Tips For Bathing Your Cat

Most cats are fastidious at keeping themselves clean, so most cat owners don't have to worry about bathing their kitties. However, if your cat ever gets into something stinky or sticky, it might become a necessity to do so. If you think your cat needs a bath but you're afraid to do it, read these tips to make it easier on both of you.

Tire Out Kitty

A large majority of cats aren't fond of water, so it's understandable if you're afraid of getting scratched or having to fight your cat to keep them in the tub. One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of getting hurt while bathing your cat is to tire them out first.

Take the time to play with your cat before giving them a bath. Grab their favorite toys and tucker them out as much as you can; generally, if your cat is panting by the end of your play session, they should be pretty exhausted and won't have much energy to fight back during the bath.

Mellow Kitty Out

Another tip you can use to help keep your cat calm while they're in the bath is to offer them some catnip or another calming agent before their bath. If your cat becomes relaxed and sleepy on catnip, feel free to use it. However, if your cat gets excited or playful on catnip, skip it.

Another option is to use a cat pheromone to help mellow out your kitty. These pheromones are sold as diffusers or sprays that you can use in the room, so feel free to use them before and during the bath. The sprays are based on the pheromones produced by mother cats while nursing their kittens that help to keep them both calm and relaxed.

Bathing Tips

Once you're ready to start the bath, follow these tips to make it easier to keep your cat calm and to properly lather them up:

  • Partially Fill the Tub - Using warm water, fill the tub just a few inches so that your cat can stand in the water without being anxious that it's approaching the level of their face.

  • Use a Spray Attachment - Use a shower-head attachment or hose to wet down your cat. If you don't have one, filling a bowl or bucket with some warm water and gently pouring it over your cat's fur will work.

  • Avoid the Face - When you pour water on your cat or are lathering them up, avoid the face completely. Putting water or soap near your cat's face will make them fearful, and it could risk having them inhale soap or water.

  • Don't Use Human Soaps - Soap and shampoo made for humans may have chemicals or additives that aren't safe for a cat. Only use products that are specifically made to give cats baths.

It's generally not necessary to give a cat a bath on a regular basis, but these tips can help in the rare instance where it has to be done. If your cat won't calm down for a bath no matter what you do, call your vet to find out if they offer pet bathing or grooming services.