How to bathe a cat - step by step
Cats are excellent at self-grooming, and they come equipped with all the tools they need to keep themselves in perfect condition. But according to Dr. Amy Onderdonk, DVM, there are a few good reasons to bathe your cat occasionally.
At some point, your cat might get into a mess that they can't groom their way out of, and only a good soak will do the trick. A regular deep clean can also reduce shedding and the spread of allergens. "Most cats do not need bathing, but there are exceptions," explains Dr. Onderdonk. "For example, hairless cats] tend to overproduce sebum and need routine baths. And on rare occasions, we recommend bathing cats with dermatologic skin conditions with medicated shampoos, but not very often because cats famously dislike water. There are also people who are allergic to cats who bathe their pets weekly to reduce the dander on their coat." Make sure to speak to your vet for recommendations if you’re unsure on which products to use.
If you ever need to bathe your cat, here are some valuable things to consider.
First, know that not all cats hate water
If you've never bathed a cat before, don't overthink it. In some ways, washing a cat can be easier than cleaning a dog, mainly because they tend to be smaller and easier to contain. If you regularly bathe them, they will grow more comfortable with the process as they mature.
"It's a rare cat who will take to bathing readily unless started early and gradually, but some cats love water!" says Dr. Onderdonk. "I had a client send me a video of her cat swimming in the bathtub. Because she started bathing him as a kitten, he grew to love the water, and she allows him to do laps in her tub. Other cats are less interested in being immersed in the bathtub but are intrigued by moving water in the shower or dripping from the faucet. There is minimal risk involved in allowing a cat to play in water, but you would always want to start out with just a small amount of water in the tub and supervise."