The problem, as wupper pointed out, is that sponge bath
needs to be in the dictionary. As his examples show, it does often
mean a relatively hasty and superficial bath, even if not always. You could probably find dozens more examples with 'just
a (quick) sponge bath' (i.e., not a real
bath). Whenever that's the case, Katzenwäsche would be one
possible translation. That is, in my experience as a native speaker, Pons's translation 'jdn. gründlich
wäschen' just misses the point.
So I do support an entrysponge bath
[Amer.] - die Katzenwäsche
However, I do agree that it shouldn't be the only
translation in either direction.
'Sponge bath' also
has the sense of a bed bath (is that BE?) for an invalid, so it would be helpful to have one or more other
German translations for that sense, e.g.,sponge bath
[Amer.] - die Krankenwäsche im Bett
For Katzenwäsche, it would be helpful to add another translation that's more clearly negative. However, it may just have to read a little like an explanation, e.g.,quick sink bath - die Katzenwäsche
quick once-over with a washcloth - die Katzenwäsche
(There may be other BE options using 'wash,' which isn't as common in AE in this sense.)
The only existing translation offered besides the BE term 'catlick' is 'a lick and a promise.' It's a little old-fashioned, still understandable, but it ought not to be the only translation available, because it really doesn't necessarily mean washing with water at all, does it? It can mean cleaning up
, straightening, neatening, any superficial, hurried once-over. For example, you could give an essay a lick and a promise before handing it in, or (the most common context in my experience) give a room a lick and a promise with the dustcloth.
Katzenwäsche apparently doesn't have that sense at all, does it? If not, then there should actually be other, better German options for 'a lick and a promise,' e.g.,to give sth. a lick and a promise - kurz mal über etw. gehen
to give sth. a lick and a promise - etw. kurz mal putzen/aufräumen
In several of these, it might also help to have an example, since the most common thing seems to be a noun in one language and a verb in the other.
'Once-over' seems to be completely missing from the dictionary, both in the sense of a quick looking-over (as I suggested here last year: Siehe auch: to give so./sth. the/a once-over
) and a quick cleaning-up, e.g.,Siehe auch: to give something the once over - #5
There's also a third, slang sense of a beating. Unfortunately I'm not at home with my dictionaries, but perhaps some of you can help get us to the point of a New Entry for all three senses.