Cats spend a lot of their waking hours on self grooming. This makes that giving your cat a bath is in normal circumstances not required. In case your cat becomes exceptionally sticky or smelly, a bath may become necessary. This happened to us only once when Casper was still a kitten. Here are the 7 steps I followed to give Casper his first bath.

Casper ragdoll is taking a bath - How to give your cat or kitten a bath rules tips and tricks


A couple of weeks ago, Casper our ragdoll cat had been playing in our garage and his creamy white fur got terribly dirty. A bath was necessary but putting the words cat and bath in the same sentence… is always scary.
I have always thought cats hated water and they hated bath time! But we had no choice, he was really dirty and there was only one way to find out if Casper is afraid water or not.

There are some things you can do to make bathing time less stressful for the cat and yourself.

Here are my tips to bath your cat:

1. Good preparation is everything

First of all, and as always a good preparation is everything. It is very important to have everything you are going to use within reach.

Gather all necessary bathing equipment in one place, such as bath towels, shampoo, some washcloth and maybe a toy to comfort your cat.
If you are going to give your cat a bath for the very first time and you don’t know how he will react, it is always good to ask for some help of a friend or family member.

It is also a good idea to trim your cat claws before bathing, you will never know how intense your cat’s reaction will be.

2. Choose the best location

Secondly, you need to make a decision on the location where you will bath your cat. If you want the use your bathtub, then you will use your bathroom. Some people use their kitchen sink and others prefer to use a small plastic bath.

I believe the bathroom with the bathtub is a perfect location. You can easily close the door to avoid the cat can run away and you can turn up the heater to avoid your cat catching a chill. It is always a good idea to place a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub to avoid your cat or kitten to slip all of the time.

The size and age of your cat will be an important factor to this decision too.

3. Remain calm at all times

At all times speak gently to you cat in a loving soft tone to keep the experience positive. Tell him you love him and that he’s beautiful – cats will understand the meaning of these words.

Your cat senses your mood. If you are to stressed and nervous, this will not help your cat to calm down and relax. So keep your cool too.

4. Getting used to warm water

Gently make his paws wet by putting him slowly into the water, start pouring water over his back and slowly wet his complete body to get him thoroughly soaked.
When wetting his neck, gently lift his chin with your finger to keep water from running into his eyes.

Avoid washing the face of your cat and make sure not to pour water in the ears and eyes.

5. Apply shampoo

You can apply some cat specific shampoo and give him a loving rubdown.

Human shampoos are not good for your cat, because some are made with ingredients that can be toxic to cats.

Work the shampoo in your cats coat in the same direction the hair grows. Always pay attention not to put shampoo or water on your cat’s face, eyes, and ears.

6. Rinsing

Thoroughly rinse the shampoo completely off using a cup or the shower head at a low flow rate.

A water sprayer is a great way to get your cat wet and rinse out shampoo. If you don’t have one,  you’ll need to use a cup to pour water on your cat. I advice strongly to use only a plastic one. This can’t break when it gets knocked out of your hand by struggling with your cat.

When rinsing, try to do this in such a way that the water flows from head to tail. Your cat will appreciate if you will apply some extra massage while rinsing its coat.

You should never dunk your cat’s head or face under water. Use clean water to rinse all of the shampoo from the coat, since residue could dry the skin and coat out.

7. Drying and treats

Finally dry your cat using a series of towels. Wrap him in the dry towel and cuddle him with plenty of kisses until he is dry.

Giving your cat some treats after a bath can help convince that a bath wasn’t so bad after all.  This way your cat learns to associate the bath with something delicious and pleasurable at the end.


To finish this article, I believe it is always good to show what actually happened when we gave Casper his first bath. That is the reason we had a camera ready to film this special happening

In the video below you can see how we gave Casper the very first bath of his life. He was acting very brave and we are so proud of him. His fur was white, soft and clean again. Casper was glad bath time was over, you can see it in his eyes at the end of the movie where he is very comfy in his mommy’s arms.

Did you see that look in his eyes? Let us know in the comment section below. We love to hear your thoughts.

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