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9 Tips for When Your Cat Needs a Bath

These tips can make bath time less stressful for your messy cat.

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Your cat comes inside covered in mud, even though it hasn’t rained in a week. Leave it to your feline family member to seek out a mess. It’s definitely time to give your cat a bath, but you’re already dreading the growls and protests that are sure to ensue. How can you make this less daunting for the both of you?

Tips to Give Your Cat a Bath Safely

Remember, not all cats need regular baths. In fact, bathing them too much could dry out and irritate the skin. Bathing is only recommended for cats who can’t groom themselves, or on an as-needed basis for cats who get in messes. Learn more about when to give your cat a bath here.

If you want to make grooming as stress-free as possible, try these suggestions to give your water-hating cat a bath.

Prepping for Bath Time Success

1. Trim your cat’s nails beforehand: This assists in reducing the inevitable scratching if your cat panics during a bath.
2. Brush your cat: It’s necessary for removing excess hair or mats. Additionally, it significantly reduces the amount of hair you find around the house, and prevents any knots from forming.
3. Place cotton in your cat’s ears: This helps to keep water out. Water in the ears can be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to ear infections.

Bathing Your Cat

4. Use a rubber mat in the bathtub: This can keep your cat from slipping, and it can help prevent bumps, bruises, and injuries. This may be especially important for skittish, nervous cats.
5. Be careful near your cat’s head: Don’t let any water enter your cat’s eyes, ears, or nose.
6. Work the shampoo from neck to tail: Never use shampoo meant for humans!
7. Rinse your cat thoroughly: Try to avoid hot water, and use lukewarm water instead.

Comfort Your Cat After the Bath

8. Dry them properly: Wrap your cat in a large towel and dry them in a warm place.
9. Give them praise: Give them a treat (and extra cuddles and scritches), so they start associating bath time as a good thing. This may make them less scared for future baths.

If you have questions about your feline friend’s grooming routine, talk to your veterinarian about ways you can improve and create a better experience for them.