Best Dry Shampoo For Cats

Do you have a cat that hates taking a bath? Is your purr baby a tad on the stinky side? Waterless or dry shampoo for cats can be a great compromise. We review some of the best on the market. Take a look at our list of the best dry shampoo for cats.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: March 13, 2023 | 11 min read

Two grey kittens next to person's hand with pump of dry shampoo foam

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Any cat owner can tell you that bathing a feline is an activity that can take a lot of effort and may not be the most enjoyable for the pet or owner. Even though some breeds, like the Maine Coon and the Bengal, love playing in the water, giving a cat a bath is, at the very least, a challenging experience. Thankfully over the last several years, more options have been added to the pet product world that can make bathing easier. One of these products is waterless shampoo, also called dry shampoo. Some of these products are incredibly helpful and far less challenging than bathing a cat. With several options available, purr parents often wonder about the best dry shampoo for cats.

Many people use products like this daily to keep their hair healthy and fresh, but not everyone knows that these products are also available for feline use. This is fantastic news because it is unsafe to use human products on cats, even as tempting as it might be. So, the development of waterless shampoos for cats is truly a wonderful thing.

Dry shampoos can be a great addition to grooming supplies and can help keep your cat looking and smelling good without the hassle of extra baths. Because we know how challenging and sometimes intimidating it is to go through all the products available, we looked at some of the top waterless cat shampoos available on the market today. Take a look at our list of the best dry shampoos for cats.

At a Glance: Our Favorite Dry Shampoos for Cats

Best Pick Overall

Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath

Dr. Cuddles Everyday Foaming Dry Shampoo

Best For Sensitive Skin

Dr. Cuddles Everyday Foaming Dry Shampoo

Best For Kittens

John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam

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What is Waterless Cat Shampoo?

This product was developed to absorb and remove oil, dirt, and grease from the hair, scalp, and skin without having to be washed with soap and water. This has been available for many years for human hair and proves to be highly beneficial for people who suffer from extremely oily hair, greasy hair, itchy scalps, or who simply want to keep their hair fresh without having to wash it every day.

Most human dry shampoos use some form of a powder that is dispensed from a highly pressurized aerosol can. The powders in the cleanser help absorb oil and grease from hair and also work well to remove odors, something many cat owners struggle with.

Waterless cat shampoo comes in various formats, including spray, powder, and foam. It is not intended to substitute for a full bath, nor should owners expect their cat’s coat to be pristine as if they had had a proper bath. On felines, dry shampoo helps eliminate odor, remove dirt, and absorb sebum. The components in the product help gather these different elements, which owners can then wipe or brush out. Numerous formulas available can offer additional benefits, including detangling, de-shedding, conditioning, and hydrating.

Benefits Of Dry Shampoo

There are a few benefits of using these products, both for cats and owners. Although waterless cat shampoo will not get a Kitty as clean as a complete scrub down, it can be an excellent tool to use in between baths or if your feline friend is having a particularly odorous day. Some of the benefits include the following:

  1. One of the top benefits is that it is convenient and far easier for owners to manage than giving cats a full bath. It also allows cats to avoid the dreaded dunk in the tub that can quickly turn into a chaotic situation for both pet and owner.
  2. Using dry shampoo helps manage a cat’s hygiene. These products are able to help owners remove dirt and debris from their pet’s coats and help keep them looking and feeling fresh in between baths.
  3. These products can be very good at covering odors, which is a problem that many felines have. Cats are very good self-groomers, but sometimes they can smell a little funky, and one of these products may help. It should be noted, though, that no waterless product is going to get a cat as clean as a full scrub-down.
  4. Waterless dry shampoo is very fast working and can be a great help in a quick pinch to get a cat looking and smelling good.
  5. This can sometimes be a good option for cats who are extremely anxious or terrified of having a bath. Because the bathing experience can be very traumatic for them, using waterless shampoos is a way to keep them cleaner and avoid the trauma of a bath.

Keep in mind that felines are very skilled and dedicated to self-grooming. They do a wonderful job, but sometimes owners can use products like these as support. Never use a product on a cat if they have a bad reaction or seems to be afraid.


Before we jump into specific product reviews, we must point out that while these products can be extremely helpful, they are not a substitute for a bath with water and feline-appropriate soap. These products should not substitute all bathing. They are a tool that can help owners provide their pets with good quality care, keep them smelling great, and help keep their coats clean. None of these products will give the same result as giving a cat a full bath.

Owners should also ensure never to use any cleansers on felines that are not developed specifically for them. Human and cat products are not the same, and neither is our hair. Picking a pet-friendly product is an essential first step. While these are helpful at covering and minimally reducing odors, they do not actually fully remove the underlying cause. Cats who are extremely stinky and odorous all the time may have underlying issues like poor nutrition or disease that can be contributing to this. If your cat has a constant problem with a bad odor, even after being fully bathed, it is best that you speak to your veterinarian to get to the bottom of it.

