Creating memories, not emotional scars—learn how to make a kitten bath bearable!
Bathing a kitten for the first time can be tricky. One wrong move, and you can hurt your kitty, or worse, leave them deeply traumatised for life. It’s also not uncommon for unsuspecting cat parents to end up with scratch marks from bathing a squirming kitten.
Untamed will help you make the right decisions about your kitten’s general hygiene. In this guide, we’ll tackle the following issues:
- When and how often can you wash a kitten?
- What kitten bathing essentials do you need to get?
- How to prepare a kitten for a bath
- How to give a bath to a kitten
Are kitten baths safe? Facts every cat parent should know
You would think bathing a kitten is a nuisance because of their general aversion to water, but more serious issues are at stake. According to health experts, you should avoid bathing kittens, especially during early kittenhood, because of their:
- Poor thermoregulation—Kittens cannot regulate their body temperature properly until they are about 45 days old and have gained the required weight. They can derive some warmth from their light fur but mostly depend on their mother to keep them warm or require artificial heating sources in case they’re orphans. Bathing puts them at a high risk of hypothermia, indigestion, and upper respiratory tract illnesses like pneumonia
- Weak immune system—Developing kittens have fragile immune systems that cannot produce enough antibodies, so even mild diarrhoea or a low-grade lung infection can be fatal
- Fragile mental state—Felines are survivalists who keep receipts of what’s harmful to them. The stress during bathing and the lingering discomfort, especially if they get ill, makes a kitten associate bathing with pain, which may turn into bathing- or grooming-related PTSD when they grow up
Betrayal is when your hooman tries to drown you the second you let your guard down. And they say cats have trust issues…
Source: Karin Chantanaprayura
When or how often can you give a kitten a bath?
The older a kitten is, the more they can handle a bath. The following table will help you make the decision:
Can you bathe the kitten?
0 to 8 weeks
Since this is the infancy period, avoid giving baths to your kitten, even if they’ve started teething or weaning off milk
Exception—the bath is necessary for medical reasons. If you rescue an orphaned feral kitten soaked in toxic oil, tar, or similar contaminants, they should be washed as they’re likely to ingest the toxin. In that case, reach out to a vet or an animal shelter immediately for advice on how to do it safely
8 weeks to 6 months
Kittens hardly shed at this stage, so they don’t require frequent baths. Wash them only when they:
If they often get grimy due to kitten food residue or litter tray sand, consider cleaning them gently with a wet washcloth or hypoallergenic kitten wipes
6 months and up
Most kittens reach adolescence by 6 months and start shedding. They also develop self-grooming habits to stay clean, but you can introduce scheduled baths according to their coat type, namely:
Bathing a kitten—a general checklist
Here’s a list of supplies typically required for a kitten bath:
- Vessel—You can go for a sink, tub, or any small plastic container that suits your kitten’s size
- Cup—A cup is suitable for pouring small quantities of water over your kitten so it doesn’t get in their nose and eyes. You can start using a handheld shower faucet when your kitten reaches their adult size
- Lukewarm water—A cat’s normal body temperature is between 36.7°C and 38.9°C (98.1°F and 102.1°F), so the temperature of the water should be a degree (or two) higher
- Gentle kitten shampoo—Avoid human or dog shampoos as they can dry out a kitten’s skin. Go for kitten unscented products, as strong perfumes can overwhelm your furry friend’s olfactory system
- Soft towel—Use a highly absorbent towel to dry your kitten
Rubber duck—a Muggle invention designed to provide bathtime recreation. Perhaps I was better off with witches and wizards.
Washing a kitten for the first time—how to get them ready
Kittens who are introduced to bathing in a stress-free manner become naturally tolerant to hygiene rituals. Here’s what you should do:
- Give your kitty the basic obedience training to not bite or attack humans
- Introduce them to the sink or the bathtub a week or two before the bath. Deck the area with treats, catnip, or toys to help them form positive associations. If it’s a portable plastic container, you can even let them get cosy and enjoy a nap in it
- Take steps to make your kitten feel secure in their home—ensure they:
- Have nutritious meals at regular intervals
- Are not bullied or hissed at by other pets
- Spend plenty of time with your kitten every day—let them sniff and lick you to mark you as a human they trust. Talk to them in an affirming tone as your voice will be the primary factor in helping them calm down during the bath
- Clip their claws
How to bathe a kitten safely
Here’s how to wash a kitten safely:
- Place the kitten in the bath vessel
- Steady their position:
- Hold them in place with one hand if they are too young
- Give them something to hold on to (like the edge of the sink) if they’re older
- If the surface is too slippery, place a coarse mat at the base to anchor them
- Fill the vessel with water. Don’t inundate them—water up to their knees should be fine
- Use the cup to gently pour water on them from shoulder down till they’re completely soaked
- Apply the shampoo—use light strokes to spread the foam all over their body (avoid their eyes, nose, and ears)
- Rinse them thoroughly but don’t splash water on their face. You can use a damp washcloth or cotton balls to clean their face, ears, and nose
- Gently wrap them in a towel and pick them up. Towel-dry them before switching to a hairdryer. Keep the heat on a hairdryer set to the minimum
Use gentle, comforting words throughout the session, which shouldn’t last more than 10 minutes.
