Image credit: Michael Verdi

So you need to bathe your cat.
If images of horror films and the feeling of instant panic swept over you after reading that, you’re not alone.
Bathing cats is a tricky business. They’re independent creatures, and taking a bath is not their idea of fun.
However, there are steps you can take to ensure chaos does not ensue. That’s why we’re sharing 8 tips for bathing your cat.

Tip #1: Watch the claws

There will likely be clawing involved. We recommend Cutting your cat’s nails   beforehand for your own safety. As an extra precaution, be sure to wear a longsleeved shirt and long pants.

Tip #2: Have everything ready to go

One of the worst things you can do is put your cat in the water and then remember you have to run get something. Have everything set up and ready to go at an arm’s reach before you start the bathing process. Using a leash is a great way to prevent untimely bailouts can be very helpful! Using a small pail of water to dip water from, or a sprayer head that you can shut off often helps decrease your cat’s anxiety in the water. Dunking a cat in a tub of water rarely works out well for you or the cat.

Tip #3: Bring an assistant

Four hands are better than two! Enlist the help of a friend or family member. Especially when your cat is trying to wiggle its way out, having one person to hold the cat and one person to do the cleaning is a huge help. Make it a pet cleaning party. Have your friend bring her pet and take turns helping each other!

Tip #4: Get the water temp just right

Your cat is not going to be happy with you if you put him or her in a bath of scalding hot water. Test the water first. Lukewarm water will be the most enjoyable for your cat.

Tip #5: Have a nonslip mat or towel

This step is often forgotten, but let us tell you, it is an enormous help. Placing a nonslip mat or towel at the bottom of the bath or sink will help you and your cat not slip and slide everywhere during the process. Having somethings firm to grip onto often helps calm cats down in a scary situation.

Tip #6: Use cat-friendly shampoo

Photo credit: Luca Vanzella

Public service announcement: people shampoo should not be used on your beloved cat! According to Petful, you should also avoid pet shampoos that include:

  • Artificial dyes
  • Parabens
  • Sodium laurel sulphate
  • Petrochemicals

Don’t forget that dry shampoos are also a great option!

Tip #7: Don’t spray cats in the eyes!

Be mindful of your cat’s face! Don’t spray him directly on the face. If you’d like to wash his whiskers, take a small handful of water and gently rinse without getting anything in the eyes. A cup can be used to help rinse the face.

Tip #8: Be sure to reward them

Don’t forget to reward your cat that she’s now clean as can be! She’ll learn that bath time means a treat or playtime after you make it a routine.
Here’s a clip for a laugh! 

We’d love to hear your cat cleaning stories or see pictures on our Facebook page!


Dr. Ruth Roberts DVM, CVA

Dr. Ruth Roberts Holistiv Vet

Dr. Ruth Roberts is The Original Pet Health Coach, and has supported thousands of dogs and cats to overcome health hurdles like kidney disease, GI Illness, allergies and cancer. Her natural approach to healing creates a gentle yet effective path for your pet to take on their journey to wellbeing. Dr. Ruth created The Original CrockPet Diet, a balanced home cooked diet for pets, as the foundation of health. Dr. Ruth is now training passionate pet parents, and pet professionals to be Certified Holistic Pet Health Coaches so that more pets can be helped holistically.