Choosing the Purr-fect Cat Shampoo for Your Kitty

Tisha Berg
Aug. 19, 2015

Here are 13 great cat shampoos for those times when bathing your cat is unavoidable.

Anyone who's ever had the (ahem) pleasure of trying to perform a cat shampoo in a bathtub knows it's not an easy task. Most cats detest baths, and that's putting it mildly.

However, sometimes immersing your cat in water may be absolutely necessary. In addition to those rare incidents when an outdoor cat finds his way into a mud-filled ditch, there may be times when you'll have to contend with more common, but dreaded, feline issues such as cat dandruff or fleas. Although preventative treatments are available to help avoid these conditions, sometimes your best-laid plans and precautions go awry.

If you're going to try to do a cleansing for flea treatment at home, "a spray or a foam is probably the best route," says Margaret Ho of K9/Loft Pet Service in Pasadena, which provides cat and dog grooming. Giving a cat a full bath can be a potentially prickly situation. It's not fun dealing with an itchy, irritated cat! "Shampoos only need to be given to cats periodically -- if you notice excessive scratching or an odor," notes Ho.

"Cats are, of course, notoriously clean," says Jessica Cliver, manager at the Pasadena Humane Society. "Consequently, it might be a lot easier to use wipes or foams to wash your cat, rather than try to give him a full bath." But, she notes, when you do have to immerse the cat, you'll want to select the right product, which will depend on the issue you're dealing with and how much cleansing is necessary.

For flea problems that require a strong treatment, Cliver recommends Vet Kem. This is a "vet-grade, triple-action shampoo," she explains. "If you're looking for a less harsh, more natural treatment, then Tropiclean is a good choice."

Here are her top five cat shampoo recommendations:

  1. Tropiclean
    Unless you have a particular necessity for a chemical treatment, natural products are always better, Cliver says, and that is part of what makes this brand great.
  2. Earthbath
    This brand is an all-natural cat shampoo and conditioner, and also sells wipes and cat-grooming foams as an alternative to giving your cat a full bath.
  3. Zymox
    When your cat has itchy skin, you need an enzymatic cleaner. Just wash it into your cat's fur and let it sit a bit before washing it out.
  4. Burt's Bee's
    This company makes products with very good, all-natural ingredients that are not too perfume-y. Burt's has been making dog shampoos for a while, but only recently added cat shampoos to their product line.
  5. Solid Gold
    Try this natural herbal shampoo if your cat has sensitive skin.

Other Products to Try

  1. Bobbi Panter
    The tear-free, salt-free Shaggy Cat and Scratchy Cat shampoos are popular sellers for reducing cat dander.
  2. I Love Pet Head
    This line is great for deodorizing, and it includes a dry-clean spray shampoo that doesn't need to be rinsed off.
  3. Four Paws
    The Magic Coat tearless shampoo is an effective shampoo that can be used on kittens as well as adult cats.
  4. Earth's Best
    This company makes a good line of natural grooming products, including shampoos.
  5. Sentry Natural Defense
    This brand also makes a flea and tick spray for cats, but try the flea shampoo, which works well and is all-natural.
  6. Top Performance
    When you want to add that extra shine to your cat's fur, you need a good conditioning shampoo, and this line fits the bill.
  7. Dancing Pet
    Here's another good conditioning shampoo that's all-natural and great to try on your cat.
  8. Miracle Coat
    Another foaming, waterless shampoo, it's perfect for cats who loathe the bath.

While cat shampoos may treat common cat problems, they are not preventative. "Issues such as fleas and dandruff are likely to reoccur unless you use a preventative treatment," Cliver cautions. As always, seek the advice of your vet if you have questions and concerns.

Want more cat product suggestions? Check out The Best Online Shopping for Pet Products.

Tisha Berg has been a freelance content writer and desktop publisher since 1997, with articles on family life, healthy living and parenting appearing on Working Mother, AboutOne, Lifescript and United Way. Berg has a bachelor's degree in theater history from Hunter College in New York City and is also a certified hypnotherapist.

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