Although cats have a reputation for hating water, some seem to enjoy it. If you love cat videos, you’ve probably seen a few cute cats enjoying a bath in the sink or even in the tub. Those adorable videos leave many cat people wondering, should I bathe my cat? Would they like it or hate it? Do cats even need baths?

Typically, cats are avid groomers and do a great job of keeping their fur coats clean and shiny. From time to time, though, cats do need baths. It’s important to know how to bathe your cat the right way, so today the vets at East Valley Animal Hospital are sharing a few expert tips.

When Do Cats Need Baths?

Cats do occasionally need baths, like when they step in something poisonous that they should not lick off of their paws or fur. If your cat or kitten walked through a puddle of paint or spilled a bottle of household cleaner, you’ll need to take swift action to keep them from licking themselves and getting sick. Or, if your cat comes in contact with another animal that has fleas, they might need a bath with a special flea shampoo. 

Long haired cats can also benefit from regular baths. Daily brushing and the occasional bath will help prevent hairballs. Baths might also be necessary if your long-haired cat gets a messy bum or drippy eyes or something sticky caught in their fur. Bathing your long-haired cat will help keep them in optimum health.  Because they help eliminate dander, baths can also help reduce symptoms in people who are allergic to cats.

How to Bathe a Cat

  1. Use a vet-recommended cat shampoo—you can find all the best ones in our online pharmacy. It’s always a good idea to have a bottle of cat shampoo on hand for emergencies, because soaps and shampoos intended for humans could contain ingredients that are harmful to cats.
  2. Prepare the bath. The sink is usually the best place to bathe your cat, especially if it has an extendable sprayer for rinsing. If it doesn’t make sure to have a pitcher of warm water ready for rinsing instead. Gather everything you need—shampoo, washcloth, towel—and have it ready to hand. If you’re bathing a kitten or a playful cat, a floaty toy like a rubber ducky can make bath time more fun.
  3. Get your cat wet. Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water (not too deep, not too hot). Speak soothingly to your cat and hold them securely while you gently wet their entire coat. 
  4. Wash your cat with cat shampoo, massaging it into their fur. Use a soft, damp washcloth to clean their face, ears, and any other sensitive areas. Rinse their fur thoroughly with warm water.
  5. Dry your cat with a warm, soft towel. Wet fur makes cats feel cold and uncomfortable, so wrap them in a towel as soon as you lift them out of the water. Rub gently to dry, and then let them do a little self-grooming in a warm, safe place.

Cat Loving Vets in Gilbert, Arizona

Every cat needs regular checkups! At East Valley Animal Hospital, we are passionate about keeping your pets healthy. If you have questions about whether or not you should bathe your cat or the best way to give a cat a bath, ask us at your next visit. We’d love to meet you and your feline companion, and help you keep your cat in the best of health. Request an appointment online or call us at 480-568-2462 today.


Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 10/26/2021.