Cat Baths Made Easy

by DFS-Pet-Blog on November 9, 2009

To provide you with accurate and up-to-date pet information, we now feature guest authors who are authoritative pet professionals. The following post is by our guest author, Kathleen Sepulvada.

Cat Bath

Start your baby kitten with a good bathing experience and you will have a happy cat forever. This simple approach will have you and kitty purring with delight.

Things You Will Need

3 Towels
1 Washcloth
Small Bristle Brush
Hand Held Hair Dryer
Calm Attitude

Start your kitten as soon as possible to ensure a long lasting positive experience. The best place to start is in a bathroom that is quiet and has a door you can close.

Step 1
Start by clipping your kitten’s nails, you do not need to go too short, just clip enough to take off the sharp edge. This will keep accidental snags down to a minimum. Once you are done start to rub your kitten under the jaw and around the face. This will get him in a relaxed mood and he will start to look forward to the next step.

Step 2
Take your first towel, dampen it slightly and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or enough just to warm it up. You do not want it to get too hot; just give it that “Just out of the dryer” warmth. Spread a small amount of shampoo on the warm towel. I like to use shampoo that is diluted 1-4 with water. This makes for easier rinsing on a wiggly kitten.

Step 3
Wrap your kitten in the towel, making sure to place the shampoo part on his back. It is important to wrap all but the head of the kitten to keep a good control. Now do not wrap too tightly, just enough to keep the legs from popping out. Speak quietly to your kitten, rub the body, and face in a soothing fashion. This will not only calm kitty but you as well. Keeping calm is the most important part. Turn the water on at only enough pressure to gently wet the towel. Many cats and kittens are scared by the high pitch of the running water. You will be able to tell if the noise is too much by your kitten’s attitude. If your kitten starts to tense up slow the pressure. Once the water is at a consistent lukewarm temperature, you can start the bath.

Step 4
Slowly place the towel under the running water and start massaging your kitten. Speak gently and keep rubbing until he is enjoying the warmth of the water surrounding his body. Once he is relaxed (and you are relaxed as well), you can bring over the washcloth and wet that and start massaging and rubbing the washcloth over the kitten’s face. If he is still relaxed, start moving the washcloth down the neck and body. Let the wet towel move off to the side or floor. Use the washcloth to remove all the shampoo the towel applied to your kitten. By now, you and your kitten should be so relaxed and enjoying the massage, you both will be humming.

Step 5
Once all the shampoo is removed, turn off the water and bring over a dry towel. Wrap him up and keep massaging and rubbing. I use the drying towel to rub the inside of the ears to get them clean. I only apply ear cleaner if there is a problem as cats usually only need the dirt rubbed off and can be very sensitive to anything in their ears. The next thing you know your kitten will only be damp and ready, yes ready, to be dried.

Cat GroomingStep 6
Place your kitten on the final dry towel and cover their head and ears with the drying towel you just used. This will muffle the sound of the dryer and should keep your kitten calm when you turn on the dryer. Turn your dryer on low and only warm heat, high heat can irritate your kitten’s skin. Start near the tail and use the small bristle brush in a circular manner to dry the fur. You can also rub with the towel if that keeps everyone in the mood. While the head is covered, you can try to rotate the kitten on their back to get the tummy and back legs dry. Only do as much as your kitten will take, as you want this to be a positive experience. Once the shoulders and neck are dry, slowly remove the towel and dry the head and face. If your kitten starts to stress, stop and dry his head with the towel. If he is not completely dry, keep him in a warm place until he is.

You now have a happy and clean kitten that should look forward to their next bath time!


  • STAY CALM. If you are calm, your kitten will be calm.
  • Frequent bathing reduces hairballs, allergens in the house and keeps pests in check.
  • Start with as much as the kitten will take. You may have to practice wrapping and rubbing the kitten and then move to the actual bath in time. Once they enjoy this as a kitten, they will look forward to it as an adult.
  • Turn the bathroom fan on before you enter the bathroom. This will keep the shock of the sounds, of running water and the dryer turning on, to a minimum.
  • Turn the heat lamp on in case your kitten is too afraid of the dryer.

Use only approved products for cats and kittens. The incorrect product can cause nerve damage or death. Just because something says, it is natural; do not expect it is safe for your kitten. Some natural products in the incorrect proportions can be harmful to your kitten.

kathleenAbout the author: Kathleen Sepulveda has been involved with animals for over 30 years. Grooming, showing and training dogs only scratch the surface of this all around animal lover. Kathleen has been involved with large animal livestock, rabbits and guinea pigs through the 4-H program as a youth. She bred mice for a genetic color study and has been heavily involved with reptiles and birds. You name it she has groomed it. Kathleen has won numerous awards for her efforts in the animal industry.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

TIM Sumrell May 14, 2010 at 10:09 am

Hi I am very new on the computer . But I enjoyed the section on bathing your cat I love my CAT BUDDY, but he is hand full in the bath he waight in at 22 lb. But that was some good hints how to calm him down. Thank you for sharing. TIM

Ellen B. May 14, 2010 at 10:58 am

Hi Tim – glad you enjoyed Kathleen’s tips! Sounds like Buddy is a “purrrfect” companion. Thanks for stopping by our blog. We have lots of authors who write about their cats, so please stop back!

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