Grooming Your Cat: Tips & Tricks From The Experts

bathing your cat photo

If you love your cat, you will want him to look good and feel good at all times.

If you don’t have the time or money to take your cat to be professionally groomed regularly, you can groom your cat on your own.

Below are a few simple grooming tips that will make grooming easy on both you and your cat.


Choose the Right Time

cats taking a bath photo
Photo by jfiess

Cats will often bathe themselves when necessary, however, there are certain situations where you would need to give your cat a bath.

If your cat has fleas or if he went outside and got dirty, he won’t be able to clean himself. Though many cats hate baths, others can be quite docile and cooperative.

Fill up the bath prior to bringing your cat in, that way the noise of the bathtub filling up won’t frighten him unnecessarily. It should be just slightly warm, but not hot. Also the tub should only be filled enough so that your cat’s legs are submerged but that they can feel safe in it.

Unless you started giving your cat a bath when he was a kitten, it could be relatively difficult.

You want to choose the right time to give your cat a bath. Do it at a time of day when he is the most relaxed. If necessary, you can play with him until he gets worn out and speak gently to comfort him.


Gently, Calmly and With Purpose

It’s important to be calm, gentle and to move with purpose without any abrupt or frightening motion during a bath with a cat that is unfamiliar with bathing.

Get a helping hand to secure your cat in the bath by firmly and gently keeping him away from the exit-side of the bath.  Meanwhile, the person washing your cat can concentrate on applying anti-flea shampoo, lathering, rinsing.

If at any point it becomes too difficult to restrain the cat gently, see if you can switch jobs. Your cat may feel more comfortable with one person than with the other in this situation.

Every bath will be a little different, but being confident, firm and calm even when your cat howls, moans and scratches, will ensure you get the job done fairly quickly and effectively.


Trimming His Claws

cats taking a bath photo
Photo by jann

If you believe that you are able to clip your cat’s claws yourself, according to the ASPCA you should trim them before bathing. You should use nail clippers that were specifically made to clip a cat’s nails, as instructed in the video below:


Brush Before Wetting

Before you wet your cat, you want to remove any loose hair and mats of hair. This will prevent all of the loose hair from clogging the drain. It also makes their bath more effective.


Fill the Sink

If possible, you should bathe your cat in the sink rather than in the tub. It can be difficult to crouch down in the tub and hold the cat. Also, because the sink is smaller than the tub, it won’t give your cat much room to try to run away.

This video demonstrates a safe way to wash a cat in the sink:

It is a good idea to put a rubber mat on the bottom of the sink. This will keep your cat from sliding all over if he tries to get away.

You should fill the sink with three to four inches of lukewarm water. You never want to use hot water, as it can scald your cat.


Add Water

When you are washing your cat, you want to use the sprayer on the sink. If your sink doesn’t have one, you should use a pitcher of water and pour it over your cat.

When doing so, you want to make sure to avoid getting water in his eyes, ears, and nose.


Lather Him Up

Using a shampoo that is specifically made for cats, lather him up.

Make sure that you don’t get any soap near his face or his ears. Start by working from the head, down to the tail.

You should lather the shampoo in the direction of the hair growth.



Immediately after lathering your cat up, you should rinse him off using a sprayer or a pitcher.

Make sure that you don’t splash any of the water in his face.

Be sure to get him completely rinsed off. If there is any shampoo left on his fur after he is dry, it can irritate his skin and possibly give him a rash.


Wash His Face

cats taking a bath photo
Photo by gwendoline63 | cc

To wash your cat’s face, you should use a wet washcloth that is wet with water only.

You don’t want to put soap on the cloth unless you absolutely need to because his face is very dirty.

Be sure to be gentle when washing his face, because he probably won’t like having his face washed.


Drying and Combing

cats with claws photo
Photo by AnxiousNut

After your cat is done with his bath, you should towel dry him carefully.

If he has long hair, you don’t want to tangle his hair. If your cat doesn’t mind the sound, you can blow dry him on the coolest, lowest setting.

After he is dry, comb him out with a wide tooth comb. You want to make sure that you get all the tangles out.



cats taking a bath photo

If necessary, you can trim your cat with a small pair of scissors.

You want to trim under his belly if his fur is scraping the ground as well as any other areas that are too long.


cats taking a bath photo
Photo by gomagoti

When you have finished grooming your cat, you should give him a treat so that he knows that he was a good boy. Just be sure that the treat is not messy. You don’t want to put him back in the tub again.


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