Do Indoor Cats Need Baths?

Pet owners sometimes are super conscious about cleanliness. They want their pets to always be clean and smell fresh. These are people who want to give their pets, even cats, regular baths. 

Do indoor cats need baths? No, most cats will never need a bath. Cats are great at grooming themselves and being put in water can stress them out unnecessarily, according to veterinarians. 

The article below gives more information about how to keep your cat clean and what to do if they do need bathing. 

No Baths for Cats?

Cats typically don’t need baths. That’s especially true for indoor cats who don’t have the type of adventures of their outside counterparts. 

Felines are different from dogs in that it’s normal for cats to groom themselves. Grooming happens daily as cats are meticulous groomers, according to Vanessa Spano, Behavior Vets of NYC associate veterinarian. 

Cats are created with special attributes that help in their grooming. They have barbed tongues for instance. Their rough tongues are excellent at keeping coats clean. 

Additionally, cats’ aversion to water makes bathing them an uncomfortable situation for them and you. 

Read: Are Bengal Cats Active?

When To Bathe A Cat?

Just because it’s advised to avoid bathing a cat doesn’t mean it will never be necessary. There are situations where a bath is the only solution. These aren’t everyday events but can happen with any cat. 

Read: Should I Bathe My Cat?

Smelly Cat

Some cats will get into something stinky where you can’t avoid a bath. This is especially true if your cat spends a significant amount of time outside. They can roll over something dead like one of their kills or get sprayed by a skunk. 

Read: Bengal Cat Personality: Everything You Need To Know

Dirty Cat

Cats can prowl or get into trouble. Even an indoor cat can get into the trash to scrounge for something that smells interesting. Outdoor exploration can result in your cat coming in with oil, sap, or mud on its fur. 

You don’t want your cat to lick that and you don’t want any of that on your furniture.

Buggy Cat

Your feline can pick up bugs like mites, ticks, fleas, and even lice. You don’t want to have contact with these creepy crawlies because some carry diseases. Plus, they feed on your feline’s blood causing suffering for your pet. 

Read: Why You Shouldn’t Own a Bengal Cat?

Pollinated Cat

Cats can come in looking yellow and dusty during heavy pollinating seasons. Bathing him may be the only option to prevent allergies for both your cat and your family.

Old Cat

Some cats will stop grooming themselves as they age so you may have to assist. Yet, you don’t want to stress them.

Read: Bengal Cat Colors: Every Color & Pattern Combo You Should See

How to Bathe a Cat?

Bathing your cat needs some planning in order to make it comfortable for your feline and easier for you. It beginning with getting everything organized.

Get the Right Shampoo

The first thing to do is have the right products for the right purpose. You will need a cat bath soap that addresses fleas and bugs if that’s the problem or a general cleansing soap for dirtiness. 

You will also need something gentle if your cat has skin irritations. There are also wash waterless products that are a great option for older cats or those extremely fearful of water. 

A home DIY product that works for odors, like skunk smell, can be made using 1 tsp. blue Dawn dishwashing detergent, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 liter of white vinegar. Wash your pet thoroughly and rinse. 

Read: Does My Cat Have Fleas?


You should be brushing your cat regularly anyway but be sure to give the fur a good brushing before bathing. Brushing will remove a lot of dirt and other debris like leaves and straw. 

Trim Nails

Anyone who is going to try to bathe their cat should trim the feline’s nails first to avoid them scratching you in the process.

Spot Bathing

This is a good option if your cat just has one spot or two that is sticky or dirty. You can just wash the one spot while the cat is on the bathroom counter and avoid the total bath and water. 

The Bath

Only put a few inches of water in the sink or bathtub. The sink should be sufficient for most cats. Make sure the water is lukewarm. Dip the cat into the water and use a measuring cup to pour water onto your cat. 

Use a washcloth to scrub the fur and clean the face. You can also use a soft brush to apply the shampoo. 

You may want to enlist a friend or family member to help distract the cat while you are bathing him. 

After rinsing, wrap your cat in a towel and dry quickly. Brushing and back-combing will help the fur dry faster. 

Read: Is My Bengal Cat Depressed?


How often should you wash an indoor cat?

Many may not need bathing at all. The recommendation from the National Cat Groomers Institute of America states you can bathe your indoor cat once every four to six weeks. Most veterinarians state bathing should be situational and occur only if they get into something dirty or stinky. 

Why do cats hate water?

Cats tend to have a love-hate relationship with water. Many cats will dip their paws in various pools of water and then shake them off. This stems from their hunting instinct in looking for fish. 

Most cats don’t like getting wet. That’s because wet fur makes them less agile so it’s harder for them to escape from predators. Wet fur is heavier so it’s uncomfortable and can take a while to dry. 

Read: Do Cats Sweat Through Their Paws?

Will a cat like a warm bath?

Most would not like any kind of bath. Those who have arthritis may enjoy a warm bath because they can’t groom themselves as they once did and warm water would feel good for their joints. 

Do I need cat shampoo to wash my cat?

There are other bath products for cats including cat bath wipes, foam, and a water-vinegar mix. You can also use Johnson’s baby shampoo and Dawn dishwashing soap. Don’t use human shampoos because some have ingredients that are toxic for cats. 

How do I keep my cat calm during a bath?

Put nice, calming scents in the bath area like lavender or chamomile. Have a friend there to distract your cat by talking softly to them and occasionally give them a treat.

Can my cat get sick after a bath?

No, bathing your cat won’t make them sick.