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Cat sitting in bathroom

Bathing Cats: Everything You Need to Know

4 min read

Cats don’t usually need baths, but there are some exceptional circumstances. If they’re rolled in something that they can’t wash off themselves, or they have long hair which has become matted, a bath might be a good idea.

Most cats really dislike baths and they can find the experience very stressful. If you’re able to, just clean an isolated area, rather than getting their entire body wet.

That said, there are rare occasions when bathing your cat is unavoidable, in which case there are ways to make the experience more comfortable for both of you. However, if your cat needs a bath because they’ve come into contact with toxic substances, take them to the vet first.

Before you bathe your cat

Get everything you need in one place, so that once you’ve started bathing your cat, everything is within easy reach. You’ll need:

  • A large plastic bucket, sink or bath (lined with a non-slip floor mat) to use as a cat bath.
  • Specialist cat or kitten shampoo. Find a mild all-rounder with no harsh chemicals or perfumes. Never use human shampoo, as it’s unsuitable for cat hair and skin due to the difference in pH levels.
  • A cat conditioner if required. Again, don’t use conditioner for human hair.
  • A towel or two.
  • A brush to help remove matts and knots.

Bathing your cat

Grey kitten wrapped in a towel

Fill the cat bath with just enough warm (not hot) water to wash your cat and lower your cat gently into the water. Don’t overfill, as this will just make your cat more anxious!

Cats don’t usually need baths, but there are some exceptional circumstances. If they’re rolled in something that they can’t wash off themselves, or they have long hair which has become matted, a bath might be a good idea.

Most cats really dislike baths and they can find the experience very stressful. If you’re able to, just clean an isolated area, rather than getting their entire body wet.

That said, there are rare occasions when bathing your cat is unavoidable, in which case there are ways to make the experience more comfortable for both of you. However, if your cat needs a bath because they’ve come into contact with toxic substances, take them to the vet first.

Before you bathe your cat

Get everything you need in one place, so that once you’ve started bathing your cat, everything is within easy reach. You’ll need:

  • A large plastic bucket, sink or bath (lined with a non-slip floor mat) to use as a cat bath.
  • Specialist cat or kitten shampoo. Find a mild all-rounder with no harsh chemicals or perfumes. Never use human shampoo, as it’s unsuitable for cat hair and skin due to the difference in pH levels.
  • A cat conditioner if required. Again, don’t use conditioner for human hair.
  • A towel or two.
  • A brush to help remove matts and knots.