The 7 Best Cat Shampoos in 2021

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: October 25, 2021 - Author: Andy Jones
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: October 25, 2021  
Author:  Andy Jones
grey cat wet with shampoo foam on it

Looking for the best cat shampoo for your cat's coat? 

Cats are pretty meticulous about cleaning and grooming themselves. This usually means they don’t need as many baths as your standard dog. However, there will be times when your feline friend needs a little help getting clean. If they roll in something sticky or smelly, or end up with greasy fur, it might be time to invest in some washing supplies.

Here’s your guide to choosing the best shampoo for your cat.

Who Should Buy Cat Shampoo?

Cats aren’t huge fans of water. Generally, you’ll want to keep them away from liquid as much as possible (besides the water they drink). However, baths can sometimes be necessary. If you have a long-haired cat, or a breed that requires regular grooming, baths may be necessary. 

While your cat has a fantastic grooming system in place naturally, you may find she or he needs a bath when:

  • They rub up against something that’s sticky or dangerous for them to lick themselves.
  • They’ve had a run-in with another cat, or gotten dirty outside
  • Your cat has health conditions like allergies or obesity, which make cleaning difficult
  • Your cat is a little older and doesn’t have as much mobility
  • They’re a specific breed that requires more frequent maintenance

If you decide washing is necessary, then it’s crucial to buy cat shampoo. Regular human shampoo, and even many dog shampoos won’t be suitable for your cat’s skin and fur. Cat shampoos are designed specifically for felines, meaning you’re less likely to encounter itchy skin issues or allergy reactions.

Pro tip: If you have mild cat allergies, washing your furry friend regularly will help to reduce the excess fur and dander which could cause those allergies to flare up.

Burt’s Bees Hypoallergenic Cat Shampoo

Our choice is the Burt’s Bees Hypoallergenic Cat Shampoo, the best Shampoo you can buy for your cat!

Burt's Bees for Cats Hypoallergenic Cat Shampoo with Shea Butter & Honey | Best Shampoo for Cats with Dry or Sensitive Skin | Cruelty Free, Sulfate & Paraben Free, pH Balanced for Cats - 10oz

Important Features to Consider

In general, you should be looking for a high-quality cat shampoo deemed safe for your cat. A good shampoo should come with minimal chemicals and toxic ingredients included, so you don’t have to worry about what you’re placing on your cat’s skin. Let’s look at some of the different features you should consider when choosing your shampoo:

  • Chemicals and ingredients: Typically, it’s best to stay away from synthetic man-made ingredients, including parabens, alcohol, phenol, and other dangerous substances. You can check the ingredients on the back of the shampoo to ensure you’re accessing a cat-friendly, gentle product for your feline friend. Remember, cats have delicate skin, you don’t want to expose them to any dangerous formulas.
  • Wet or dry shampoo: Cat shampoos need to be safe to use and effective at cleaning your feline friend, there are multiple options available. For instance, you can get shampoos that rub into dry fur if you’re trying to remove grease and dirt fast. Wet shampoos are generally the better choice when a full bath is necessary.
  • Type of shampoo: There are various kinds of cat shampoo to consider depending on your kitty’s needs. For instance, a natural cat shampoo will come with largely natural ingredients like oatmeal and coconut extract. Vet recommended shampoos can deal with specific treatments, such as ringworm, while waterless shampoos are dry and require no rinsing.
  • Support for specific conditions: Some cat shampoos can specially target certain conditions your feline friend might be suffering from. There are cat shampoos for dry and flaky skin, options that help to protect the quality of your cat’s fur, and shampoos for cats with allergies or sensitive skin.
  • Scents: A mild scent in a cat shampoo might help to keep your furry friend smelling their best. However, strong scents will significantly irritate your cat. Stay away from any dramatic fragrances. Unscented shampoos can even be a good idea.
  • How effective it is: All manufacturers claim they have the best shampoo on the market. However, it’s worth reading some reviews to make sure you’re getting the kind of results you want. The right shampoo will need to do a good job of keeping your cat clean while addressing issues like dry and flaky skin.

If you’re not sure where to start looking, it might be worth talking to your vet or local groomer. These professionals can often give helpful advice on which shampoos work best, and which are most likely to be safe for your cat.

grey cat being cleaned with cat shampoo

Cat Shampoo FAQ

Q: How often should I bathe my cat?

This depends heavily on your cat. If you’re bathing a cat with long fur, every couple of months might be enough, unless you notice that your cat is getting messy more often. If you’re bathing an older cat, your vet may need to give you advice on frequency.

Q: When should I start bathing my cat?

The earlier you can start bathing your cat, the better. The majority of felines don’t like water, so it’s best to introduce them at an early age to reduce their negative connotations with bathing. If you can start from kittenhood, this usually works best.

Q: How do I apply cat shampoo?

We’d recommend preparing everything you need for your cat’s bath before you pull your kitty into the room. This will help to reduce some of the stress of bathing your cat. Use warm water to fill a couple of inches of the bath, and make sure you have a plastic cup ready to rinse the shampoo away. When your cat is damp, apply the shampoo following the instructions provided by the bottle. Do not get water or shampoo into your cat’s ears, eyes or nose. Lather the shampoo carefully and rinse thoroughly. Speak soothingly to relax your cat as you go through the bathing process.

