How to wash a cat without losing your fingers!

So you want to wash a clients (or your own) cat?  I get asked this daily at the moment so thought easier to post it!

It’s really not that hard!  Some of my kitty clients prefer bathing to clipping!  It’s the blow-dryer that scares most.

Those grumpy kitties are usually best in the bath when they are soaking wet.  Most cats when wet are quiet calm, once they are soaking they seem to think they can’t move.


Have everything prepared BEFORE you grab your cat!  You will need 2 towels, a bucket of luke warm water or 2 or a shower hose, a pump water bottle of shampoo mixed with luke warm water (use cat friendly shampoo only, I use progroom proamber, make sure it says cat friendly on the bottle!) I like to use chubbs bars after the first wash.  A cat Shampoo bottle, Nail clippers, and an extra person if you can help it.  Washing in the laundry sink or boosted bath is best. (no hydro bath running)

1. Put a towel on your washing machine or bench,  Cut your cats nails before attempting if possible to decrease scratching!

2. Put cat in sink/bath facing away from you, put pressure on the shoulders of the cat reassuring the cat.  Use the water bottle wet the tail first slowly and make your way up to the head scrubbing as you go.  Don’t wet the face or head only with your hands or kitty will get grumpy, if needs doing, do this last.  Scrub as much as you can with one hand on shoulders.  Apply as much pressure as needed, scruff only as last resort.  Remember the cat might try and run away from the water until it is fully soaked.  If you decide to put your hands in front of its neck you will get bitten,  keep your hands behind the cat.

3.  Rinse using bucket of water and cup, as much as possible or a hose with spray close to the skin so they cannot hear it.

4.  Re-shampoo using your hands and shampoo.  Scrub as much as you can.

5.  Rinse again thoroughly. Do not use conditioner.

6.  Towel over cat and put cat on other towel and dry as much as possible.  If you are keen to blow-dry  (if cats not scared of vacuum or your hairdryer they may be fine), wrap cat up in towel and put other towel over head or happy hoodie (so they can breathe but not hear) and put pressure on whole cat drying from tail up and combing at times.   A hv dryer without the nozzle is good to use. Do not blow-dry the bum or the cat will express its glands.  To dry near head hold ears down so no air gets in.  Otherwise comb your cat as it air-dries but HV drying is best to remove loose undercoat and dandruff.  (I like the LANTUN dryer with adjustable settings, you can barely hear it on.)

I recommend bathing every 4-6 weeks for optimal cat health.

I hope this helps!

Keep on grooming!

Lexie the Groomer, Certified Master Cat Groomer

Fancy Feline Online Groomer Education


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