Giving My Cat A Bath

Cleo debating the whole water thing
Cleo debating the whole water thing

Why would you bath your cat?

Giving your cat a bath has to be one of the most harrowing experience's in life. And I am not talking a harrowing experience for your cat. If you are a cat owner and have given your cat a bath at one time or another in your lifetime, you may know exactly what I am talking about. If not, than you have a very docile cat that enjoys it's bath time.

There is a myth out there that cats do not like water, I don't think cats hate water so much, as it is that they do not like getting wet, mauled and lovingly bathed. But then again, I did have a cat that liked to go outside when it was raining. So I am thinking the water thing is a personal preference for the cat.

If you start bathing your cat from an early age you should not have too much of a problem bathing them as they get older. This however is not always true. many cats just do not adapt to the bathing experience. Cats do a pretty good job at keeping themselves clean. However they may still require a bath now and then. It will also accimilate them as what to expect when the water starts flowing.

Because sometimes believe it or not, your furry little friend may stink. Cats sometimes get dirty, and like it or not if they are outdoor cats, they can get exposed to fleas, ticks, skunks and garbage. Bathing your cat will also help reduce shedding, especially if you have a longer haired breed.


After her bath she wasn't happy...
After her bath she wasn't happy...
Much later when she was dry, she was happy, and much prettier...
Much later when she was dry, she was happy, and much prettier...

Sure Fire Tips To Make Giving Your Cat A Bath Easier

Clip Those Claws - To avoid scratches and accidents it is essential you clip your cats claws. Many people have this done at the vets office or a groomers. Others are very comfortable doing it themselves. This can be done every few weeks to keep the cats claws trimmed nicely.

Wear Suitable Clothing - The first thing I do is find clothing with long sleeves. I always wear long sleeves, and long pants. I am protecting myself from scratches and I am avoiding any possible infections from those scratches. Wearing cloth gloves can also be an additional safety measure against scratches. You can usually get them for a buck at almost any store.


Prepare The Bathing Area - Get all necessary items you are going to need. Towels, shampoos, brushes, wash clothes, and so forth. Have everything handy so you don't have to reach for it. Because if you do, that means letting go of your cat, and you know what that means, it means a soaking wet cat running madly through the house. So be prepared, and have everything handy.

Fill The Bathtub - Fill the bath tub with about five inches of lukewarm water. You do not want it to hot or to cold. Make sure to do this before you bring in your cat. If your cat gets heads up that you're going to give it a bath, it most often will start a game of hide -n-seek with you. I always have a fresh bucket of warm rinse water. Sometimes when you turn the water on, your cat gets a little agitated and wants to dart right out of the tub. If you have a shower hose, that will be suitable for rinsing. Some cats actually like this.

Cat Shampoo - Human shampoo is known to irritate a cat's skin, so it is best to choose a shampoo specifically made for cats. There are many shampoos to choose from, depending on why you are shampooing your cat. There are flea shampoos, deodorizing shampoos, hypoallergenic shampoos, and more. You should consult a professional or a veterinarian can recommend the very best shampoos for your cat.


Bath Tub Mat - Put a rubber mat or a towel on the bottom of the bath tub. This will help your cat keep steady, you don't want it slip sliding all over the bathtub. There is nothing more unnerving than a cat trying to get its balance. That is where the long sleeves and gloves clothing are very helpful.


Now that you are dressed appropriatly and have the bathing area ready , it is time to prepare your cat for a bath. Begin by brushing your cat thoroughly, getting all the knots, and fur balls out. It will be easier giving a bath if there are no tangles or matted fur.


Now it is time for your cat to get a bath. Set your cat gently down into the tub of water. Use the washcloth to soak your cat down. Carefully begin rubbing the shampoo onto your cat. Gently holding your cat's neck and shoulders. Be careful to avoid getting soap in your cats eyes. Lather up your cats belly, legs, backside, head, and paws. When you are done shampooing, rinse carefully with the bucket of fresh water or shower hose. Be sure to remove all the soap.

After you are done rinsing, it is time to dry your cat. Wrap your cat into a dry towel. Rub softly until the water is absorbed. By this time your cat will be ready to take off and finish the job on it's own. But before the cat bolts off, use a brush or comb on the cat to avoid matting.

I always give my cats a can of wet food as a treat for getting a bath. They don't seem to be so agitated and set on revenge when they are eating that delicious can of food.

Bath Time!

