5 Ways to Make Bath Time Easier for Cats

5 Ways to Make Bath Time Easier for Cats

Cats typically do a wonderful job of cleaning themselves and generally don’t need any help from us.  But every now and then you may have to bathe your cat.  Yikes!  If your kitty is anything like my Jessie Cat (pictured here), she may fight you tooth and nail.  Let me suggest a few ideas for you to help you make bath time easier for cats that may need it.

1)  Timing is Everything

If your cat is less than enthusiastic about bath time, tire her out beforehand. Engage in a nice, long play session to help expend the energy she’d use to fight you in the tub or sink.

2)  Be Prepared

Have everything you’re going to need, such as shampoo and towels, already in place and at arm’s reach before you bring the cat into the room.

3)  Have a Helper

It can be nearly impossible to bathe a cat on your own if she insists on putting up a fight. Enlist the help of someone who is calm and patient.

4)  Clip Her Nails

You may want to trim your cat’s nails before bath time for your own protection. You could do this several hours before the bath, or even the day before the bath so your cat isn’t already overly stressed out even before the bath begins.

5)  Be Gentle

Always talk to your cat in a calm, relaxed tone and handle her with care in the tub. If she squirms, it can be a natural reaction to clamp down. Try to be as gentle as possible to avoid hurting her or causing her to fight back even harder.  The water temperature should also be warm (not too hot or cold) so as to not shock her system, which could trigger a fighting response.

Bonus: Praise, Praise, Praise

After the bath is over, be sure to lavish your cat in praise and treats. This will help associate the bath with pleasurable attention and may help her relax a bit the next time she needs a cleaning.


Jeanne Melanson
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5 thoughts on “5 Ways to Make Bath Time Easier for Cats”

  1. This was a very insightful article! I personally don’t own a cat but I know many people that do 🙂 I’ll definitely be sharing this post with them! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi jeanne,
    I am first time on your site and well impressed. 🙂
    I like your five tips for take bath a cat easily. I am having a cat also like that you tagged above.
    Thanks for sharing……..
    Flat in Kharar Mohali

  3. Awesome tips! I don’t have a cat at this time (hubby just refuses), but we did get a puppy again a couple of months ago. These tips can certainly be applied to her as well. I love the idea of tiring her out prior to the bath.

    Now, if we can just get her past her biting stage. Ahhhh, that will come. She is already training easily (about 5 minutes a day) and she is only 3 1/2 months.

    Honoring you,
    Janelle – The Barefoot Soul Mentor

  4. Hi Jeanne, although I don’t have any pets yet my 7 year old has been insisting we get one. I’ll be bookmarking your site for future reference as it looks like you have put together a comprehensive resource that will benefit a newer pet owner.

  5. Cats pick up on your emotions! If you are anxious and stressed then your kitty will pick that up and become a nervous wreck. You have to approach her calmly and reassure her throughout the process. Don’t be stingy with the praise! You will want to talk softly to your cat the whole time. If you have a second person to help you should have them try to feed her tasty treats while she is getting bathed. If she won’t take them while she is being bathed leave them as a reward for her. Instead of spraying your cat with water use a washcloth to slowly get her wet. Use the same process to rinse her off and keep in mind that the sound of running water might spook your kitty so you should have fresh (lukewarm) water already set aside.


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