Bathing Your Kitten: All Cat Owners Need To Know

Kitten with water

Most short hair cat breeds are efficient self-groomers, but they may not be old enough to groom themselves fully. If your kitten is unable to groom themselves fully, or if they have a long coat of fur, you may want to bathe your kitten.

You may also want to bathe your kitten if they get outside and come back covered in filth or smelly. But how often should you bathe your kitten? What type of shampoo is best for your kitten? How do you bathe your kitten without getting scratched?

Contrary to popular belief, some cats actually love water

Some cat breeds LOVE water! Like we talked about in the blog all about Bengal cats, Bengal Cats love water! They have been known to follow owners into the bath and the shower. Maine Coon cats also have a love of water, they should also be bathed to keep their long from matting, and as part of general hygiene for a longhaired cat. So, there should be no issue when trying to bathe either of these breeds, they will happily comply!

Bathing Sphynx Kittens

Sphynx cats in particular are a breed that have to be bathed as part of a health routine. Sphynx cats have no hair and they also have rolls, especially kittens, it is quite easy for dirt and skin oils to gather between these rolls, so bathing your sphynx helps with keeping their skin hygiene under control. It is also important to make sure they are fully dry after a bath as moisture between the rolls can cause issues too. They should be bathed at least once a week.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Kitten?

Your kitten will be learning to self-groom within the first few months of its life, and before that their mother will take care of grooming them. However, if you receive your kitten before it has learned how to self-groom, you will need to bathe your kitten at least once a week in order to keep them clean and smelling good.

If you notice that your kitten is a good self-groomer, they may still need a bath now and again in order to keep them feeling and smelling clean. You will likely only need to bathe your kitten once or twice a year in this case, as cats are proud animals and do a good job of keeping themselves clean on a regular basis.

What Type Of Shampoo Is Best For Your Kitten?

It is best to use a type of shampoo that is made specifically for cats and kittens and to avoid human shampoo. This is because kittens have sensitive coats and skin, and your kitten’s skin could become irritated by residue from the wrong type of shampoo.

When looking for the right shampoo, try going to the pet store and looking at their natural shampoos. Organic or herbal shampoos that don’t contain Tea Tree Oil are great for kittens, as Tea Tree Oil can be toxic to them in large doses.

It’s therefore best to avoid this altogether to keep your kitten healthy and happy. If you notice that your kitten prefers the smell or feel of one kind of shampoo, then it is best to continue using that so they grow to enjoy bath time.

How Do I Bathe My Kitten Without Getting Scratched?

An unhappy kitten will scratch you to within an inch of your life in order to get away from whatever is causing them distress. The best way to bathe your kitten without getting scratched is to gently ease them into the environment and to use a matter-of-fact manner without getting worked up yourself.

It is recommended to clip the kitten’s nails, prepare the bathroom or laundry room for the bath, keep warm water running gently to help with washing the kitten, hold them in place with a harness or by the scruff of their neck, lather them, rinse, and repeat. You will want to gently dry them off with a soft towel after the bath in order to ensure they do not catch a cold.

Bathing Your Cat After Flea Treatment

We discussed the importance of worm and flea treatment for your kitten in a previous blog. It is advised that your cat/ kitten should be fully dry when you give them a flea treatment. It is also advised that you don’t bathe them until 48hrs after the treatment.


If you place cotton wool in your cat’s ears, it will stop any water from entering their ears and prevent causing issues.

Do you bathe your kitten? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to know any tips you might have!