How to Bathe a Cat Who Hates Water? (Scratch Free Bath)

Cats rarely require a bath as they are natural groomers. However, older cats and cats with arthritis can’t reach specific areas of their bodies and tend to get immobile. Therefore, they can’t keep their bodies clean. Hence, you have to bathe your cat even if your beloved fuzzball hates water. Showering a cat can be challenging, but we have provided the best tips on how to bathe a cat with claws without getting scratched.

Remember that showering a cat can make your cat aggressive and defensive, and your fuzzball might hiss and lash out at you. So keep on reading to find more about cat showering and how to bathe a cat who hates water.

how to bathe a cat who hates water

Do Cats Need a Shower?

Some cats never need a bath, as all cats can groom themselves. All you need to do is brush your cat regularly. Cats can lick and clean their bodies. However, other cats who can’t reach their every body part need shower as the neglected areas get flaky and irritated.

Following are the cats that require a shower to remove dirt and fleas;

  • Heavy-furred cats
  • Older cats
  • Cats with arthritis
  • Long-haired cats
  • Cats who love to spend time in litter boxes
  • Cats covered in motor oil and gasoline.

Do all cats hate water?

Not at all! Many domestic cats love warm water, especially the ones living in a hot climate. Some cats might enjoy soaking in water too, as the water provides a cool and refreshing effect in summer.

However, cats in cold climate hate water as they get cold after the shower. In addition, some cats also hate water as the fur gets too heavy to carry when it gets wet.

How to Prepare for Showering a Cat?

Before you bathe your cat, make a list of items required for showering a cat. Always keep the things within your arm’s reach to minimize your cat’s aggressive attacks. Another reason to keep items within arm’s reach is that you will be busy handling the cat at all times, this way, you can save time.

The items required for cat showering are;

  • A handheld shower head with a gentle spray nozzle so you can easily use it to wash every part of your cat’s body.
  • A cat shampoo and conditioner that is available at various pet stores. However, ask your veterinarian for the best shampoo and conditioner for your cat before buying it.(Never use human shampoo as it has a different pH level that can damage your fuzzball’s hair)
  • A different towel to dry your cat after the shower.
  • Cotton balls to clean your cat’s ears.
  • Some treats to bribe your cat to shower.
  • Thick rubber gloves to survive scratch-free.

How to Bathe a Cat without Getting Scratched?

Before you begin to shower your cat, brush your cat to remove the hair tangles or knots. By brushing your cat, fewer hair tangles are formed after the shower. Now set the showerhead at a medium level and always use warm water if your cat hates water.

You can now proceed with the below-bathing process;

  • Place a towel or a rubber basket in the bathtub or shower tray, so the cat feels secure. Now begin by talking to your cat and place her/him gently into the bathtub or shower tray by praising her/him. Keep appreciating your cat so the cat gets familiar with the bathtub and doesn’t lash out at you. You can even put some cat toys in the bathtub for your cat.
  • Now position the showerhead above the cat and open the tap of warm water. Never place your cat in a bathtub full of water as she/he is not used to it. Instead, the cat is more used to of raining. Therefore, the best way to bathe your cat is by positioning the showerhead above the cat.
  • You can grasp your cat gently from the neck if you are afraid your cat will run away.
  • Wash your cat from neck to tail. Avoid wetting the cat’s face as cats hate wet face, and he/she may get aggressive.
  • Apply shampoo very gently. Don’t harshly rub shampoo and conditioner. Always keep a soft hand while showering your cat.
  • Wash the shampoo with warm water and apply conditioner. Wash again with warm water.
  • Be calm throughout the process, and never let your cat sense your stress. If the cat senses that you are stressed, your cat will get defensive and lash out at you.
  • Clean the face of your cat with a damp towel and clean the ears with a cotton ball.

Remember to apply little shampoo and be as gentle as possible. Avoid getting shampoo in your cat’s eyes and nose, or else you will end up with your body covered in scratches.

Additional Tips on How to Bathe a Cat Who Hates Water

Indeed, showering a cat is the most challenging task, and you have thousands of other better things to do. Therefore, we have collected some tips for you to fasten the process of cat showering and survive scratch-free.

Following are the tips on how to bathe a cat who hates water;

  • Wear full sleeves clothes in addition to rubber gloves to protect yourself from your cat’s scratches.
  • Before taking your beloved cat to the showering tray, play with the cat to enlighten her mood. After you are sure that your cat is happy, guide her to the washroom by placing treats on the way to the showering tray.
  • Trim your cat’s nails before showering her/him.
  • Use aromatherapy to calm down the cat.
  • Take help from a friend if you can’t control the cat during the shower. The friend can hold the cat, and you can bathe the cat.
  • Use as little water as possible.
  • Dry her entirely with a towel multiple times, so the cat doesn’t get irritated by the heavy wet fur.

How to Dry a Cat after the Bath?

After you are done showering your cat, dry your cat gently with a towel. Never use a hairdryer to dry your cat, or else your day will turn into a nightmare.

Cats are scared of the sudden hot air and the terrifying sound of the hairdryer. However, if you want to use a hairdryer, use it by setting the hairdryer on a low speed and heat.

It is necessary to dry your cat, or your wet cat will have a low body temperature. Low body temperature can be life-threatening, especially for a kitten.

After drying the cat, comb her hair, and you are done!


How to bathe a cat with claws?

You can bathe a cat with claws by trimming her nails first. Also, talk in a reassuring tone while showering your cat and provide multiple treats to her/him.

At what age can you bathe a kitten?

You can bathe a kitten that is at least four months old.

How often should you bathe a cat?

You should bathe a cat after every 4-6 weeks, according to the National Cat Groomers Institute of America.

How to bathe a cat with fleas?

You can bathe the cat with fleas the same way as described above in the article.

What to do if your cat freaks out during the shower?

If your cat freaks out, let him/her go. Never force your pet to shower, or else the cat will lash out at you. Also, never yell at your furry kitty.

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Showering a cat is necessary to keep your cat healthy and clean. However, it is a difficult task, and the cat can hurt you. Therefore, we have provided the best way to bathe a cat who hates water.

Follow the above bathing procedure to make your life easier and always provide treats to your cat during the shower to keep her calm. You can even discuss bathing options with your vet if your cat freaks out even after the above tips. Another option is to drop your adorable cat at a local groomer.

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