So your kitty needs a bath? Giving a cat a bath is actually rather simple BUT there has to be mutual trust. The easiest way to bathe a cat regularly is to start when it is a kitten. If this is your first attempt to bathe your cat, this easy guide should help the process be much easier.
1.) First you want to brush your cat’s hair and trim its nails. Brushing its hair will reduce the hair shed in the water and cutting the nails will reduce injury to you.
2.) Prepare the water without your cat present. I find it easiest to use a standard bathtub instead of a kitchen or basement sink, but either are fine. For kittens, you want to use a plastic bin and only a few inches of warm water.
3.) You can use standard cat shampoo, but I prefer to use Johnson & Johnson’s bedtime bath in lavender on my cats. It is a very mild formula, tear free, and the lavender naturally relaxes the cat. It also helps keeps fleas away. I do not use flea treatment on any of my cats, simply bathing them 5 times a year using this soap keeps the fleas away.
4 .) When you have the water ready, test it on your elbow. If it feels hot on your elbow, add in cold water till it is just warm. Cats have very sensitive skin to hot and cold temperatures so this is very important as to not unintentionally burn your cat.
5 .) When you are placing your cat into the water, you want to hold it by the back of the neck (like a mother does with her kittens) so they will not hurt you or themselves. Once you have their back feet touching the bottom, gently set them all the way in the water, keeping your hand on the back of its neck. If your cat begins to lash out, let its front paws rest on something facing away from you outside of the water.
6.) Take a cup and begin wetting down your cats fur. Never just dunk them in water and ALWAYS avoid getting water in their ears or on their face. Only use a damp wash cloth to wipe down the face and ear area.
7.) Depending on the length of your cat’s fur, use your best judgment for the amount of soap you need. Start on the back and work the soap to the chest and front legs, then the back to the tail and rear legs. Keep the soap on the back and work out from there, do not use extra on the belly as it will take longer to rinse.
8.) Take your cup again and begin rinsing your cat. Again, start at the back and work down. Once all the soap has been rinsed off, gently wrap a towel around your cat and pick them out of the water gently. Make sure the claws on all four paws are covered to avoid scratches.
9.) Towel dry them real good, especially if it is cold. If your cat shows no fear of a blow dryer, use one on its fur but keep the heat on low no matter how wet they feel. You do not want to burn the skin.
Be sure to talk your cat through the whole process, assuring them they are good and not being punished for something. After you release them they will spend a good hour, maybe even longer, just cleaning their hair. Do not feed your cat for an hour before the bath and an hour after the bath to reduce the chance of being sick. Your cat may be very mad or timid towards you after it is done, but once they feel clean and start to dry, they will be back to themselves in no time. I have found that all of my cats enjoy the after effect of a good bath. They love feeling clean and will actually come to me an hour later purring their little heads off.