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How To Bath


Savannah Super Cat
So Bijou has recently come in to our home as most of you know. However I don't think she was ever given a wash. I may be exaggerating a bit, however she is a stinky kitty at the moment. I'm really not confident to take her to a groomer. However I'm not sure if I have the right health insurance to do it my self lol.

When playing with her, she has her love bites, and grabbing with her claws. And she doesn't draw blood at all. But I'm not sure how that will be adding water to the mix.

Also want to brush her teeth.

Any thoughts of how to go about this?

John Popp

Site Supporter
The way I do it is just leave the bathroom door open. Inevitably they will be in the shower with me and it goes pretty easy. As this happens often enough on accident, I have yet to ever give them a bath with intent and purpose.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
It's very unusual for a shorthaired cat to "smell" unless something is awry. They generally are pretty able to keep themselves clean...apart from accidents.

I do occasionally bathe mine for shows, and always on returning from a probably bathe my Savannahs more than most would. It's probably a good idea to bathe a kitten a few times just to accustom them to the process in case they need it in later life (skunk on a walk, ringworm brought into the house etc). I use our bathtub with the handshower... it's high-sided so harder for them to think of escaping...still mostly I get my husband to help as it keeps things calmer. He can concentrate on keeping them in the bathtub and I can concentrate on wetting and lathering.

If you don't have that, then a kitchen sink would be the next best approach. Have a towel in the bottom of the sink before running some water in it. If your sink has a pullout faucet that is going to work like the handshower in the bathtub, else you will want a large jug to put warm water in for rinsing. Try to approach as calmly as possible, scruff her at the neck skin to keep her calm and still. The more they struggle the more upset they get. And if you have a partner or friend there at least the first time, that would be best! Good luck!


Site Supporter
The biggest thing I learned was that you do not give them a bath! Give them a shower. If you want your cat to freak out, lower it into a tub of water for the first time! I had a Himy that was calm as calm could be when it came to bathing.......unless the drain got plugged for a split second and the water got cat ankle deep. Then it was a case of LOOK OUT!!!! Tazmanian devil on the loose.


Staff member
It's not unusual for a cat who has been housed long term with stinky hosing males and females to also smell, even if they no longer spray themselves. You have a couple of alternative options to a traditional bath. There are many waterless shampoos available for cats, you might want to try one of those. You may need to repeat several times but it should eventually work.

Your second choice is to get the personal premoistened washclothes for people (one person recommended feminine hygiene wipes as they are best for eliminating odor but I don't like how they smell so won't use them). This is similar to the ones I've used before: To be honest, if you can use both the waterless shampoo and the wipes that would probably work best.

If neither of these products do the job your next best bet is to try to bathe her in a double kitchen sink that has a side sprayer. Get the water warm but not too hot. Keep the faucet running on the opposite side that Bijou is on then put the sprayer lightly on her coat before spraying. Start low, around the tail, then slowly work your way up her back. Apply pet shampoo then rinse in the same fashion. This will more than likely take two people, and you may still not be successful, but it is the gentlest way I know of to bathe a cat.


Site Supporter
My sis-in-law is allergic to cat but adopted an older one from a friend anyways. She bought some kind of kitty version of the pre-moistened towelettes as this cat had been outdoors and also had fleas. The cat was a bit on the feral side as she had been thru several homes and was most recently living in an outdoor shed so bathing or taking her somewhere to be bathed was not an option. This worked like a charm until the cat was acclimated and could be actually bathed.