© 2010 Boo McCourt

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Comments 31 comments

crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 4 years ago from Washington MI Author

Thank you moonlake. I have my 18 year old (CIA) left and he hates a bath, but will tolerate it with some loud meowing. My beloved Sully and Ethel who have passed really didn't mind getting baths at all. They just sat there and let me bath them. Combing Ethel was a chore, but Sully loved it. I sure them. Cia doesn't like to be brushed at all, but I do get a few strokes in. Thank you so much for sharing.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Wd have three cats. Our big white cats wants to be combed each day he will body slam us if we don't get his comb. I have also bathed him. Our black long haired cat won't let us touch him with a comb so his hair mats just awful. The other day we took him in to be groomed they can handle him better than we can. We do this about twice a year with him. Our third cat is short haired and he lets us comb him and bath him if we have to. Very interesting hub enjoyed reading and voted up.


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 5 years ago from Washington MI Author

LOL_ahuge tongue made of flannel. Some cats just will not tolerate a bath. My Sullybug who passed in 2007 would howl. The neighbors must of thought I was murdering someone when I was giving her a bath. She would sit calmly but howl at the top her lungs until it was over. I tried not to bath her often as the guilt was overwhelming.


JSAlison profile image

JSAlison 5 years ago

My cat could cope with a flannel moistened with warm water and a little shampoo. I think she thought it was pretty much the same as a huge tongue.

It was time consuming rinsing but she did smell better.

Water- no. That was a step too far!


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 5 years ago from Washington MI Author

Hi BunuBobu-There are a few things you could try, to get your kitten assimilated to bathing. Put just enough water in the tub or sink just to get your kittens paws damp. Gently stroke your kitten with a wet wash cloth. Each time you bath your kitten add more water.

Also you could wrap your kitten in a wet towel, shampoo, and run the water just a trickle with the kitten in the towel. Rubbing gently until the shampoo is cleared.

Always reassure your kitten. Talk calmly, pet them soothingly. I did the towel thing with my Sully (RIP) because she wasn't fond of bathing. Eventually I was able to use a pitcher to rinse, but she always liked having that towel.

Some cats no matter how well or gently you break them into the bathing process, just don't get used to it. The good thing about cats is they don't need a lot of bathing because they are such good groomers. Take it slow, and be patient, and hopefully they will get less afraid.


BunuBobu 5 years ago

My kittens are afraid of water even though they have no reason to be. They freak out near water. What can I do?


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 5 years ago from Washington MI Author

I hope they come in handy. It always depends on the cat and when you start bathing it. Then again if the temperament of the cat is no bath allowed no matter what, it isn't going to be a good experience for either you or the cat.Thanks so much for your comments.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Years ago my Siamese got out and crawled under a neighbors old car and got grease all over his back. I tried to give him a bath and he clawed me up. I needed these instructions.


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 5 years ago from Washington MI Author

Mayflower I wish you the very best, I hope your cat returns home soon. My cat ran away once when I was moving, she was gone three months, and I found her in the neighborhood. I put out flyers with her photo on them. I did get several calls. So there is hope.


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 5 years ago from Washington MI Author

I can imagine. My cat CIA is never thrilled to get a bath. I have to wear full swat gear to bath him. You can also by wet wipes for pets and wipe them down. It isn't as good as a bath, but somewhat helpful.


Christy Zutautas 5 years ago

Fantastic tips, I only give my cats a bath if it is entirely necessary. I have one cat that is terrified of water and the other was adopted from an animal shelter and has major anxiety problems...it's a pretty painful experience!


May Flower profile image

May Flower 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing. but, sadly,my cat ran away from home last week, I hope he will come back right away...


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

Hi Shirley- I love cats too. Muning is a cool name. Thanks for reading.


Shirley Pisa 6 years ago

Huh! I love cats. I have a cat and her name is Muning. She is soo charming and i go crazy just seeing her. Nice hub


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

No dogs here. I have to give my 16 year old cat a bath, I think what makes me nervous is when her eyes get big as saucers and she looks at me, and I am not sure if she is going to attack or cry. I always fear getting my face ripped off. I should of added the "jason mask" as one of my tips.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

I wish that I could give them abath in the tub, BUT I am too short and I have a Jet tub which is much deeper than a regular tub. No, I don't think that I will giving anymore cats a bath anytime soon! LOL I also had to give the dog a bath, which is another story!


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

Thank you stars :)

Lady Guinevere-LOL!Some cats are going to object to a bath no matter what. I tried the kitchen sink and that was not so good. The bath works better for me, I seem to have more control over the kitty that way. I wish you luck on the your next bathing adventure ;)


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

Well I didn't gt the PVC pipe thing done and it wouldn't work anyway. I did get the cat in the harness and was able to wash her, me and the whole kitchen counter. These girls just want to spaz out, no matter how I try to tell them I am not killing them. The last cat was like a jumping bean. Good grief and I am glad that is over!!