Steer clear of any products not made for pets and those that use harsh chemicals. Always look at labels and investigate a company’s background to see if they have had any recalls or lawsuits regarding their products.

Best Dry Shampoo For Cats

There are a wide variety of waterless cat cleansing products available. Not all are created the same. We took a look at some of the best dry shampoos for cats on the market and are sharing our reviews with you. Hopefully, one of these products will work for your fur baby. Make sure you always read labels, and never use products that appear to have been tampered with or that are not specifically marked safe for use with cats.

Best Overall

Vet's Best Waterless Cat Bath

  • Plant-based formula.
  • Natural ingredients.
  • Sulfate, paraben, and dye free.
  • Lighty-scented formula.
  • Easy to use foam.

Vets Best Waterless Cat Bath is a leave-in waterless cleanser that comes highly recommended by many. This one is a foam that owners work into their pet’s coats. Along with cleaning, it helps moisturize and nourish the coat. One thing to point out is that this product will not wash away any topical treatments or medications your cat may use for flea and tick management.

No dyes or harsh fragrances in this product. It is lightly scented and will not trigger cats or irritate their eyes and noses. This one is easy to use, and most kitties like it. It is for felines over 12 weeks of age. Owners should brush their pets after use to work all the product in and avoid tangles.

We love that this product uses natural, plant-based ingredients. These include neem oil, aloe vera, oatmeal, and vitamin E. It can help to soothe dry skin, which is something purr babies can suffer from. The product is also sulfate, dye, and paraben free. Vet’s Best has been making pet products for over 35 years and has many different cat and dog products available.

Best For Sensitive Skin

Dr. Cuddles Everyday Dry Foaming Shampoo

  • Sensitive skin formula.
  • All natural, human-grade ingredients.
  • Foaming shampoo.
  • Tearless, antifungal, and antibacterial.
  • Paraben, dye, and cruelty-free.

This cleanser is our top choice for kitties with sensitive skin. Formulated by a vet, Dr. Cuddles Natural is made with all-natural ingredients. All elements are human-grade. Natural botanicals, deodorants, and proteins help remove oil and grease and help reduce odor.

This one is foam and designed to be less of a mess. The product is best for adult felines. Totally free of parabens, alcohols, sulfates, and detergents. Contains aloe vera, pine tree, gerbera daisy, cucumber extract, starfruit, and Vitamin E.

We love that this product is tearless, antifungal, and antibacterial and intended for use with different animals. It is safe for feline use but can also be used with dogs, bunnies, and even guinea pigs. The mild scent and gentle ingredients make this great even for the most sensitive of purr babies.

Best For Kittens

John Paul Pet Oatmeal Foam Shampoo

  • Oatmeal-based formula
  • Great for sensitive skin and kittens.
  • Human-grade botanicals.
  • Mild almond scent.
  • Highly concentrated and will last a long time.

John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless is a great choice for sensitive kitties and kittens. It is a wonderful supplement for grooming and helps keep kitties clean between baths. This is helpful for curious kittens who can get dirty every day on their adventures.

This foaming formula is designed to work with sensitive skin and has a mild almond scent. It is designed to mix with oil and dirt to be brushed out. This is a highly concentrated formula, a little bit goes a long way, and a bottle will last for quite some time, making it worth the money.

We love that this is an oatmeal-based formula that comes from a long-trusted manufacturer of human hair products, Paul Mitchell. This product is made with the same all-natural botanical extracts used in human products. We also love that a portion of all sales is donated to animal and wildlife organizations.

More Notable Choices

Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless Shampoo

  • Calming chamomile and lavender formula.
  • Plant-derived.
  • Hypoallergenic formula.
  • adds in sealing in moisture.
  • Natural, calming smell.

Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless is a plant-derived product that is alcohol and paraben- free product. This one has a special calming formula using lavender and chamomile. This one is also developed to be hypoallergenic and non-irritating.

No rinse is needed here. This product also helps keep hair moisturized, and it seals in proteins and sugars. This is from a company that has been making animal care products for over 50 years, so they have a lot of experience and expertise. Also comes in an oatmeal and coconut scent.

We love that this one has such a good smell. Chamomile and lavender are an excellent, calming blend. This is perfect for kitties who do not like bathing or for those kitties that might be a little high-strung. This one is great for kitties but can be helpful for dogs too.

TropiClean Deep Cleansing Waterless

TropiClean Deep Cleansing Waterless
  • Berry and coconut scent.
  • Reduces tangles.
  • Pet-friendly botanicals.
  • Gentle formula.
  • No synthetic ingredients.

TropiClean Deep Cleansing Waterless is another of our top choices. This is a dry shampoo in foam form. Paraben, dye, and cruelty-free. This is a berry and coconut scent, but there are others available.

The shampoo has a deep cleaning formula and requires no rinsing. This one can be used on both adult kitties and kittens. Also works to help reduce tangles and make hair easier to brush. This one is made with pet-friendly botanicals. It is gentle and will not irritate your cat’s skin or eyes.

