Get ready to learn all about the best way to bathe a cat, from the best place and things you’ll need as well as top tips and detailed steps.
Giving a cat a bath is no walk in the park! In fact, it can be a downright terrifying experience for your cat… and you!
Most cats don’t like water and will resist (with some vigor) your attempts to bathe it. We all know how scratchy cats can be and probably no more so when they perceive the threat of a bath is imminent!
However, with a few helpful tips on the best way to bathe a cat, you and your furry friend will get through it in no time!
Table of Contents
- Does My Cat Need a Bath?
- Where is the Best Place to Bathe a Cat?
- What Will You Need?
- Tips to Keep Your Cat Calm During a Bath
- Preparing and Handling Your Cat
- A Step-by-Step Cat Bathing Guide
- Related Posts
Does My Cat Need a Bath?
First things first! Ask yourself… does your cat really need a bath?
Our kitties are naturally very hygienic. Many can go their whole lives with just a few baths, especially indoor cats.
But in some cases, felines need a helping hand with their coats. Factors like age, disabilities, or health issues might make it tough for a cat to bathe herself. In these cases, loving pet parents have to step in.
That said, unless your cat struggles to bathe herself or you need to wash her with flea shampoo, bathtime is probably unnecessary.
Don’t bathe your cat if it’s not necessary.
Where is the Best Place to Bathe a Cat?
Bathtubs or large kitchen sinks are the best to bathe a cat. They’re easy enough to clean, and there’s easy access to flowing water.
At the very least, you should choose an indoor, secure area. And wherever you are, make sure the room is at a nice temperature and there aren’t fans blowing.
You want your cat to stay as cozy as possible throughout the bathing process.
What Will You Need?
Have all your supplies on hand before getting started. Those should include the following:
Cat Shampoo: Make sure you use a shampoo specially made for cats. Your human shampoo could irritate your kitty’s skin.
Towels: Position your towels within reach of the bath so you can quickly grab them to dry off your cat.
Brush: You’ll need to use a brush to gently groom your cat before the bath.
Hand-Held Sprayer or Pitcher: Ensure you have a way to pour water on your kitty.
Treats: Have treats handy during and after the bath as a nice little reward.
Also, upgrade your cat’s bath day by using a cat-safe ear cleaner for those little ears. You can even invest in cat-safe facial wipes and a pet dryer.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Bathing a Cat in the Best Way
Now, it’s time to cover the best step-by-step process for bathing your fluffy friend.
Preparing and Handling Your Cat
To prepare your cat, trim her claws to avoid injury to either of you. Use that grooming brush to remove tangles from her fur before getting her wet. Lay out all your supplies near the bathing site.
One key part of the prepping process is to pick a time when your cat is sleepy or worn out. So, one strategy is to intentionally have a long play session with your cat right before bathtime. Just do your best not to take a fully-charged feline to the tub!
Also, while most cats have a strong aversion to water, you may be lucky to have a breed like the Maine Coon or Bengal that tends to enjoy the water. No matter what, though, handle your kitty carefully and respect her opinion of bathtime.
Grooming loops are one way to handle especially squirmy kitties. However, use a grooming loop with care and do not put it around your cat’s neck. Instead, loop it under her armpits and cross it over her chest.
Place Your Cat in the Tub
You may be able to lure her to the bathing area with treats. Unless, of course, she can sense what’s coming!
Now would also be the time to apply her grooming loop if you use one. If you’re in the bathroom, close the door behind you to prevent escapes.
Wet Your Cat’s Body
Use a hand-held sprayer or a water pitcher to gently pour water on your cat’s body. Don’t wet her face or head.
Ensure everything below the ears is soaked before moving on to shampooing.
Lather and Massage in the Shampoo
Apply the shampoo according to its instructions. Some shampoos require dilution before application. Also, it may be easier to work up a lather in your hands before massaging it into your cat’s fur.
Now’s the time to get every nook and cranny from the neck down. Although your kitty may be squirming, focus on efficiently massaging the shampoo. It’s easier to get every spot now than to redo it later!
If you’re very gentle with this step, your cat may enjoy the massage. By the way, having a helper nearby to help secure your cat or continuously offer her treats during this step is very helpful.
The rinse phase is just as critical as the shampooing phase. Rinsing all that shampoo out of your cat’s fur will prevent irritated skin.
Again, remain cautious of her ears and face as you rinse. Make sure no suds are left on her coat before moving on to drying.
Dry Your Cat’s Fur
By this point, your cat’s soaking wet and is probably ready to retreat! But, take as much time as possible to help her dry, especially if your home is a little chilly. So, use a towel or two to dab up the water.
Some cats are scared of the noise a blow drier makes. But if yours isn’t, you can try to blow dry her fur on the “cool” setting. Don’t force this. If she’s frightened by the blow drier, just stop after towel-drying.
If you’ve invested in a cat drier, now’s the time to gently place your kitty inside. These cozy, well-ventilated, fur-drying machines may cost a pretty penny, but they’re convenient for quickly drying your cat.
Reward Your Cat
Whether you ended the drying phase using a towel, blow-drier, or cat-drier, now’s the time to generously treat your kitty! She likely put up with at least a little discomfort. Make her reward great enough that she doesn’t completely dread the next bathtime.
Review for Next Time
As your kitty self-grooms after bathtime, review what went well and what didn’t. Perhaps you thought of a couple of supplies that would come in handy next time. This is the perfect time to think of ideas to make your cat’s next bath even better!
Tips to Keep Your Cat Calm During a Bath
Cats may get anxious during bath time, but you can use a few tips to help them stay comfortable.
For starters, speak to your cat in a soft, soothing voice. Don’t make sudden movements or get stressed out yourself.
Use warm water for the bath, and place a mat or towel at the bottom of the tub or sink. That way, your cat will have a grip.
Remember not to get her eyes, ears, or head wet. Consider investing in a diffuser or pheromone spray if your cat is especially anxious.
Summary – What’s the Best Way to Bathe a Cat?
Hopefully, you’ve learned by now that with the proper supplies and a few handy tricks, you can make bathtime bearable for you and your fluffy feline!
When bathing a cat is necessary, it’s possible for pet parents to make the experience as comfy as possible for their fur babies.
Do you have any tips for the best way to bathe a cat? We’d love to hear them! Please tell us (or ask a question) in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
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