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8 Tips for Bathing a Cat

how to wash a cat

Bathing a cat can be incredibly stressful and frustrating for both you and your cat. However, it is possible to wash a cat without bloodshed in the bathroom. These tested tips for bathing a cat will help you escape the sharp claws while keeping your pet clean.

  1. Do not wash your cat regularly

Most cats hate baths, and, luckily, they do not need one on a regular basis. Cats spend quite a bit of time grooming themselves, so there is no need to bathe them often. We usually give our cats a bath after boarding them or if they get dirty. Other than these occasions, trust that your feline is capable of cleaning herself. If your cat steps in a mess, try only cleaning the messy paw instead of going nuclear with a full-blown bath. I use baby wet wipes for just such situations.

  1. Trim her claws the day before

Trimming your cat’s claws prior to giving her a bath is a good way to minimize the potential damage. However, most cats hate nail trimming almost as much as they hate baths. Do not trim their claws the same day. Do it the day before to avoid dealing with an already cranky kitty.

  1. Choose a mellow mood

You have probably noticed that your cat gets really excited when you first come home but mellows down later on during the night. Pick a bath time when your cat is not active or energetic.

  1. Use a non-slippery mat

Help your pet feel more in control by placing a non-slip rubber mat in the bathtub. This will help your cat avoid slipping and freaking out during bath time.

  1. Avoid running water

Cats are very sensitive to sound. The sound of running water right next to your cat’s face often creates additional stress for the animal. We have had more success when filling the bath tub prior to bringing kitty in the bathroom. Just make sure that the water temperature is appropriate (warm but not hot) and pre-fill the tub so the water reaches your cat’s tummy.

  1. Use special shampoo

In addition to noise, cats are very sensitive to smells. Choose an unscented cat shampoo and use it sparingly.

  1. Keep calm

Your behavior when bathing your cat is very important. Do not get angry or frustrated. Do not raise your voice. Keep in mind that your pet does not mean to be difficult and does not want to harm you – it is just scared. A soothing calm voice and slow steady motions work a lot better than shrieking and jerking your hands around.

  1. Dry and reward

Once you have rinsed kitty thoroughly, wrap her in a large towel and gently massage her to help the fur dry. Keep her in a warm space until the fur is dry. My cat usually jumps out of the towel after 5 minutes and starts her intensive grooming routine, just to show me how it’s done!

Don’t forget to give your cat a few treats once she has calmed down. This will help create more positive associations with bathing.