Picking the best cat shampoo for your feline friend is important for several reasons. First and foremost, bathing is a crucial part of the grooming routine. Additionally, not all products are equally safe and effective, so doing some research before applying them is a must.

Keep scrolling to see what we found!

Quick Glance at Our Top Choices

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Burt's Bees for Cats Shampoo

Best Dry Shampoo Option

  • Largely natural product
  • Extremely convenient
  • Little to no scent
  • Can be used on kittens too

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo

Best for Itchy Skin

  • All-natural and pH-balanced
  • Moisturizes sensitive skin
  • Ideal for cats with flea allergies
  • Helps with dandruff

Wahl Waterless Shampoo

Best for Damaged Skin

  • Easy and quick to use
  • All-natural and pH-balanced
  • Soothes damaged skin
  • Great value for price

Hartz Groomer's Best Hairball Control

Best for Reducing Hairballs

  • Very affordable
  • Removes loose hair
  • Leaves soft and silky fur
  • Subtle but long-lasting scent

TropiClean Waterless Dander Shampoo

Best for Reducing Dander

  • Hypoallergenic cat shampoo
  • Removes dander/dandruff
  • Detangles fur
  • Non-sticky

 

The Best Cat Shampoos in Detail

Below are detailed reviews of several products we consider extremely good cat shampoo options. 

Read carefully in order to select one for your furry baby or maybe even that of a friend or a relative, as this can be a cute present, in addition to many other cool gift ideas for cat lovers.

Burt's Bees for Cats Shampoo

star 10

Best Dry Shampoo Option

  • Size: 10oz spray bottle
  • Suitable for: All cats
  • Scent: Herbal scent
  • Feature: 99.8% natural

We’re starting with a product that’s super easy to use since it’s dry shampoo. You just spray the Burt’s Bees cat shampoo, gently rub it in, and use a towel to dry the fur.

We should note that some kittens aren’t crazy about spray bottles. This might be true for your cat if you’ve ever used a spray bottle to curb negative behavior. In that case, you can put some on your palms and rub it into the fur. It’s messier for you but less stressful for your pet.

Although we believe this is the best dry shampoo for cats, it can hardly replace bathing. Still, it can help eliminate odors between two baths despite the product’s scent not being too strong itself. 

Among other useful ingredients, the formula contains apple, known to nourish both skin and hair, and honey, making your cat’s fur shiny and soft. If you and/or your cat are allergic to bees, you should know the shampoo doesn’t contain bee venom. But if you’re allergic to bee by-products, you should go for a different shampoo from our list. Moreover, this is pH-balanced cat shampoo, making it safe for both cats and kittens.

A few customers made remarks about the packaging. Some people noticed leakage upon delivery, so a tighter lid may be the solution. Also, it seems the pump can sometimes clog up. Other than that, there’s not much to complain about.

Ingredients: Water, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Coco Betaine, Glycerin, Honey, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol


Pros

  • + Largely natural product
  • + Extremely convenient
  • + Little to no scent
  • + Can be used on kittens too

Cons

  • Not suitable for cats or owners allergic to bee by-products

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo

star 9.8

Best for Itchy Skin

  • Size: 16oz or 1gal bottle
  • Suitable for: Adult cats and dogs
  • Scent: Vanilla and almond
  • Feature: 100% natural

Next on our list is an incredible cat shampoo for itchy skin. Since it’s soap-free and pH-balanced, it won’t dry your pet’s skin. In fact, the product contains organic aloe vera, famous for its soothing and moisturizing properties.

The seller recommends leaving the product on for at least 90 seconds to allow the ingredients to start working. Then you can rinse it off. The formula is gentle enough for cats with flea allergies. It can actually be used with other cat treatments, as it doesn’t wash them off.

One of the complaints we noticed is that while the shampoo is great for removing dirt, the pleasant smell it leaves afterward is rather short-lived. However, we must note that these comments mostly come from dog owners, since the product is also for dogs. More serious complaints have to do with the packaging. It appears that the Earthbath cat shampoo tends to leak into its container. Consequently, some of it gets wasted, and we hope the producer introduces a stronger plastic cap.

Despite the drawbacks, we still believe this shampoo is worthy of your attention. You can get it at a reasonable price and watch your cat’s fur become softer and shinier after a single use. It’s also effective against dandruff. Just keep in mind that it’s not grain-free, so if your pet happens to be allergic, you might want to check out some other products on our list.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Colloidal Oatmeal (3%), Renewable Plant-derived & Coconut-based Cleansers, Organic Aloe Vera, Vitamins A, B, D, & E, Glycerin, Allantoin, Food Grade Extracts of Vanilla & Almond, Natural Preservative.


