/her for at least half an hour before the bathe session. The cat will be tired and exhausted in this phase. Give him/her some treats and it will be ready for the bathe. As the cat will be tired, you will not face that much biting or scratching that you would have if the cat was active.

    A calm cat is always easier to deal with.

    You can also play with your cat while you are bathing it! Take the favorite toy of your cat to the bathroom and start playing. Your cat will soon start enjoying the process.

  3. Step 3: Shampoo

    Never ever choose a human shampoo or soap to bathe your cat! It is better if you don’t clean your cat than using a human product. Cats have a very delicate body and if you use a wrong product, not only will you damage the hair, but can also be dangerous for your ca’ts health. We have some suggestions for you to go for! You may try these. If you already are comfortable with a shampoo for your cat, you don’t need to shift!
    Any of these three options will serve you good enough. The third one is my favorite because it is tear-free, but all three are more or less, awesome! Again, if you don’t want to use these shampoos, that is fine too! If you think water is good enough for a bathe session (maybe your cat is not that dirty) then go for it.

  4. Step 4: Setting Up The Bathroom

    Obviously, the first task is to close the door! You don’t want your cat to run out of the bathroom while soaking wet. Also, if you have more than one cat, start with one at a time. Make sure to keep your other cats distracted while bathing one so they are not outside waiting and listening to the yowling noise of your bathing cat.
    To set up the bathroom, you have to first close the lid of the toilet. The next task is to get rid of your litter box if you have it in the bathroom. You do not want your cat to jump inside the litter box as soon as it is wet.One good strategy is allowing your cat to get used to the bathroom for a few minutes. Be there inside for your cat and let it inspect the bathroom.

  5. Step 5: Setting up the Bathing Place

    If you are bathing your cat in a tub, make sure that the floor tub is not slippery. You can use a mat or a towel to make sure that your cat doesn’t slip when it is inside the tub. The same practice applies if you are making your cat bathe on the tiles. Use a towel or a mat here too!

    Now, make sure that you are wearing gloves if you have a strong cat. If you are dealing with a calm cat, you do not need to go for that extra protection. However, you will still get splashed so wear proper clothing.

    Use warm water to bathe your cat. Avoid using cold water as it not comfortable for your feline friend. Don’t use hot water as well, keep it at a comfortable temperature. Always remember, cat’s skin is very sensitive, so keep it warm.

  6. Step 6: Bathing your cat

    Now it is time to actually bathe your cat. Make your cat sit or stand and then hold the body with one hand to maintain control. Now with your other hand, gently put shampoo, and lather very well on your cat’s body. Be gentle, and talk to your cat with a warm and comforting voice all the time so that it can understand, there is nothing to be afraid of.

    Do not fight with your cat inside the bathroom. If your cat is not liking the process, you need to go slow. Talk to your cat and play with it. Rub the ear and cuddle with your cat to make it feel more comfortable.

    When you are bathing your cat, make sure that you are avoiding eyes, ears, face, nose and mouth! This is very important.
    Only use water to clean those delicate areas of your cat to avoid accidents. One good strategy is to use a wash cloth to clean your cat after you take away the shampoo with warm water.

  7. Step 7: Drying your cat

    One important part of the whole ‘how to bathe a cat’ process is drying your cat. It is actually 60% of the whole process, which makes it very important.

    The first task is to use a dry cloth to cover your cat as soon as the bathe is over. Now massage your cat with the dry cloth on which will take away all the wetness from the body of your cat!

    Some people use hair dryer to dry their cats! That is not a bad idea either, it just takes time. You have to make sure that your cat is getting dried within a quick time so that they don’t catch cold. Cats do not like the sound of hair dryer. If you see that your cat is afraid of dryer, you should not use it!

How to bathe a cat: infographic

When to bathe a cat

Here is a list of what you need to check to know if your cat needs a bath. These are not difficult to notice with naked eyes but even then, we want to make your life a bit easier. So, let’s figure out when you should take that decision of taking your cat to the shower!

Sign 1: Cat Looks Dirty

We love our cats and we do not want to see them dirty. If you see that the color of your cat has changed due to dust or dirt, it is time that you take your cat and have a session with it.

Sign 2: The Cat’s Fur Looks Oily

At times, you will see that your cat looks clean but the coats are oily! That is another indication that you should immediately go for a cleaning session.

Smells Bad: Cats are physically close to us, and you will often feel that they are not smelling as awesome as before. Why? Well, because of those dirty dirts obviously! Though we can’t see it at times, those are there! A proper bathe is the only solution in this case.

Sign 3: Cat Has Fleas

Though going for a bath is not the only solution, it is a comfortable solution for your cat when there is a flea problem. Cats suffer a lot when fleas attack and they keep all of their attention on scratching their body all the time. To make sure that your cat doesn’t face that same phase, go for a bath!

Sign 4: Other Medical Conditions

At times, your vet will instruct you to bathe your cat once every certain day! You have to make sure that you are following the instructed schedule.

How to bathe a cat: a very useful video

In a word

That was it. This was our complete how to bathe a cat guide! Did you like it?

Don’t go ahead with the bathing process if your cat is panicking, hissing or showing stress! There is no point in going too hard so that your cat hates the next session. Be gentle and go slow. If your cat is completely against bathing, use a treated cloth instead of bathing. Don’t do something that makes your cat hate you in this process!


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