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful Hub. Really enjoyed reading it. God Bless You.


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

Lady Guinevere-Wow that sounds like a scary experience. What a great idea. The last time I tried putting a harness on my cats they flipped totally out. They would NOT have it. But that makes perfect sense along with the PVC piping idea. CLOTHING is a must. There are a variety of gloves as well you can use.

Suiiki-Thank you, I never tried the sink, but I have a feeling that might be easier.

amanda~purr-Thank you, I am glad you liked it :) Yep long sleeves and long pants, clip your cats nails, and wear gloves. Soft cloth ones, so they don't rip.

Thank you guys for sharing and commenting :) Stay safe!


amanda~purr profile image

amanda~purr 6 years ago from centralia, WA

hahaha that was a great read! Giving a cat a bath has given me many scars unfortinatly, but I will try the long sleeves. Thank you! now I have to go find my cat. He is soooo going to get a bath this year! lol


Suiiki profile image

Suiiki 6 years ago from City of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead

I don't have a bathtub and therefore just had to give Cabbit a bath in the kitchen sink. He didn't like that too much! But your tips really helped, thank you!


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

I give my cats baths in the kitchen sink. I hate giving them a bath as much as they hate getting one. We are both exhausted afterwards. Shadow, the cat that I just gave abath to three days ago was a trip! Instead of her going into the fetal position she spazed out and arched. Everything got wet! She did get the bath though and a new collar (necklace) to boot. She doesnt' like that either as it still has the bell attached.

Great Hub! Great advice! Yes--think clothing is a must!

I went to Petsmart yesterday and they told me to use PVC pipe and make a holder something like the ones that hold the dogs while they are being groomed. I got my thinking cap on and thinking of how to do that. I also bought a cat harness for next time I will be able to hold them without pinching the back of their necks. If I can get that apparatus hooked up I will be able to hook her to it and both hands will be free to give her a better bath.


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

Thank you DzyMsLizzy. I love the rubberized rain gear idea. My mom's cat is extremely OPPOSED to bathing. I have to get in the tub with him or I am chasing him all over the bathroom. The neighbors probably think my mom is killing someone, because he has this really high pitched whine. I should amend my article with claw clipping, as it is important. Thanks so much for your share :)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

Hi, there!

Yeah---I've had to bathe cats a few times. The very first time, I learned the hard way that you clip claws FIRST!

Detachable shower head works much better than a bucket, because you can still keep a hand on the cat.

I usually take the opposite approach, though, and shut myself in the bathroom with the cat, so any escapes cannot run through the house!

We have one that needs a bath about 3 or 4 times a year, and a rear-end rinsing every now and then.

But that is because she has epilepsy, and has pee accidents...sometimes slipping and falling into the resulting puddle. ewwww... and if she actually has a seizure-break-through her meds, she often loses bladder control..hence the rear-end rinses.

She's extremely vocal about her displeasure, but does not struggle over much. But anyone passing by would think we were doing her serious bodily harm!

(The cats are actually less a problem than a dog I used to have. To bathe him, I'd dress either in my swim suit, or rubberized rain gear, depending on the season!)

Great Hub!!


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

BlogggerOne- I have to routinely clip my cats nails or she gets hooked on the rug. They grow so fast.

fundamentallife-I certainly don't blame you. My beloved Sully who I miss so much hated getting a bath. She would scream. I was always afraid the cops would show up. She would sit there wide eyed and scream.

rgarnett-The detachable shower head works so much better than a bucket. I don't have one where I live now, but in the past it was the best solution for my cats.

Thank you guys for reading and commenting, I always enjoy the comments.


rgarnett profile image

rgarnett 6 years ago from KC, MO

So useful. My oldest cat has been taking baths since he was a kitten, and since he loves being cradled like a baby, he just unusual. However, I have found using the shower head, detachable, to rinse the cats has been a great massage type way to get the cats a bath. My other two cats are just not too hip on baths. Your tips are spot on! Absolutely ... the getting the area ready, one thing missing and you have a cat missing! :P


fundamentallife profile image

fundamentallife 6 years ago

Fab info, but I'll leave my cat do her own cleaning!!! Ouch..!

AJ..


BlogggerOne 6 years ago

Great blog. I could write one on how to clip a cat's nails. My cat hates this as much as water but it pays off when they paw you at 6:00 a.m.


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

Thank you jasper, it is a chore that can be trying or if your lucky it can be enjoyable for both you and your cat.


jasper420 6 years ago

great info i think this will please all cat owners out there

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