Bathing Your Cat

How can I bathe a stray cat that evidently got into some nasty smelling stuff, like swamp water.

Thank you,
Cynthia in PA


Bathing a Cat

Bathing cats is a tricky proposition anytime, but with a stray that probably doesn't know you very well... Have some band aids on hand. Here's how we bathe our cat (when he rarely needs it):


Fill the bathtub with water. Put an old shower curtain on the curtain rod (you don't want an angry cat shredding your good shower curtain). Make sure you have your cat shampoo (don't use people shampoo) easily at hand. Also make sure you have an old towel handy too. Pull the curtain shut.

Now, find the cat. Hold him and pet him and talk to him nice on the way to the bathroom. When you get in the bathroom, close the door immediately. Pull back the shower curtain just enough (probably with a foot) to stuff the cat in. From here on, you have to work VERY fast. Plunge said cat in the water. Pour shampoo on him (DON'T LET GO OF HIM!) and lather. If you have someone willing to help you pour the shampoo on, it will make it a little easier. After you've lathered him enough, plunge him in the water again to get all the shampoo off. WARNING: It may take several plunges and strong arms. After he's clean, swaddle him in a towel to dry him off as much as you can.


To minimize the risk of injury (to you), you can try bathing him with elbow-length oven mitts, but I prefer to have my fingers free to get the best grip on him. If you happen to have one of those nice sprayer heads on your shower (the kind like hospitals have that's on a hose), use it so you don't need to plunge the cat in the water. You could also do this in an enclosed shower, but then there's more of you exposed to angry cat claws.

Be prepared for him to sulk under a bed the rest of the day. Good luck!

Camilla (02/07/2005)

By Camilla North

Bathing a Cat

Oohhh - you're very brave Camilla! I wouldn't bother - its a cat - they are very clean animals and it will clean itself given time. Just feed it outside until the smell subsides - if the food is there it shouldn't stray again. Scared cats, as I would imagine a stray would be, can scratch and bite very severely - the bites are very deep and usually become infected. Is it really worth it? You can be kind and care for this cat while waiting for nature to take its course without putting yourself at risk.



Jo (02/07/2005)

By Jo Bodey

Bathing a Cat

This may sound cruel, but it certainly works. fill the bathtub with warm, tepid water. find your cat and put it in a plastic animal carrier, making sure there are drainage holes in the bottom and sides. Have your cat shampoo handy. You will also need a sprayer like described above, only one that fits on your faucet for your tub. Lower the cat and carrier into the tub. You might want to apply the shampoo before putting the cat into the carrier. Of course this will make him suspicious, so be prepared for the cat to bolt. Shut the bathroom door. You can also add the shampoo to the carrier after it is in the tub. When you lower him into the tub in the cat carrier he will thrash about (kind of like a washing maching agitator). Allow him to "swim" about for a few minutes. You should talk to him and try to reassure him. Oh yes, have a large towel or two handy for when you are all done to dry the cat. Once he has agitated the water in the tub and has therefore "washed" himself, drain the tub. Use the sprayer with tepid water to rinse the cat thoroughly. drain the water out of the cat carrier and tub.


I usually rinsed him at least twice. As you are opening the carrier door, have the towel ready to throw over him as he exits. This will slow him down. When you throw a towel (or blanket) over a cat they will usually stop moving until they figure out what's going on so Scoop him up in the towel(wrapping him up tightly) quickly and dry him as best you can. Be sure to talk to the animal throughout this whole process lovingly. Use more than one towel if necessary. Although the cat might sulk for a couple of hours, he will soon realize that because you didn't drown him that he can trust you and will soon come around. Also feed him something he really likes. This worked with a stray I took in that needed a bath. This cat, whom I named Rufus, stayed with me after that for fifteen years and was very well behaved. He was allowed to go out side and could have left at any time. Wait until the cat is completely dry before allowing him to go outside. This sure beats getting scratched up or bitten, or worse yet being defecated on(which cats have been know to do). (02/19/2005)

By sue

Bathing a Cat

when i bath my cat i take her into the laundry sink i fill it up only so it just covers her legs i then hold her by the collar and pat her for a while before doing anything that way she calms down a bit then i poor cat shampoo on her and massage it. Now this bit gets tricky i hold her really tight and turn on the tap and put her under there until its all rinsed of then i put her in a towel dry her off a bit and then let her do the rest. (03/12/2005)

By cinta

Bathing a Cat

Ok, Now i don't know how well you know this cat, but when i bath my cats, i Round up and extra person to help. and i start by filling the bathe tub with about 6 inches of warm water. Also make sure you ahve a big plastic cup ready , have the extra person grab the cats front and back paws, and use the cup to wet the cat. once the cat is wet, you can let him run around the bath room floor( make sure nothing in floor is important.) and shampoo him while he is walking around the bathroom.


this causes less stress for both the cat and you. then let the soap sit in for a few minutes, to kill any fleas, then grap your helper again and hold his paws and rinse him off water out of the cup. i have had cats all my life and i have found that if you dont turn the water on in the tub while you bath them that they are less scared. the loud noise from the spout freaks the cats out.
good luck (07/28/2005)

By Kimmi

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