Bathing your cat may sound troublesome because most cats are afraid of water. But they really need to be clean in order to avoid getting skin problems as well as causing trouble by leaving pet dander all over the house.
If you think you can use human shampoo for pets, think again! Special pet shampoos should be used because they have a specific pH level that is formulated especially for pets. In this case, you may be looking for the best shampoos for cats.
Do remember that a shampoo for your cat should be hypoallergenic and gentle, as well as free from harsh chemicals. It should also be pH-balanced so that it will not be too harsh on your cat’s skin. A little goes a long way – that’s a good formulation that you should look for to save you a lot in the long run.
Best Shampoos for Cats Reviews
1. Burt’s Bees for Cats Hypoallergenic Shampoo
This one uses Shea butter and honey as ingredients to soften your cat’s skin while conditioning their fur as well. Shea butter and honey are both cat-friendly and can help soothe their skin and coat – they are also both organic.
It is also safe for cats with sensitive skin as it contains no fragrances, oils, or colorants, that could harm your cat. This means that it won’t cause your cat to have allergies. As it is made for pets, it is cruelty-free and is pH-balanced. Since it is made for dry skin, it can help a lot during the winter season as well.
Overall, If you are looking for the best cat shampoo for dry skin, you might want to try the Burt's Bees for Cats Hypoallergenic Shampoo.
- Combination of Shea butter and honey
- No artificial fragrances
- Ideal for sensitive skin
- Best for dry skin
2. Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo
Do you have a cat that’s afraid of water? No worries, this shampoo is a “cheat day” formula that doesn’t require any rinsing. This may also be helpful for pet owners who have little time to bathe their cat on a busy schedule and would just like a no-rinse shampoo.
It has a mix of natural ingredients, including chamomile and lavender, which are gentle to your cat’s skin. Lavender can also act as a relaxing ingredient to help calm your cat down, especially if they tend to be anxious a lot. It is also paraben-free and is also okay to use for cats with skin allergies.
To sum it up, the Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo could be a go-to pick for you if you’re looking for the best waterless cat shampoo for cats that are afraid of water.
- Waterless formula
- Natural ingredients (chamomile & lavender)
- Safe for allergies
3. Pro Pet Works Organic Oatmeal Pet Shampoo
As a hypoallergenic shampoo (even for those with food allergies), it is made with organic ingredients, including Aloe Vera, which can be gentle on your cat’s skin. Since it has no additives, it won’t irritate your cat’s coat or skin.
It also has almond oil and vitamin E, which are skin-friendly overall. Vitamin E is good for your cat’s skin (as it does work on humans). It is free from harsh chemicals, additives, and fragrances, and is pH-balanced for your cat to avoid the likelihood of allergic reactions.
To summarize, if you’re looking for the best cat shampoo for allergies and sensitivities, you might like the Pro Pet Works Organic Oatmeal Pet Shampoo.
- Made with organic ingredients
- Ideal for cats with allergies
- pH-balanced formula
- No additives or harsh chemicals
- Ideal for sensitive skin
4. Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
As an organic shampoo for cats, this one is actually a combination, which means it is both a shampoo and a conditioner, so there’s no need to worry about grabbing another bottle. Having a 2-in-1 product can also save time when bathing your pet.
It can also be ideal for cats that have frequently tangled or matted fur, especially cat breeds with long and thick coats that are difficult to maintain. Of course, you still do need to brush them before bathing when using this product, as with all pet shampoos.
The formula is also safe for cats with sensitive skin due to the natural ingredients, such as wild cherry essence. This can be for your cat if you’ve tried so many brands but most of them are just not working out for your cat’s skin due to allergies.
Overall, the Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo may be a choice for you if you’re looking for the best cat shampoo for dandruff and frequent itch.
- 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
- Ideal for matted cats
- Natural ingredients
- Best for dandruff
- Okay for sensitive skin
5. Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats
Keep away those nasty pests and critters off your cat’s property with this powerful formulation that’s gentle on your cat’s skin. It uses a plant-based formula so it is safe and has no harsh chemicals. The plant-based formula ensures that your cat only gets natural ingredients without additives and the like.
