how to bathe a cat in 8 easy steps

how to bathe a cat in 8 easy steps | cat getting a bath in a tub
Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Dec 22 2015

The truth is, there are times when your cat might need a bath. We’re here to make the process easier for you both.

When should you bathe your cat?

Cats are fastidious groomers — if they aren’t eating or sleeping, it’s likely you’ll find them bathing away, one hind leg pointed straight to the sky as they groom their bellies, or adorably wiping their faces and ears with their damp paws.

But sometimes, cats groom less than they should. Sometimes they stop grooming altogether. Maybe they’ve become overweight, which makes it difficult to reach certain areas. Maybe a chronic illness or osteoarthritis has made it too difficult or painful to groom. Whatever the reason may be, cats who have stopped grooming could use a little help, and that’s where you step in.

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If your cat needs a bath and you don’t feel up to the challenge, there is no shame in taking her to a groomer. Groomers have lots of experience bathing cats and know all the cat taming tricks. This is a win/win for both you and your cat.

How to bathe a cat

Step 1: Trimming your cat’s nails every few weeks maintains your pet’s health. It also protects you and your family from scratches. Routine trimming is a nice alternative to declawing, but it’s important to use equipment specifically designed for this task.

Step 2: Make your bathing site non-slip. You can do this with non-slip padding, but a wet towel at the bottom of the tub or sink does the trick, too. You can also use the kitchen sink.

Step 3: Prepare the necessary tools. If you don’t have a sprayer for rinsing your cat, you can use a pitcher or large cup for rinsing. Go ahead and run the tap so the water is warm before you put kitty in the tub or sink. Have pet shampoo ready. Save money by diluting one part of your pet’s shampoo with four or five parts water. This money-saving tip also makes it easier for the shampoo to reach through your cat’s fur down to the skin.

Step 4: Enlist a helper to hold your cat while you bathe. Believe it or not, your cat will probably not just sit there and accept a bathing.

Step 5: Slowly put your cat in the tub/sink and then carefully wet the body. Avoid getting the head wet, as this is a sure-fire way to send him bolting from the bath.

Step 6: Give your cat a good rub down with the diluted pet shampoo. Don’t forget the belly and legs. Remember to skip the face and head. You can wipe that down with a wet cloth after you’ve finished rinsing.

Step 7: Slowly, carefully rinse the shampoo. Be thorough - remaining shampoo can be irritating to the skin and can encourage mats to form. When he’s fully rinsed, use a wet washcloth to wipe the face and chin.

Step 8: “Wring” out excess water from your cat’s body by gently squeezing or wiping the body, tail, and legs. Grab a towel and dry him off.

You’ve made it through bathing your cat!

If at any point, your cat completely freaks out, ditch your bathing efforts, and call the groomer. You can also speak to your veterinarian about waterless alternatives.

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