The Right Way to Bathe Your Cat
Cats literally spend half their waking hours grooming, so baths are usually not needed. But occasionally our kitties need a special cleaning. Anyone who has battled a cat in the tub knows it requires a lot of patience and practice. Make your cat’s bath time quick and painless for both of you by following these essential tips.
Groom the day before
Start early. The day before bath day, clip your cat’s claws and give her a good brushing. Check for matted clumps of fur, which are often found on senior cats and typically form in clumps on the tail and back of the thighs. Matted fur hardens when wet, so it’s essential to remove them before bath time.
Organize the bath area
Gather your cat’s grooming essentials and place them within arm’s reach. Must-have items include:
- Long plastic gloves
- Towels (1 body/1 washcloth)
- Specially formulated cat shampoo
- Pot or pitcher for pouring water
- Rubber mat
Pro tip—Cats dislike slippery surfaces. Rubber mats give paws secure footing.
Wet, lather, rinse
Fill your sink with a few inches of warm water. Lower your cat into the water and gently wet his fur. Lather in the cat shampoo, avoiding the ears and face, and thoroughly rinse using a pot or pitcher of warm water. Gently clean your cat's face with plain water and a washcloth. When you’re done, wrap your cat in a bath towel and dry as necessary.
Remember to keep soapy water out of your cat’s eyes and ears. Above all, always use a shampoo designed for felines. Human-grade shampoo strips fur of its essential oils and may even be toxic to your cat.
Bathing your cat is a challenge but it’s not the daunting task you might think. When the time comes, groom beforehand. Being organized will make bath time much smoother in the long run. If bathing your cat proves too difficult, call a professional for help.