Survivor's Guide to Bathing a Cat

December 26, 2019

Survivor's Guide to Bathing a Cat

Are you a victim of your cat’s mood swings when it comes to bathing?

Cats can be very difficult at times and to make it worse, our voices and instructions have little control over their actions. Bathing is a process that most cats don’t appreciate, to say the least.

If you are here, most likely you have tried bathing your cat and that ended up badly or you have heard your fellow cat owner stories of how the cat scratched its way through and escaped a bath.

An attempt to bathe an uninterested cat can turn pretty messy and sometimes ugly. You need to be prepared for the worst, block all escapes and make sure the final outcome is a clean cat with no casualties to either of you!

And if you’re worrying who’s going to guide you through the process, worry not! This blog post will give you a step by step method to follow and necessary precautions that you must take.

So sit back and relax, there’s a lot to take in as you read!

Step By Step Process For Safely Bathing Your Cat

This section of the blog post will guide you on how you can manage to successfully bathe your cat in a few easy steps!

Step 1: Prepping the products, your cat and yourself!

A cat bath is a gamble, where your cat can show its wildest shade to you and both can end up hurt if you don’t take necessary precautions. That is why it is necessary that you be prepared. 

Before the bath, make sure your cat’s claws are trimmed short, and if you are particularly interested in grooming, even filled to smoothness. This will make sure when your cat decides to throw a fit, none of you get scratched.

Wear clothes that can protect you from possible scratches and bites. Be ready to get wet and soapy. If things get messy, be ready to get dirty as well! 

Lastly, make sure the bath is ready. Make sure the tub has enough water, the water is moderately warm, the soap or cat shampoo is cat-friendly. Keep everything ready, so that once your cat realizes what’s happening, it doesn’t have much time to wiggle out and run away.


  • Comb your cat once so that most shedding is done and dusted with. This makes the bath less messy.
  • The water should be filled at moderate level, about 7-8 inches. 
  • Try carpeting the surface of your tub with a rubber mat or something that can avoid the cat to slip. Slipping can cause your cat to panic.

Step 2: Convincing your cat and calming it down

This is one important step you can’t miss if you want to survive the bathing session peacefully. You need to make sure your cat is not having an anxiety boost or a frenzy attack. 

To keep it calm, you can start by talking to your cat a few minutes before the bath, so that your cat gets used to your voice and continue it as you begin the bath. This makes it feel whatever is happening is normal.

Try adding its favorite toys or mouse/food shaped toys in the bath so it really wants to enter the water. 


  • Start by immersing just its hands and legs in the water, see how it reacts.
  • If your cat is comfortable with standing on just two hind legs, hold it firmly with its upper body and continue.
  • Keep the doors closed so your cat doesn’t run away

Step 3: Working up the lather

Slowly work up the lather from paws to the upper body. If your cat is really behaving wild in its first bath, make it a slow process over days. Gradually it will get used to water, until it is ready for a full bath.


  • Do not use soap on its face. Make sure soap doesn’t enter your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
  • You can put cotton or wax plugs in its ear to prevent water from entering.
  • If your cat starts showing signs of panic by crying, screeching or meowing wildly then stop. Your cat is your priority.

Step 4: Drying and Treats!

Once you’re done with the bath, don’t sigh in relief. Drying is left! You can use towel drying or hairdryer, make sure the temperature isn’t too high.

Lastly, do not forget the treats! Your cat deserves a reward, whether or not it behaved well during the bath. This acts as positive reinforcement and encourages the cat that this is a good thing.

Making the Bath Less Bath-Like

The point is, cats are scared of unfamiliar surroundings and activities. Water, soap, and pressure are things that can easily trigger panic.

The more you make the cat feel comfortable, the easier bathing it will be. You can change ways of bathing to a bucket wash or a soft shower wash, according to what your cat prefers. Make sure the stream of the shower has low pressure as it can again, scare the cat.

Again, don’t forget the treats. They increase your chances of having a better experience next time!

If you have some interesting and fun suggestions for bathing a cat, do mention them in the comments section!

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