How to wash a Cat

cat bathTraditionally, cats hate going anywhere near water, although you do get some exceptions. This can make it very difficult to bath them in general, especially as they are likely to become very stressed or lash out if forced in the tub.

Sometimes though, you have no other option than to give them a good scrub (as gently as possible of course). Below we’ve included some handy hints and tips that should really help when you need to get your feline washed and smelling sweet in no time.

Before the bath

The more preparation you can do, the better. A bath can be particularly traumatic for some cats, which means you need to make the experience as pleasant as possible for them.  This can include familiarising them with the bath in a positive way, by petting them and making a fuss while giving them treats near it, or even in it. Use the following steps before you get your cat in the bath:

  • Brush your cat thoroughly to get rid of knots and matted hair. This will make sure your drain doesn’t get blocked with loose hair, and that you can properly wash your cat’s fur. As it also relaxes your cat, you could also brush them in a dry bath to get them comfortable
  • Take the time to also clip their claws and clean their ears and eyes if necessary. Claws are especially important if your cat tends to scratch when stressed, and will definitely save you from any injury!
  • Prepare a jug of cat shampoo mixed with warm water and leave it on the side in the bathroom. This will help stay prepared when you need to wash them quickly
  • Shut the bathroom door so they can’t escape easily!
  • Put towels on the floor and keep a clean towel near the bath to dry your cat with

During the bath

If your cat or kitten hasn’t had a bath before, the likelihood is they will become stressed. Try to keep them as calm as possible using treats and speak to them in a soft tone throughout. If you can make it as positive as possible for them you’re likely to have an easier time when it comes to future baths. Follow these steps once you have them in the bath:

  • Place them into the bath and preferably onto a rubber bath mat to stop them slipping. If they slip they will panic and become stressed.
  • Try to only use warm or lukewarm water to wash your cat. Any hotter and it could burn their skin. Fill the bath with a small amount of warm water to do their paws too
  • Use a shower head to wet your cat’s fur, but be extra careful not to wet their head. Doing so can often lead to infections in their ears, eyes and sometimes nose.
  • Wet their body before pouring on the cat shampoo. Make sure to lather as much as you can before rinsing thoroughly so that no more soap remains in your cat’s fur
  • You can also wash your cat’s face using a flannel, but make sure it is wrung out and no water gets in eyes, ears or nose

After the bath

Once your cat is smelling much better, they’re likely to want out as soon as possible. Try to get them dry and warm as soon as you can, making sure to be gentle with them rather than drying too vigorously. Use the following steps after the bath:

  • Empty the bath if you’ve filled it and dry your cat with a clean towel as gently as you can
  • Lift them out once they’re as dry as possible and use the towels on the floor to dry their paws
  • The key to drying them further is warmth, so try and take them to a warm, cosy room to dry off completely. You can always put another dry towel down for them to lie on and put the heating on if it is during the colder months.
  • Make them feel relaxed by giving them treats, stroking them and praising them.

Your cat or kitten doesn’t need to be bathed too often as they are very good at cleaning themselves most of the time. Only resort top a bath if your cat is covered in dirt, has got something sticky in their fur or even has fleas. Over-bathing can lead to skin irritations and infections so never bathe more than once a month if you can avoid it.

For more great advice regarding your cat or kitten, use our Simpsons Premium Advice Centre to find out more. To make an enquiry about our healthy cat food, use the details on our Contact Us page here.

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