The Ultimate Guide to making Bath Time with Your Cat Hassle Free

If you're like most cat owners, you may not enjoy bath time with your feline friend. In fact, you may downright dread it. This blog is designed to make bath time with your cat as hassle free as possible. 

We'll start by talking about when you should wash your cat. Then, we'll discuss the different types of cat grooming products you can use and how to know what your cat needs. Finally, we'll provide some tips and tricks to make bath time a breeze.

Pre Washing Checklist 

When Should I Wash my Cat

Cats, just like humans, can get dirty and need to be washed. Here are a few reasons why your cat might need a bath: 

  • They rolled in something stinky
  • Had an accident outside
  • Are shedding more than normal 

If you're not sure if your cat needs a bath, here are some signs to look out for: 

  • Dirty fur - especially around their neck and tail
  • Bad smell - even after you've cleaned them with a dry pet shampoo or brushed them, they might still smell bad
  • Mats in their fur - often caused by shed hair and in areas that move alot (under arms and between the legs).  These can be painful and difficult to remove without proper tools

How Often Should I Wash my Cat (Indoor vs Outdoor Cats)

How often should you bathe your cat? The answer to this question largely depends on your cat's lifestyle. Cats spend about one third of their time grooming themselves and they have a tongue designed especially for this!  Self grooming is an important part of their daily routine and this ritual helps them to de-stress.   So while you may not need to wash your cat very often, you definitely need to groom them daily if they are a long haired cat.  Short haired cats can get by with brushing a couple of times a week.

Cats that live exclusively indoors should not need frequent bathing unless they have got into something sticky, or had a litter tray accident. However, if your cat spends part of its time outdoors, you may need to wash them more frequently.  Again, most outdoor cats take care of their cleaning themselves but you might find long haired cats need a hand once every few months.

It is best to introduce your cat to bathing when it is young.  So if you have a long haired breed, bathe it regularly as a kitten (monthly) so that it can become familiar with the process by the time it is an adult.  This also applies to brushing for both short and long-haired cats. Most cats will enjoy being brushed and it is great for coat health.  For more information on grooming read our grooming guide.

There are a variety of factors to take into account when deciding when to give your cat a bath - such as their breed, coat type and age - but the guidelines above should provide a good starting point.

What supplies you will need

To properly and safely wash your cat, you will need a few key supplies. Below is a list of the essentials you will need to have on hand before beginning:

  • Towels: You will want a few towels to help dry your cat off after the bath.  Make sure a couple are large enough to wrap your cat in, and a smaller hand towel size is handy for rubbing the coat.  Have a couple of small face washers for cleaning around the face and ears.
  • Flea Comb: A flea comb is necessary to help remove any fleas your cat may have.
  • Shampoo: There are many types of cat shampoos available, so be sure to choose one that is specifically designed for cats.
  • Grooming brushes: Always give your cat a good brush before bathing them.  This will help remove knots and debris in the coat as well as get rid of excess hair.
  • Water: You will need access to clean water to rinse your cat off after shampooing.
  • Bathtub,  Sink or large bucket: You will need a place large enough to bathe your cat in.
  • Measuring jug to help wet the coat.
  • Non-slip mat for the bottom of the tub or bucket so that your cat can stand comfortably.
  • Spare bins or containers: Have bins nearby for wet towels, hair or other debris from your cat's coat. 

What can I Wash my cat with, Do’s and Don'ts

Is Soap Safe for Cats?


Cute kitten ready for their bath!

There are a few reasons why soap is not safe for cats. For one, cats have a pH level that is much more acidic than humans, which means that the ingredients in soap can be a lot harsher on their skin. Additionally, soap can cause cats to become overwhelmed by the smell, leading to them becoming scared or agitated. 

That said, there are some soaps that are specifically designed for cats and are safe to use. Be sure to read the label carefully to make sure the ingredients are cat-safe before using. If you're not sure which soap to choose, we recommend our Cat Washing Soap - it's pH balanced and will leave your cat's coat clean and shiny.

Is Human Shampoo Safe for Cats?

Human shampoo is not safe for cats because it is not made to be gentle enough on their skin. The pH of cat’s skin is different to that of humans. Human shampoo - which is designed for the pH of human skin,  can cause a lot of irritation. If you're looking to give your cat a bath, it's important to use a product that is specifically designed for cats. This will ensure that they are getting the gentlest clean possible, while still getting all the dirt and grime off their fur.

The Best Shampoos for Cats

The Best Dry Shampoos for Cats 

How to Wash your cat 

How to Wash a Long Haired Cat

Washing a long haired cat can be a bit more challenging than washing a short haired cat. Here are a few tips to make it a little easier: 

  1. Start by brushing your cat's hair to remove any mats or tangles. This will make the bath process much easier and less painful for your cat. 
  2. Fill the tub with warm water. Make sure the water level is relatively low.  Slowly place your cat in the tub and use  a jug to scoop the warm water over your cat.  Avoid the face and ears - these can be done with a damp washer later.
  3. Gently wet your cat's hair and lather a small amount of  shampoo in, being careful not to get soap in their eyes  or ears
  4. Rinse the shampoo off thoroughly and make sure to dry your cat off completely when you're done. Giving them a good brush afterwards is also recommended.
  5. Don’t forget to follow with their favourite cat treat at the end! 

Tips for Bathing Short Haired Cats

It’s a similar process for short-haired cats.. Here are a few tips or bathing short-haired cats:

  1. Fill up the sink, tub or large bucket  with warm water, being careful not to let the water level get too high. 
  2. Gently wet your cat down with the measuring jug, being careful not to get their head wet.
  3. Apply the shampoo to your cat, massaging it in as you go. Be sure to avoid getting it in their eyes.
  4. Rinse the shampoo off your cat and dry them off with a towel. 
  5. Follow with a treat!

And that's it! Bathing a cat can be easy, as long as you take your time and are careful not to get them too wet or soap in their eyes.  Remember to stay calm and talk to your cat - if it is getting too upset stop the process and try again another day.

If you are finding it too difficult to get your cat into the tub you can “spot” clean them by using grooming wipes to clean off any dirt.  You can also use a wet face washer and tackle the offending area that way.  We also have dry shampoos which can be used instead of or in-between baths.

Our Favourite Grooming Wipes

Post Bath tips

How to Dry your Cat

After your cat is clean, you will want to dry them off. Use a towel to blot as much water off of your cat as possible. You can also use a hair dryer on low heat, but be careful not to get the dryer too close to your cat's skin as they can get burnt very easily

Once your cat is mostly dry, you will want to give them a good brush. This will help remove any remaining water and hair and will make them feel more comfortable. Finally, give your cat their favourite treat and a nice long scratch behind the ears - they'll love you for it!

Our Top Cat Brushes

Wrap Up:

Washing your cat is an important task that should not be ignored. By following the tips and tricks in this blog, you can ensure that your cat is clean and healthy. Using the right products is essential, and you should always consult with your veterinarian to determine what your cat needs.

Related Articles