Cattleyas are considered the standard when it comes to orchids, according to Francisco Miranda of the American Orchid Society. They require bright light, high humidity and good air circulation to thrive. Growers with the American Orchid Society suggest you repot the cattleya annually and wear latex gloves, instead of gardening gloves, during the process. These gloves not only protect your hands from the bark, but, because they are disposable, you will avoid transferring a virus from one orchid to another.
Turn the pot on its side and slide the orchid from the pot. If the plant is stuck, gently roll the pot back and forth while pressing on the sides. If the pot is clay and the plant is stuck, you will need to break the pot with a hammer and peel the pieces away from the root ball.
Remove all bark from the roots. If the roots encircle the old soil, slice through them to remove it. Remove all traces of the old planting mix.
Trim off dead roots. These will be brown and softer than the healthy roots. Cut them off at the base of the cattleya orchid.
Place the orchid's roots in the bottom of the pot and pack the bark around them. Make sure the small bulb, at the bottom of the foliage, is above the bark. Use your hands to press firmly on the bark. The plant should not move when the pot is picked up.
Water the bark until the water runs from the bottom of the pot and allow it to drain completely before placing the cattleya orchid back in its permanent location.