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How to Give Your Cat a Bath & Make it as Hassle-Free as Possible

Cleaner Paws is a mother-daughter run blog. Together we have over 40+ years of professional pet grooming experience and we hope to pass some of that on to our readers throughout our in-depth and non-bias reviews and buyers guides.

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This review guide was updated in November 2018.


Probably the most common question we get asked by pet owners is – How do I bath my cat?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward, one perfect solution for all cat owners and anyone who has ever tried knows it can be tricky.

However, with some basic know-how, it is something you can achieve at home, without needing professional help.

In this article, we have collected a number of tips and tricks which should help make your job much easier when it comes to learning how to give your cat a bath.

From start to finish, we have got you covered.

If you’re a new cat owner be sure to check out our best cat litter guide as well to help you keep your home nice and clean!

Firstly, Are you supposed to bathe a cat?

It is important to establish that, yes, you can bathe your cat.

Now, this is something that you don’t have to do on a daily basis. In fact, most vets would recommend that you avoid bathing your cat every day as it can make them sick. Instead, Bathe them as needed.

When bathing your cat, you must also consider the tools and hygiene products that you’ll be using.

It is recommended that you go for organic products if possible as these do not contain chemicals which might be harmful to your pet.

Consider the fact that even cats can get allergies from products that are too harsh. There are also cases wherein they might develop different skin issues due to the chemical content of the soap or shampoo you have been using.

This is why it pays to do a little research to find the best product for your beloved pet. You only want the safest one for them, after all.

In case You’re Also Wondering:


Funny red-haired cat lying in the sink, taking a bath


Step by Step Process – How to Give a Cat a Bat – Step by Step

Once you have all the necessities on hand, it’s time to move on to the actual task of bathing your cat.

Now, this is much easier said than done for most people and it helps if you try and acclimatize your pet to their new surroundings first.

Of course, knowing the proper ways to bath a cat and how to make them comfortable will make the whole process far more comfortable and here are our favorite steps to follow –

  1. Brush your cat’s fur before bathing them – Doing so will help get rid of any knots in your pet’s coat as these can be much harder to remove once your cat is wet.If you find that your cat becomes more relaxed while being brushed. Try to brush them while they are in the shower if possible to ease them into bath time.
  1. Prepare toys for distraction –  You know what your cat is most attracted to so give them something to play with while they’re being bathed.This tactic will not make them more comfortable, but it will also lessen their motivation to try and escape.Also, do make sure to secure your kitty’s spot in the tub. A rubber mat is all you need for this and will provide your pet with stable footing so they won’t start slipping and sliding as you try to bathe them.Adding towels on the floor should help as well for when you dry your cat afterward.
  1. Use warm water –  Running water isn’t recommended so if you can avoid it, do so.Your cat should feel soothed by the bathe, not attacked by it.Use watering pots or even small cups when rinsing your cat as this allows you more control when it comes to the amount of water you are pouring over them.Remember, do not rush the process!
  1. Soak your kitty from the neck down and do avoid getting shampoo into their eyes, nose, and ears – Make sure that you massage the cat shampoo slowly and carefully, so you don’t end up startling your pet.Non-scented shampoos are recommended as cats have a very sensitive sense of smell.Use a cloth or wet towel to clean your pet’s face and ears.
  1. Once you’re done, use a towel to gently blot the water out of your cat’s fur – Wrap the fabric around your cat as you do this to make it more effective.However, if you find that your pet is distressed by this, stop and use a blow dryer instead.For this, use a regular setting and make sure that it is a safe distance away from them. Test the heat against the back of your hand first as another precaution.If your pet runs away from the noise, respect this and allow them to air dry instead.
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How to Avoid Being Clawed When Bathing Your Cat

  1. Trim your cat’s claws before you bathe them.
    Make sure that you do this a few hours before bath time to allow your pet ample time to relax.Trimming their claws can be pretty tricky too so make sure that you do it carefully to avoid any injuries. There are many claw trimmers available out there that come with skin guards—they might be more expensive than regular ones, but these can help guarantee your pet’s safety.
  1. Never force your kitty into the bath.
    This only spells disaster and might even traumatize your cat. Make sure that you keep an eye out for any signs of distress and discomfort manifested by your pet.Respect their needs too—if they aren’t reacting positively to what you’re doing, stop and change your approach.
  1. Be patient.
    Introducing bath time to a cat isn’t something that you can rush.Do things slowly and reward your pet each time they advance in the process. This will put them in a good mood and teach them to associate bath time with treats.

How Often Should You Bathe a Cat?

This depends on the cat itself.

For the most part, cats are very hygienic creatures and are capable of grooming themselves. However, they will still need some basic maintenance.

Certain breeds might require more regular grooming than others.

Every few weeks usually works for most breeds, but if your cat is a little explorer and often end up in something smelly or dirty, then you might want to make sure that they’re always clean.

Remember that good hygiene equals good health.

So are you supposed to bath a cat? Definitely!

With these tips, we hope you can complete the process much faster and far more efficiently.

We also hope you now have a better understanding how to bathe a cat without injuring yourself or your pet in the process.

Good luck!

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About the author

    Jenny Nolan

    Hey, I'm Jenny and along with Mom Sue the main contributor here at Cleaner Paws. As a mother-daughter partnership, we absolutely adore animals and together have over 40 plus years of pet grooming experience!

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