Before Caroline left town she helped me bathe the kitten in my kitchen sink. Shakti squabbled, putting a paw on each side of the sink and refusing to go in, even though the water was the perfect temperature. Caroline held her while I dished warm water over her shoulders and lathered her up with my shampoo, which I spread on my hands. Soon as she was soapy I started rinsing, being careful to stay away from her head. Shakti reached for the shelves and never gave up her insistence to get away from the sink, but she did not scratch or bite either one of us. The whole bath took no more than 2 minutes.
I wrapped her in a towel and dried her as best I could. Once she found out that I was trying to dry her, she no longer struggled to get away. She let me scrub each part of her with the towel, and went out into the hot Arizona sunshine. She even let me brush her whenever she came back in, and seemed to luxuriate in having someone else care for her fur.
We have found a new level of comfort with each other since that bath. Trust. I now trust her not to hurt me, and she trusts me. We play and relax better with this understanding.