As stated in our Frequently Asked Questions, please do not bathe a kitten unless you absolutely have to.
However, there are some situations where bathing a kitten is necessary. For example, if the kitten is rescued from the streets and is covered with excessive dirt or insects.
So here are our Top Ten Tips for Bathing a Kitten Safely:-
1. Temperature Control
As stated in our FAQ, kittens have problems controlling their body temperature. It is vital that you ensure that any room the kitten may enter, i.e., the bathroom, living room, bedroom etc., is kept at a stable and warm temperature.
Anything generally above 20 degrees centigrade should be ok.
You must ensure also there are no drafts from open windows, fans or air conditioners.
Ensure that you have at least two or three dry, soft towels on standby. If possible, use an iron or something else to warm the towels up slightly. As soon as you have finished washing, gently dry the kitten thoroughly and wrap them in the towels.
3. Necessity Check
Even if the kitten is very dirty or covered in insects, it may be possible to clean the kitten using a damp cloth rather than bathing them.
We advise trying this first before deciding to bathe them.
Make sure that the cloth is just damp with warm water, not soaking wet.
Try to gently clean the kitten first using this method.
4. Keep to the Body
If you are using a damp cloth or bathing, it is important to just keep to the body of the kitten as much as possible.
Avoid the kitten’s face, eyes, mouth and ears unless absolutely necessary.
5. Water Temperature
If you have to bathe the kitten ensure that the temperature of the water is warm, between 30 to 35 degrees centigrade.
Try to use a thermometer if possible.
6. Be Fast
Ensure that the kitten is in the water for the minimum amount of time possible.
7. Ensure Support
Always use at least one hand support the kitten and ensure that their head is never under the water.
You may also want to put a towel or mat in the sink or bowl which allows the kitten to have a stable resting place for their feet.
If you can, try to avoid using any shampoo at all.
If it is absolutely necessary, use the minimum shampoo possible. Use Pure C or any other shampoo especially formulated for cats.
Never use medicated shampoos, or shampoos intended for humans or dogs!
9. One at A Time
If you have multiple kittens, ensure you wash them separately so you can give each one the care and attention they require.
10. Be Vigilant
Be mindful at all times of the state of the kitten. At any sign of distress (shivering, excessive mewing etc.) stop immediately and thoroughly dry the kitten and wrap them in a warm towel.
Keep checking the status of the kitten at all times.
If you feel the kitten becoming cold or see any other signs of distress, keep the kitten warm and call your vet immediately.
We’ll say it again, do not bathe a kitten unless absolutely necessary.
Try to just use a damp cloth instead of a bath first.
However, if it is absolutely necessary, be mindful of the risks involved and take the necessary steps as above to ensure the safety of the kitten.
Please also read our Top Five Tips For Bath Preparation and our Top Seven Tips For Bathing Your Cat.