Step By Step Guide to Bathing Your Cat

Cats are the kings/queens of cleanliness, often known for their meticulous grooming routine. Using their tongues, teeth, and paws, they usually keep themselves fresh as a daisy without any intervention from their owners. However, on the odd occasion, your cat might need help staying clean. Your feline friend may have had a run-in with something dangerous, smelly, or sticky, or if they have picked up some parasites, it might be a wise idea to give them a bath.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to bathing your cat with a minimal amount of stress for both of you. 

Step 1
Trim the Toenails

Cats use their claws as a form of defense. In the course of bath time, an upset cat might claw anyone in the vicinity, including you. The nails of your cat should be trimmed before you attempt a bath to prevent them from harming you.  Learn more about Cat Nail Clippers / Trimmers.


Step 2
Brush Before

All year long, cats shed frequently. Your plumbing can get damaged by excess fur going down the train pipes. Plus your cat will have a more difficult time getting clean and take longer to fully dry out after a bath. Before bathing your cat, brush it thoroughly to remove any loose fur and mats. Cotton balls can also be gently placed in their ears to keep water out. Check out more about Cat Brushes.


Step 3
Time It Right

In general, cats don't like water. An energetic cat will object more strongly to a bath. If your cat is tired and mellow after a long play session or after having some catnip, schedule the bath then. This will be less stressful for the cat and yourself. Even better if you can schedule your cat's bath when someone else is available to assist, the more helping hands the better. However, make sure your cat is familiar and friendly with your helper as a stranger will stress the cat out even further. 


Step 4
Get Traction

Just like you in the shower, your cat appreciates traction. Providing your cat with a folded towel or rubber bath mat to stand on will make the surface not as slippery when wet and make your cat not as stressed. As soon as the mat is in the tub, add three to four inches of warm water and let your helper put the cat in. To prevent scratches, you may need your helper to hold onto the cat throughout the bath.


Step 5
Try a Pour-Over Method

Your cat almost certainly won’t willingly go underwater. Instead, use a handheld sprayer, a pitcher, or a plastic cup to gently pour water over their body until they’re thoroughly wet. Do not wet the cat's head. 


Step 6

Human shampoo is not suitable for your cat. If your cat licks the shampoo they could be sick, and it may hurt your cat’s delicate skin. Instead, use a shampoo that’s designed for cats. Starting at the neck of your cat, gently massage the shampoo toward the tail. Keep your distance from their face, eyes, and ears. Find out more shampoo for cats 


Step 7

After lathering up your cat, rinse them with clean, lukewarm water. Ensure all soap is removed from your cat's body before letting them clean themselves again. Your cat will ingest any soap left behind. Additionally, it can irritate their skin and attract dirt.


Step 8
Clean the Face

If your pet's face needs cleaning, don't use water or shampoo. Rather, wipe it off carefully with a wet, warm washcloth. You should be extra careful around your cat's eyes and ears, which are extra sensitive. Check out for other cat grooming products


Step 9
Dry Thoroughly

Following a bath, your cat must be dried off. Make sure they're dry as quickly as possible with a large towel, and keep them in a warm room until they're completely dry. You can also use a hairdryer on its lowest setting to speed up the process if your cat allows it. Take the time to comb your cat's long fur with a wide-toothed comb to avoid mats.  Find out more Comb for Cats


Step 10
Treat Time

Once bath time is over, reward your cat for his good behavior. Your cat may come around to bath time with treats, praise, and playtime afterward.