Pros

  • + All-natural and pH-balanced
  • + Moisturizes sensitive skin
  • + Ideal for cats with flea allergies
  • + Helps with dandruff

Cons

  • Complaints of leaks during transport

Wahl Waterless Shampoo

star 9.9

Best for Damaged Skin

  • Size: 7.1oz spray bottle
  • Suitable for: Cats of all ages
  • Scent: Coconut lime verbena
  • Feature: Plant derived ingredients

This is another awesome dry cat shampoo, especially for the anxious kittens out there. Spray bottles tend to scare them, and this shampoo is foamy. So, not only does it make no noise, but one pump is usually enough for the entire process!

It’s a well-known fact that the majority of cats dislike baths, and dry shampoo is a wonderful solution for removing odors between baths. Also, senior cats aren’t the best at cleaning themselves, so this is a very convenient product for them as well.

Ingredients such as coconut oil, aloe vera, and vegetable glycerin are perfect for soothing damaged skin and making fur soft. Additionally, you’ll be glad to know there are no harsh chemicals. The Wahl Waterless Cat Shampoo is pH-balanced and paraben- and alcohol-free.

The product smells like oatmeal and coconut, a scent highly appealing to most humans. However, it can actually be too much for some cats. They are known for their sensitive sense of smell, so we wish the fragrance was less pronounced. Another thing we noticed is that the foam is somewhat greasy and leaves residue for a few days, but it does eventually go away. All in all, it’s one of the best waterless cat shampoo options and a rather affordable one.

Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (from Refined Coconut), Coco-Glucoside (from Coconut Oil and Sugar), Coco-Betaine (from Coconut Oil), Lauryl Glucoside (from Coconut Oil and Sugar), Vegetable Glycerin (Natural Moisturizer), Oatmeal Extract, Aloe Vera, Potassium Sorbate, Caramel Color


Pros

  • + Easy and quick to use
  • + All-natural and pH-balanced
  • + Soothes damaged skin
  • + Great value for price

Cons

  • Scent too strong for some cats

Hartz Groomer's Best Hairball Control

star 9.8

Best for Reducing Hairballs

  • Size: 15oz bottle
  • Suitable for: Cats of all ages
  • Scent: Fresh
  • Feature: Gentle formula

As you probably know, many people buy deshedding shampoo for cats. As our furry friends groom themselves, they pull loose hair and swallow it. That’s how hairballs are made, disrupting normal digestion. 

Hartz Groomer’s Best Hairball Control Cat Shampoo is designed to wash away loose hair. It contains so-called microbeads that condition the coat. That way, the fur is soft, shiny, and super easy to brush. As users point out, this shampoo can’t eliminate mats, but knotted and loose hair will be removed during the bath and a little bit afterward as well.

The product lathers well and is very easy to work into the fur, but quite a few buyers say its texture is thinner/more watery than they would like. Nonetheless, the scent is fantastic without being overpowering, and it lasts for days.

You’ll be glad to know that this hairball control shampoo is safe for cats of all ages, even kittens. You should still be careful, though, because kittens are sensitive to new products and scents. We must underline that the product isn’t 100% natural. The formula is gentle, but if you insist on using completely natural cat shampoo, consider other ones on our list.

During our research, we were happy to find user comments that confirm customers’ loyalty to this product. Some folks have been buying it for years, which is always a good sign.

Ingredients: Water (Eau), Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polyquaternium 11, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance (Parfume), Gelatin, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Dimethicone, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Red 40


Pros

  • + Very affordable
  • + Removes loose hair
  • + Leaves soft and silky fur
  • + Subtle but long-lasting scent

Cons

  • It isn’t 100% natural

TropiClean Waterless Dander Shampoo

star 10

Best for Reducing Dander

  • Size: 7.4oz spray bottle
  • Suitable for: Cats 12 weeks and older
  • Scent: Coconut water
  • Feature: Moisturizes skin to reduce dander

Since we know how vulnerable they might feel during a bath, we included another dry shampoo for cats. It’s perfect for eliminating odors between baths or for emergency cleanings. The TropiClean Waterless Shampoos are available for both cats and dogs. We like that it’s foamy, since spray bottles tend to scare animals. You simply apply foam to the coat and use your hands or a soft towel to rub it in. 

