How to survive giving your cat a bath

If your cat is looking a little dirtier than usual, it might be that dreaded time again – bath time. There’s no doubting that cleaning your cat can be a mission but with the following tips, even the scariest part of being a cat owner can be a breeze!

Usually, cats are very good at grooming and can spend up to 40% of their day cleaning themselves. Because of this, you may not have to bathe your cat at all. However, if your cat is unable to groom themselves or has gotten exceptionally dirty, you might just have to roll the sleeves up and get stuck in!

Most domestic cats have evolved to hate water as their coats absorb moisture rather than deflect it. This makes it way harder for cats to dry off once they’re wet. And they don't like being wet. Cue vicious circle!

So, we’ve put together some ways to make your cat's bath as quick and painless as possible.

Before the bath, you need to prepare some supplies -

  • Cat-safe shampoo.
  • A soft washcloth for face cleaning.
  • A large jug for rinsing or if possible a gentle spray nozzle.
  • Several soft towels.
  • A rubber mat for the bottom of the tub for your cat to grip to (this will help your cat feel more secure).
  • Cotton balls (you should gently put half a cotton ball in each ear to prevent water getting in there).

Once you have your supplies, it’s time to bathe your cat. But before starting, remember to brush the dirt from your cat’s hair and brush the tangles out. Once the cat’s fur is wet, tangles won’t come out easily.

  • Run enough warm water into your tub or sink to reach past their belly making sure the temperature is tolerable. You want the volume of water to be sufficient to allow rinsing.
  • Gently place your cat into the tub and using either your jug or spray nozzle, wet their body with warm water.
  • Avoid bathing the head area and focus on the fur from their neck to their tail.
  • Once your cat is thoroughly wet, lather the cat’s body with the shampoo - make sure you lather their underside too.
  • Rinse their body (again, avoiding the head area) until you can’t feel shampoo in the cat’s hair anymore.
  • Use a damp towel to clean your cat’s head.
  • Wrap your cat in a towel to absorb the water, and then use another towel to gently dry – and you’re done!

To make the process easier, here are some tricks to keep in mind -

  • Start bathing your cats when they’re kittens so they can get used to water.
  • Encourage your cats to play in the water so they associate the tub and the water with positive feelings.
  • Use minimal restraint and avoid unnecessary noises so your cat doesn’t get spooked.
  • Give your cat some treats to reward them!
  • And lastly, be as quick as possible so your cat doesn’t have to be wet longer than necessary.

We hope that with these practical tips, bath time is a more enjoyable event for you and your cat!