Q: Do I need to use special cat shampoo?

Yes, it’s important to have a specific cat shampoo for your kitty, otherwise you put them at risk of skin problems and fur issues. In some cases, you can use baby shampoo, but it’s best to avoid this. Do not use human shampoo or dog shampoo that isn’t specifically classified as also being safe for cats.

Q: What do you need to bathe a cat?

A sink or a bath you can fill with a small amount of water is the first tool you need for bathing a cat. You’ll also need a cup or a shower head you can use to rinse away the shampoo, and plenty of towels for drying your cat. Have your chosen shampoo ready before you begin the bath, and make sure you have a brush ready for your cat’s fur, to help reduce the risk of matting and knots. It’s best to stay away from hairdryers unless you know your cat is comfortable with the sound.

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Q: Does dry shampoo work?

A dry shampoo formulated especially for your cat can be a good way to get rid of grease and other issues. However, this shampoo option might not be ideal if you need to get dirt or sticky substances out of your cat’s fur or tangles.

grey cat being bathed

Best 7 Cat Shampoos for Cats

Now you know the basics of washing your kitty, it’s time to look at the best available cat shampoos. The good news is that there are plenty of highly recommended options out there. Today, we’re going to look at a wide selection of excellent cat shampoos, appreciated for their natural formula, great results, and fantastic usability.

1. Burt’s Bees Hypoallergenic Cat Shampoo

A wonderful choice if you’re searching for natural ingredients and support for sensitive skin, Burt’s Bees is a leading cat shampoo with honey and shea butter. If your kitty has dry or sensitive skin, this sulfate, paraben and cruelty-free shampoo comes with a fantastic balanced PH formula specifically for cats. The mixture cleans and softens skin and fur, with great natural ingredients. 

Suitable for all kittens and cats, this 100% safe vet recommended shampoo is free of dangerous ingredients, including potent fragrances and harsh chemicals. It’s a little more expensive than some options, but it can be worth the cost.

Burt's Bees for Cats Hypoallergenic Cat Shampoo with Shea Butter & Honey | Best Shampoo for Cats with Dry or Sensitive Skin | Cruelty Free, Sulfate & Paraben Free, pH Balanced for Cats - 10oz

Pros:

  • High quality natural ingredients
  • Cleans and softens cat skin and fur
  • Excellent scent-free design with no chemicals
  • Approved by vets for cat safety
  • Suitable for cats with sensitive and dry skin

Cons:

  • Can take a while to rinse out
  • A little more expensive than some alternatives

2. Pro Pet Works All Natural Pet Shampoo

Another fantastic all-natural option for pet parents who want only the best for their cats, the Pro Pet Works organic oatmeal shampoo is great for your cat’s skin. This pet wash works for both dogs and cats, and comes with conditioner built in, for softer fur. The mixture of aloe vera, oatmeal, and vitamin E helps to restore and relieve dry skin. There’s even almond oil to better protect your cat’s fur and skin. 

Paraben, cruelty, and sulfate free, the Pro Pet Works shampoo is great for detangling matted cats, and there are no dangerous ingredients to worry about, like alcohol. Made in the USA, this advanced formulation also reduces discomfort caused by hot spots. You can even use it daily if you prefer.

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Pros:

  • Completely natural formula with no chemicals
  • Excellent for lathering (quick and easy)
  • Great for skin and fur protection
  • Made in the USA with high reviews
  • Good sized bottle

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have the best smell compared to some options
  • Can require multiple washes

3. Vet Recommended Best Waterless Cat Shampoo

For cats who really hate getting in any kind of water, a waterless bathing solution may be the best option. This Vet Recommended waterless shampoo and conditioner comes with apple extract for a fresh smell. You simply spray the substance onto your cat’s skin, and massage it into their fur. There’s no need for rinsing as it is soap-free, so you can avoid any shower or bath interactions. 

This Vet's best recommended waterless shampoo is a versatile option if you want to go beyond basic pet wipes for cleaning your cat. There aren’t any alcohols or dangerous ingredients in the shampoo, and the substance doesn’t remove any topical flea treatments either.

Vet Recommended Waterless Cat Shampoo Foaming Mouse - Strawberry Patch Scent (8 Oz/240 ml). for Sensitive Skin, Detergent and Alcohol Free. Helps in Cleaning, Conditioning & Moisturizing. Made in USA

Pros:

  • No need for any water at all
  • Excellent vet-recommended and safe ingredients
  • Doesn’t affect topical free treatment
  • Easy to use with spray and massage action
  • Conditioner built-in for fur and skin-softening Unkept hair can easily become matted which may cause skin irritation and infections.nat

Cons:

  • May not remove some dirt and stains
  • Cats may not like the spray noise

4. Arm & Hammer 2-in-1 Deodorizing & Dander Reducing Shampoo

Simplify the stress of washing your cat with a comprehensive 2-in-1 kit. The Arm and Hammer dander-reducing shampoo is excellent for people with allergies. This 2-in-1 system combats odors and dander at the same time. Arm and Hammer is a natural solution for cleaning your cat, with no dangerous ingredients, chemicals, or parabens to worry about. 

