Your cat may become excited when covered in water, so to decrease the damage they may cause, trim their nails before you give them a bath. Try to do this a few hours or even a day or two before the bath so they have time to calm down bathing. Take care to cut at a point which will not cause pain or bleeding. Giving your kitty treats as a reward for getting their nails trimmed will always make them feel better and calmer. Do not skip this step.
Brushing the cat will help remove any knots and tangles in the fur, which will be much more difficult and painful to remove once your cat is wet. If your kitty likes getting brushed, then you can use the brush to make the kitty feel more at home in the tub. Sometimes you can even brush your cat as a way to distract them enough to allow their nails to be trimmed. This is a great way of killing two birds with one stone, but you’ll need another person to help you. Get the right cat shampoo. You can get kitty shampoo from your vet or local pet store.
Using regular human shampoo can not only dry out your cat’s skin but can be toxic for your cat. Don’t use dog shampoo in a pinch, either. You’re better off using water rather than a product that can harm your cat. You may want a washcloth for massaging the shampoo onto your cat’s body, but your hands may actually be better for this. Make your cat want to bathe. Pick a time when your kitty is at their calmest — often after they have been fed. Put some cat toys in the empty tub.
Place your cat in it and play for a few minutes. Then stop and add a little water before playing again. By doing so, you’ll get your cat used to the tub and water. Bath time will soon be associated with something pleasant and non-threatening. You could also have a special toy just for bath time, such as a mouse on a string or something that floats. Only allow your cat to play with this toy in the tub and it will inspire him to look forward to bathing, instead of fearing it.
This will keep your cat from escaping and, if you have more than one cat, will keep the others out. A yowling cat can frighten your bathing cat, making it likely to scratch or panic. Keeping the door closed will also prevent your cat from running out and tearing things up out of fear. If your cat has never been in the bathroom before, you might want to get him used to the area. Also, if the bathroom has a toilet, keep the toilet seat down at all times. Your cat might jump into the toilet in a complete panic! Likewise, if you have a litter box in the same room as you are bathing the cat, remove it.
If your cat escapes from the bath, it may make a beeline to the litter box and make a huge mess. Lay down a rubber mat or towel in the tub so your kitty doesn’t slip and has more comfortable footing. You’ll need to place some towels on the floor because it’ll get wet. Also, have at least two towels on hand for drying kitty when the time comes. You can also place a small cooling rack or oven rack in the tub to give the cat something to hold on to. This reduces the chance of you being scratched and makes the cat feel more secure. Fill the tub with a few inches of warm, not hot, water before bringing your cat into the bathroom, since some cats can be unnerved by running water.
Fill two large cups or, ideally, plant watering pots, which allow you to direct the flow of water as you rinse the cat. This is so you don’t need to run more water during the bath, which might frighten your cat. Do not use the overhead shower head or faucet to bathe your kitty. This will make the water pour down too hard and can overwhelm your cat. The bath should be as gentle and soothing as possible and shouldn’t feel like a water attack. You won’t have time to run out for anything while your cat is in the bath, so you’ll need to have everything ready. This will keep you safe from any possible scratches, minor or major. A jumper, sweater, or long-sleeved shirt should be worn so that your cat has no bare skin to scratch. You can wear long-sleeved gloves, but these are bulky and can get in the way. Be careful and gentle when you rub his head and belly, since these are sensitive areas. It is also a good idea to wear clothing that isn’t new and that you don’t mind getting wet. Talk to your cat in a calm, quiet voice while washing. Sometimes cats will try to get out of the tub.