We all know cats and water don’t really mix, but what do you do if your cat needs a bathe? Cats spend 50% of their time licking and cleaning themselves, so they may not need frequent washing, however as their owner you need to pay attention to their hygiene and make sure it is up to scratch. If your cat isn’t cleaning themselves properly it could be a sign that there is an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. If this is the case be sure to book an appointment with your vet, just to make sure your cat is okay.
Another reason your cat may not be able to clean themselves is because they physically can’t. Some may have obvious physical conditions which prevent them, or some may have too much fluff to keep on top of, longhaired breeds such as Maine Coons, Birmans, Himalayans, Ragdolls and Persians need daily grooming by their owners to prevent their fur from getting tangles and mats.
5 Steps On How to Bath Your Cat | Start while they’re young
The earlier the better. If you can train your cat from a young age to take baths, then you won’t have to dread the interaction in the future. Some cats have even been known to enjoy bath time.
5 Steps On How to Bath Your Cat | Stress-free environment
When and where you bathe your cat is important. Ensure your cat is somewhere they feel safe, and make sure you cut off their exit points, so they don’t try to flee at the first moment they get. Have them in a room with no loud sounds or anything that could startle them.
5 Steps On How to Bath Your Cat | Preparation is key
Have everything you need ready to go before you disturb your cat. Afraid they might scratch you? Trim their nails ahead of time, to minimize damage.
You want everything to go smoothly and without interruption. Prefill the bath, lukewarm is best. Have a towel on standby, shampoo, a measuring jug, and a face washer/cloth within reach. Now, go and get your cat.
5 Steps On How to Bath Your Cat | The water and bath
Ensure that if you are using a bucket, sink or a bath that the surface your cat will be standing on is anti-slip, if they can’t have steady footing then you can bet, they will be stressing. Don’t use running water. Have the bath already filled to a certain depth before introducing your cat to it. You only need it low.
Once this is done, you can bring in your cat. Slowly lower them into the water and allow them to acclimatize to the temperature. Remain calm and try and soothe your cat to the situation. When you feel they have adjusted, use a jug of water, and gently pour it onto your cat’s neck to their tail, avoiding the head.
Use a damp cloth to clean their face and ears. Be gentle and avoid using soap in sensitive areas.
Apply small amounts of soap and gently massage it in, building up a nice lather to ensure an allover clean. Use the jug to tip water onto your cat again to rinse the soap out. You may have to do this several times to ensure the soap has been thoroughly removed before finishing, as you don’t want your cat ingesting any of it.
5 Steps On How to Bath Your Cat | Dry and Reward
Take your cat out of the water and wrap them in a big fluffy towel. Microfiber is best for absorbing excess water. Gently rub them dry and give them plenty of positive reinforcement. Reward them with treats and leave them to clean themselves.
After some time, your cat will have relaxed and will be back to their old selves, ready to snuggle.
Bonus Tip | Do a checkup.
While your cat is having a bath it is a perfect time to do a general health check. Take some time to make sure there are no odd lumps, bumps, or scratches on your feline friend.