Bathing a cat is no easy task, but sometimes it is necessary. Any owner who has ever tried to bathe their cat knows how important it is to have the right supplies on hand. With practice and a lot of patience, bathing your cat does not have to be so scary. Owners want to ensure they use the best cat shampoo to make bathing as effective as possible.
While shampooing a cat is not an everyday activity, not for the faint of heart, it is sometimes a necessity. It is crucial only to use products that are safe for feline use. Do not reach for baby cleaners or dish soap. These are gentle but not tested to be used on felines. Even if you do not bathe your cat regularly, it is wise to keep some feline-formulated products on hand in case a messy situation arises.
We know how hard it is to find a cleanser that works well with your pet, and we understand that it can be tricky to try different products out. We are here to help with reviews of some of the best pet products available today. Learn a little more about these products and if they might work for your pet. Of course, some cats, like longer-haired breeds, need more bathing than others. Felines are expert self-bathers, but sometimes, they need our help. Let’s get prepared and learn about the best cat shampoos around.
At A Glance: Best Cat Shampoos
Note: Clicking the above links may take you to one of our affiliate partner’s sites, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
How Often Should I Wash My cat?
Most of the time, indoor cats will only need occasional bathing. Those with longer hair or with owners that have allergies may get bathed more often. Some cats may suffer from itchy skin, and bathing may be soothing and help control their conditions.
Older felines can suffer incontinence and loose stools, requiring more bathing. This may also be true for younger kittens. Overweight kitties may also need more frequent bathing, as they have trouble effectively self-grooming. Take care not to bathe a feline too often, which may cause dry, itchy skin. Regular brushing helps keep a kitty’s coat clean and keeps bathing with water and soap to a minimum.
There are a few things to look out for when picking out a soap for your cat. Keep these in mind when you are shopping and researching products.
- Look for products that explicitly say they are made for feline use.
- Avoid products with artificial fragrances or even a lot of natural odors. Felines can be very sensitive to fragrance, so keep this in mind as you shop.
- Try to stick with natural and simple products without a long list of added ingredients.
- Do not assume dog cleanser is safe for felines.
- Avoid human grooming products. Felines do not have the same pH as us, and our soaps can strip their hair of natural oils. This will dry out their fur and skin. Felines can be allergic to many chemicals and fragrances.
- Always read all product labels before you try a new soap on your pet.
Picking a feline-friendly shampoo is an essential first step to bathing. Kitties who are extremely stinky and odorous may have underlying health issues like poor nutrition or illness that can cause them to smell. If you are worried your pet has a constant problem with a bad odor, even after bathing, it is best to consult your veterinarian. They can help rule out the underlying issue and advise you on how to keep your pet smelling fresh. Always look at labels and examine a company’s background to see if they have had any recalls or lawsuits.
Best Cat Shampoos
Not all kitty shampoos are created equally. There are some that are meant for all felines, and others are made for specific conditions like fleas, dandruff, and shedding. We take a look at a few of the top choices on the market. Make sure to always look for shampoos that are made specifically for feline use. Testing a small patch on your purr baby first is also a good idea to ensure they do not react badly.
Best General-Purpose Kitty Shampoo
- Tested on humans first.
- A blend of 11 botanical extracts.
- Suitable for kittens and adult cats.
- Formulated specifically for sensitive skin.
- Aids in moisturization and de-shedding.
- Soothing, fragrance-free formula.
Breezytail PetO’Cera is made from all botanical ingredients. It is a very good choice for bathing and is fragrance-free. Breesytail is also a tearless formula, which is important.
This cleanser is developed to be soothing, aid in moisturization, and help with de-shedding. Safe for adult kitties as well as kittens. Most customer reviews are very positive, which is always a good sign. This company tests all products on humans first and is committed to being 100 percent cruelty-free.
We love that this cleanser features a blend of eleven botanical extracts. Cleanser is formulated specifically for felines with sensitive skin. This company offers full transparency of all ingredients, letting owners know exactly what they use on their pets.
