Apr

3

The best way to give your cat a BATH in five easy steps! Really!

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Kitty's been exploring and is really dusty and dirty now. Or maybe kitty came home covered in what looks like oil and smells like an engine. Now what?

You can’t let her clean herself, engine oil is toxic...the only thing you can do is give her a bath. Here is the best way to give a cat a bath. If you can get help, great, one of you to hold the cat and one to wet, shampoo, and rinse. Either way, follow these five steps for bathing cats and you and kitty will live to tell the tale!

1. Be Prepared! There is nothing worse than running around looking for the cat shampoo when your cat is dripping wet, howling at you and ready to claw your eyes out! So before you even go get the cat, gather these essentials:

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a. A good quality cat shampoo – your vet can recommend one for your cat. Read the instructions on the bottle now – you won’t have time later. Trust me.

b. A washcloth – for wiping out kitties eyes, nose and ears.

c. A rubber mat or towel in the bathtub or sink.

d. At least two towels – one gets soaked through really fast. Ideally you,ll need four towels, especially if your cat has long fur

e. two 5-gallon pails filled with warm water and pitcher – I’ll explain later.

f. Turn the heat up, fireplace on, air conditioning off – the last thing you want is a draft hitting your wet cat!

g. Change into an old, long sleeved sweatshirt – something you don’t mind getting wet and clawed.

2. Ok now go find Fluffy but don’t go rushing her into the bath just yet. You want kitty to be prepared too.

a. Trim front and back nails – this is for your protection mostly, the shorter the nails the less damage to you if kitty uses your arms to climb out of the tub!

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b. Comb or brush your cat’s fur – this often helps get the dirt or substance out of the fur, but it doesn’t replace a good soaking in the tub. Don’t skip this step, it loosens up old fur so it gets washed away. Your cat will spend a lot of time cleaning herself after the bath so combing reduces fur balls.

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3. Now into the bathtub. What, wait.. there’s no water in the tub! Yeah, I know. A full tub is just too traumatic on a cat. I leave the tub empty but gently pour water over Kitty from the 5-Gallon pail with the pitcher – running water freaks them out, sitting in water freaks them out…this is the best way for bathing cats. Hands down.

a. Talk calmly and quietly to Kitty and around her. Reassure her while keeping a firm grip on her shoulders.

b. Avoid the head and ears; gently pour water over your cat’s body from the neck down until the fur is soaked through. This usually takes a couple of pitchers. Talk calmly and quietly to your cat the whole time.

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c. Now aren’t you glad you read the shampoo bottle? You just need the size of a quarter amount in the palm of your hand. Lather kitty up really good, but avoid getting soap on his head - soap in the ears and eyes can hurt and you’ll end up chasing after a wet, angry cat.

4. Rinse. I don't trust cat shampoos that claim to not need rinsing. Rinsing is the most important part. This is the part of the bath that really cleans your cat. Rinsing gets out all the loose fur and dirt. And of course you have to get all the shampoo out, otherwise your cat will be throwing up suds and get very sick. If you have to shorten step three to get a good rinse, then do it. Sometimes a good rinsing is all your cat needs, no shampoo. So make it a thorough rinse.

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a. Keep talking calmly to your cat and firmly hold her shoulders. Use the pitcher to take warm water from the pail and gentle pour the water over your cat repeatedly until she is rinsed thoroughly.

b. Wet the washcloth and gently wipe your cats face and head. Be careful to wipe her eyes from the outside corner to the inside corner – that’s the way their eyes drain naturally so you’ll be moving any dirt or debris out and not back into the eyes.

c. The nose usually doesn’t need wiping, but if you have to wipe, be careful not to block off her breathing, do one nostril at a time or one fast wipe over both of them.

d. Ears - cats ears are extremely delicate, so unless there is major dirt or grime in or on them, I avoid cleaning them. If you stick your fingers or the cloth too deep, it can really hurt and also damage their hearing.

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5. Drying. Now you’ve made it through the worst part. But you have to make sure you cat stays warm and gets dry as quickly as possible.

a. Get one of the towels you laid out and wrap your cat in it, tightly enough to hold her and to blot up any excess moisture. The water will soak through the first towel quickly and she will get cold so wrap a second towel around her right away.

b. Use a corner of the towel to dry her face and head while you hold her and keep talking to her. Even if she protests, it is important that you towel dry her really well. She is not used to being wet and she could get a chill quickly.

c. If she is starting to soak through both towels, wrap her up in two more towels the same way and hold her again.

d. When the towels have soaked up as much water from her fur as they can, you can take a blow dryer on the lowest setting and gently blow her dry, make sure you keep the blow dryer moving because if you hold it steady, it can burn her skin.