If you decide to try it, you’ll see it’s the best cat shampoo for dander. It’ll dramatically reduce dander/dandruff, especially if you have a senior/large cat struggling to groom itself. Using a brush will make that process easier, so you might want to check out our list of the top cat brush brands. This product isn’t sticky and usually gets absorbed quickly. It’ll make brushing considerably easier because it detangles the fur. Moreover, the shampoo is hypoallergenic, so skin irritation is highly unlikely, even if your pet has sensitive skin.

The smell is pleasant but not too strong, which is always a plus. Furthermore, several buyers note that this TropiClean product is the best shampoo for cats that are a bit older and struggle with urine leaking from their diapers. The only complaint we have is that the foam pump tends to break, so customers have to put the shampoo into a different container.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Mild Cleanser, Odor Neutralizer, Organic Extracts of Oatmeal and Cucumber


Pros

  • + Hypoallergenic cat shampoo
  • + Removes dander/dandruff
  • + Detangles fur
  • + Non-sticky

Cons

  • The foam pump sometimes breaks

How to Find the Best Cat Shampoo: A Short Guide

Having offered you the top shampoos for dogs, we couldn’t neglect our feline friends. This mini-guide is about the main features we focused on when seeking the best cat shampoos. After reading it, you should be able to figure out which product’s a good match for your pet.

Purpose

What exactly do you need this shampoo for? For instance, if you want a quick and convenient solution to tackle odors, dry shampoo is the way to go. Otherwise, you can find products specifically designed to help with hairball control, dandruff, itchy skin, allergies, etc. Once you know what you’re looking for, hunting for a good shampoo for cats will be much easier.

Ingredients

All brands should be transparent about the list of ingredients used to make the shampoo. Many folks prefer all-natural products to avoid certain harsh chemicals that are harmful to pets, so we tried to primarily focus on such shampoos. This feature is closely linked to the previous one we mentioned — different ingredients are suitable for different conditions. 

For example, oatmeal shampoo for cats is known to relieve irritation and redness, honey moisturizes both skin and fur, allantoin has anti-inflammatory properties, and so forth. Pay special attention to this if your furry baby has some of the common cat allergies.

Packaging

Shampoo for cats comes in different forms and packaging. The most common are spray and pump bottles. We’ve already pointed out that spray bottles tend to scare some cats because of the noise they make. 

That’s normal because fear of sudden noises it’s part of their survival instinct. Plus, many cat owners use water in spray bottles to curb negative behavior and thus, condition their cats to fear all spray bottles. Remember, you can still use such products by spraying them on your palms first instead of the coat directly.

Price-Value Ratio

In addition to being effective, people typically want their cat shampoos to be affordable. For that reason, we chose products that are affordable in general terms. However, we also tried to find the ones for which “a little goes a long way” is true.

Customer Feedback

Thanks to the Internet, you can easily find user reviews. Most of those are honest, allowing you to come up with your own pros and cons. Just remember that all cats are different, so not every single negative comment means the same will happen to your pet. Still, if there’s a major issue reported by numerous buyers, you should take it seriously.

FAQ

How often should you bathe your cat?

The National Cat Groomers Institute of America recommends doing it every 4–6 weeks. Doing it more often would be very stressful. Never bathing your cat and just combing greasy fur would lead to even more significant problems.

(National Cat Groomers Institute of America, 2011)

Do cats need specific shampoo?

Yes, cats require shampoo explicitly designed for them because different species have different skin pH values. For example, dog and cat skin pH is 6.2–7.2, while the pH of human skin is 5.2–6.2.

(PetGroomer.com Magazine, 2015)

Should I give my indoor cat a bath?

If your pet is an indoor cat exclusively, it only needs a bath a few times a year.

(Young Veterinary Partnership, 2020)

Why do cats hate water?

The most likely answer is that wet fur is uncomfortable for them. It’s notably heavier than dry fur, making it more challenging to move around, and it takes a while to dry.

Of course, not all cats hate water, and some breeds, like Maine Coon or the Bengal, actually enjoy an occasional swim. However, they also have a more water-resistant coat, making the experience much less uncomfortable.

(Britannica, 2020) 

Can I use dog shampoo on my cat?

Some shampoos are designed for both cats and dogs (normally stated on the bottle), but you shouldn’t use dog shampoo on your cat in other cases. It may contain ingredients toxic to cats, such as permethrin, which can make cats sick or even kill them!

(International Cat Care, 2018)

Wrapping Up

We did our best to present you with different kinds of shampoo and thus cover various needs — moisturizing properties, anti-dandruff, hypoallergenic, etc. If you’ve read our short guide carefully, we’re absolutely sure you’ll have no problems selecting the best cat shampoo and ensuring your little companion is clean and happy!

Sources

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