How Do I Bathe a Cat?

how do i bathe cat

Bathing a cat might just be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do as a cat owner. By now you have probably noticed that cats usually do not enjoy water. Finding a cat that enjoys water is about as likely as winning the lottery. Sometimes a cat needs a bath, and it can be a problem.

Chances are that if you didn’t put much thought into it, and you went to bathe your cat, you ended up covered in scratches and with a mess of water everywhere. No, bathing a cat is not easy, but then again, it is possible. So, how do I bathe a cat?

Why Cats Don’t Like Baths?

You might wonder why cats don’t like baths or water in general. After all, may wild felines, especially larger predators like leopards and tigers actually enjoy water. These animals have coats that repel water and dry fast, which is not true for house cats.

Although this is not 100% certain, it is though that domesticated house cats do not particularly enjoy water because their coats absorb it rather than repel it. This means that a wet cat stays wet for quite some time, it takes long to dry, and that’s not comfortable.

Do Cats Actually Need Baths?

Technically speaking, cats don’t really need baths at all. Cats are strict groomers and they are always cleaning themselves in one way or another. Moreover, giving a cat a bath, especially if done too often, will remove essential oils from fur and skin, thus drying them out.

Therefore, cats should be bathed minimally. However, of course, if your cat goes dumpster diving, gets muddy, or dirty and smelly in any other way, you won’t really have a choice. Sometimes a smelly cat just needs a bath.

What You’ll Need to Bathe Your Cat?

There are a few items and products you are going to need when bathing a cat. Here’s the list of essential cat bathing supplies.

If you have a very aggressive cat or a cat that really hates water, you may want to invest in some kind of thick gloves, ones that go a good way up the forearm. You’ll be thankful for these good gloves when your cat unleashes its claws on you.

  • Cat shampoo
  • A large towel
  • A pitcher of water (for rinsing)
  • A small facecloth
  • Cotton balls for the ears

Bathing a Cat – Step by Step

Let’s go through a quick step by step process on how to bathe a cat with minimal issues, and hopefully no scratches either.

  1. Put on those gloves. You’ll probably need them.
  2. Fill up a sink or bathtub with 2 to 4 inches of warm water.
  3. With your hands or a small cup, wet the cat from shoulder to tail. Avoid splashing water on the cat’s face. It will not like this.
  4. Use a small amount of cat shampoo and lather the cat up.
  5. Use the pitcher to rinse the soap off the cat.
  6. Use the face cloth to wipe your cats face. You can use water and a teeny bit of shampoo if necessary, but try to avoid this as your cat really doesn’t want to get its face wet.
  7. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the soap off.
  8. Use the towel and wrap it around your cat, rubbing off as much water as possible.


Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and bathe your cat. The biggest recommendation here is gloves. Wear them!

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