A stress-free guide to washing cats


Bath time doesn’t need to be as stressful as people say.

Cat being washed in the bath

Cats spend approximately 50% of their waking hours cleaning themselves, so it’s important to take note of any shifts in hygiene care.

While it isn’t important to bathe cats regularly, there may be times when you need to. One sign of an unhealthy cat is how much time they spend grooming themselves.

If you notice your cat has stopped taking care of itself, then it is time to book a check-up with a vet.

Cats are independent and, while they are mostly capable of caring for themselves, will need a bath if they return from a jaunt outside covered in dirt.

Here’s how to do it with a minimum of fuss.

Start young

The best way to overcome feline fuss early is to give them short baths on occasion, starting from a young age. This is especially important if you are wanting to get them into a routine of bathing them down the track.

Preparation is key

Bathing is not a natural experience for cats, so it’s important to keep them calm throughout the whole process. Pick a day and time when you’re free for an extensive period – your cat will struggle to stay calm if you are rushing. Be sure to have enough product and keep it within arm’s reach.

Bathing tips

Including bath time into a structured grooming routine will help your cat grow accustomed to the process. If possible:

  • Wash your cat in a location where they are familiar and comfortable.
  • Check the temperature of the water. The water temperature should be warm and the water level low.
  • Introducing your cat to the water slowly. The key is to the let them acclimatise at their own speed by gradually lowering them into the water.
  • Be extremely gentle with their ears, whiskers, nose and eyes, as they are extremely sensitive. Once you have massaged the shampoo into their fur be sure to rinse it thoroughly.
  • Dry your cat with a fluffy towel and provide plenty of positive reinforcement with a treat.

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.