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How to bathe a cat even if it hates water

Cats are generally self-cleaning, but sometimes you might need to know how to wash a cat to help them out. Read on for tips on how to wash a cat.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

how to bathe a cat
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Forget dogs, cats really are man’s best friend. Everyone loves having a cat around for affection and company, and most of the time cats are pretty low maintenance. No need to take them out for walks or amuse them all the time.

There may, however, be times when cat ownership requires a few extra chores. From time to time your cat might need washing. As this doesn’t happen very often, you may not know where to start or find yourself asking: Can you bathe a cat? In this article we answer the key questions: when and how to give a cat a bath.

Washing your cat only when necessary and having some fast acting bathroom cleaner to hand to clean up any mess in the house when you are done!

Should you bathe cats?

Most of the time cats bathe themselves, or rather lick themselves clean. No need for human intervention. But sometimes they may require a bit of help. If your cat has got really muddy or dirty, maybe they fell in an unclean pond or perhaps got their paws stuck in some sticky condiment, then you need to help them get clean.

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Top tip: Try to time the wash for when they’re at their most placid and sleepy, perhaps after a big meal.

How to wash a cat

So now we come onto the important question of how to bathe a cat. There are a few key steps:

  • Step 1: Dry brush the cat before putting it anywhere near water. This helps to remove any knots in their fur meaning you have to do less work while bathing.

  • Step 2: Then place them in a special bowl big enough to act as a cat bath and make sure they are calm. Try giving them a toy at this point or stroking their fur until they seem relaxed.

  • Step 3: Slowly add water making sure it’s the correct temperature and apply special cat-formulated shampoo.

  • Step 4: Rub the shampoo gently into their coat making sure not to get it in their eyes or ears. Try where possible to let the water run from the head down their body rather than the other way around.

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How to bathe a cat that hates water

That all sounds pretty straightforward, but what happens if you are bathing a cat who is just not having it? There’s no point trying to bathe a cat who is angry or upset. You’ll get nowhere and your pet will just become increasingly irritated and aggressive.

There are a few things you can do in these circumstances:

  • Take the process slowly – rushing often stresses pets unnecessarily

  • Speak gently to your cat throughout

  • Stroke their fur continually

  • Try associating bath time with a favourite toy

How to clean your bathroom post-wash

So you’ve managed to placate your moggie and she is now lovely and clean. Your bathroom however might not be. Washing pets can be a pretty messy business, but never fear; if you have a few cleaning products to hand, you can sort it out in no time.

Cif Cream Cleaner is great for ceramics and enamel, making it ideal for bathroom tiles and sinks. We like the classic lemon variety to give your bathroom that freshly cleaned fragrance. As always read the directions on the label, test in a small area first and take any necessary safety precautions.

And there you have it! Now you should (hopefully) have one very clean cat, and one immaculate bathroom.

Originally published