Cats hate water, famously. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but, in general, your feline friend won’t be too fond of the water. This would make any loving owner think twice about bathing their cat, and you might be asking yourself how often to bathe a cat and whether you can bathe cats at all. Let’s take a look at these questions in depth. Do note that these tips are general guidelines only and your specific situation might require the advice of a vet, for example.
Because most cats don’t like water, it’s only fair that you don’t want to put cats through a bath without good reason. However, there are sometimes good reasons to wash cats. For example, if your cats are outdoor cats, they might bring in something less-than savory from the outdoor world into your home (dog poop in the yard can, unfortunately, sometimes be the culprit!). This being said, most cats are very clean animals and that kind of dirt will usually be the exception. However, if you spot (or smell!) something nasty on your cat’s fur, it’ll be time for a bath.
Housecats are also not immune from getting a little dirty and needing a bit of a spa treatment. Even if they won’t thank you for it, it’ll be good for them in the long run. For example, some cats can’t clean themselves very efficiently. This can sometimes be due to weight or old age, or long, high-maintenance fur that needs your help. In these instances, if you notice that your cat is a little dirty, it might be bath time!
Tip! If you’ve got a long-haired breed like a Persian or Maine Coon, you might get a lot of use out of our article on tips and tricks for getting rid of pet hair.
Here is our guide for how to bathe a cat—take this as general advice and adapt to suit your situation as needed!
- Set up your bathing space. If you’re bathing your cat in the bathtub, set up a non-slip traction mat—sounds fancy, but an old towel on the bottom of your bath will do! This basically means that your cat feels like it has a good grip on the surface it is standing on.
- Make sure your shampoo is suitable for your cat. You can purchase a pet safe cat shampoo at your local pet store or ask your veterinarian for a shampoo recommendation.
- Place your cat in the bath on the towel or non-slip mat, and gently let lukewarm or cool water flow in the bath. The water shouldn’t be deep, as this will scare your cat. Try distracting your cat as the water fills, so it doesn’t just run away!
- Apply the shampoo to the areas you need to wash your cat, lather, and then rinse thoroughly, following the instructions on the shampoo bottle.
- Now wrap your cat in a soft, clean towel and dry your pet thoroughly. Lots of treats help!
- If your cat is particularly tricky to bathe, stop what you’re doing so you don’t get scratched or bitten and so that your cat doesn’t get injured or too distressed. A vet or pet groomer might be able to help!
That’s how to bathe a cat! We hope this has helped you and your pet—sometimes you’ve got to be the tough pet parent and do something that’ll be good for your cat in the long run! However, as mentioned, if your cat gets too distressed, stop and get help. Cats won’t need to get bathed too often, you’ll be pleased to hear.