We love that this product also helps condition and is so gentle. It is pH-balanced and free of synthetic materials. The product is easy to use, and owners report being very happy with the outcome. Just apply and brush it out.

Earthbath Hypoallergenic Grooming Foam

Earthbath Hypoallergenic Grooming Foam
  • Hypoallergenic formula, soap-free.
  • Fragrance and allergen-free.
  • Reduces tangles.
  • Great for owners with cat allergies.
  • Limited ingredients.

Earthbath Hypoallergenic Grooming Foam is a hypoallergenic formula made with no fragrances or known allergens. It does a great job keeping felines clean and helps reduce human feline allergies. This one is completely soap free. This product is suitable for kittens over six weeks as well as adults.

The ingredients in this product are very limited. Purified water, meadowfoam, seed oil, shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, and vitamin E, along with a preservative and sucrose-derived cleaners. No harsh chemicals or added fragrances.

We love that the product is so simple and that it can help reduce allergens. This is huge and very helpful for folks who suffer from allergies.

Furminator Super Shine Ultra

  • Reduces shedding and helps prevent hairballs.
  • Rinse-free foaming shampoo.
  • Can be used weekly.
  • Foaming shampoo.
  • Natural botanicals.

Furminator Super Shine Ultra is a foaming, waterless cat shampoo that works to help prevent shedding. The product is suitable to use for kitties older than six weeks old. This product is super easy to use. Owners just massage into the coat and then brush. Contains no parabens or chemical dyes. Oat proteins, aloe vera, papaya extracts, chamomile, sunflower, and saffron oil are all part of the gentle formula.

This has added omega fatty acids and hydrolyzed plant proteins, and no parabens or chemical dyes. It can be used weekly and is a great way to keep a kitty’s coat fresh between washes. This is a foaming shampoo. No rinsing is required. This one just needs to be applied, brushed in, or towel-dried.

We love that this works to reduce shedding and prevent hairballs. This is an especially important aspect and can be a big problem for many felines. The enriched formula works so that it does not disrupt a cat’s digestive system.

Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes

  • Soap free.
  • Foaming wipes.
  • Easy to use.
  • FDA-registered facility.
  • Sweet pea and vanilla scent.

Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes are a great tool for keeping pets clean between baths and for cleaning off dusty paws or dirty behinds. These are soap-free and have a wonderful sweat pea and vanilla fragrance. This dry cleanser is perfect for cats and also safe for dogs, so it can be ideal for multi-pet households.

These wipes are made with aloe vera and oatmeal and are very gentle. They are free of harsh chemicals and parabens. These are also pH-balanced, vegan-friendly, and cruelty-free. One thing that is really great about these is that they are super convenient, and just a few wipes can keep kitties clean and smelling fresh.

We love that these wipes have a soap-free foaming formula. Purr babies can get clean without the mess of foam or a full bath. Vets use them all over the world. All products are made in an FDA-registered facility.

How to Use Dry Shampoo For Cats

Using waterless shampoo sounds easy, but owners should be prepared for a few hiccups along the way. Owners should always read all labels and instructions. Only use a product as much as is recommended not to irritate your cat’s skin or sinuses. It may be good to test it out before you fully cover your cat in dry shampoo. Often these are applied to a pet and then toweled off or brushed through.

Take it slow when introducing this to your kitty. They may be afraid or unsure of what is happening at first. Do not totally soak or saturate your pet with these cleansers. They are not meant to be used that way. Please keep in mind these are not full baths. Remember that even though these can help, they are not a substitute for regular bathing. Never use human dry or waterless shampoo on your pet. These contain a lot of chemicals that might be irritating or harmful to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cats get dandruff?

Yes, felines can get dandruff. This is normal but also something owners should keep an eye on if a kitty seems to have more dandruff than usual. Kitties may have skin irritation or underlying issues causing extra skin to shed. Keeping a cat brushed regularly can help remove dandruff and dead skin. Kitties can also experience itchy skin and dandruff.

How often should I bathe my cat?

Depending on how dirty your purr baby gets, they should have a bath once a month to once every six weeks. Kitties who spend more time outdoors may need bathing more often. Bathing can help your kitty stay groomed, clean, and fresh, and it should be done every so often, regardless of if they are indoor or outdoor animals.

Can dry shampoo help my cat get rid of fleas?

There are some that can help with this. Some may be prescription only, and they might be pricer than retail options. Always talk to your veterinarian about the best flea and tick treatment before using anything on your sweet purr baby. Prevention is key, so make sure kitties attend those regular checkups and get flea and tick prevention before things become a nuisance.

Final Thoughts

Waterless cat shampoo also called dry shampoo, is an excellent tool for pet owners. These cleansers help keep kitties clean between baths and are very helpful with kitties that are afraid of the water. Though they are great tools, these are not a substitute for a full bath, so owners still need to bathe their pets every month to six weeks or so. Owners should make sure to always read labels. Start slow, and stick to products made for felines or both dogs and cats. Hopefully, one of the items on our list of best dry shampoo for cats will help you on your journey to keep your sweet purr baby fresh and clean.

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