While most of us need to shower every day, your cat grooms themselves to keep clean too. However, there are a few occasions where your cat may need a bath, especially if they have a sticky or greasy coat. Cat shampoo can be a great way to keep your cat clean (and your house clean, too!), but there are so many shampoos out there for your feline friend that it can be difficult to know which one is best. Below we have created a buying guide so you can make sure you get the right shampoo for your kitty, know how to bathe them and the benefits of shampooing.
Do Cats Need Baths?
This is a question that has been debated a lot between cat owners. Some owners believe that cats do not need a bath as they groom themselves, where as others are of the belief that while this is true, a bath can still be good for your cat. Either way, a bath is going to be very beneficial for your cat’s skin and fur. Your cat may not enjoy a bath, especially as cats are known to be nervous around water, but giving them one can be very important. There are a few situations in which a bath can be very important for your cat, the first being if they are dirty or have rolled in something greasy.
Not only will a bath make them clean and prevent them from treading the dirt through the house, but it will also make them smell better. A bath can also be great if your cat gets something stuck to their paws or their rear, or if they have matted fur or dreadlocks, however, it is often easier to just cut the latter out of their fur. This is only a temporary option though, and the matted fur can come back. The best way to prevent your cat from having matted fur or dreadlocks is to make sure their fur is clean. A clean and shampooed coat is also great for reducing the amount of shedding hair or for combatting excess hair, which in turn prevents hair balls.
A little Help
If your cat is old or overweight, they will also need your help in keeping themselves clean. When a cat ages, their fur naturally tends to get greasier and so shampoo can be great to keep on top of a healthy coat. An overweight cat can find it difficult to wash themselves and reach every part of their body too, which is another situation where you should bathe your cat. If your cat has a special medical condition in which they need a special shampoo, you should talk to your vet and they will be able to advise you on which shampoo is the best.
How Do I Bathe My Cat?
Cats are known to be scared of water, and this can make bathing them very difficult. However, there are a few things you can do to make it better for yourself. First of all, having a helper can make the situation much easier. If they can hold the cat and distract them while they are being washed, then the process will be much quicker. Having everything you need close-by without having to reach is also great, because it will take less time.
You should never submerge your cat’s head in the water — just washing their body should be enough to ensure they’re clean. If you really need to wash your cat’s face though, do it with a wet cloth because cats can become very scared if water goes near their face.
Things You’ll Need
In order to bathe your cat, you’ll need your shampoo, some cloths for your cat’s face and cotton balls to clean their ears, a large towel, a pitcher (or spraying nozzle) to wash the shampoo off, and rubber gloves — in case your cat scratches you! Once you’re ready to wash them, you should fill the sink with lukewarm water to no more than 3 inches high. Then wet your cat from the shoulders to the tail and apply the shampoo to their fur, lathering it up. Then rinse the shampoo off thoroughly.
This is the point where you should wash their face with a damp wash cloth and their ears with the cotton balls. Remember, don’t ever put anything inside your cat’s ears. Once you have finished washing them and all the shampoo has been rinsed off, lift your cat onto a towel and dry as much of their wet fur as you can. If your cat has long fur, you might need to use a blow dryer to help dry them quicker. On your first go though, remember to use the blow dryer on a very low setting to ensure your cat isn’t scared of the noise.
How Do I Choose The Right Shampoo For My Cat?
If you’re thinking about giving your cat a bath, you’ll need to make sure you choose the right shampoo for your cat. While any of the products we have listed below are great for cat’s, there are a few things to consider when buying to ensure you get the right product for your cat.
First, you’ll need to make sure the shampoo is designed for cats. Some of the shampoos below are designed for both dogs and cats, which is fine (and certainly makes it easier if you have both a pup and a kitty at home) as long as you ensure the shampoo is formulated for your feline friend. The ingredients in your cat shampoo should also be natural, unless your cat is in need of a shampoo that contains chemicals, for example if they have fleas. However, in most cases, if your cat has fleas then it is best to go to your vet where they can advise on which flea shampoo will help your feline friend.
