The self-grooming skills of a kitten are not as developed as those of an adult cat. These baby felines are more likely to get their faces dirty while eating, or mess up their litter box and may require your help with their cleaning. But most breeds of cats don’t like water, and you might wonder how to bathe a kitten without getting yourself scratched. Bathing your kitten can sometimes become necessary if it has stepped onto something smelly, dirty, or soggy, or if it has picked some bug from your lawn. Moreover, keeping a kitten clean is necessary for its hygiene. Dirt and bacteria can cause skin diseases and infections like pyoderma to cats.
Here is a quick guide on how to bathe a kitten and enjoy the whole process in 7 simple steps. But before we move on to the bathing part, let’s discuss the pre-bath part briefly.
1. The Right Time for Your Kitten To Have a Bath?
The fact is that most kittens don’t need to bathe daily since they are masters at self-cleaning and grooming. However, if you observe that your cat has fleas, or has stepped onto something dirty, it’s time for your kitten to have a bath. Your cat’s age also factor-in for bath prepping. According to a research by Animal Compassion Network, your kitten needs to be at least 8 weeks old to be ready for the bath. Avoid bathing her during this period and wait unless she turns 8 weeks.
2. Trimming the Nails
Kittens will protest during their first bathe and you don’t want yourself to be scratched by your favorite furry creature. To be on the safe side, it is highly advisable to trim her nails a few hours before her first bath—and keep doing it every time she needs a bath. A lot of cats get cranky after their nails are trimmed and you want to bathe them in a calm frame of mind.
3. Brush Her Fur Before Soaking Her in Water
You want to make sure that your kitten is free from knots. To do this, get their fur brushed and free those knots and tangles. Experts recommend not skipping this step as those knots and tangles could get even more entangled, offering fleas and other parasites a breeding ground.
4. Protective Clothing
Kittens scratch—and even the younger ones. To protect yourself, it is advisable to wear a full sleeves shirt of a decent thickness. A long shirt can save you from having scratches all over your arms. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
5. Keep Your Kitty Shampoo Ready
Kittens need a specially formulated shampoo. Grab one from your veterinarians, or shop at an online pet retailer. Don’t bathe your kitten with soap or general shampoo. Do so and you may seriously damage the skin of your kitten. A shampoo, tailor-made to suit your kitten, is the best pick in this scenario.
How To Bathe Your Kitten in 7 Simples Steps
Now that you have all the material needed to bathe your cat, get yourself a mug of pouring water and a towel. After having all the supplies ready, you can also ask a friend or family member to assist you in the process—if he or she is available.
1. Selecting a Sink or Basin
One of the most common places for a kitten to bathe is a sink or basin. This smaller enclosure provides control over your kitten and makes it easier to bathe. Don’t fill the basin with water and put your cat into it. Rather, first put your kitten in the basin and then slowly pour lukewarm water onto it. If you find the floor too slippery for your cat, try placing a rubber mat to help your kitten from slipping onto the ground.
2. Keep Helping Her Remain Calm
Your kitten will repeatedly attempt to move out of the sink or avoid the bathtub. Put her gently back into the sink. You might also want to hold her from the front shoulders and use the shampoo from your other hand. Don’t freak out yourself in the whole process or your cat will sense it and such a situation can cause anxiousness to the pet. Rather, remain composed and make sure that your cat also remains calm.
3. Pour Some Lukewarm Water
Once the kitten is calm, pour some lukewarm water until the cat is completely wet. You can also stroke her fur while pouring water to make her feel calm. You can get assistance from other family members or friends in the bathing process. One of you can hold the shoulders while the other can pour water on the cat. Avoid pouring water at her face, at this stage, and pour one cup at a time.
4. Use a Small Amount of Shampoo
The kitten at this stage is thoroughly wet. Put some shampoo on the back of your cat and start rubbing the fluid onto her shoulders. Now, gently work through her legs, tail, ears, neck, and of course, the tummy too. Wash her off and repeat the process. Treat your kitten like a baby and avoid stroking its fur too hard. Keep reassuring your kitten and stay calm yourself too. Try to keep soap out from her eyes, you don’t want to hurt this little fluffy creature-right?
5. Rinse It off With Lukewarm Water
Now that your kitten is completely soaked in shampoo, use some lukewarm water to rinse her off. Keep pouring water from one hand and use your other hand to wash her fur until the water runs clear. Keep pouring water over her body until the shampoo completely wears off. You can also use a wet washcloth.
6. Washing Your Kitty’s Face
Kittens generally don’t need their face to be washed with a shampoo. A small amount of water would suffice. Take a wet washcloth and gently rub her face. Never pour the water directly on the face or it will make her uncomfortable.
7. Drying Your Kitten
You can dry your kitten by wrapping her in a towel. But before using a towel, gently rub her body, with your fingers, to make her feel a bit more relaxed. Once you are done with that you can use a towel to dry her. You might have seen some people using hair dryers on their kitten. You can also use one by setting the heat to the lowest level and gently drying the fur. But remember that some cats are terrified of dryers so know what works best for your cat.
Once you are done with the bathing, you can reward your little kitten with hugs and treats. The first experience of a bath may have made your kitten a little upset. But through gentle care of your kitten, you can help associate bathing as a good memory, rather than being a terrible experience, so that she is more comfortable with the bath in the future. Now that you have learned how to bathe your kitten, it is a step forward to being a responsible cat parent.
We hope you found this article useful. We have a separate section on Cat Care and Feeding for the benefit of cat parents. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and be the first one to get the latest updates, tips, and experts’ advice about cat care, feed, health, and wellbeing.