Best Way to Give a Cat a Bath
Domestic pet cats do not usually need baths*, and most really dislike it, so bathing your cat is not something that should be done regularly. If you must bath your cat you may want to have a helper. You will need cat shampoo and cat conditioner (baby shampoo can be used in an emergency but should not be used regularly). You will also want several towels, and possibly band-aids!
You can bath your cat in the sink or bathtub, the sink is easier because you can stand up. In any case you will want to shut doors so that if the cat does get away it cannot run all over the house. Often cats are too scared to scratch, but may try to climb on you to get out.
Fill the sink (or tub) with a few inches of water, 3 or 4 at the most ( 7-10 cm). The water should be warm but not hot.
Carefully lower the cat into the water hind legs first. Sometimes the cat will be so scared it does not move, other times the cat will try to climb up on you to save it. At this point if you have a helper one person holds the cat while the other person uses a cloth, or sponge to get water onto the other parts of the cat. If you are alone you need to hold the cat with one hand and wet it down with the other. Use the water in the basin for this purpose as this is less stressful to the cat than submerging it or using the tap.
Once the cat is wet, put a small amount of cat shampoo onto the sponge or into your hand and later through the cat's coat, be careful to avoid the head and especially do not get any water in the cats' ears.
Once you have lathered the cat up start rinsing it with the water it is standing in. You may want to change the water part way through but you do not have to.
After rinsing the cat, apply conditioner. Wait a few minutes and then rinse out the conditioner. At this point you will want to be sure to use clean, fresh, water. You can also wash the face off with clean water, keeping it out of the ears as water in the ears can cause infections.
Once the cat is thoroughly rinsed you can drain the water and try to rub excess water out of its coat with your hand. Then scoop the cat up using a towel. It is important that the cat be thoroughly dry before it is allowed outside, you might want to keep it in a warm room to dry it further. Some people use a blow drier to dry their cat but many cats find this traumatic.
Nail trimming is best done right after a bath as the nails are softer and easier to trim.
*Note: Some cats need regular baths, such as hairless cats who tend to have skin problems unless bathed regularly. Some people with cat allergies have found that bathing their cat once a week does control some of the problems.
Kittens often need bathing after being treated for earmites, but otherwise you should not bath a kitten under 12 weeks of age, and if you do bath it, you must be extra sure to dry it and keep it warm until dry.