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10 Tips on How to Bathe a Kitten

How to bathe a cat and survive – A popular cat-related search which we currently don’t have. We can provide several tips and see if that helps out in getting ranked for the cat vertical.

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06/18/2024

Even though cats groom themselves, they need our help every once in a while, especially kittens. After all, kittens like to play with their food and sometimes really get their faces and paws into it. Not to mention that they may roll around outside and end up covered in mud or other dirt and debris found on the ground.

It’s important to make sure they don’t stay dirty for too long, though, or they can develop skin issues such as irritating rashes or bacterial skin infections called pyoderma.

So a bath is the obvious answer, but bathing a cat isn’t always easy. A lot of the time, they’ll squirm, squeal, and scratch to try to get out of this new, unfamiliar encounter. Here is a list of ways to give your kitten a comfortable bathing experience – and survive scratch-free!

1. Try wipes first

If it’s possible to completely clean your cat with fragrance-free, cat-friendly wet wipes, this is the best option. They’ll be less stressed, resist less, and you can clean them from any space in your home. Of course, if they’re too dirty, this may not be a valid option – but it can still work great for spot cleaning. Whether or not you decide to give a full bath or use wipes for the body, it’s always best to hand-clean your cat’s face. Wipes can work great for this purpose, but be sure to take special care to avoid their eyes.

2. Find a bath buddy

Bathing a kitten is not so easy to do alone. Try and have an extra set of hands to hold and pour the soap, hand you a towel, and anything else you may need. This allows you to focus on keeping your kitten calm and in the tub.

3. Get the temperature right

The water should be lukewarm – just like Goldilocks, not too hot and not too cold. To make the transition from dry to wet less dramatic for your kitty, consider heating the room or running the shower to steam up the space beforehand. This will help their bodies relax and make them more comfortable when you start to get them wet. Having the tub fill before bringing them into the room can be less traumatic for those kitties who don’t appreciate the sound of running water.

4. Choose the right soap

You should always use a shampoo that’s labeled safe for use on cats. In a pinch, unscented baby soap can be an okay alternative, but it’s best to be prepared and keep the proper shampoo on hand. Cat shampoo is balanced for their skin’s pH level and is soap-free, making sure not to strip their skin of its natural oils. No matter what shampoo you use, however, just as when bathing a human baby, avoid the eyes and the inside of their ears.

5. Start out small

Putting your kitten in a big shower or bathtub can be very scary for them. It’s easier to comfort and hold them still if you wash them in a small sink or bucket. There’s less area for them to squirm off to, and it’s a much more controlled environment for you.

6. Brush first

If they’re not too matted with food or mud, try and brush your kitten’s fur before you bathe them. The extra hair isn’t good for the plumbing, and it gets in the way of getting them completely clean.

7. Support them

You can help calm your kitten down quickly with certain holding techniques. With one hand, hold onto the extra skin on the back of their neck, also known as the “scruff”. With your other hand, support their weight underneath. While this does work well for some cats, it can be a stressful restraint method for others. Be sure to observe your cat’s response to whether scruffing is relaxing for them or making things worse.

8. Make it less slippery

A slippery porcelain sink or the bottom of a bucket can feel very unstable for a kitten’s paws. Add some anti-slip material, like a folded towel or a rubber bath mat to help them feel more secure when they put their feet down.

9. Time it well

Kittens have peaks in energy throughout the day. It’s best to give them a bath when they’d most likely be taking a nap or are feeling more relaxed. This is different for each cat, so try and time it based on your kitten’s energy. Attempting to exhaust their energy by engaging in a session of playtime beforehand can really help.

10. Finish with cuddles

As soon as you’re done washing your kitten, have a warm, dry towel ready. Dry them well, and give them a gentle hug. Staying warm and feeling safe help keep them from acting out. So, pour all that extra love on them right after the bath!

Keeping your kitten clean, whether with wipes or a full bath, is enough to maintain their skin and coat health in most cases. Should you notice a long lasting smell or a lesion that won’t go away on their skin, make sure to schedule a visit with your vet. To help with the cost of these extra vet visits, consider getting cat insurance. Having pet insurance allows you as the owner to feel confident that you’ll be able to provide the best coverage for your kitten as they develop into an independent cat.


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