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e. If she won’t tolerate a blow drier, put her in warm place, by a fire, on a bed, anywhere she’ll be warm and let her clean herself. She may get tired and need to rest, if she falls asleep before she is completely dry, cover her with a dry towel or light blanket.

I've bathed cats who hate water and cats who love water and this is by far the easiest and most efficient way of bathing cats. If you try my method, post a comment or let me know how it went.

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11 Comments

melinda said:

We haven't bathed our cat in AGES, because she throws such a fit every time we try. Everyone ends up wet and hairy and mad. I tried it this way, and though there were a couple escape attempts, and several loud protests, she stayed still the rest of the time, and (I think) secretly enjoyed it (though she'd die before admitting it). Thanks for the tips! :D

Jim said:

Great post. You are in RSS now so I can read more from you down the road.

Cheri Chewning said:

ok well i have 4 cats 2 wich used to be feral and one of the feral cats only having 3 legs so she hates most people due to the trauma. they need baths and a flea dip and last week i did 2 of them (domestic ones) and ended up with a bloody mess onmyself and very pissed off kitties. I am going to go fill my buckets and try this method.. ill be back later to let u know how it went.
cheri

Cheri Chewning said:

Well i am back and all four cats r clean and bug free, this was def the best ever way to bathe your cat. 1000xs easier than the bath with water flow on. although my cats hate me right now in a few hours they will thank me and want my love again.

Ty so much for this tip/tips if you were in my home right now i'd be hugging you...

Meow,
cheri

David said:

I washed my cat using this method, and it worked wonderfully. I am not bleeding, nor am I cut.
YAY!
My cat was calm throughout the process. He only tried to get out of the bathtub twice, and was easily bested. I would recommend this process to anyone. Thank you for all the great info.

Cat Lady said:

ALSO, I'd like to add.

It can be very difficult to hold the cat down while you are bathing. This is when they will squirm and do anything to get away and they can be much stronger then we think. This is usuually the time when we are most apt to get clawed and it hurts!!!

What I do is take a kitchen towel because of it's size and drape it around the cats shoulders and hold the two ends of it firming below.... the cats neck. This way the cat can't get its front legs out to grab you or the edge of the tub or sink. Just hold them dont with one hand grasping the kitchen towel. You can only basically use one hand in bathing, but if you have all your supplies at hand and know what comes first and what comes second, you can do it quickly with out injurie to you or the cat. Oh, I forgot, get the kitchen towel wet before you put it around the cat. The weight of it soaked help in restraining them 100 fold. Sincerely, I really hate this job but sometimes it has to be done.

Cat Lady said:

ALSO, I'd like to add.

It can be very difficult to hold the cat down while you are bathing. This is when they will squirm and do anything to get away and they can be much stronger then we think. This is usuually the time when we are most apt to get clawed and it hurts!!!

What I do is take a kitchen towel because of it's size and drape it around the cats shoulders and hold the two ends of it firming below.... the cats neck. This way the cat can't get its front legs out to grab you or the edge of the tub or sink. Just hold them dont with one hand grasping the kitchen towel. You can only basically use one hand in bathing, but if you have all your supplies at hand and know what comes first and what comes second, you can do it quickly with out injurie to you or the cat. Oh, I forgot, get the kitchen towel wet before you put it around the cat. The weight of it soaked help in restraining them 100 fold. Sincerely, I really hate this job but sometimes it has to be done.

Nita said:

Thank you for this advice. My kitty fights tooth and nail all other times...Last time she clawed my boyfriends lip. She wasn't terribly happy with the bath, but it was much less traumatic for her. Thanks again!!!!

Emily said:

ok...had to give my kitten two baths because she has an illness in her tummy..looked it up and this site is the first one that i clicked on. helped me soooo much!! Cant even tell u how thankful i am that the steps were there. The only thing that i added was that I put all of the towels in the dryer for like 10 minutes before the bath. wanted to make sure that the warmth was there after the bath.

JJ said:

Thanks so much for your tips. In the past, I've had both good and terrible experiences bathing my cats (depending on the temperament of the cat) but your tips were still really helpful. My hubby managed to hold the cat with one hand and lather it up with the other following your method, and my only job was to rinse it using the pitcher. No injuries, no screaming cat! So much better than hosing kitty down with a shower.

vanessa roberts said:

This was the easiest time I have ever had bathing my cat or any cat I've had my whole life!! No horrible meow's and not a single clawing attempt. The only thing I did different was I put a towel down in the tub to let him feel secure and not look for something to sink his claws into lol :-)

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