Bath training your kitty is a LONG process. The younger the cat, the easier it is to train, but this all depends on temperament and breed characteristics as well.
Mainecoons cats are usually more relaxed and open to new ideas around water.
Calicos can be more high strung.
Every cat has a different personality. It could take a year or more of working on this EVERY DAY to bath train your kitty. The key is to be constant, calm, patient, and let kitty take the lead when they are ready to move forward.
The video below is of Riven.
It only took about 3 weeks to bath train him to the point where he jumps into the tub on his own while we are bathing. He has a very laid back personality and he is only a few months old, so it was easy to train him.
It usually takes MUCH LONGER, so don't be discouraged if your kitty isn't fully trained in a few weeks.
I do each of these progressive steps below and don't move onto the next step until kitty is relaxed and comfortable.
Compliment and reward kitty often.
***Never completely immerse kitty or kitty's face or ears in water!!!***
If kitty is traumatized or pushed too fast then you may need to wait a while and start the steps all over again.
Step #1:Washcloth Bath
This is a lot like a mother cat bathing her kittens with her tongue. Its very natural and comfortable for the cat and most of the time they enjoy it.
Slowly increase the amount of water you use.
Let kitty see you dip the washcloth into the bowl of warm water.
Don't use soap or anything that has a perfume.
Dry kitty and compliment them on how good they look and give treats.
Step #2: Take a long bubble bath and let kitty hang out in the bathroom.Kitty may huddle by the door or hide behind the toilet.
She may even howl by the door to be let out.
Talk to kitty calmly. Let them see how much you enjoy your bath and there is no danger.
Take bubble baths with kitty in the room until they do ALL of the following:
1. Lay down and relax.
2. Come stand next to the tub.
3. Look down into the water or drinks from the bath water.
Step #3: Dipping
1. If kitty is sitting next to the tub you can play games with kitty while bathing.
Have waterproof toys that can swim and dip below the water to encourage kitty to stick her paws in the bath water.
2. Dip the end of kitty's tail in the water.
***Make sure the water is not too hot or cold! Kitties have super sensitive skin.***
Step #4: Exploring the Bathtub
1.Put kitty in an EMPTY, DRY bathtub.
She may freak out at first, but pet her and calm her until she sees there is nothing to be afraid of.
2. Put kitty in a bathtub with a tiny amount of cool water by the plugged drain. Let her explore on her own. Soon she will drink the water and associate the water in the tub with something good.
3. Let kitty see water dripping from the faucet. It will make a noise and the sound of running water might scare her at first, but soon it will turn into a fun game.
Step #5 Wet Paws
1. Fill the bath with just enough water to touch the bottoms of kitty's paws.
Use toys and treats to keep kitty entertained and distracted.
2. Wash kitty with the washcloth while she is in the tub.
Once kitty is comfortable (drinks water, plays or lays down the water) slowly increase the water level more each time kitty has a play time in the tub.
****Never fill the tub so high that kitty has to swim or goes buoyant.****
Kitty should always feel comfortable with both paws firmly on the bottom of the tub.
Use organic soap and bubbles so not to irritate kitty's skin.
Below is a video of cat bath Level: EXPERT.
In the video Leif is gently washing kitty's ears, face and eyes. (Kitty had an eye infection and needed to be cleaned often.)