How to Bathe a Cat that Hates Water

So it is finally time to give your cat a bath, and you’re dreading it? That’s relatable. Even the cutest cats can be quite scary when it comes to taking a bath and will try to avoid it at any cost. This brings us to the question, how should you bathe a cat that absolutely hates water?

If you’re in the same boat, welcome aboard. In this article, we’ll show you step-by-step how you should give your cat a bath, as well as other necessary information needed to tackle this extreme sport.

how to bathe a cat that hates water

Does your cat need a bath?

Your cat will never WANT a bath. As a cat owner, you know this way too well. But, oftentimes it may actually not need that bath. Let us explain.

Cats are clean creatures. Like, licking-themselves-clean type of creatures. And their constant grooming is the reason why they keep their fur free from excess dirt.

But, sometimes, their grooming just isn’t enough, especially when it has been playing in the mud, or an impure environment.

Also, if it is a very furry or long-haired cat, you bet it can’t lick itself clean all over its body. That’s where you and your handy bath materials come in, and save the cat its restlessness.

So the next time you see your cat finding it hard to reach a specific area for grooming, it might be time for a shower.

Reasons your cat hates water?

Not all cats are the same, some actually like water and look forward to their baths. If you have such a cat, half your bathing troubles end there!

But for most cats out there, this won’t be the case. There are different reasons why your cat might hate water.

One of the most prominent reasons is that their fur sticks to their body when wet, and this can make them feel vulnerable. Besides this, cats do not like change.

Especially a cat that isn’t bathed as often, it will resent water every time it goes for a shower.

Another factor that comes into play is the cat’s ancestors. Some cats are descendants from dry areas, hence fewer baths, while some cats may be used to surviving in humid conditions, so this can determine their relationship with water.

However, if you bathe your cat often, it will get used to it soon and maybe even start to enjoy its bath time!

How to bathe your cat if it hates water

Now, bathing a cat that hates water is not going to be a piece of cake. There are certain things you must keep in mind before dragging your cat to the bathroom.

Firstly, make sure that your cat needs a bath. If it has some sort of medical condition or is just ill, you should consult your vet before bathing it.

Secondly, don’t force it. You want to remain as calm as possible for your cat and make the cat as comfortable as possible, otherwise, it will get scared.

Lastly, you should know how to give a proper bath before bathing it! Keep the soapy water away from its eyes and nose, and keep a towel nearby to immediately wipe off the cat.

Convincing your cat to bathe

Before using the last resort and grabbing your cat for a shower, try to convince it for a shower gently.

You can do this by letting it play in the sink for a few minutes and leaving some of its toys in there so it can get familiar with the area.

Moreover, your cat just might be scared of the water at the beginning. When it gets comfortable, you should let it stay in the water and play for a while. This will also help it get ready for its next bath with ease.

Sinks are slippery. And if your cat is not able to catch its footing, it is likely to panic. One thing you can do to fix this is put a towel at the bottom of the sink, this helps the cats’ paws get the grip they need to stand.

Otherwise, you can simply use a tub, it might be more comfortable for you and the cat.

After this, hopefully, when your cat gets into the water it might actually enjoy its bath time and won’t make such a hassle for next time!

So now let’s dive into the steps of how you should bathe your cat the right way.

Steps on how to bathe your  water hating cat like a pro

Get the materials ready

If your cat hates water, you already know it is going to try anything and everything to not go to the bathroom.

To minimize this resistance, you should try to keep all the materials and surfaces sanitized and ready to go.

Our advice would be to keep everything at a hand’s distance. You don’t want to run off to grab something and give your cat the chance to run halfway through the bath. That would be a problem!

Remember, if your cat will only get more stressed out if it sees you stressing.

Make sure the water is ready

For first-time baths, it is important to have the water ready in a tub or the sink.

You should measure the temperature using your finger, it should feel lukewarm or room temperature. This can vary based on the weather.

Make sure you check the temperature of the water before letting your cat in. If it is too hot or cold, not only will it hurt your cat, but also traumatize it from taking baths again.

Now that the water is ready, you can grab your cat and slowly let it down in the tub.


Use your hands to collect water and slowly pour it onto the cats’ bodies while rubbing the fur gently. Most of the dirt should come off of its body this way.

Next, take your pet-friendly soap and use water to foam it up. Then apply the lather all over the cat’s body and rub gently for a good minute before thoroughly rinsing it off.

It is important to wash the soap off your cat’s skin because if leftover, it can cause itchiness and dryness. If the cat licks it, then internal problems can also be caused.

Washing face with care

After this, take a small amount of soap and wash your cat’s face gently. This can be hard to do if the cat is causing a fuss, but try to avoid the eye area and rinse off the soap quickly when you’re done.

Please do not forcibly submerge the cat underwater while washing its face and body. The water can go in through the nose and mouth and cause severe harm.

Not to mention, your cat may be traumatized and probably won’t forgive you either.

Remove and dry off

Time to finish the bath! After draining excess water from your cat, use a towel to wipe off the excess water.

You want to use a soft towel that won’t be harsh to your cats’ skin. If the weather is cold, you might want to consider taking your cat to a warm room so it doesn’t get sick soon after the bath.

Some people also suggest using a blow dryer to dry off the water. This can be feasible, but some cats are afraid of loud sounds and if it isn’t used at the low-temperature setting and is kept too close, it can burn its fur.

A blow dryer can also be a good option if your cat is very furry and it takes a long time to dry off its fur. Otherwise, you can let the hair air dry and then comb it.

Use a soft-bristled and good quality comb to give your cats’ fur a good brush through.

You now have a freshly bathed cat!

Precautionary Measures for bathing your cat who hates water

Before you go on bathing your cat like a pro, here are some tips that will help you out.

Use pet-friendly products

As mentioned before, keep everything ready before bringing your cat to the bathroom. You want to use pet-friendly products to bathe your feline friend. Don’t make the mistake of using human products, because your cat could face the consequences of it.

Vets also recommend using tear-free shampoos and soaps. This is a great option, especially if your cat is allergic to some ingredients used in the products.

Get someone to help

If your cat is being difficult, get another person to help out with the bath. The more you bathe it, the more it will get used to taking baths peacefully.

Bathe those kittens!

Moreover, if you have kittens, you should try introducing them to bathing soon, so they don’t cause trouble when they grow up.

Just make sure the water doesn’t go in their small ears, especially if it is soapy water. It can cause infections.

Trim Long Claws

Also, if your cat has long claws, you should consider getting them trimmed (with a vet’s opinion of course) for the sake of your safety.

You can also wear gloves, but a human hand always cleans the fur far better and thoroughly than a rubber glove.

Good quality brush

You must use a soft bristle to brush your cat’s wet fur. When the fur is wet, the skin is exposed and a hard bristle brush can cause bruises and itching.

Professional grooming

Lastly, if your cat just won’t budge and is not ready to enter the water for its bath at any cost, you should seek professional grooming services in your local area.

These groomers are professionally trained to groom cats that cause a commotion and will do so with ease.

Things You Can Do after Bath

After the bath, your kitty may not be in a good mood and rightly so it hates water and they really mean it.

You can improve the mood by feeding it with some treats or giving it a gentle massage with a very little olive oil or even by spanking it a little bit if it is one of those cats who like to get spanked.


Finally, if you are worried about how to bathe a cat that hates water, then hopefully this article helped clear your doubts.

Use these tips and techniques to tackle your cat when it is causing a fuss about bathing, and make sure you follow the step-by-step guide on how to bathe your cat if it hates water.

However, If you’ve battled all your cats’ tantrums, and you can’t give it that bath, professional grooming may be your best option.

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