Bathing Your Kitty

April 2, 2018

Bathing Your Kitty

One would think that any creature that moves so beautifully, emulating the flow of water with the grace and finesse of a ballerina, would not bear such a longstanding loathing and dread of it. The fact is, most domestic cats do not enjoy getting wet. Even the thought of walking in the rain would send chills down the spine of even the toughest of house cats.

Domestic cats may have evolved to dislike water because most breeds have coats that absorb rather than deflect moisture. It’s harder for them to get dry after they’re soaked, easily getting them shivering due to cold.

Naturally equipped with an arsenal of the best grooming tools nature has to offer (tongue and teeth, of course), your fastidious feline is well-equipped to tackle her own hair care needs. Cats can be meticulous groomers but sometime as, they inevitably need a bath if the situation calls for it.

Sometimes they get into something very sticky or dirty (gum, grease, paint, and so on). Other times, they have a medical condition such as Ringworms, Sporotrichosis, Allergic Dermatitis, and other bacterial or fungal infections that requires regular bathing with medicated shampoo.

Despite this, most cats will react negatively to getting a bath, which can be stressful for both the cat and the owner. So, do cats need baths and how do you bathe a cat? (see Article Cat Care and Grooming)

Now, before you turn on the faucet and throw kitty into the sink (please don’t, or your cat will despise you for the rest of its life), you should have all of your bathing necessities ready and at an arm’s reach.

Trust me on this one! Once your cat is actually in the sink or tub, you will not want to leave the room, for if you do, I can almost guarantee that your cat will be gone when you return! So what items will you need in order to bathe your cat?

All We Need To Bath Kitty

The best solution is to make sure that you have all the necessary supplies handy, so you can make your cat’s bath as quick as possible:

Now It’s Time To Catch That Mouser!

First thing you want to achieve is maintaining control of your cat. If your cat got used to being handled pretty much all the time, it will be easier for you, but if you are still struggling, try to talk to your cat in a calm, quiet voice while washing (calling out his/her name frequently so that your cat’s attention will be directed to you, and not from the bathing process) to avoid your cat escaping from the tub.

If they prefer to have only two of their feet in the water, face them toward the back of the tub and let them stand on two feet.

Do your best to hold them still. It is recommended to use a harness with a snug fit to harmlessly secure your cat in the bath and for you by holding onto the harness instead of the scruff their neck or collar, which could hurt your cat (and probably will try to struggle even more).

If you can’t manage it all by yourself, ask for help. It is easier to bath a cat if four hands are working together, especially if your cat is a larger breed and is strong enough to kick and wiggle or worse, scratch its way out of your grasp. One person can hold on to the cat via its harness or the scruff at the back of its neck to secure it while the other baths the cat.

You should do all of this as quick as possible without rushing, and be sure that your cat has no trouble breathing and still comfortable while restrained during the whole ordeal.

Do not fight your cat, best to avoid it. At no point is it recommended to fight with your cat. A scared 10 pound cat can do a lot of damage to a human (or two). Just start first by getting the feet and legs wet and watch for any violent reactions. If there is, stop the process and continue on another day, trying more until you work your way up to a full bath.

Quick note: If you are nervous throughout the whole process, your cat will respond by being nervous too, If you are unsure of what you are doing, there is a good chance that your cat will definitely escape.

Let’s Go Fresh!

If you have done several attempts to bath your cat but it still fight against it. Use a wet washcloth instead (same procedure as mentioned above, but not just strictly on the face, but use it for the whole body too) It removes dirt sticking on your cat’s fur and it moisturize their skin and fur too, or instead, use cat wipes and cat no-rinse shampoo. It doesn’t need water so it’s easy to use, just wipe your cat’s body first with cat wipes (make sure to wipe the whole body), after that, spray the cat no-rinse shampoo lightly all over your cat’s fur.

Now, after shampooing and rinsing your cat, take a towel and gently press as much water as you can from the fur. (make sure that when you lift your cat after pressing the first towel, your cat is not dripping with water).

Then, wrap your cat in the towel and rub gently. Change your towel to another dry one if gets too wet to be effective. Don’t stop until you have taken out most of the wetness from your kitty.

When you dry your cat using towels, do it in a gentle motion and in one direction, as if you are massaging them. Also, it is advisable to warm the towels under the sun or in the dryer first. Many feline pets find this comforting (and so that they would not shiver due to cool air running through their wet or damp fur, making them feel cold).

You should be the one who is adjusting with your cat on this part, and not the other way around. If your cat won’t allow you to keep drying her with the towels, just stop. Don’t worry, your cat will just simply shake its fur to dry itself.

Cats have different drying times depending on their fur density and fur length. Short-haired cats can finish drying themselves in the bathroom as long as they’re away from drafts.

Heat source (space heater or warm air vent, or even under the sun) and a dry, warm towel to sit on, are a welcoming thing for them. For long-haired cats with dense coats, you will need a brush with wide spaces between each bristles or a com and more dry towels.

Long-haired cats mat more easily when wet, so you might want to brush or comb the coat until it is completely dry.


Don’t forget to praise your kitty by petting them, telling them what a good kitty they are, and giving lots of attention and affection when bath time is over. They are likely to feel vulnerable and scared if not loved, so your affection will make a big difference. You may visit Importance of Cleanliness in Cat as it may help you maintain you cat’s hygiene and health. You can also refer to some books (The Well Cat Book: The Classic Comprehensive Handbook of Cat Care Reissue Edition - Kindle Edition, AMAZON) available online, the how-to’s in caring for them on daily basis

So that’s pretty much it, I hope you and your cat will have a great time on your every bathing session.


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