The fresh lavender and chamomile scent is likely to appeal to pet owners who are worried about lingering kitty smells. However, not every cat will like the added scent, so be careful when washing your furry friend. This product even comes with baking soda included to assist with safe deodorizing.

Arm & Hammer 2-in-1 Deodorizing & Dander Reducing Shampoo for CatsCat Dander Remover for Cat Dander and Cat OdorsBaking Soda Moisturizes and Deodorizes, Lavender Chamomile Scent 20 Fl Oz`

Pros:

  • Safe and chemical free for all cats
  • Deodorizing and dander reducing shampoo
  • Chamomile and lavender scent
  • Good value with a large bottle
  • Easy to use design

Cons:

  • Scent may be too strong for some
  • Bottle can sometimes leak

5. John Paul Pet Lavender Mint Shampoo

Another relaxing option for pet parents in search of a delicious-smelling cat shampoo, the John Paul shampoo comes with a combination of mint and lavender scents. This luxurious botanical shampoo is all natural and aims to calm your cat as you bathe them. The unique tea tree leaf, eucalyptus natural oils, mint, and lavender extract formula soothes and gives added moisture to both the fur and skin. 

Added conditioners like Chamomile and aloe help to improve the durability of fur, while banishing mats and knots. This shampoo is completely PH balanced for cats and tested to the highest standards, so you don’t have to worry about putting your cat’s fur or skin at risk. The botanical formula is perfect for all kinds of cats.

John Paul Pet Lavender Mint Detangling Spray for Dogs and Cats, Soothes Moisturizes and Replenishes Dry Unruly Fur, Non-Aerosol, 8-Ounce, clear

Pros:

  • Refreshing and calming smell for cats and people
  • Designed to soothe and moisturize skin
  • Made in the USA with all-natural ingredients
  • PH balanced and tested to the highest standards
  • A portion of sales goes to charity

Cons:

  • The scent may not appeal to some cats
  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin

6. TropiClean Shampoos for Pets

The TropiClean shampoos for pets are a diverse range of shampoo options designed to target a wide range of issues. You can get everything from deep cleansing formulas, to shedding control mixtures, and products that help to offer relief from itching and flea bites. The lime and coconut version of this cat shampoo comes with a refreshing scent, as well as the ability to reduce shedding. 

Soap, dye, and paraben-free, this cat shampoo features all-natural ingredients which are wonderfully safe for use when used as direct with cats and dogs older than 12 weeks. All-natural ingredients give you peace of mind when bathing your cats, and there’s a decent-sized bottle to enjoy too.

Tropiclean Papaya and Coconut Luxury 2-in-1 Pet Shampoo and conditioner, 20oz

Pros:

  • Reduces shedding and exfoliates the skin
  • Beautiful refreshing scent
  • Safe solution with no parabens, soaps, and dyes
  • Excellent for special fur and skin treatment
  • Natural ingredients throughout

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to lather
  • Not much of a scent

7. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Spray/Shampoo for Dogs and Cats

If you’re looking for a special, vet-approved cat shampoo to deal with things like bacterial infections, fungus, and other problems our feline friends can suffer with, this could be the solution for you. The Vet formula clinical care antiseptic and antifungal shampoo and spray for cats and dogs is a medicated treatment and shampoo option to treat all kinds of ailments. 

This scientifically proven product comes with an anti-bacterial agent included to relieve yeast and bacteria based infections. Fast-acting antifungal and antiseptic shampoo relieves all kinds of issues, and it’s safe for both dogs and cats over the age of 12 weeks. This substance won’t remove any tick or flea treatments applied topically either. You can use the shampoo daily until any conditions clear up.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic and Antifungal Spray for Dogs and Cats, 8 oz Fast Acting Medicated Topical Spray Treatment for Fungal and Bacterial Skin Infections in Dogs and Cats

Pros:

  • Vet recommended for medicated cat skin and fur care
  • Excellent ingredients with no dangerous chemicals
  • Great for bacterial and skin infections
  • Fast-acting results for quicker healing
  • Doesn’t affect tick or flea treatment

Cons:

  • Not much of a great smell
  • Can take a few days to work

Finishing Thoughts on Cat Shampoo

The right cat shampoo for your kitty will depend on a range of factors, including any conditions they might have which affect their skin or fur. Unkempt hair can fast become matted which may cause your moggy friend skin irritation and infections.

In general, if you’re worried about your cat’s skin or fur health, it’s best to get your veterinarian's opinion before investing in any specific formula. Your vet can give you some insights into how certain ingredients might affect your kitty and whether there are any specific substances you should be cautious about.

Our favorite product on this list is the TropiClean shampoo collection, capable of addressing a range of issues with a rich lathering performance. Fresh ingredients with no soap or parabens to worry about means that this shampoo is great for all kinds of cats. It’s also made in the USA.

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