8 Steps to Bathing Your Cat

Tips for giving your cat a bath
Tips for giving your cat a bath

If you’re a cat owner, you may dread the task of bathing your cat.  Likewise, cats seem to have a sixth sense as to when you’re even considering giving them a dip in the water which sends them to new and difficult to reach hiding spots.  One of the best strategies to have is to plan out the whole process in advance that will include tips that make it easier on you both.

Timing is Everything

When deciding when to wash your cat, the smartest tactic to take is ensuring that your cat is in a more mellow and relaxed state of being.  Find your cat’s favorite toy and engage him or her in a healthy session of play.  If your cat loves those laser light toys, take him for a few laps around your living room to get him tired.  Having a spurt of strenuous activity will release most of their pent up energy allowing you to have a more relaxed cat during the bathing process.

Just a Trim

If you have a cat that needs a little pre-wash hair or nail trim, this is a great time to do it.  Some breeds require a little off the top (or bottom) to keep them cleaner or looking their best.  If you aren’t comfortable trimming your cat’s nails, look into some specialized trimmers that help guide you to avoid the quick of their nails.  Seizing the opportunity at this point to cut their nails may make the bathing process a little safer for you, as well.

Brush Away Stray Hairs

We all know that cats shed their hair, and some breeds a bit more than others.  Grab your most effective grooming brush for your cat and do a head-to-tail swipe of her coat.  This gets rid of many of the loose hairs, especially if you also had to do a little trimming of her hair from the previous step.  Your drain will probably thank you for it later, too.

Dive In

No, it’s not like you’re dipping your cat into baptismal water, so take it easy.  The best place to do this is in your kitchen sink where you’re most likely to have a spray hose to use.  A large plastic cup or pitcher works just as well, though.  Make sure the water is a comfortable temperature and begin wetting him down.  If your cat is sensitive to getting his head wet, it may be best to start with the tail or middle of the body and work your way up to his head.  Be sure to avoid his eyes and insides of his ears, though.  Don’t forget your own safety by ensuring that you’re standing on something that will help prevent slipping in case some water gets on the floor.

Bubble Time

Use a shampoo formulated for cats to gently rub into his coat.  Be sure to follow the grain of their coat and not go against it too much.  Massaging in a circular motion is not only effective but makes your cat feel like he’s at a spa.  Again, avoid his eyes and ears during this process.

Final Rinse

Using your spray hose or pitcher, rinse the shampoo off your cat from head to tail.  Make sure to get all the soap off and give a little extra massage to ensure that you get down to her skin.  At this point, she may be getting a bit antsy, but it’s still important to be thorough.  Don’t worry about her face, since you can use a small wash cloth to do that touch-up after it’s all over.

Dry Time

With a towel at the ready, wrap him up gently in it and remove him from the area.  Find a comfortable place away from open windows or blowing vents and give him a rub down.  If he’s not spooked by the sound and rush of air, a hair dryer will help speed up this process.

Thank You for Cooperating Gift

Always give a little treat to your cat after this task is complete.  Her favorite snack or even a little catnip is a perfect gift to say ‘thank you’ for her patience and cooperation.  Through the whole process, be sure to offer her praise and understanding words.  Congratulate both of you for completing the task successfully together!



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