If your cat suffers from a sensitive skin condition, then it is also worth taking a look at which shampoo is right for them. Some cats have trouble with irritated skin, dandruff and itchy skin, and, if this is the case with your cat, you will want to find a shampoo design for skin issues to ensure you buy a shampoo that is kind to your cat’s skin.
The Different Types Of Cat Shampoo
There are a few different types of cat shampoos, and the one that is right for you will depend on you and your cat. Shampoos are formulated to be applied quickly and washed off easily, but there may be a certain type that is more beneficial for you.
Traditional shampoos are the regular kind of shampoo that feature mild to gentle formulas and are designed to keep your cat clean with the most natural of products. They can also come in sensitive skin formulas, so you will be able to find one that fits your cat.
Cats do not actually need conditioner in their fur like we need conditioner in our hair. However, a conditioner can keep their fur extra smooth, soft and manageable, so that might be good if your cat has particularly difficult-to-manage fur. Shampoo-conditioners combine your cat’s shampoo and conditioner into one bottle, making it much easier for you.
Waterless shampoo is the best type of shampoo for cats that hate the idea of a bath or are terrified of water. As an alternative to wet products, waterless shampoo can come in the form of wipes, powder and spray that still keeps your cat clean but without the hassle of having to actually give them a traditional bath. Often, pet owners are advised to stay away from waterless shampoo products that have essential oils in them, because these can damage your cat’s fur.
The Best Cat Shampoo
This oatmeal combined shampoo and conditioner is not only vet recommended, but also suitable for cats, dogs, ferrets and rabbits — perfect if you have a house full of furry friends! The Pro Pet Works All Natural Organic shampoo is designed for cats with allergies to food, grass and flea bites and is specially formulated with a balanced pH for sensitive skin. With only natural and organic ingredients and no alcohol, soap, detergent, sulfates, added colors, harsh chemicals or fragrances, the organic aloe vera and almonds oil is therapeutic and soothing for your pet’s skin and coat, while also keeping them smelling fresh with a cherry almond scent.
Added vitamins A, D and E won’t irritate your cat’s eyes, nose or skin while bathing and the shampoo makes for a soft, easy to brush, coat that will make your cat feel clean and smell clean several days after bathing. This shampoo can be used alongside flea treatment and is safe enough to use regularly, so you can keep your feline friend smelling great all the time.
This chlorhexidine medicated shampoo from Strawfield Pets is an anti-bacterial & anti-fungal cleanser that helps treat a variety of skin irritations in cats, dogs and horses. With 4% chlorhexidine gluconate, this shampoo is made for those pets in need of itch relief from problems such as yeast infections, allergies, wounds, skin infections, dermatitis, acne, pyoderma, ringworm, mange, hotspots, dandruffs and more. This cleansing shampoo is a powerful odor remover that destroys bacteria & yeast from all areas of your cat’s body, making sure they feel clean and smell clean too.
This shampoo can also be used as an ear cleaner for your cat, working as a way to disinfect ears, relieve itching skin and prevent ear infections. Made in the USA by a family company, you can be sure there is nothing in this shampoo formula that will hurt your kitty.
This waterless cat shampoo from Vet’s Best is the perfect answer if your cat won’t groom themselves or they hate water and the thought of you washing them. Because this shampoo doesn’t need to be washed off, it makes cleaning your feline friend much easier — all you need to do is brush them after applying it. The unique leave-in formula uses key natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, neem oil, vitamin E and oatmeal to gently clean, condition and moisturize your cat’s skin and coat, leaving them feeling clean and soft.
The aloe vera is rich in amino acids as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, helping to provide nourishment to support both healthy skin and a healthy coat, while the need oil, which is native to India, contains vitamin E and emollients and fatty acids, supporting the skin’s maintenance of normal moisture levels. The vitamin E is a natural preservative and rich in powerful antioxidants, combatting environmental damage, and oatmeal also included in this shampoo helps to preserve and protect the natural moisture content of skin and helps sooth and calm dry, itchy skin. This formula is veterinarian recommend and is perfect for kittens over the age of twelve weeks.
