The Ultimate Guide to Bathing Your Cat

So, we can all agree there's nothing more relaxing than slipping into a nice, warm bath — unless you're a cat of course. While it's true that some cats enjoy getting wet, most really don’t!

Cats do have in-built grooming ‘tools’ in the form of their tongue and teeth and are usually fussy about self-cleaning meaning you don’t have to clean them as often as you would with a dog.

However, there are times when your cat needs a little extra help in the cleaning department. When cats come in contact with something sticky, smelly or overly dirty their tongue just doesn’t cut it anymore. Furthermore, another reason to bathe your cat would be because they have fleas. Bathing can sometimes be the best flea treatment for cats as it gets deep into their fur allowing you to rid your cat of those pesky fleas.

If you're going to bathe your cat, it pays to be prepared with everything you need at the ready, because once the bath begins you won’t have time to go find the shampoo! Through this article we give you a simple step by step process to bathe your cat – hopefully scratch free.

Bath Supplies

Here are the supplies you need ready and raring before finding your cat and taking on the dreaded task of bath-time:
  • Shampoo formulated for cats
  • A tub or sink
  • Cat comb/ brush
  • A non-breakable cup (i.e. plastic or metal)
  • Towel
  • Washcloth
  • Rubber mat (or an old towel)
  • Optional – cotton buds and a thermometer

The Process

1. Start by placing a rubber mat – or old towel – in the bottom of your sink or tub to give your cat some traction during the bath. By using a mat or towel it will hopefully prevent your cat from gripping onto your arm instead. Next, you want to go find your favourite feline and bring them to the wash zone. We suggest offering them a treat to distract them from the inevitable fact that they are about to get wet.

2. Prepare your cat for their bath by brushing or combing their fur; removing any mats of fur in the process as water will only make it worse. If your cat allows you, we suggest gently placing half a cotton ball in each ear to prevent water from getting in and slowing down the wash process.
Now that the cat prep is out the way, let the ‘fun’ begin.

3. Run the water until there is enough to start washing your cat. Ideally you want warm water around 38.88 degrees as that is a cat’s general body temperature. Then, using a cup, start slowly pouring water over your cat’s body – avoiding their head.

4. Now that your cat is nice and wet, apply the shampoo and massage it into their fur gently. Work fast through this step as once your cat is lathered they are virtually impossible to stop from escaping. Be sure not to get the shampoo too close to their eyes – use a wash cloth to remove any excess shampoo on their face.

Note: If you are bathing your cat because they have fleas you want to try and let the shampoo soak – for as long as possible - and comb through their fur to remove the fleas. Furthermore, if you’re unsure of which flea shampoo to use but want the best flea treatment for cats, we suggest Fido’s Flea Shampoo.

5. Once you’ve thoroughly shampooed, it’s time to rinse – again avoiding their head.  Be sure all shampoo is rinsed off as it can contribute to skin allergies or be ingested when your cat is grooming themselves.

6. Finally, you can remove the cotton buds from your cat ears and gently dry them by stroking their fur with a towel. You can try offering your cat a treat as a peace offering but by now most cats will be over the washing process so feel free to let them run off and find a place to groom themselves and air-dry.

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