Cats are usually able to keep themselves clean without much help other than some brushing, but there are some cases when they need a bath. Whether they've gotten into something they shouldn't have, or they just can't give themselves a bath anymore, these tips will help make it as painless as possible for both of you.
Before you think about washing your cat, you need to prepare her coat. This means brushing it out and cutting out any of the knots and matted fur she may have. If she isn't a fan of this, you can wait until she calms down a bit before washing her so you don't stress her out any more. While she's calming down, gather all of your supplies so you can make this go as quickly as possible.
If you think your cat can handle a water bath, grab your protective gear. Rubber gloves and thick clothing may help you avoid getting scratched. Remember, even docile cats can have claws. Cover your arms and see if you can tuck in your shirt in case she starts climbing toward your back. Grab a cat-safe shampoo. If you're in a bind, a gentle baby shampoo may work, but don't use regular shampoo as it can irritate cats' sensitive skin.
Instead Of Water
If you're afraid to get your cat near water, try using specially formulated wipes for washing water-shy pets. The wipes should clean away dirt, dander, and saliva. They should also help deodorize your cat and may even have moisturizing conditioners. Another option that doesn't require water is dry shampoo. Some of these come in foam formulas while others are dry powders to be used on dry fur. Rub the shampoo into your cat's fur, then gently brush out.
Wash It All Away
Once you're done shampooing her body, rinse all the shampoo out, then rinse again to make sure everything is out. When drying your cat, use a damp towel to wash her face and make sure to not get any water in her ears.
Know Your Techniques
When you're bathing your cat, avoid getting their face and ears wet. Use a gentle sprayer, or a cup filled with warm, not hot, water and wet the fur as close to the cat as possible. Avoid spraying her or splashing her. If your cat doesn't like being sprayed directly on the skin, consider putting a towel over her coat and spraying the towel. It will help you dampen her fur without direct contact with water.
Keeping a calm demeanor is important. If your cat senses that you're stressed, they'll become stressed. Use a calm, quiet voice and always maintain control of your cat. If they start jumping or climbing out, they won't stop. By maintaining control, you'll reassure them that everything will be OK.
Pull Out The Towels
If she'll let you, you can use a hair dryer on cold or no-heat setting to dry her. Otherwise, you can use bath towel sets to get as much water out of her fur as possible. Once you've done that, comb her out gently. Let her go relax for a bit and them brush her out again. Repeat this until she's dry. This will help get out any matted fur.
Get Professional Help
If you can't imagine doing that to your cat, you can always take her to a professional groomer. There are even groomers with vans that will come to your home. While they may cost more money than if you washed her yourself, there will be less stress for you, and your cat won't associate you with baths.
No matter how you choose to bathe your cat, remember to make it as short as possible. Sometimes it's easier to wash a cat in a sink instead of a tub, but make sure you have some kind of kitchen backsplash or protection in case of splashing water.