Made with 97% all natural ingredients, this Burt’s Bees cat shampoo is hypoallergenic and is formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, colorants, essential oils or fragrances. pH balanced specifically for cats, this shampoo is very gentle on your kitty’s skin but will leave them feeling and smelling great. All you need to do is lather the shampoo into your cat’s fur and then wash off with lukewarm water and towel them dry. With shea butter that moisturizes their skin and honey that adds shine to their fur, your cat will look great, while being clean too.
There is no chemical smell to this shampoo, either. Even better, the bottles are made of bamboo and post-consumer recycled bottles, so you’re helping the environment too.
This all natural 2-in-1 conditioning shampoo by Earthbath is specially formulated to address the needs of pets with dry, itchy skin. With 3% oatmeal and organic aloe vera, this shampoo combats skin irritation, promotes healing, and re-moisturizes sensitive, dry skin. This shampoo is natural, soap free and pH-balanced to clean and deodorize safely and thoroughly, leaving your cat’s coat and skin brilliantly clean, soft and plush. There is a light fragrance of vanilla and oatmeal that’ll leave your cat smelling better than ever before!
Because this shampoo is natural, it will not wash off any flea applications you may be applying to your cat’s fur, which is perfect if you’re worried about keeping them clean while medicating them. This shampoo is also soap free, so it is safe for any cat over the age of six weeks. It is also suitable for other pets, so perfect if you have more than one type of animal living in your home.
This waterless Wahl cat shampoo is another great option if your kitty is scared of water or doesn’t like the idea of you washing them. This lavender and chamomile waterless shampoo is pH balanced, alcohol free, paraben free and PEG-80 free, making it the perfect safe shampoo for any pet. Because this is waterless, you do not need to wash this shampoo off your cat, just simply dry them and brush their coat. The pump action of the bottle means the shampoo foams, making it very easy to apply to your cat’s coat.
This shampoo is great for cleansing, conditioning, detangling and moisturizing your cat too, and the calming formula settles restless cats while they’re being washed. The lavender and chamomile scent leave your kitty smelling fresh and clean and with no harsh chemicals, it is perfect for those pets who have allergies. Also designed for dogs, this is perfect for a multi-pet household.
This Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Anti-septic and Anti-fungal shampoo is scientifically formulated with benzethonium chloride, an anti-bacterial agent, and ketoconazole, an anti-fungal, to relieve bacterial and yeast infections within your cat. This shampoo works fast to relieve any fungal and bacterial infections on your cat’s skin, while aloe vera soothes skin and promotes skin health. Lanolin, also present in this shampoo, moisturizes your kitty’s skin to reduce itching and flaking.
This shampoo is 100% safe and paraben and soap-free. It will also not remove topical spot-on flea and tick treatments, and is therefore perfect if you are looking for a way to keep your cat clean while using those treatments. This shampoo also deodorizes your cat’s skin, leaving them smelling clean and fresh. You can use this shampoo twice a week until the skin conditions clear up, then once a week to prevent flare-ups, and it can be used on both dogs and cats over 12 weeks of age.
John Paul Pet’s Lavender Mint shampoo calms your cat while cleansing and moisturizing their skin and fur, imparting a light and refreshing lavender fragrance that soothes their senses. The tea tree leaf and eucalyptus oil combine with lavender and mint extracts to soften your cat’s skin and moisturize their fur, while added conditioners, including aloe and chamomile, improve fur strength and increase manageability, perfect if your cat has long fur or fur that easily gets matted, tangled or knotted.
Made in the USA, you can buy with confidence that all the ingredients in this shampoo are safe for your cat. pH balanced, this highly concentrated shampoo actually requires less to clean you cat, meaning you will buy less too, so you get more for your money. Even better, a portion of proceeds from each sale is donated to animal and wildlife organizations, so you are helping the community with every purchase.
