How to Give a Cat a Bath?

Some of you might be thinking that bathing a cat is pretty amusing. But actually bathing a kitty is very stressful for the cat. Rarely any kitty would not mind getting into the water. And even if they get into the water somehow they do not like bathing as much as dogs do.

However, if you are thinking “Should I give my cat a bath?” then you have to follow some safety tips even if she is an adolescent.

How to Give a Cat a Bath?

The question that first arises is – Do cats need baths? Any professional will tell you that it is not essential to bathe a cat who’s in her good health. Cats clean and groom themselves efficiently. So you should bathe your cat only in situations where you have no other choice but to give her a wash.

In which situations you should bathe a cat?

  • When your cat is extremely filthy
  • If the cat has stopped cleaning herself due to old age
  • Somehow your kitty cannot clean herself due to a disability
  • If your cat has come in contact with a toxic product
  • Other reasons could be a medical issue and the decision to give her a wash should be taken by the veterinarian.

If bathing isn’t required we recommend you use baby wipes to clean the furs and skin. However, if bathing is a need then you should first do the necessary preparations.

1. Prepare Before Bathing a Cat

Preparation is the key to make the bathing experience as stress-free as possible for your cat. So prepare the area and gather the items before starting a cat bath.

  • Place a towel in the bathtub to make it a soft cozy place for the kitty and avoid her paws from slipping.
  • Small kittens may feel more secure bathing in a sink. So you can prefer to bathe a little kitty in the sink.
  • You will need towels, cat shampoo, cat conditioner, comb, and a hair detangling brush.
  • You might need cat nail clippers too if her nails are not clipped.

2. Cut nails and Remove the Mats

If the cat-nails are not clipped, first clip her nails (do not cut the quick). Clipping her nails will secure you from getting scratched if the kitty gets stressed out while you try to bathe her.

Also, do not forget to brush her hair to remove any dust or debris. Get any best cat brush if you don’t have one. If your cat has long tangled hairs, then detangle the mats because it is not easy to detangle her hairs when wet.

3. Play with the cat

Give your cat toys in the bathtub when it is empty. Let your cat play inside the tub for a while. Add a little water and continue playing.

By doing so, your cat will get used to a nice playtime in the bathtub. Next time she will associate the bath with an enjoyable and playful activity. In fact, you should choose to play with your cat before any stressful event.

Play with your kitty until she is totally worn out. You should first tire your cat out, so she is completely relaxed before beginning the bath. Play with her actively, to get rid of the sum of energy she has.

Tired cats make fewer movements while you groom (we reviewed other popular grooming tools too). You can even offer a treat or give a meal. After eating, cats become a little lazy and need to rest. Make her as relaxed and content as possible, which will make your task easier.

4. Bathe the Cat

Before putting the cat to bath, run the tub water to fill it up till 4-5 inches deep. Make sure the water is not too cold, but it should not be warm as well. Moreover, keep the bathroom temperature balanced. You are then ready to give your kitty a nice bath.

Close the Door And the Toilet Seat

Bring your kitty in the bathroom and close the door so she cannot escape. If your cat is having her first bath, you will have to get her used to the bath area.

Also, if there is a toilet, keep the toilet seat closed. Else, your cat might jump into the toilet due to absolute panic. You should also prefer to remove her litter box from the bathroom if you place it there.

Take a Partner’s Help

You might need a partner to hold the kitty still. It won’t be easy for you to hold her and bathe as well. Ask your partner to hold her nape gently so she doesn’t move her head much. You may even choose to harness her, as holding cat’s nape with more pressure can hurt her.

Apply the Shampoo

Before applying shampoo, remember never to use a dog’s shampoo or human’s shampoo on the cat. Use only the cat products. If your cat is allergic to certain chemicals, read the contents before buying a product or getting that best cat shampoo.

Dilute the shampoo or shower gel with water to avoid using too much of it directly onto the coat. Apply it onto the fur and give the kitty a nice gentle massage for a minute or two. Gently and carefully rub her head and belly as these areas are quite sensitive in cats.

Keep the shampoo out of her eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. You can choose to put cotton balls in the cat’s ears to avoid any kind of infection. Remove it once you finish washing her.

Wash the Coat

Wash away the shampoo while avoiding her eyes and mouth. Slowly pour the water with the help of a mug. You can choose to wash her with a hand shower as well. Rinse properly until all the furs are clean. Do not leave any shampoo on her coat or skin. This can irritate your cat’s skin and might cause rashes due to itching.

Apply a Conditioner

If your cat has long hairs apply a cat conditioner on her furs. Don’t massage it onto her skin. Just apply it all over the hairs and keep it for half a minute. Wash it thoroughly in a similar manner as you wash the shampoo away.

Dry Your Cat

After bathing the kitty wrap her in a clean towel. Gently press it onto her body and let the towel soak all the water from her furs. You can use more towels as one won’t be sufficient for cats with long hairs.

Cats with short hairs will dry in less time. While those with long hair might require a hairdryer. Long hairs get tangled easily when wet. Hence you will also need to comb the coat until it is fully dry.

However, use the dryer only if your cat is not scared of it. If she is fine then, set the dryer on the least warm mode and dry your cat from a distance. Never use too hot blower as a cat has really sensitive skin. Start brushing the fur as the hairs start to dry. Remove all the knots and tangles slowly and gently.

Give Your Cat Rewards

Give your cat her favorite snack as a reward for letting you bathe her. She must remember the bath as a playtime activity followed by a tasty treat.

Important Suggestions

Do not force your cat to bathe if she is getting really agitated and aggressive. You should never scold or beat her. A frightened big cat can cause a lot of harm to a human. If you’re nervous or anxious while bathing your kitty then she also might become nervous. Be very patient and gentle. Always try to make the grooming sessions enjoyable for the kitty.

Michele Kahle, based in Atlanta, GA is a keen pet observer with an inclination towards writing. She loves to share her knowledge with other pet lovers and has been penning down her thoughts from last 3 years. Her immense awareness about pets and pet-products comes from her research on animals and experience with her own pets.

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