Bathing Your Cat In Your Hotel Room
by GARY SCHLEICHER, Garnan Persians
Updated September 2015

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GC, RW Connaught Darby O'Gill of Garnan

So . . . you let your cat run loose in the hotel against the advice from others and now his feet are no longer white. What's worse — neither is the rest of the cat.

Or you just have one of those cats that has to be bathed every morning before the show. It's bad enough when you are at home, but what do you do now that you are in the hotel? All your conveniences are home and you're stuck at the mercy of the hotel.

Don't panic (at least not right away). Many of us face the same challenge week-after-week while campaigning.

In this article, I will run you through the lessons I've learned over the years. Not all of the lessons were pleasant, but with proper preparation, you can overcome most obstacles and go to the show with a clean, well-groomed kitty.

May years ago, I campaigned a very handsome red tabby male Persian named GC, RW Connaught Darby O'Gill of Garnan. Much of what I write in this article I learned from the year showing him.

Darby had two problems that made showing him away from home an issue. First, he was a red tabby with a "combination" coat. His pattern was outstanding, but the darker portions tended to get greasier and heavier after a day or two, making his coat look slightly "grungy".

Second, and a much bigger issue, was his male "fragrance". He had an annoying habit of urinating in the carrier just after we hit the Interstate heading for the airport. Even though I figured out how to outwit him at this game (by carrying trash bags and extra absorbent pads), he still smelled like a boy whose hormones were raging. To look (and smell) his best for the show, he needed a bath. This being the case, I found it easier to bathe him every morning before leaving for the show hall.

Be Prepared

If you are going to bath your cat in the bathroom of your hotel room, you need to come prepared. You will need:

  • Hair Products: Bring enough of your shampooing/conditioning products to do up to three baths (just in case).
  • Containers: Numerous small containers for the shampoos, conditioners, degreasers etc. Available at drugstores, travel / luggage stores, etc. You do not want to have to pack and carry the large bottles of degreasers, shampoos and conditioners you use at home, so purchase small travel containers to include in your show kit, and fill each with the hair product you need. Naturally, this will vary with each individual cat.
  • A Handheld Shower Sprayer
    • Choose a handheld sprayer with an on/off switch and enough hose to reach approximately ten (10) feet. This may require piecing two hoses together using a fitting available at any hardware or home improvement store.
  • Tools:
    • Small pipe wrench
    • Small adjustable crescent wrench
    • Hose Clamp (optional)
  • Hair Dryer: A "Super Duck" or other suitable small hair dryer specifically for the cat. Use your personal hair dryer as a backup.

The Handheld Shower Sprayer

Some exhibitors do a complete show bath in the hotel. I prefer to do a thorough show bath the night before traveling. Any baths given in the hotel are more like "touch ups", thus eliminating the need to take larger amounts of grooming supplies.

Upon reaching the hotel, my first order of business is getting my cat settled. Nothing else matters once you decide the room is acceptable. If you have a nervous cat, you will have problems. Enough said on this.

Next, I inspect the bathroom to determine what I will need to bath my cat.

Generally, I've run into three different types of shower heads. The first has a knurled covering and is just like what we have at home. It can generally be screwed off by hand.

The second type of shower head is smoother and requires a wrench to remove it. Before using the wrench, make sure you protect the shower head from damage by covering it with a washcloth.

The third type of shower head (and worst) is one that has two slots one on each side and requires a special tool to remove. In this case, I try the pipe wrench (again using a washcloth between to minimize any damage). Worst case scenario, if you can't remove the shower head, make sure you have a large container to hold the rinse water.


The next step is EXTREMELY important. I was burned by this at a Howard Johnson's in New Jersey several years ago and will never forget it. Turn the water on and let it run for a few minutes to make sure you have enough water pressure and also to ensure the water is not rusty. The kitten I was showing, a nice black & white, needed a bath on Sunday morning. The sinks were large and I decided to do the bath in the sink. Imagine my horror when the water came out brown all over my kitten! It was not a pretty picture . . .

The Bath

Once the handheld sprayer is installed, the water is okay and your cat needs a bath, let's move to the next step.

I have found it easier to bathe a cat in the bathtub rather than trying to use the sink, even though it is harder on my back. It is more comfortable if you use a hard carrier to elevate the cat in the tub.

If you have flown to the show and only have a soft carrier, always take a few large plastic bags with you. In a pinch, you can enclose a waste paper basket in a plastic bag, turn it upside down and use it as a substitute for the carrier.

Always take precautions to protect the hotel's property against damage. Thoughtlessness can lead to extra expense for damages and make it difficult to find hotels for our cats in the future.

The Blow Dry

From this point on, bathe and dry your cat the same as you would normally do at home, leaving plenty of time to get the cat perfectly dry and arrive at the show in time to relax and enjoy the morning.

The Clean Up

Before checking out of the hotel, I make sure I have not left any signs of my cat in the room.

I place all litter in trash bags and tie them tightly.

I put all discarded food in the trash as well. Then I use a clothes lint brush to pick up hair from the rug and a small whisk broom and dust pan to clean any spilled litter.

It is important to leave no traces of our felines in the hotel room so our cats are welcome guests at all hotels.

Final Thought

Bathing your show cat in your hotel room is easy once you get the hang of it — and bring your own handheld shower spray.

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