Cat Bathing Tips for Resistant Cats

Cat bathing can be quite a chore, especially if your cat is reluctant to be bathed. Here are some tips to help you groom and bathe your water-shy cat.

Have Your Supplies Laid Out in Advance

Before you begin grooming or bathing your cat, have your grooming and bathing area and supplies laid out in advance. You'll need a cat nail trimmer (a finger nail clipper will do), a comb or brush to groom your cat's fur prior to the bath, and several towels. You'll also need cat shampoo and a basin in which to bathe the cat; a sink does nicely. Some owners like to wear protective rubber gloves and a smock while bathing their cats.

Make sure your bathing area is cat proof. Remove any fragile objects and anything that might spill.

Groom Your Cat Before His Bath

Before you bathe your cat, groom him carefully. Clip his claws and comb his fur. Trimming your cat's claws before his bath makes it harder for him to scratch you if he resists. Combing or brushing his fur helps to remove excess dirt, mats and loose fur so his bath will leave him cleaner.

Enlist Help

A friend or relative can be a big help when you're struggling to bathe a reluctant cat. Your helper should hold your cat firmly but gently while you're bathing him. You and your assistant may want to practice different ways to hold and move the cat ahead of time, so that once your cat's in the water your assistant can keep a firm hold on your cat while making sure you're able to wash all areas of your cat's body.

Be Gentle When Bathing Your Reluctant Cat

Be gentle with your cat during his bath. The water should be only three or four inches deep and it should be comfortably warm, neither too hot nor too cold. If the water feels hot or cold to you, it will likely be uncomfortable for your cat.

Use a gentle touch when washing your cat. Bathe your cat slowly; speak softly and soothingly to him during the bath. Eliminate from the environment anything that might further frighten or disturb your cat—dogs, children and sources of loud noise.

Be careful with the cat shampoo; you want to wash all areas of your cat thoroughly, but don't get any shampoo into his eyes, ears or mouth.

Use Lots of Towels

You're going to need lots of towels when you bathe your cat, not only to keep yourself and the bathing area dry but to dry off your cat once you get him out of the water. When you're done bathing your cat and you've got him well rinsed, take him out of the water and wrap him immediately in a large, thick towel. You can use this towel to rub him dry; just watch out for his claws. Don't try to blow dry your cat's fur, as this will scare him; once you've rubbed your cat dry, he'll groom himself to finish the job.