Updated: Oct 10, 2022
If the idea of giving your cat a bath makes you anxious, you’re not alone. Our step-by-step guide for how to give your cat a bath can help put your mind at ease.
Most people are aware that dogs need baths, but you might be wondering, “Does my cat really need a bath too?” And if so, how do you give your cat a bath?
The good news is that, as a general rule, cats do NOT need to be bathed. And there's always exceptions of course (we’ll get to those in a minute). But for the most part, cats will sufficiently keep up with their own bathing.
Did you know cats actually spend approximately 50% of their waking hours grooming themselves? They groom for several reasons:
To clean themselves
To clean and soothe injuries
To hide scent from predators
To cool themselves down
To show affection (when grooming other cats)
That being said, sometimes a situation will arise in which bathing your cat is necessary like:
Your cat has fleas
Your cat got excessively dirty (skunked, had a potty accident, rolled in something stinky, etc.)
Your cat is older and can’t keep up with their grooming anymore
Your cat is overweight and isn’t able to effectively groom themselves
You have a breed of cat that requires regular bathing
Hairless cats such as Sphynxes or Peterbalds or long-haired cats like Maine Coons or Norwegian Forest Cats, for example, need baths
If you find yourself in a situation where you do need to give your cat a bath, it’s important to do whatever you can to make it as stress-free for your kitty as possible.
How to Give Your Cat a Bath
Ideally, you’ll have the opportunity to train your cat to accept baths before you have to give them one. If you start acclimating your cat to water and baths as a kitten, that definitely helps.
But that’s not to say training an adult cat isn’t possible though. The key is starting slowly and introducing your cat to one step of the process at a time.
Oh, and give your cat lots of treats along the way for positive reinforcement!
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Emily is “mom” to seven cats, one dog, and two sugar gliders. She has been writing in the pet industry for over 8 years, with a focus on cats, rescue, and adventuring. When she isn’t writing, playing music, crocheting, or working on her own entrepreneurial pursuits, Emily and her husband enjoy hiking, road-tripping, camping, and canoeing with their three cat adventurers. For more kitty tips follow her blog, KittyCatGo.