Logo image
Logo image

It's Possible! How to Bathe Your Cat

4 minutes
It is commonly said that cats have an aversion to water and to the bathroom.  Is this real or a myth?
It's Possible! How to Bathe Your Cat
Last update: 27 December, 2022

If your cat is a house cat, it does not need frequent bathing because cats usually spend a few hours a day preening. So, is it necessary to bathe your cat?

Cats take naturally clean themselves with their tongues.  A cat’s tongue is rough because it covered with rigid bumps that are made up keratin.

The ritual of daily grooming is to clean the feline’s skin and hair.  Because of this, outdoor cats or cats spend most of their time outdoors need to take baths as well, with soap and water.

Bathing can cause a lot of stress for most cats. Therefore, it is recommended to follow certain guidelines so that the experience is as least traumatic as possible. The little feline will end up accepting the bathing as normal, but you have to help him adapt to routine baths.

Bathing kittens

If you cat is younger than eight weeks old, he is not ready to take a full bath. A good alternative is to clean your cat with a damp cloth. After awhile, if a cat is trained to take baths from the time they are young, they will become accustomed to it and it will be much easier in the future.

Some figure

Before the first bath you can get your cat used to water.  Give him a container of water to play with and experience, so water won’t be a strange element for him.

Preparation is key so that the experience of bathing a cat is a good one

Buy specialized products

First of all, you should use a special shampoo designed for bathing a cat. Products for humans and dog shampoo are not recommended, as they can irritate your cat’s skin or even be toxic.  We should note as well that you should always read the product’s instructions before use.

Cut your cat’s nails

This is a good way to protect yourself from potential scratches if your cat is less than thrilled with the idea of a bath.  Scratching is a cat’s natural defense, so cutting their nails beforehand is a way to avoid injuries.

The ideal time to cut your cat’s nails is the day before the bath, because cutting their nails can also cause your cat distress. It’s not a good idea to add the stress of having their nails cut to the stress of a bath.  It can be helpful to give the cat a treat or a toy while you’re cutting his nails so the process is more enjoyable.


This is an important step that you should not leave out.  Brushing a cat’s hair is to undo the knots.  If there are knots in her fur and she gets wet, the knots will only get worse. And, they can become painful in some cases.

What’s more, maybe your cat enjoys being brushed. Basically, this can be a good way to calm her down before the bath.  If you cat doesn’t like being brushed, it’s better to leave an hour between brushing and bathing.  This will give him time to calm down, and if that doesn’t work, you can try to relax him with music.

Use a non-slip mat

If you cat tries to get out of the tub, which is quite likely, she could slip. This could cause an injury or add to the stress, so a non-slip mat can prevent that situation.

Some figure

The bath

Once you have completed all the previous steps pre-bath, you can proceed to giving your cat a bath. These are the steps we recommend:

  • Put the cat in the tub or container. If the cat doesn’t like water, it is best to put it in an empty, dry tub.
  • Then, using a container, little by little, pour warm water over his body. A shower head that sprays shouldn’t be used directly on the cat as this could scare him.
  • Toys can help entertain the cat and keep her calm.
  • Don’t go overboard with the amount of soap. If the cat doesn’t like water, it’s hard to rinse off a lot of soap.
  • Apply shampoo by rubbing the cat gently.
  • It is not necessary to put soap on the cat’s face. In fact, the shampoo could enter his eyes and irritate them.
  • You should avoid putting the cat’s face directly under the water because this often causes a cat to panic.
  • Finally, dry the cat with a towel gently.  Afterwards, if it is a long-haired cat, brush his fur.
  • After all the effort and stress, your cat deserves a reward like some pampering, cat treats, or toys.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.