How Often Should You Bathe a Cat?

cat bathing

Bathing your cat is an important part of regular grooming.

It can get a little tricky though, so it really pays to learn everything you can about this.

When Should I Start Bathing My Cat?

You can begin bathing your cat when it is just a couple of weeks old. Cats don’t usually need to be bathed every single day, as they do a lot of self-grooming.

How often you should bath your cat depends on a lot of things like age, their needs – if it is an indoor or outdoor cat, etc.

Every 3-6 weeks is our recommendation for bathing your adult cat and adjusting the time after the needs. It isn’t a good idea to bathe your cat more than once every week unless recommended by your veterinarian.

You also don’t want to try giving your feline friend a bath before it is two weeks old.

cat in shower

Benefits of Bathing Your Cat

There are a few good reasons to consider bathing your kitty from time to time, including:

  • Reduces shedding: One of the big reasons to give your cat some tub time is to keep their shedding under control. This is especially important with long haired cats.
  • Promotes bonding: The time that you spend cleaning your pet in the tub can strengthen your bond with it in a big way. It promotes trust and loyalty.
  • Disease prevention: There are certain feline skin diseases and infections that can be prevented by the occasional bath. This will help to keep your cat’s coat and skin as healthy as possible.
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Before You Get Started

There are some things that you will need to keep in mind before you get started with bathing your cat. 

1. Remember to be Gentle

Some of these animals absolutely hate the water, so you should be prepared for a fight, at least the first time. Make sure that you handle your pet with care so you don’t needlessly traumatize it. The gentler you are, the more willing it will be to submit next time.

2. Gather Your Supplies

You will need certain items to get your cat clean in the tub, including shampoo (made for cats), a couple of towels, and a washcloth.

Before you put your cat in the bathtub, you’ll want to make sure that the water is lukewarm and not too hot or cold. You should also place a towel on the bottom of the tub so that your cat isn’t slipping and sliding around inside.

3. Close the Door

Finally, you need to make certain that the door to the bathroom is closed. The last thing you want to do is give your cat a clear route of escape if it jumps out of the tub.

cat in towel after bath

How to Bathe an Adult Cat

If you have an adult cat, you can bathe it in your bathtub. All you have to do is just rub the shampoo all over its body and use the water in the tub to rinse it off.

You’ll need to make a point of thoroughly drying off your cat with a towel after it is out of the bath. It will very likely be eager to get dry, as most cats aren’t a big fan of water.

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How to Bathe Kittens

There is a different procedure that should be followed for bathing kittens as opposed to fully grown adult cats.

You’ll want to bathe your kitten in a bathtub with a container filled with warm water. Again, you will need to make sure the water isn’t too hot before submerging your cat. You can even bathe it in a big crock pot if you want.

Make sure that the kitten is standing on its back legs so it can hold onto the edge of the container you are bathing it in. This will provide it with a much needed sense of security throughout the bathing process.

Once you have lathered up your kitty, you can gentle dip it into the water to get off the shampoo. You need to rinse off the cat completely before bath time is done.

Just like with an adult cat, you’ll need to get your kitty completely dry afterwards.

Tips to Make Bathing Your Cat Easier

There are a few good tips that you can follow to make bathing your kitty a little bit easier, including:

  • Give it a toy: You might find that it is a whole lot easier to get your cat clean if it has a toy to play with. This will serve to distract your cat so your job won’t be quite as difficult.
  • Trim your cat’s claws: If your cat’s claws are currently on the long side, you’ll definitely want to trim them down a bit. This will help to keep you from getting scratched up if your cat puts up a fight, which is a distinct possibility.
  • Use the spray method: If you are bathing your kitty in the sink, you might want to rinse it off with a hose rather than dipping it in the water. This might make bath time a bit more tolerable for your pet.
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Indoor or Outdoor?

Cats that spend a significant amount of time outdoors need to be bathed more frequently than strictly indoor ones. There are all sorts of things that outdoor cats can get into, so bathing them once a week is probably a good idea.


  • You shouldn’t bathe your cat if it is younger than two weeks old.
  • Make sure that you are gentle when getting your cat into the tub.
  • Remember to trim your cat’s claws before trying to give it a bath.
  • Get all of the items you will need to bathe your cat beforehand so you aren’t running around in a panic.
  • If you are bathing an adult cat in the tub, close the door to the bathroom.
  • You can bathe kittens in the sink, but make sure they are in an enclosed container filled with water.
  • Check the bath water before putting your kitty so you know it is not too hot.
  • Outdoor cats almost always need to be bathed more frequently than indoor ones.
  • Try giving your cat a toy to play with in the bath if they are giving you a really hard time.