Bath-trained kitties don’t get scared because they have unwavering faith in their hoomans and know it’ll be over soon!
Can a kitten be sick after bathing?
Your kitten can feel sick after a bathing session if they:
- Inhale water—Kittens who get water in their lungs develop aspiration pneumonia. It requires medical attention and can be recognised by the following symptoms:
- Coughing and dry heaving
- Runny nose and rapid breathing
- Vomiting and regurgitation
- Irritable mood
- Are stressed—Kittens traumatised by bathing tend to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Avoiding you, or other humans and pets
- Overeating and gorging
- Rejecting their regular wet or dry food
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Over-grooming and throwing up hairballs
- Have poor immunity—Kittens with weak immune systems may continue shivering hours after bathing. They may also act sluggish and experience gastrointestinal discomfort. Low immunity is often associated with a poor cat diet consisting of dry food only. Kibble usually doesn’t have enough animal protein but contains plant-based fillers and carbs, unsuitable for carnivores like cats
A kitten’s immune system develops properly on wet food. Go for products with more than 50% protein derived from lean meat like chicken, tuna, and turkey. Whole meat provides immunity-boosting micronutrients, including taurine, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins that:
- Support a cat’s central nervous system
- Regulate blood sugar levels, body temperature, and the production of antibodies
- Maintain the electrolyte balance in the body
Your kitty's immune system is their first line of defence—keep it fortified with yummy whole-meat dishes from Untamed!
Image (c) Untamed
Boost your kitten’s immunity with Untamed wet food
Keep your kitten strong and happy with Untamed’s wet food. Our gravies and jellies have a high protein content (60%–63%), ideal for overall development in kittens. We use human-grade products to mimic the natural feline diet and offer two times more protein than the average store-bought cat food. There are no useless or harmful fillers like vegan proteins, meat derivatives, grains, sugar, and dairy in our healthy recipes.
Untamed is perfect for your weaned-off kitten because we:
- Have vet-developed formulas—Your kitten gets the optimal nutrient ratio vital for mental and physical development. You can control their daily caloriie intake with suitable serving sizes
- Use hypoallergenic ingredients—We avoid problematic ingredients like beef and corn that can cause food sensitivity in felines. Kittens with food allergies can try our single-protein-source meals:
- Tuck-in Tuna in Jelly—contains tuna and fish broth
- Chocka Chicken in Jelly—packs succulent morsels of fresh chicken breast and taurine-rich liver
- Ditch heavy processing—Over-processed food loses its nutritional value, so we gently steam our meals. Our meat is so soft that even kittens with no teeth can digest it
- Keep flavours intact—Our food retains the natural taste and aroma of the ingredients, so there’s no fussiness when Untamed is served!
We offer dishes with tuna, chicken, ham, duck, salmon, sardines, shrimp, and mackerel. Take the Untamed TRY NOW quiz to make a perfect meal plan for your cat!
Brighten up your cat’s day with a delicious feast from Untamed!
Image (c) Untamed
Untamed—one food fits all
Your kitten can enjoy Untamed for life because our food will support them at every life stage as long as you tweak the portions according to their activity levels.
If your kitty prefers a laid-back indoor lifestyle during adulthood, give them a smaller portion of Untamed than what they had as a kitten. Since our food is grain-free, it will prevent them from piling on extra pounds. Obesity-related diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension are common in housecats, so a healthy diet is essential if you want to raise a fit and happy feline.
Our meals can also keep constipation, IBS, UTIs, and bladder stones at bay. A lifetime of Untamed meals will help your kitty maintain their ideal weight and appetite during their golden years.
We are the go-to choice for cat parents across the UK. Here’s what they say about the multiple health benefits of the Untamed diet:
Period on Untamed
Beyond 6 months
Don’t let your kitten down with filler-loaded products when lip-smacking Untamed meals are only a few clicks away!
Image (c) Untamed
Give us a go—get the Untamed trial pack
We bring cat food right to your home with free next-day shipping! Introduce your kitten to Untamed by ordering our trial pack online. Placing the order is easy:
- Visit our TRY NOW page
- Answer a few basic questions about your kitten
- Select the products and complete the order
If your kitten warms up to our food, we can also provide timely monthly supplies tailored to their preferences. You can modify your order or cancel a delivery anytime you want.
Untamed manufactures and delivers food ethically. We use:
- Farm-reared meat
- Sustainably caught seafood
- Fully recyclable packaging