If you are looking for a medicated shampoo for your troubled cat, this may do the trick. It may take about 1 to 2 washes to completely remove all of the fleas and the ticks that are lurking in your cat’s fur.
In summary, we think that the Vet's Best Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats can be the best cat shampoo for fleas and ticks.
- Kills off fleas and ticks
- Gentle on your cat’s skin
- Plant-based formula
- Can also deodorize your cat’s fur
- Easy to rinse
6. Perfect Coat Shed and Hairball Control Cat Shampoo
If your cat sheds a lot in your living room and bedroom, it may help to use a shampoo like this one to control excess shedding. This is especially the case if your cat is a breed that usually sheds a lot (naturally or due to genetics). Reducing shedding can help people who suffer from allergic rhinitis or asthma.
As it is a shampoo meant for heavy shedders, it also has the chance to reduce the likelihood of hairballs forming due to its omega-3 fatty acids. These can help nourish your cat’s fur/coat and leave it healthy and shiny. Hairballs can be troublesome (and sometimes painful) for your cat so it’s important to prevent or control them. It also has a fresh and clean scent that’s not too strong for you and your pet.
Overall, we chose the Perfect Coat Shed and Hairball Control Cat Shampoo if you want the best cat shampoo for shedding problems.
- Ideal for heavy shedders
- Can help control hairballs
- Has omega-3 fatty acids
- Has a fresh scent
7. Burt’s Bees Tearless Kitten Shampoo
Formulated with buttermilk, this gentle shampoo for cats that are younger (kittens), especially since they still have sensitive skin.
It has a tearless formula (much like your human baby shampoo) and it contains no sulfates, colorants, and the like while being pH-balanced and cruelty-free. Having a gentle shampoo is important for kittens because they are young and sensitive.
Made with natural ingredients, it combines beeswax with honey and buttermilk powder. These ingredients are gentle for the cat’s skin (and for kittens as well).
As a whole, we thought that the Burt's Bees Tearless Kitten Shampoo can make a great shampoo for kittens and younger cats.
- Made with natural ingredients (beeswax with honey and buttermilk powder)
- No sulfates
- No harsh chemicals
- Ideal for kittens and younger cats
8. Vet Recommended Waterless Cat Shampoo Foaming Mousse
This waterless formula doesn’t need rinsing – ideal for cats that hate water a lot. You can just leave it on without rinsing and it doesn’t leave unwanted residue. It is free from alcohol so it is gentle for your cat’s skin and fur, unlike other cheap brands out there.
If your cat does like baths but gets cold during the winter, this can be an alternative shampoo for them. The foaming mousse also has a dispenser that makes it easy to apply – less messy than having to deal with liquid shampoos all the time.
If your cats need a shampoo for the winter/cold season, this Vet Recommended Waterless Cat Shampoo Foaming Mouse can be for you.
- No need to rinse
- Ideal for cold weather
- Gentle on your cat’s skin (no alcohol)
- Has a spray-like dispenser
9. TropiClean Waterless Shampoo for Pets
We think that this waterless cat shampoo may work for your pet if they prefer no soaking time. It is made with natural ingredients, such as oatmeal, cucumber, white plum, and the like – all skin-friendly for your cat. It is also a soap-free formula that leaves no residue behind. It is also pH-balanced, paraben-free and dye-free.
As a whole, we think that the TropiClean Waterless Shampoo for Pets can work as an oatmeal shampoo for your cat.
- Made with natural ingredients
- Waterless (no need for rinsing)
- Leaves no residue behind
- pH-balanced formula
10. Furminator Hairball Prevention Cat Shampoo
Ideal for cats that are heavy shedders and/or those with a tendency to have hairballs this shampoo can be for you and your cat. It is made without dyes or parabens so it only contains cat-friendly ingredients that aren’t going to be harsh on their skin or coat.
Being made in the USA, it is also rich with organic ingredients, such as calendula and papaya leaf. It also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help your cat’s skin and coat look shiny and healthy. With these natural and healthy ingredients, it can be a preventive shampoo to maintain your cat’s coat.
