One of our highly valuable readers recently sent in this question: “I would like to know if you can give a cat a wash, and if you can, how?“
Giving a cat a bath can be very easy or very difficult, depending on the temperament of the cat. Remember that cats, unlike dogs, have five weapons: four sets of claws and teeth!
Should you give your cat a bath?
In general, cats are very clean animals and rarely require bathing. Still, it’s always good to be prepared to give your cat an occasional bath so that you can easily wash them when they get sprayed by a skunk or get covered in pollen!
Follow these tips to help your cat tolerate bath time.
How to wash a cat
I recommend that you get kittens used to water by simply giving them water baths, with no soap and no shampoo. This should be done while they are growing up so that they get used to the idea of getting wet.
To wash my cat, I start by putting my cat in a large sink and running the water next to it. Once your feline friend gets used to the sound of the water you should let him stand in it. Eventually, you will slowly work your way up to getting him completely wet.
Keep in mind that you should never use human shampoo on your cat, as these can be harmful to your cat and the condition of her or his skin. When washing your cat and you need to use shampoo, be sure to use cat-specific shampoo.
Best cat shampoo (US & Canada)
Best cat shampoo (UK & EU)
wikiHow has an excellent step-by-step article (with pictures) on how to bathe a cat.
How to hold your cat during a wash
It is best to hold her/him gently by the scruff of the neck (that is what the mom does when she wants him to be good). This is like when your mom calls you by your full name you know that it is time to pay attention.
Never scare your kitty during the bathing process, because your cat should realize that bath time is always a positive experience. It’s also good to trim his nails before bathing to prevent severe scratches, in case he tries to grip onto you.
I highly suggest that your friends or family help you with bath time. However, if you don’t have any help, then try using a cat grooming bag.