How to Wash Your Cat: a Guide For the Clueless Pet Owner

Source: Pixabay

Do you know how to wash your cat? What about how to bath a cat, or perhaps how to clean a feline? Do you think cats washing themselves is enough?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions then keep reading. These tips will help you deal with that messy beast without fear till death do you both part!

That fluffy ball of fur with an attitude is your best friend and secret nemesis. Let’s get real: you love the little bugger, but sometimes the relationship feels more like co-parenting than friendship.

Picking up cat hair, dealing with litter box odors, and cleaning out the sink after your furry friend brushes his teeth are just a few examples of what it takes to be a good parent to a feline.

Do cats naturally know how to clean themselves?

Kittens are clean animals that after six weeks already know how to clean themselves up and do the grooming themselves on their own. Although cats are mostly self-sufficient in hygiene, their humans are essential to maintaining their cleanliness and healthy habits.

Fun facts: Cats spend grooming themselves anywhere from 20% to 40% of its life span.

cats washing, self grooming, Source: Pixabay

What You Should Know Before You Wash Your Cat

Cats are pretty clean animals, but they also have a scent that some people find unpleasant. That smell is the result of bacteria, skin oils, and the food your cat eats. What if your cat isn’t that dirty, but you still want to give him a bath?

You want to be very careful and avoid stripping his fur and skin of the oils that protect him from infection and parasites. Brushing your cat’s fur daily with a good brush could be enough to keep him clean and remove loose hair. But now it’s too late, you already decided that you want him to smell better!

Cats are also very sensitive to water, so you want to make sure that you use the gentlest shampoo possible and warm water when washing them. You do not want to use something that is intended for human use because most of those contain chemical ingredients that can be harmful to your cat.

waking hours grooming, Source: Pixabay

The Right Tools for the Job

First things first: make sure you have the right equipment for the job. You’ll need a cat-friendly shampoo, a large bowl for the bath, a towel for drying, a brush for tickling, and a way to dry your cat off when he’s done showering.

What kind of shampoo do you use for washing a cat? Human shampoo can dry out a cat’s skin and cause irritation or allergic reactions. You’ll want to find a shampoo that is designed for cats and dogs but doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or fragrances.

What type of bowl do you use for bathing a cat? You don’t want to use a bowl that can be tipped over, so something more stable. You also want to make sure that the bowl is large enough to fit your cat inside without him being cramped.

How to Wash a Cat: Step by Step

Make sure you have everything you need before you start. Follow these steps to be on your way to a fluffy and happy cat:

  • For your safety you should clip your cat’s nails before you get started.
  • Prep: Fill the bowl with warm water and add the shampoo. Place the towel and brush nearby and get ready for some serious kitty cuddles.
  • Put on some resistant waterproof gloves and hold your cat under the armpits.
  • Pick up the cat and place him in the water.
  • Gently massage the shampoo into your cat’s fur and encourage him to swim with your hands.
  • Rinse your cat with warm water and then towel him off.
  • Be on guard for an escape attempt.
  • Finish up with a treat and a big cuddle for a job well done.
A sneak peak on how your cat will look while you'll try to give it a bath

When Your Cat Doesn’t Want to Be Washed

Some cats are more resistant to bathing than others, but most of the time they are just scared of the process. If your cat is not feeling the bathing vibes, you may want to try the following:

  • Go slow and don’t force your cat. If he doesn’t want to be touched, don’t touch him.
  • Don’t try to do this right before bed. Cats are more active at night, so you should try during the day.
  • Be patient and use treats to reward your cat for good behavior.
  • Try bathing your cat outside or in the bathtub if he is really resistant.
Source: Pixabay

How to Clean a Smelly Litter Box

Cats like to do their business in one place, but the litter box can get pretty gross if you don’t do something about it or all your effort to make him smell good could be wasted in an instant.

They naturally clean themselves by licking their fur and the litter box should be cleaned daily.

  • Scoop daily: You can use a grocery bag to scoop out the litter box.
  • Scoop and clean once a week: Mix warm water, baking soda, and vinegar and pour this in the litter box.
  • Dispose of the litter once a month: Change the litter once a month to get rid of the odor.
  • Add a deodorizer: You can also add a deodorizer to the litter box.

How often should you bathe a cat?

Cats generally need a bath every four weeks if they groom themselves regularly.


We hope these tips will help you keep your cat clean and healthy, as well as help you keep your sanity while you’re at it. And remember the most important thing about cats: NEVER force them to do what they do not want to do!

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