Overall, if you want to prevent hairballs in your cat, you can try the Furminator Hairball Prevention Cat Shampoo.
- No dyes or parabens
- Ideal for heavy shedders
- Best for hairball prevention
- Has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthier coat
- Made with organic ingredients
Do Cats Need Baths?
While it is true that cats already groom themselves to keep clean, they may not always be 100% dirt-free, especially when they make messes in the litter box or rolled in the dirt outside. This is when you may find bathing a cat is necessary.
Can You Use Human Shampoo on Cats?
The short answer is no, you can’t use human shampoo on cats. The long answer is that human shampoo is made with a different pH level, which can be a bit harmful to your cat. They could also cause discomfort for Tabby.
How to choose the best shampoo for cats
There can be a plethora of products out there claiming to be great shampoos for cats, but do you know what to look for? Here are some key pointers:
Avoid certain ingredients. Certain shampoos put a lot of fillers that may not be that helpful for your cat’s skin and fur (and may even harm them in the long run). Avoid shampoos that contain the following ingredients:
- Artificial dyes
- Sodium laurel sulfate
Type of shampoo.
Basically, there are more types of shampoo than what you’d usually know about. The shampoo doesn’t always come in liquid form – check out the following types of cat shampoos for different needs:
The traditional shampoo is what you’d expect – usually in liquid form and can be shampooed on your cat’s fur and coat and then rinsed off. It is usually used during bath time along with soap and scrubbing. Make sure it doesn’t contain a lot of fillers.
Shampoo and Conditioners
These shampoos are a 2-in-1 product – you can also use them as a conditioner for your cat’s fur. They can save you a lot of space if you don’t like the hassle of having to grab a conditioner separately and would like a product that does both.
The waterless shampoo is for the cat that is usually afraid of water. Since cats are naturally scared of H2O, this can be helpful for you if you want to clean off Tabby’s dirty mud spills yet they attempt to scratch you off at the slightest touch of water.
If your cat has fleas, allergies, and the like, they might benefit from medicated shampoo as prescribed by your vet. They are usually more expensive than regular cat shampoo but they get the job done in helping your cat’s fur and coat become healthier again.
How To Bathe Cat
Giving your cat bath time may sound impossible, but here are simple ways to do it:
- First, prep your cat by trimming their claws.
- Next, do some brushing to remove tangles and mats.
- Prepare your cat shampoo and other bathing materials.
- Make sure your tire your cat out before bathing to avoid scratching.
- Bathe your cat in a secure and locked place to avoid escaping.
- Fill up the tub with warm water (not hot) up to about 7 inches.
- Wear proper clothing to avoid getting scratched.
- Bathe and scrub your cat in a gentle manner while putting shampoo.
- Make sure the shampoo and/or soap doesn’t get near their eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.
- Rinse off your cat and dry with a washcloth.
Can cats lick their shampoo lather while bathing? Is it harmful?
Usually not, since healthy cats have a keen sense of smell and they are able to tell which liquid smells toxic and they’ll automatically avoid it. If your cat tends to lick their soap/shampoo lather, it may have a medical condition called pica. It’s not that alarming, but you can still talk to your vet just to make sure – pica is usually caused by diet problems.
Can I use dog shampoo on a cat?
Yes and no – it depends on the shampoo you are using. Before using dog shampoo on cats it’s best to consult your vet if the formulation of the shampoo is okay for your cat to avoid problems.
As a whole, it really pays to buy a cat shampoo for your feline friend. Even though you think that they can’t be bathed (or don’t need to be) because they already clean themselves, there will be times when your cat walks home leaving footprints and it can be frustrating. That’s when you’ll need a cat shampoo the most.
After all, cat shampoos are the best shampoos to wash your cat with, instead of using human shampoo, which may harm their skin and damage their fur due to the wrong pH levels.
Catherine Bono is a blogger, who is passionate about dogs and cats. She created Crittersitca.com to shares her experience as she studies to become a qualified vet.