The Espree Natural Silky Show Cat shampoo is designed for those cats with long coats, and for owners who want to make their kitty look like a show cat! Moisturizing extra brittle coats, this shampoo improves texture as well as improving the shine and manageability of your cat’s fur. This is especially useful is your cat is prone to tangling or matting of the fur but you do not want to have to cut the damaged parts of their fur off. Made with all natural, human grade products including sunflower oil and aloe vera, you can buy this shampoo with confidence knowing that all the ingredients are safe to be used on your feline friend’s fur and skin.
Water soluble silk protein in this formula easily absorbs into the hair and skin, too. With a fragrance of “calming waters”, your cat will not only look great, but smell great too. This shampoo is safe to use with flea treatments too.
This bundle of shampoo and conditioner from Earthbath is made with ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera and shea butter, ensuring that your cat is subject to only the best quality, safe and natural ingredients. This shampoo and conditioner is designed to be gentle and tear free, leaving your cat smelling fresh, with a vanilla and almond scent, and looking clean without the appearance of any soap. Designed to heal dry, itchy skin and leave your pet’s coat shiny, soft and plush, this bundle is perfect if your cat suffers from skin irritations and you are at a loss at what to do.
The conditioner uses the aloe vera to soothe your cat’s fur and skin, preventing irritation and re-moisturizing them. Other benefits to this shampoo and conditioner is that they will not wash off topical flea applications and the formula is 100% biodegradable and cruelty-free, too. Safe for all animals over six weeks old, this bundle is perfect for both cats and dogs.
This foaming mousse shampoo by Vet Recommended is waterless, making it perfect for those cats who don’t like to be washed with water. This shampoo can sneakily be rubbed into your cat while giving them a stroke, and the no-rinse formula means you don’t need to worry about getting them into the bath or sink to wash it off. It helps to soothe and moisturize their skin and coat, making it perfect for sensitive skin too. Removing odors from their skin, this shampoo is fragranced strawberry, leaving them smelling sweet.
There is no alcohol, detergent or animal by-products in this shampoo, so you can be sure your only applying trusted ingredients to your cat’s fur. Made in the USA, the packaging is made with recycled materials and eco-friendly and the manufacturer does not promote testing on animals.
If your cat has a dull, dry, or coarse coat, the Vital Pet Life oatmeal and aloe vera shampoo can help combat the issue. Formulated with oatmeal, aloe vera and jojoba oil, this shampoo helps to moisturize and soften their coat, keeping it soft, shiny and smooth, while also helping to reduce any shredding of fur. The moisturizing and soothing action of the aloe vera can also be very beneficial if your cat is always scratching due to dry skin or allergies, and chamomile and yucca can help with dandruff issues.
The ingredients in this shampoo have anti-inflammatory properties too, which is perfect for getting your cat back to their happy selves. Made in the USA, you can be sure that all the ingredients in this shampoo are safe to use on your cat’s skin and fur. With no sulfates, parabens or isothiazolinones that are common in human shampoo, you can be sure this shampoo is formulated especially for your feline friend.
From Pet MD, this oatmeal and aloe vera itch-relief shampoo is designed for pets that scratch or have skin issues, helping to moisturize and heal sensitive and dry, flaking skin. This anti-dandruff formula is made without any soap or alcohol, meaning it is not only safe to use with flea and tick medication, but it will not strip your cat’s skin of their natural oils and is safe to use as often as needed. Leaving your cat’s skin and fur clean and shiny, your cat won’t just look great but will smell great too.
With a unique blend of vitamins, aloe vera leaf juice, oat protein and wheat germ oil, this shampoo relaxes your cat as they bathe, making it perfect for those cats who are nervous around water or scared of getting in the tub or sink. Made in the USA, this shampoo is very safe and made with high-quality ingredients, so you can be sure your cat is protected from harmful chemicals.
