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A close-up of a tabby cat with wide, green eyes looking directly at the camera. The cat is being held by a person wearing a multicolored plaid shirt, with a blurred green background.
Pet Blog

How To Bathe A Cat

This post is written by holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT.

Let’s start this off with a confession. I have never bathed any of my own kitties! I have, however, bathed my patients for medical or sanitary reasons. Cats are really great about keeping themselves clean. Cats can also be really non-compliant when it comes to being exposed to water. If you don’t need to bathe your cat, go ahead and skip bath time. If your cat has a fungal infection, has terrible diarrhea, or has gotten into something toxic, you might need to bathe them.

Below I have outlined the steps to make it more pleasant for you and your kitty.

  1. Make sure you have a good reason to bathe your cat! Has your veterinarian recommended it? Does your cat stink? Maybe your cat just likes the water, those rare cats do exist.
  2. Pick your location. Bathtubs and kitchen sinks are the easiest. Just make sure you have a non-skid mat to help your kitty to feel secure and grounded. Porcelain and stainless steel surfaces can feel really insecure and slippery for your kitty when they are wet.
  3. Gather your supplies. Make sure you have your shampoo, towel, and anything else you need ready before you put your kitty in the tub. Another set of hands would be great if available.
  4. Completely soak your kitty. Avoid the face, and wet only the area that needs treatment in warm water. Lather the shampoo just like you would for your own hair. I recommend wearing long sleeves, just in case your kitty tries to crawl up your arms. If you are using medicated shampoo or dip, let it soak for the prescribed period of time.
  5. Rinse your kitty completely and towel dry. If it’s cold or your kitty has long hair, keep your kitty in a warm room until they are dry. I like using bathrooms with space heaters. Leave the hair dryer for the humans only.

If your kitty absolutely hated this experience, focus on giving them positive reinforcement like pets and treats!

With love,

Dr. Angie