The 6 best shampoos for cats
Cats are naturally self-cleaning creatures, so they don’t need to be bathed as often as dogs, but periodic washing sessions can certainly be warranted. The best shampoos for cats are made with gentle, soothing ingredients like coconut and oatmeal to cleanse and hydrate their skin and coat. Some are even fortified with specific ingredients to target skin conditions such as itching, dandruff, and excessive shedding.
If you have pet allergies, bathing your cat once a week may help reduce allergenic dander, but even if you are not allergic, there are times when your cat might need a shampoo session. Long-haired breeds as well as older, obese cats who have trouble cleaning themselves can benefit from regular baths, as can any kitten that ends up in smelly garbage. When choosing a shampoo, keep in mind that some cats are particularly sensitive to scents, in which case you will want to find an unscented formula, while others may appreciate the scent (the scent of lavender can even be soothing. a stressed cat). If your cat really can’t stand water – and you’d rather not end up with your arms full of scratches – a waterless shampoo effectively cleans the fur, no rinsing required.
If your cat suffers from dry, scaly skin, Chyrle Bonk, DVM, remote veterinary consultant for ExcitedCats, recommends ingredients like oatmeal, aloe, and vitamin E, which can “really help hydrate and to reduce itching. They are also natural, so they should not disturb the skin. Sarah Wooten, DVM and Certified Veterinary Journalist (CVF) for Pumpkin Pet Insurance, says the best cat shampoos for dandruff will be made with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, ethyl lactate, selenium sulfide, sulfur and salicylic acid. Dr. Wooten cautions, “Never use a product whose ingredient list contains tar, as it is toxic to cats,” that is, put down that bottle of human dandruff shampoo.
When it comes to washing your cat, less is actually more. “Frequent bathing can also cause itchy and dry skin,” says Dr. Bonk. Instead, brush regularly between baths to distribute your cat’s natural oils. And if in doubt about your cat’s bathing needs, be sure to speak to your vet.
With that in mind, here are the best cat shampoos – and they’re all on Amazon.
1. The best overall
One of Dr. Bonk’s recommendations, this organic cat shampoo is a great choice and a total change if your cat is prone to excessive shedding. Made with soothing aloe vera gel, oatmeal, vitamin E and almond oil, the hypoallergenic, paraben-free formula deeply hydrates your cat’s skin, replenishes oils and leaves fur with a healthy sheen. And since it’s very effective at removing excess body hair, you will immediately notice a difference in the amount they shed and the number of hairballs they cough up.
According to one reviewer: “I have two cats who are losing like crazy. One of them leaves lots of hair when you touch it. I washed and rinsed them twice and once they were all dry I saw a big difference. There was no more hair everywhere. After two baths, I was shocked at the difference between my two cats. […] I would definitely buy again! ”
2. Best for cats with sensitive skin
Dr. Bonk recommends this hypoallergenic shampoo for cats with sensitive skin. The gentle formula is composed of natural cleansers made from coconut and enriched with vitamin E to revitalize the coat, and allantoin and lactic acid to hydrate and strengthen the lipid barrier of the skin. Soothing shampoo is also helpful when your cat has an allergic reaction – whether it’s a flea bite or a specific type of food – as this shampoo can provide relief from itching and redness. Made without perfumes, dyes, sulfates or soaps, this shampoo is gentle enough for regular use. If your cat’s skin reacts negatively to traditional pet shampoo, it’s worth trying this one.
According to one reviewer: “My cat had an allergic reaction (to food or to a flea bite, still undetermined) […] After seeing very little progress, we bathed him in this product and the itching and scratching stopped right away. It’s been about 5 days now and he probably needs to take another bath, but we’re out of cones! This stuff relieved the itchiness and made his fur so soft. This product is MAGICAL!
3. The best medicated dandruff shampoo for cats
If you’ve gotten your vet’s permission to treat your cat’s dandruff at home, this medicated shampoo can work wonders. Formulated with Benzoyl Peroxide, Sulfur, and Salicylic Acid, the shampoo targets dandruff by softening and loosening dead skin, while degreasing fur. This is best for cats who not only have scaly skin but also oily skin, but since it is medicated, you will want to check with your vet to make sure the active ingredients are suitable for your cat’s fur.
According to one reviewer: “I’ve used it once so far and already its dandruff looks better than it used to be, and it’s not ONLY from the bath, as I’ve tried other shampoos. before that. I really like the smell of this stuff, I can’t really describe it, but it’s very nice and sweet. […] I’ll probably be using it on her every week for a little while to really help her skin.
4. The most fragrant cat shampoo
Paul Mitchell co-founder offers a cat shampoo that smells so good you’ll wish it was available to humans as well. The invigorating scent of lavender and spearmint lingers on your cat’s fur for days after a bath – a plus for cat owners – but reviewers have also said the aromatherapy scent calms their cat. during their bath. John Paul Pet’s formula is made with natural soothing and moisturizing ingredients such as tea tree oil, chamomile, aloe vera gel, and eucalyptus. It does not contain parabens, but since it is not hypoallergenic, it is best suited for cats who are not sensitive to scents.
According to one reviewer: “This product smells good! Do you know how most pet shampoos stop smelling good the moment they’re rinsed off? Not this one. My cat is silky and smells good. The soap was quite thick so it could be handled easily and did not leak all over the place. Even though it was thick, it was exceptionally easy to rinse off.
5. The best waterless cat shampoo
Dr. Bonk suggests this waterless shampoo for reluctant kittens who don’t come near a sink or tub. This foaming leave-in formula is made with moisturizing aloe vera gel for healthy skin and coat, neem oil for moisture retention, antioxidant-rich vitamin E and oatmeal for soothing irritations. Simply massage a few pumps of the lightly scented shampoo into your cat’s fur, then let it air dry before combing with a brush or wiping off excess dirt and hair with a rag. It is free from parabens and sulfates and can be used safely on cats 12 weeks and older.
According to one reviewer: “We massaged the foam into our cat’s fur, let it air dry and combed its fur. Her fur is soft and clean and she smells amazing! The best part – no trauma for the cat! She didn’t mind being bathed in this product. I will definitely stock up and use her whenever she needs a bath.
6. The best shampoo for kittens
Washing a kitten – or a litter of kittens – can be done as soon as they are four weeks old, and this Burt’s Bees tear-free cat shampoo is designed for young cats. Buttermilk is the key ingredient, which nourishes the skin and leaves the fur soft and conditioned. The shampoo is made of 99.7% natural ingredients and does not contain harsh fragrances, sulfates, dyes or chemicals that could irritate a kitten’s skin (for this reason, it is also a good option for adult cats with particularly sensitive skin).
According to one reviewer: “I LOVE this kitten shampoo! We rescued a very young VERY pregnant female this fall. She had 5 babies and I bathe them in it. It smells great and does a fantastic job on their coats! They are all super soft, fluffy and smell great after their bath!
Dr Chyrle Bonk, DVM, veterinarian and remote veterinary consultant for Excited Cats.
Dr Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVF, Veterinarian for Pumpkin Animal Insurance.