This shampoo from Vetoquinol is medicated and includes 2% chloroxylenol, 2% salicylic acid and 2% sodium thiosulfate, making it the right shampoo for your cat if they are dealing with itchy, scaly patches or red skin. Not only does this shampoo cleanse them and make them smell great, this medicated shampoo also safely removes skin scales and crusts, nourishes dry skin and de-greases and deodorizes your cat’s coat and skin, so they can go back to being happy and healthy without having to worry about their skin or fur. The salicylic acid not only exfoliates the skin, but also decreases skin pH and increases hydration of keratin for healthier, more comfortable skin.
This shampoo is also anti-fungal and has disinfectant and antiseptic properties, and can be used as an adjunctive therapy for many common dermatological conditions. However, it is also gentle enough for regular use and very safe and effective. Even though this shampoo does have medicated chemicals in it, it is not strong enough to wash away flea or tick treatments and is created by veterinary experts to ensure your cat is safe while using it. Ideal for multi-pet households, this shampoo is great for cats, dogs and even horses.
The Fresh Pet shampoo by Top Performance is designed for pet owners whose dog’s and cat’s are prone to tangles and mats in their fur. Using this shampoo will ensure an easy comb through after the bath. This shampoo is made from safe ingredients that are trusted enough to use on the fur of cat’s as young as six weeks old. Formulated to match the natural pH balance of the coat and skin of your cat, this shampoo promotes a healthy coat and healthy skin too.
This shampoo also includes a pleasing scent that lasts for weeks after the bath, and extra conditioners built in to the formula makes sure your cat has a beautiful sheen on their coat. Perfect for both dogs and cats, this shampoo comes in a 17-ounce bottle size for the use at home, as well as three larger sizes for groomers or multiple pet homes.
Cat Shampoo FAQ’s
Does cat shampoo eliminate fleas?
While cat shampoo is designed to clean your cat’s skin, a regular cat shampoo may not get rid of fleas. If your cat has fleas, you should look for a flea shampoo to ensure it has the right formula for killing the fleas. If you are unsure of which one to go for, you can always ask your vet for their advice. You should also always remember to check the ingredients on the back of your pet’s shampoo products to ensure there is nothing harmful in the formula.
How does cat shampoo affect a cat’s coat and skin?
While cats do groom themselves, using a cat shampoo can be very beneficial to your cat’s coat and skin. Shampoo can help do away with all loose hairs and dead skin cells, therefore keeping your cat’s skin and fur clean snd reducing the amount of build-up. Cleaning your cat also helps their natural oils circulate easily round the body and it helps to promote healthy hair growth too.
Can you use dog shampoo on cats?
Generally, the answer to this question is no. This is because cats and dogs are different animals and therefore their shampoo is formulated differently. Using a dog-only shampoo on your cat could be very harmful to their skin and hair. That being said, some shampoo is formulated for both cats and dogs. Those shampoos are normally made with only natural ingredients and are therefore safe. However, you should always check the label to be 100% sure.
Can you use human shampoo on cats?
The answer to this question is a definite no. Because of the different pH levels within human shampoo, it would be very harmful to your cat’s coat and skin. You need to make sure that you buy shampoo that is specially formulated for cats.
Is waterless shampoo good for cats?
Yes, waterless shampoos are good for cats. Waterless shampoos are just as effective as regular shampoo, but without the hassle of having to use water! They can be applied in the form of wipes, spray or powder and are great for cats that have a fear of bathing.
If you’re worried about the cleanliness of your cat or want to make sure dead skin cells don’t build up within your cat’s fur, a cat shampoo is something you need. In the form of regular shampoo, shampoo-conditioners and waterless shampoos, there is a cat shampoo out there that is right for your feline friend — even if they don’t like water. If your cat is dirty or greasy, or you think they just need a bit of a wash, a cat shampoo can get them squeaky clean while also promoting other health benefits such as natural oil circulation and manageable fur.
With the shampoo products we have listed above, we know you can find one that is the perfect formula for your kitty. Remember, always check the label and try to go for a shampoo that is organic and natural.