Successfully Bathing Your Cat

Many cats don’t like water, so bathing may not be the easiest task you’ve ever undertaken. Nonetheless, if your pet gets into something smelly or particularly dirty, you’ll need to bathe her. Follow these steps from your Fayette County veterinarian.

Prepare Your Cat

You’ll want to schedule bath time when your cat is relaxed. A healthy play session should tire her out enough that she’ll be less combative in the tub. Make sure her nails are clipped as well, in case she scratches you, intentionally or unintentionally.

Before bathing starts, give your cat a good brush down to remove excess hair and any matted sections.

Prepare the Tub

If you have one, put a rubber mat in the tub so your cat doesn’t slip. Fill the tub with about four inches of lukewarm water—make sure it is not overly hot or cold! Make sure your shampoo—a cat-safe solution available at pet stores and retail outlets—is nearby. Call your Fayette County vet for a recommendation on a quality cat shampoo.


Use the spray hose on a low, gentle setting and wet your cat. Praise her gently and comfort her if she’s frightened. Begin gently massaging the shampoo through your cat’s fur. Avoid your cat’s face entirely for now. Make sure you reach all parts of your cat’s fur and that is entirely clean.

Use a washcloth to gently wipe kitty’s face. It’s probably best to avoid shampoo at all at this stage; you don’t want to risk getting any in the eyes, nose, mouth, or ears. After your cat has been properly bathed, rinse her off with the gentle spray, taking care to remove all traces of the shampoo. Continue praising her for good behavior.

Dry Off

Take your cat out of the tub and wrap her in a large towel. Dry off her body with the towel, or use a blow dryer on the lowest setting if your cat isn’t frightened of it. Always make sure the heat is set low, and don’t get the nozzle close to your cat’s skin. Brush your cat’s coat afterwards to make sure it’s straight and smooth. Give your cat a treat to reward her!


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