Since cats are fastidious groomers, they don’t commonly need a bath, nor do they want one! However, on the rare occasions when your cat may become extremely dirty, or when the coat comes into contact with oil or toxic substances,- there are some tips which help make the experience easier for both of you!
How to Wash your Cat
Line the floor with a non-slip mat (or even a towel). Fill the tub with enough warm water with which to wash your cat. Don’t overfill the bath as not only will your cat find deep water scary but this will also increase the risk of water spilling everywhere. Always use a specialist shampoo with no chemicals or perfumes. Never use human shampoo which is not suitable for cats due to the difference in pH levels.
Once your cat is in the bath, apply a small amount of shampoo, making sure that you avoid its sensitive ears and eyes. It’s easier to wash a specific part of your cat than the full body, so if there’s a single area of uncleanliness or contamination then focus on cleaning it alone. If you need to wash your cat’s entire body then lather it up, from neck to tail not forgetting the underside, legs and feet. It might be easier to take your cat out of the bath to do this (place it on a towel if needed) as some medicated shampoos need a certain contact time.
When lathered, rinse thoroughly using a shower or jug of warm water, again avoiding the eyes and ears. Be warned, after a soaking, your cat will enjoy shaking off the excess water with some vigour. Then you can dry your pet yourself with a separate towel. Complete the drying process in a warm room and don't let them out until completely dry.
Most cats are frightened of hair dryers so avoid using one unless (like show cats) your cat has been used to one from an early age.
Bath time can be very frightening for your cat so offer it plenty of reassurance and treats- food is often a useful distraction. Try to get another person to help you. If your cat becomes extremely distressed do not persevere as cat bites and scratches can be serious. Be careful and gentle and ask your vet or veterinary nurse for help with essential bathing. If you have more than one cat be aware that the bathed cat will now have a new scent. This can cause inter- cat conflict within your household. One way of trying to avoid this is to rub your other cats with the towel you have used to dry your bathed cat. This helps spread the new smell around leading to more harmonious interactions between your cats.