Seven Streams
How To Give Your Cat A Bath...
and live to tell the story.


After my many challenging and miserable bathing experiences (for both bather and bathee),
I've come up with a way to give a cat a bath that is reasonably pleasant.  Not all cats
dislike bathing, but I think it would be safe to say that the majority
are not fond of the experience.

By following the steps given below, I think most cats will at least learn to
endure the experience,
 and you might even come away without a scratch!
Kittens are usually easy to bathe.
If you start bathing them when they are still young, and are
successful in making it a pleasant experience, some cats have
even been known to enjoy bathing!

Steps To Bathing Your Cat

     1)  Get all supplies together and set them in their prepared place, before
          even mentioning to your cat that there is a bath coming.  Preferably,
          your cat should be occupied elsewhere.  Fear must be avoided at all
          costs.  (Once fear kicks in, your hope of success is minimal.)

     2)  Supplies needed:  If you have a medium to long haired cat, have 2 combs ready.
          One regular comb for brushing, and one flea comb. 
          Two bath towels.  A large, 2 Qt. measuring
          cup, for rinsing. (Fill this with very warm water before beginning bath.)
          A VERY large container to hold rinse water.
          (I use a plastic storage container, like you get at Wal Mart.)
           Appropriate Pet Shampoo.  Conditioner if desired.  Apple Cider
           Vinegar (not white vinegar).  A small bowl to hold shampoo and
           quite warm water mixture.  Hair Dryer.  Peaceful, soothing background
           music.  Protective armor for yourself.  (If you cover yourself with
           an extra large, long-sleeved T shirt over the armor, the cat will be totally 
           unaware that you are even armed.)

      3)  Directions for preparation:  Bath should take place in bathroom. 
           Mix enough shampoo and water together for bathing entire cat.
           There should be enough water so that you can work up
           a good lather easily.  Lay one towel down next to bath tub, and         
           another towel a little ways away, both spread out.  Set shampoo
           bowl next to towel and tub.  Set extra-large container in tub,
           and fill full with quite warm water (not hot).  You want it to be a
           little warmer than actually desired for the rinse, because by the time
           the rinse comes around, it will have cooled down some.  Cats
           do not like to be rinsed in cold water. (At least mine haven't shown
           any signs of liking it).  The goal here is that the cat should be
           barely aware that a bath is even taking place. 
           If the water is cold, it will be a shock to their system, and they will
           quickly become aware.  It's possible that if this takes place,
           your cat may decide that the bath is now officially over.

            Add some vinegar to the rinse water, from 1 cup to 1 quart,
            depending on how much rinse water is in the tub.  Use your own
            judgment.  The vinegar removes shampoo residue (which is desirable,
            because your cat will lick his coat thoroughly after the shampoo.
            His pride may have been challenged, and he will want to get his
            grooming back under his control.  The vinegar will make the coat
            shine, and will also bring the skin to a desirable PH.

            As a precaution, it might be advisable to schedule the bath between
            meals, not right after he has eaten.  If you have a litter box in the
            bathroom, remove it, unless you want to repeat the entire bathing

       4)  Directions for bath:  Time to begin.  Find your kitty, and quietly
            walk him into the bathroom area, gently closing the door behind you.
            (A soaking wet, escaped cat hiding under the bed where you can't
            quite reach him is not our goal.)  Set him down on the towel next to
            the tub.   Begin by speaking reassuring words,
            stroking him over and over until he is comfortable and purring,
            and totally unsuspecting.  Brush all excess fur out of his coat.  This will make
            both the shampoo easier, and the drying time less. Do this quickly, you don't want
            your  cat to tire of the whole experience before it's over.  
            You might mention the salmon dinner with sardines for dessert that 
            you have planned for all good cats, and the dry as dust Meoww Mix
            that awaits cats who do not cooperate.
            Without missing a stroke, reach into shampoo dish and gently
            begin to shampoo your cat.  Start at the neck, gently massage
            shampoo in, working your way slowly down the back, and sides,
            legs, and undersides and tail.  If you do this right, they think this
            is some quality time spent with you.  If you're in a rush, they
            might begin to suspect that this is "a bath."  It's worth the extra
            time spent, to have them remember this as a pleasant experience.

            After your cat is thoroughly shampooed, continuing stroking, making
            sure that he is as relaxed as possible.  At this point he might be getting a
            little restless, and begin to become suspicious.  You do not want this to
            accelerate into anywhere near fear.  So pick him up (be sure you are
            wearing clothing that you don't mind washing afterwards).  Hold him,
            and climb into the tub with him.  Let him know that you are in this together!
            Set him down in tub, with you in easy reach of rinse cup and water 
            reservoir.  By this time, he is becoming definitely suspicious.
            Do not be tempted to hurry through the next part, if you become
            anxious, so will he. 

            Slooooowwwwly, pour the rinse water over the cat.  If your cat is starting to
            get skittish, start with the tail end.  When he realizes this is not going to
            be unpleasant, continue rinsing until he is thoroughly rinsed. When you
            have his top side completely rinsed, lift him by the scruff, and let him
            place his legs against the rinse tub, or against the bath tub, for security.
            Then rinse underside of neck, and belly area.

            He is probably tired of the whole thing by now, so I find it helps to
            tell him in a positive, upbeat voice that the bath is almost over!  And
            what a wonderful boy he has been.  Goooood Booooy!!!!!

            Holding kitty by the scruff, start at the neck and stroke with your free hand
            downward, removing all excess water.  Lift cat quickly and take him over to second
             prepared  towel, and wrap him, using the towel to dry as much as possible.
        5)  Drying your cat:  Some cats are frightened of the hair dryer, some are
             not, but either way, the job must be done.  Hold your cat by the scruff
             of the neck, and start by drying the back end and legs and tail.  This
             part must be done, before you let your cat loose, so that if he needs to
             use the litter box, all of your efforts at bathing will not have been in
             vain.  I've heard stories of some cats trying to "get even" by using
             this method of revenge.  Norwegian Forest Cats, of course, do not
             have this temperament, so no worries there.

             Make sure you use a mild setting with the hair dryer. you don't
             want to use the "hot" and make them uncomfortable, or worse,
             burn their skin.  Some hair dryers can be very hot!

             If it is a hot day, you can leave the rest of the drying to Mother
             Nature.  On a colder day, or if your house is air condioned, you
             want to make sure that your cat is completely dry, so he doesn't
             take a chill.

             The other alternative to blow-drying your cat, is to put him in
             a small cage, and just leave him there until he is dry.  (repeat:
             do not put litter box in the cage with him.)  If you use this method,
             you want to make sure that food and drink has been withheld a few
             hours prior to the bath.  You do not want accidents!!  The whole purpose
             of the bath is to get clean!

             People who have Show Cats and do more bathing usually have a stand-
             up Hair Dryer that can be set outside the cage, which dries the cat in
             much less time.   Or they dry the cat in front of the dryer, which leaves
             both hands free for combing the cat as it is dried from every angle.

             Below are a few links if you think a stand up dryer would be useful to you:



In Closing

This may sound like a whole lot of work and very complicated to you,
 but actually it is very simple, and I think it is well worth the bit of extra time
to try to make it as pleasant as possible for all involved.

One of the main keys to success here is that you are never immersing your cat
in water.  This is frightening to a lot of cats, and makes them feel out of
control.  If their feet never leave solid ground, they feel more secure.

The other plus to this method, is they don't have to listen to the running water.
Turning the water on and off, on and off, frightens some cats.

Be sure to reward your cat with that special dinner immediately after they are
dried off, so that they come to associate a successful bath with a nice treat!

Norwegian Forest you can't have just one!