Giving Your Cat a Bath

Cats usually manage to 'wash' themselves quite successfully as they are provided with raspy little tongues exactly for this purpose. Cats should not be washed as a matter of routine, but there are occasions when it may be necessary for you either to wash or 'dry clean' your cat!

Longhaired cats and shorthaired breeds with white or pale coats that are destined for the show bench will benefit from a good wash a few days before the show. Some shorthairs will certainly look better for a 'bran bath', as it removes dirt and other debris from the coat, making it shiny and glossy.

If your cat has been in contact with grease or oil, it will usually have to be bathed to remove these substances. Equally, it might just simply be generally dirty! Bathing a cat is not that difficult, but you might find it useful to have an extra pair of hands around in case the cat struggles!


It is not usually necessary to bath a cat unless it has come into contact with grease, oil or toxic substances. Usually cats are bathed only as part of show preparation, especially if they are pale-coated or long haired. A bath may, however; be needed if the cat has a very severe external parasitic infestation. Do not bath kittens under three months or pregnant queens. Think twice before giving an elderly cat a bath, except on the advice of your veterinarian. Using bran dry shampoo or baby powder may be a little; less traumatic option.

Bathing a Cat with Water

  1. Choose a place where that the cat will feel secure and cannot move around too much - the kitchen sink or a baby bath is usually best.
  2. Adjust the water to 'hand' temperature.
  3. Put the cat in the sink and, using a shower attachment or mixed taps, wet the fur.
  4. Apply a little shampoo. Use either a special cat shampoo or one that is safe for babies.
  5. Rub in the shampoo well, making sure the you avoid the eyes, and then rinse off.
  6. If the coat has any tangles or knots, apply a good quality conditioner and gently comb through. Rinse well.
  7. Lift the cat out of the water and wrap in a towel. Towel dry to remove excess moisture.
  8. It is important to dry the cat as soon as possible so that it does not catch a chill. In summer, a shorthaired cat will just dry off naturally in the sunshine but, if the weather is cold and the cat does not go outside, a hair dryer should be used. Longhaired cats should always be dried with a hair drier, using stages 3-7 of the grooming instruction.

Bathing a Cat with Bran

  1. Put the bran in a bowl and heat in the oven or microwave until it is at 'hand' temperature.
  2. Put the cat on a convenient work surface or table in a room that can be easily cleaned - this can be messy procedure!
  3. Rub the warmed bran into the cat's coat, massaging it well into the fur.
  4. Remove the bran using a bristle brush.
  5. Follow stages 3, 4 and 5 of the grooming instructions.
© Loving Your Pet 2024. All rights reserved