Ever try to bathe your cat? I have. When I was a kid, we had a cat named Buttons. He was one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever met, but he turned into Linda Blair in The Exorcist the minute we tried to bathe him. Have you ever seen a cat go berserk in an enclosed tub stall? It’s really something! My sister and I had to double-team it, and we both ended up with plenty of scratches. Needless to say, we usually left Buttons to clean himself.
Fortunately, it isn’t often necessary to bathe your cat, as most take their personal hygiene very seriously. There are those times, though, when your cat has gotten into something he shouldn’t have or if she’s older and isn’t as neat as she used to be in the litter when you just have to bathe him or her. Since many cats have an aversion to water, it may be easier said than done. Follow these tips to bathe your cat and make the process as painless as possible for the both of you.
Foolproof Tips to Bathe Your Cat
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- Sponge bathe when possible. Unless you’ve been bathing your cat since she was a kitten, she may be very uncomfortable with being submerged in water. If it’s possible to just “spot clean” you’re better off going that route. Close yourselves into a small room like the bathroom or utility room and hold her in your lap while you clean each area with a small cloth or sponge. Make sure to rinse out the shampoo completely, as any residue could dry out your cat’s skin or cause an upset stomach when licking.
- Use the right shampoo. Cats are very sensitive to smells, and many of them have sensitive skin. Use a shampoo that is gentle and has a very mild scent. I’ve used my own shampoo on my dogs before in a pinch, but that won’t do with your cat.
- Use a collar and short leash. If you have to get your cat’s entire body wet, use a collar and a very short leash to hold him in place.
- Get in the tub, too. Your cat is probably going to be unhappy and uncomfortable with her bath, so climb in with her. Hold her in your lap, pet her gently, and speak soothingly. If you have a shower stall instead of a tub, consider using the kitchen sink instead.
- Use the sprayer. Ideally, don’t fill the tub or sink basin. If you have a removable shower head or sprayer for your dishes, you won’t need to have your cat sitting in a tub or sink full of water. Think of how your hair stylist washes your hair – same idea.
- Have plenty of towels ready to go. Your cat is going to be cold after his bath, so use a few towels to dry him. After the first one is saturated, move on to the next. Continue this method until you have a mostly dry towel to wrap him in and cuddle him while he dries off and warms up.
- When in doubt, enlist the professionals. If you’ve tried all of the above tips and you still cannot bathe your cat unscathed, you might be better off giving in and taking her to the groomer.
Hopefully, you’ll only need to bathe your cat occasionally. These tips should help make the experience as positive for you both as possible. Come back and let us know if these worked for you or what else you’ve employed in the bathing process that makes a difference for you and your cat!
Do you have any other tips for how to bathe your cat? Share below!
Kate Curran is a native Midwesterner and lives outside of Chicago. She is the proud mama of two feisty, funny, and kind kiddos who give her constant inspiration (and lots of hugs), not to mention two 4-legged kids. In between working in a corporate job and spending time with her family, Kate loves to write. Her favorite topics include the things she experiences every day – parenting both kids and dogs, saving money, and loving life!