Best Odor Shampoo For Cats
Arm & Hammer 2-in-1 Deodorizing & Dander Reducing
Arm & Hammer makes two-in-one dandruff and odor-busting formula, which is a dual-purpose choice from industry experts. Animal dander is a big odor carrier, and reducing dander can be greatly helpful if you have a very stinky pet. This formula uses the trusted power of baking soda for odor control.
This product uses natural ingredients, a big plus in our book. The fragrance comes from chamomile and lavender, not artificial sources. Lavender is naturally calming, adding another benefit to this product.
We love the use of natural odor control as well as fragrance. Using this is more calming for felines, not invasive, and does not trigger allergies in humans or cats. The gentle formula is good for kitties of all ages. Even if that licks the foam, this product is safe and will not cause them any harm.
Best Flea Shampoo For Cats
Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo
- Strong flea-eliminating formula.
- Can be used on dogs and cats.
- Coconut for moisture and shine.
- Does not irritate the skin.
- Can clear a complete flea infestation.
- Works on fleas and ticks.
No one wants to have to handle a kitty with fleas, but like other skin and coat issues, fleas happen. The good news is there are plenty of products to help with this terrible problem. Zodiac Flea & Tick formula s a very effective choice.
This product is not just another pet cleanser. It can be a complete flea removal program. This formula also works on ticks and dirt. Suitable for adult felines and kittens. This does not irritate the skin and has no harsh, bothersome fragrances. This formula is a good choice if your purr baby has a huge flea infestation. Also clears out ticks.
We love that this is good for all ages and that it does not use a lot of harsh chemicals. Has coconut in the formula to help with moisturization and keep your pet’s coat looking and feeling smooth. The formula is irritation free and formulated to calm pets down. This can rid your pet of a complete flea infestation.
Best Cat Shampoo For Dandruff
Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe
Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe is a specially formulated, soothing, anti-itch pet cleanser. This is a very gentle formula that uses colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera. These two ingredients promote healing and work to aid in moisturizing dry, dandruff-ridden skin.
This is an animal cruelty-free, fragrance-free formula, so it works very well for sensitive cats and their humans. It uses no soap, gluten, DEA, parabens, synthetic dyes, sulfates, or phthalates. Safe for cats and dogs over 6 weeks old.
We love that this product comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. This one is gentle, effective, and safe. For a mild product, this works wonders. We also love that this is a product made here in the USA.
Best Cat Shampoo For Shedding
Shed-X Shed Control
Shed-X Shed Control is infused with essential amino acids, Omega fatty acids, Vitamins A, D, and E, and antioxidants to promote healthy skin and a soft and shiny coat. This has a mild fragrance, pleasant white ginger, and nectarine notes.
Oatmeal, wheat proteins, and other nutrients are used for a soothing, natural formula. The formula works to strengthen the hair shaft and help manage shedding. Affordable and very effective.
We love that this formula works to strengthen hair and uses natural ingredients. The company focused on making effective, affordable products. This is a great option for budget-conscious pet parents.
Best Shampoo For Kittens
Burt's Bees Kittens Natural Tearless
This gentle option by Burt’s Bees is made just for kittens. Sulfate & Paraben Free, pH-balanced formula. The product is a tearless cleanser made for kittens. Will not sting your sweet purr baby’s eyes and is soothing. The mild cleaner also uses buttermilk.
Sulfate and chemical free. It also has no colorants, added fragrances, or any harsh chemicals. Ingredients are vet-recommended and pH balanced specifically for feline needs. Best for kittens 12 weeks of age and older.
We love the fact that this product is made with 99,7 percent natural ingredients. Though designed for a kitten’s delicate skin and sensitive eyes, it can be used with kitties of all ages. This is a wonderful, gentle, and natural cleanser.
Best Ringworm Shampoo
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal
- Treats fungal and bacterial infections.
