How to Bathe a Cat and Stay Friends With Each Other

Cat and litter box

We’ve all been there. You go to give your cat a bath, and ten seconds in, your cat’s jumped out of the bath and taken almost all of the water with it. Water everywhere. It’s happened to the best of us. And giving a cat a bath that’s enjoyable is the quickest way to become even closer. 


Whether you’re a first timer or seasoned scratch post come cleaning time, it doesn’t have to be an experience full of squirms and screeches. (And your cat can get a bit wriggly, too.) Once you know how to bathe a cat, you’ll keep your position as their favourite human. 


How often should you bathe a cat? 


When it comes to how often to bathe a cat, a lot of people will answer ‘never!’ This is probably because our furry pals are very good at cleaning themselves. And, let’s be honest, it’s also probably because long-term pet owners have had one or two ‘interesting’ experiences giving a cat a bath 


Seriously though – how often should you bathe a cat? Well, it depends on your feline friend. Most are gold star standard at grooming, so it might be a once or twice a year thing. But you might have the cat that’s all personality and not so much hygiene. They’re the ones you bathe more regularly. The stinky ones. The grubby ones. The old ones who struggle with their grooming regime these days. Left too long, their fur can get matted – and although we love them even at their hairiest, we all know how uncomfortable (and uncool) a bad hair day can be.  


How to bathe a cat – your stash of handy helpers    


Bathing a cat is a really loving thing to do… whether they think so or not. And it’s also totally fine that it isn’t entirely selfless. You probably aren’t into watching them pop their leg behind their head to clean said brown splodge whilst you tuck into your dinner. So when the time comes, there are steps you can take to make sure they still love you as much as you love them after bathing. First up, here’s your key kit to help you tackle the task at hand: 


  • Suit of armour. Kidding! 
  • Patience. Definitely not kidding! 
  • Container. Sinks and bathtubs work well for bathing a cat, but it might be a little trial and error to find what works best. For the first time, go with the bath. That’ll give you room to manoeuvre. Shallow water gets a big thumbs up from us, as too much can be overwhelming – for you, as well as your cat. 
  • Appropriate shampoo. Check with the local cat whisperer (a.k.a. your vet) if you’re unsure what type of cat shampoo is best for yours. 
  • Soft cloth 
  • Kitchen towel 
  • Fluffy towel. Maybe two. 
  • Gloves… and something to cover your arms. If this is their first time, you really don’t know how they’re going to react. The more prepared you are, the calmer you’ll be. That’s a good thing. Calm you = calm cat. 


Right, you’re ready to go.  


How to give a cat a bath step by you’ve-got-this step 


  1. Give them lots of love and reassurance. You might need to hold them fairly firmly, but regular stroking and a reassuring voice can work wonders. 
  1. Wash from the neck down, using a soft cloth. Throwing water over their head is a big no-no – that’s a one-way street to chaos and a tricky relationship right there. 
  1. Work quickly but calmly. Sudden movement is off the menu.  
  1. Double check you’ve cleaned everything and then rinse the shampoo off thoroughly. 
  1. Wrap them up in a towel and make plenty of reassuring noises again. Who knows? You might even get a purr. 
  1. Unwrap when they’re dry and let them do whatever they want. They will anyway. 
  1. Give yourself a pat on the back – job done! Oh wait, you need to dry the bathroom floor… 


Tip: Even when you know everything there is to know about how to give a cat a bath, a little (or a large) water spillage is inevitable. That’s cool. You’ve prepared for said splashing with Plenty kitchen towel. It’s known for its wet strength, and its super absorbency will soak up all of those sploshes with ease – without breaking down and creating even more mess. Phew.     


From how often to bathe a cat to an easy way to wash their fur, you’ve now got a winning approach for cleaning your superior pet cat. And it’ll help you stay friends afterwards too.  

And true love is cleaning the bathroom up after you’ve cleaned your cat – even if they don’t know that they need a wash. 

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