woman bathing a cat

As pet parents, we already know that cats are pretty clean creatures. They are constantly cleaning and grooming themselves. Because of this, many cat owners don’t realize that their feline companions need to be bathed on occasion. It’s recommended that you bathe your cat once every 6 weeks, but that depends on a few factors.

In most cases, a cat must only be bathed occasionally and according to the circumstances. However, some breeds need to be bathed more often than others. So, how do you tell how often to bathe your cat? Which breed of cat needs to be bathed more than others? We’ll discuss that and more below, so stay tuned.

Should You Really Bathe Your Cat?

Your cat is excellent at cleaning itself and has no problem keeping up with its own personal hygiene. Giving your cat a bath every six weeks is just to help them with their grooming. This protects their skin and fur and keeps oils from building up on the cat’s skin.

Circumstances Where Your Cat Might Need a Bath

Although it’s recommended that cats get a bath every 4 to 6 weeks, some circumstances might warrant giving them baths more often.

Older Cats

If a cat is too old to clean itself effectively, you might need to give it a bath more often than usual. Also, some cats that are overweight or obese have a hard time reaching their backs and other areas, so you’ll need to bathe them often as well.

maine coon cat getting a bath
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Hairless Breeds

Unlike most breeds, hairless cats need weekly baths. Because the oil on their skin can build up and block pores, you must bathe them frequently and use wipes to clean the oil buildup.

Unhealthy Cats

Of course, cats that are sick will need to be bathed regularly, as they might not have the strength or the will to groom themselves like they usually would. If your cat is predominately an outdoor cat, you might find a host of situations where you must also bathe them. Outdoor cats can develop dirty coats if they roll around in the dirt and pick up debris.

Longhaired Cats

Finally, longhaired cats groom themselves but might have more of a problem keeping tangles out of their fur, and they may also need regular baths.

Which Cats Only Need Occasional Baths?

Healthy short-haired cats with single coats, like the Russian Blue, usually don’t require much bathing. They don’t shed as often, and most will not need a bath more than three or four times a year. You can get by, in most cases, just spot-cleaning the cat with a wet cloth when grooming it.

With single-coated cats, you can reserve the bath times for when they genuinely need them, such as when they get into something like the mud or come home filthy.

russian blue cat getting a bath
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Bath Aftercare for Your Cat

Once you’ve bathed your cat, there are a few other grooming necessities you might want to go ahead and perform while your cat is allowing you to. We’ll list a few of those tasks below.

  • Brushing: Usually once a week for short-haired cats, as much as once a day for long-haired cats
  • Ear cleaning: Every time you bathe the cat, check its ears for signs of mites or infections. Use a cat-safe solution to clean its ears gently.
  • Nail trimming: When you hear your cat’s nails clicking on a hardwood or linoleum floor, it’s time to trim them. Typically, you’ll need to trim your pet’s nails once a month. Outdoor kitties may not need their nails cut as often since they grind them down more while playing outside.

It’s also essential to protect yourself when you bathe your cat. As you’ve probably guessed, most breeds are not fond of water and can go on the defensive when you’re trying to bathe them. A cat that is scared will claw, scratch, and bite its way out of the situation, which could be bad for you.

It’s best to wear long sleeves and long pants when bathing your cat. You should also wear thick gloves to stop the cat from scratching your arms and hands.


Most cats don’t like being bathed, but they do need it occasionally. It’s recommended to bathe cats every 4 to 6 weeks to keep them nicely groomed and clean. Some breeds with single coats need to be bathed only when necessary. However, hairless cats, like the Sphynx, need weekly baths.

If you feel that you can’t handle bathing your cat or grooming them, or you don’t have the time, it’s best to take the cat to a groomer who can easily get the job done for you. If you decide to bathe and groom your cat yourself, protect yourself before the bath begins for the best results. The last thing you want is scratches, bites, and an unhappy cat on your hands when bath time is done.

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