Tips For Bathing A Cat

Bathing a cat, is it necessary?  With the exception of long-haired and certain breeds of cats (such as Sphynx, Persian, Himalayan), cats are thought of as generally self-cleaning.  But,  there are times when you might find it necessary to bathe your cat.  Here are some tips for bathing a cat so it’s less stressful for all involved from a veterinarian who runs a cats-only practice:

bathing a cat

  • Don’t immerse cats in water – not even a few inches of water! Instead, use a sprayer. Cats don’t like standing in water, and they don’t like having water poured over them, either.
  • Put some ointment, such as Purelube, in your cat’s eyes so her eyes won’t be irritated when or if water gets in her eyes.
  • Be careful not to let water into a cat’s ears. This may be done by holding the sprayer with one hand and covering up the cat’s ears with the other hand.
  • Use a special, hypoallergenic shampoo labeled for cats only. Dawn dish soap may be used if a cat gets into something sticky or greasy. Dawn may also be used if only bathing a cat once every few months, because continuous, regular use may strip the natural oils from the cat’s skin and hair.

This writer goes about bath time in a very business-like manner, because none of her cats like baths – even once a year. The more emotional one gets at any point, the more cats feed off the emotion. If you’re calm chances are, your cat will be calm, or at least calmer, too.


  • Have a few towels ready after the bath is over so you can wrap your cat and rub her to soak up some excess water. If your cat will tolerate it, use another towel or two to rub her. She’ll be quite anxious to get away from you to being re-arranging her fur.
  • Give her, and only her, a nice treat to encourage her associate some positive emotions with bathing.

After it’s all over, it’s always nice to compliment your clean kitty and give her extra affection.

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Written by Stephanie Newman

Stephanie Newman

Stephanie is author of the blog, The Musings Of A Crazy Cat Lady, and a freelance writer whose work regularly appears on Stephanie’s work has been featured on Catster and in print in Natural Awakenings Pet – east Michigan and the Oakland Press newspaper. She’s a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association, Inc. and a member of Pet Professionals for Pet Adoption.