Bathing a cat probably heads nobody’s list of fun activities. Cats rarely enjoy the experience and they usually make their feelings pretty obvious. Bathing a Persian cat is even better, because you need to dry his long fur as well. A blow dryer is not, however, essential.
Turn on the heating in at least one room of your home if the weather is cold.
Comb through your cat’s fur, carefully teasing out any tangles as you go. Knots are much more difficult to remove from damp fur.
Assemble everything you need in the place you plan to bathe him. Running around looking for towels while a soggy, bad-tempered cat scowls at you will not improve the bathing experience. At the least you will need shampoo and conditioner for cats—not dogs or humans—a large container such as a baby bath, a plastic jug and lots of old towels.
Add several inches of tepid water to the bowl. Alternatively, use the bathtub. Cold water will shock your cat, while hot can scald. Although the shower is a good option for most dogs, cats tend to hate the sensation even more than that of a bath.
Take your cat into the bathing room and close the door. Place him in the bowl, talking normally to him the entire time. An unnaturally soothing tone might be counterproductive, indicating to the cat that something is wrong.
Place the cat in the bowl, holding him securely if necessary. Dampen his fur with the aid of the jug, avoiding the head area.
Rub in just enough shampoo to form suds and rinse out as quickly as possible with the aid of the jug. You may need to empty and refill the bowl at least once.
Repeat the procedure with conditioner, which tends to be necessary for long-haired cats. Use only a small amount so you can rinse it out quickly, reducing the stress for your cat.
Wrap your cat in one of the towels to remove excess water. If you know that he won’t immediately try to hide, take him into the warmest room in your home. Otherwise, keep him in the bathing room for the next step.
Blot his fur several times with other towels, to remove as much excess water as possible.
Comb through his fur once more, to stop new tangles developing.
Keep him in the warm room until his fur is completely dry.
- Cats, even Persians, only really need bathing if their fur has become covered in something dirty, sticky or toxic. If your cat absolutely hates being bathed, don’t bother. In the case of a mess on his fur, wipe it away with a damp cloth, rinsing the cloth and repeating as many times as required. If you want to bathe him because his fur has become greasy, ask your vet for a dry shampoo, which requires no water at all.
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends picking bath time carefully, choosing a time when your cat is relaxed, and perhaps playing energetically with him first. This tires him out and makes the procedure easier.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.