- Paraben and soap free.
- pH balanced formula.
- Does not remove other topical flea and tick treatments.
- Relieves bothersome and painful symptoms.
- For cats over 12 weeks.
Ringworm and other bacterial and fungal infections can often happen in cats. There are special soaps that can help with this. One that gets very high reviews is Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal, which works for both dogs and cats. This is paraben and soap-free, pH balanced and does not remove other topical flea and tick treatments.
This shampoo is medicated to treat skin infections. It contains benzethonium chloride, an antibacterial, and ketoconazole, an antifungal to relieve bacterial and yeast infections. It relieves several symptoms, including discharge, itchiness, sores, greasiness, hair loss, and scaly skin.
We love that this gentle soap is veterinary recommended and can treat a number of bothersome skin conditions. Cleanser is not suitable for kittens younger than 12 weeks. Medicated option with veterinary-grade ingredients.
Best Dry Shampoo For Cats
Vets Best Waterless Cat Bath
Sometimes a full bath is not needed. In that case, dry shampoo or waterless products can greatly help. This option uses a waterless leave-in product. This is a foaming cleanser that owners work into their pet’s coats. It cleans, moisturizes, and nourishes.
There are no dyes or harsh fragrances in this product. It is lightly scented and will not irritate feline eyes and noses. This is for felines over 12 weeks of age. Does not interfere with or wash away topical treatments or medications for flea and tick management.
We love the use of natural, plant-based ingredients. This product uses neem oil, aloe vera, oatmeal, and vitamin E. It works to soothe dry skin. The product is also sulfate, dye, and paraben free. Works well in between baths.
How To Use Cat Shampoo
Using kitty shampoo is the perfect solution to keep your pet clean and smelling nice. This soap is specially formulated to clean feline fur and skin and is often combined with other ingredients like vitamins and minerals to make it more effective.
Simply apply a small amount of soap to your cat’s coat, lather, let sit, and rinse it off thoroughly. Always follow the instructions on the bottle carefully, as improper use can result in irritation or even allergic reactions.
Cat shampoo can be used to clean your purr baby and even parts of your house in various ways. For example, pet cleansers can remove pet hair from furniture, carpets, and clothing. You can also use it to clean the fur on your pet’s face and body. And finally, you can use it to clean the carpets in your home of any hairball or other feline-related messes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I bathe my cat?
This all depends on your specific animal and their needs. However, a good estimate is once every six weeks to once every few months. Not every domestic feline will need to be bathed that often. Some owners will never bathe their cats, while others may do so more frequently. Long-haired cats, older kitties, kittens, and breeds that enjoy the water, like the Maine Coon, may take baths more often. Bathing also helps control shedding and keeps kitties smelling nice and clean. Indoor cats need far less bathing than outdoor cats. If your purr baby is a good groomer, baths may only occasionally occur.
Can I use baby shampoo on my cat?
It‘s always best to stay away from human products on felines. Baby shampoo is very mild. Though it should not be used regularly, it can occasionally be safe. If possible, use feline cleaners. If you must use it, only use a small amount, and be very gentle. Though it can work for cats in a pinch, there is a long list of more appropriate products better suited for felines.
What human shampoo can I use on my cat?
None. There are no kinds of human soaps that are safe for felines. Do not use any human products on your cat. Human skin and feline skin are not the same. Felines are very sensitive to the chemicals and fragrances we use in most of our hair and skin care products. Never use human products, even all-natural ones, on your purr baby.
Though bathing cats is not as common as bathing dogs, it’s also an important part of feline ownership. Purr parents need to be prepared. Picking out the best products for your pet’s skin and coat type is a fantastic and necessary first step. Avoid using human products, and always look for cleansers that specifically state they are safe for felines. Bathing a feline is tricky, but picking the best cat shampoo does not have to be. Hopefully, our reviews and recommendations are a perfect first step on your path to finding the purr-fect shampoo for your sweet, furry baby.