Three Tips to Help You Successfully Give Your Cat a Bath

It's no secret that cats and water don't exactly mix. Luckily, most cats keep themselves pretty clean, but there are times when your cat might need a little help cleaning up. Should the situation arise that you need to give your cat a bath – perhaps because he gets into something smelly or is exposed to allergens that you need to wash off – the following tips can help you accomplish the task without getting clawed to pieces or causing your cat more trauma than necessary.

Set up everything you need ahead of time.

The less time your cat actually has to spend in the water, the better. You can expedite the bathing process by setting everything up in advance. Fill your sink or tub with about six inches of warm (not hot) water. Add a generous squirt of shampoo, and stir it up. Fill at least two pitchers (three is even better) of warm water and set them next to the sink. Lay several large towels out on the floor next to the sink or tub so they're ready to dry off your cat.

Wear rubber gloves.

Tough rubber gloves that go up to your elbow will protect you from sharp claws. Make sure both you and a helper have these on before you start the bathing process. If you are using a medicated shampoo on your cat, you may also want to don a pair of goggles. This will protect your eyes from any splashes.

Follow the soap-and-rinse method.

Since your shampoo is already mixed into the water in the sink, all you have to do is lift your cat in and lather him up. You don't have to fight with a shampoo bottle or running water. Have a friend hold the cat while you rub his or her fur. Gently gripping the loose skin at the top of the neck will keep your cat from struggling too much. Though this might look harsh, it is actually not painful for the cat if done properly. Work as quickly as possible to lather up the cat. When the cat is fully lathered, pull the plug on the drain and let the soapy water drain away. Then, pour the pitchers of clear water over your cat to rinse away the shampoo. Immediately lift the cat out of the bath and pat it down with towels.

Some cats are harder to bathe than others. If you are not able to successfully bathe your cat without getting scratched, consider taking him to a groomer. Professional groomers, such as Keshlyn Kennels, are experienced when it comes to holding cats still and cleaning them promptly.