Cat Bath Tips
Take the Pain out of Bathing

An occasional cat bath may be needed, but the truth is, most cats dislike water.

If you have not trained your cat since kittenhood to enjoy a bath, this could prove to be an interesting exercise!

As show-cats need to be in tip-top condition, they will enjoy regular baths.

Generally speaking, if you maintain a regular cat grooming routine, your kitty will require a bath less frequently than their show-cat counterparts.

If your cat does have an odor, is soiled or has a serious parasite infestation (ticks, fleas, mites) or is simply in need of a wash and cat skin care - here are some essential guidelines.

cat bath tips

you will need:

  • feline shampoo
  • soft, dry towels
  • sturdy basin
  • jug
  • lukewarm water 

Get the help of someone who can hold your cat's legs and hold the cat's mouth closed (you want to avoid bites and scratches)

It is highly recommended that you wear protective clothing on your arms (thick, long-sleeved shirt) and protective gloves.


Bathing a cat for the first time can be stressful for both the cat and the owner.  Be gentle, yet firm and do not shout at the cat.

If you are not confident, rather seek the services of a grooming parlor.

bathing a cat

getting started

  • Clip your cats claws before bathing... trust us on this one! (For additional information on claw clipping visit cat nail care).
  • Thoroughly brush or comb kitty to remove all knots, loose hair and dust.
  • Using a medium-sized basin, quarter fill it with lukewarm (tepid) water, 37 °C or 98.6° F.
  • Lower your cat into the water, but do not dunk its head in the water.
  • Slowly pour water onto your cat's back avoiding the head, ears and eyes.
  • Saturate the fur with water. Apply the specialized feline shampoo and massage to form a lather.
  • It is important not to use shampoo intended for humans. Human shampoo can be harmful to your cat if ingested and it can change the pH of its skin, causing itching and even dermatitis.
  • Rinse your cat thoroughly and repeat shampoo process only if necessary.
  • Give kitty a final rinse and ensure that you remove all the soap in the final rinse. (You will need to change the water to make sure its soap-free). 
  • Rinsing is very important as cats self-groom and you do not want your cat ingesting harmful chemicals.
  • Remove your cat from the water and gently rub it down with a soft towel.
  • The cat bath is almost done.
  • Using the second dry towel, wrap your cat in it for warmth.
  • If your cat is accustomed to a hairdryer, then gently blow the fur dry using medium heat, not hot.
  • Cats do not like the sound of a hairdryer and they certainly do not like air blowing near their eyes and ears, so avoid this area.
  • If you are not comfortable using the dryer (or if it upsets your cat), rather place your kitty in a warm, sunny room until it is dry.
  • When your cat is dry, brush your cat as you would during a normal cat grooming session.
  • Give kitty a treat

You're done - that's bathing a cat in a nutshell.

Time to change into dry clothes!

cat after bath

Related Pages:

Cat Care

Cat Grooming

Cat Hair Care 

Cat Eye Care

Cat Nail Care 

Cat Dental Care

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