8 Best Cat Shampoos & Conditioners

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When the time comes to bathe your cat, be prepared with the best cat shampoo on the market.

Your cat’s shampoo should be the least stressful part of bathtime. Choosing the right product will ensure that your cat concludes their bath with a clean coat, hydrated skin, and no worries about toxicity or irritation later.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons to bathe your cat, how to choose the best cat shampoo, and which shampoo products are ideal for unique feline situations.

cat bathing time

Your cat’s shampoo should be the least stressful part of bathtime

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

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Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Totally Natural Pet Shampoo

  • Free from irritating ingredients
  • Fragrance-free
  • Soothing and comfortable for your cat
Best Antifungal Shampoo
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

MiconaHex+Triz Shampoo for Dogs & Cats

  • Helps resolve bacterial and fungal skin infections
  • Fragrance-free formula
  • Contains ceramides to moisturize dry skin
Best Budget Shampoo
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Frisco Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo

  • Made with plant-derived cleansers
  • Soothes and rehydrates dry, itchy skin
  • Light almond scent is not overpowering
Best Cat Grooming Shampoo and Conditioner
9.7
Picked by 25 people today!

Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Shampoo + Conditioner For Dogs And Cats

  • Specially formulated for cats with allergies
  • Gentle and safe for cats
  • Nourishing for dry, itchy skin
Best Cat Shampoo for Allergies
9.5
Picked by 18 people today!

Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Allergen Blocker Foaming Shampoo

  • Can help to minimize allergic reactions to your cat
  • Formulated with cats in mind and safe to use
  • Affordable
Best Waterless Cat Shampoo
9.4
Picked by 18 people today!

Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo for Cats

  • Perfect for spot cleaning or between baths
  • pH-balanced for cats to reduce irritation
  • Leaves the fur nice and soft
Best Rinse-Free Shampoo Wipe
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Mr. Tom’s Magic Towel

  • Expands and lathers in water
  • Made with non-toxic, pH-balanced ingredients
  • Stress-free alternative to traditional bathing
Best Cat Grooming Wipes
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Pogi's Grooming Wipes - Deodorizing Wipes for Dogs & Cats

  • A good choice for daily touch-ups
  • Enables you to clean without bathing
  • Gently conditions the coat and cleans the fur

Top Picks Explained

Reasons To Bathe Your Cat:

  • Your cat’s coat is stained with something toxic or unpleasant. This could happen when your cat wanders into the garage and brushes against a dirty bottle of motor oil, rolls in dirt, or was in the wrong place when someone spilled nacho cheese. Any time that your cat gets in a messy situation with something they shouldn’t lick off, it’s a good idea to give them a bath.
  • Your cat has itchy skin. If you choose the right cat shampoo, bathing can help to treat your cat’s skin discomfort.
  • Your cat has a flea infestation. Bathing your cat, even with a non-medicated shampoo, can help to manage the discomfort associated with a flea infestation.
  • Your cat doesn’t groom well. Some cats, especially seniors and overweight cats with limited mobility, don’t groom themselves very well. This can result in dandruff and grease buildup. A bath can help these cats to stay fresh.
  • Your cat is headed to a cat show. It’s standard for show cats to have a good bath shortly before the competition.
  • Your cat is a hairless breed. Just like humans, breeds like the Sphynx and Bambino require regular baths. If hairless breeds aren’t regularly bathed, natural oils will accumulate on their skin.
  • Someone in your household is allergic to cat dander. While it’s not an absolute solution to cat allergies, bathing your cat every couple of weeks can cut back on the amount of dander they distribute around the house. Some shampoos are made with special allergen blockers for additional fighting power.

What Makes A Cat Shampoo Great?

When bathing your cat, it’s important to use the right cleaning products – and you won’t find those in the hair care department at the grocery store.

Your cat’s skin is thin, delicate, and less acidic than yours. It’s very sensitive and could be irritated by most human shampoo products.

Remember that your cat will lick themselves after a bath, ingesting any residue lingering on their body. Human shampoo is usually full of toxic ingredients that could make your cat sick.

It’s important to choose a good cat shampoo that was formulated for your cat’s pH balance, skin sensitivity, and grooming habits.

Note: If your cat is in need of immediate cleaning and you don’t have cat shampoo on hand, you can use a small amount of gentle dish soap or tearless baby shampoo instead.

The Best Cat Shampoo Has A Gentle, Non-irritating Formula.

The best cat shampoo is free from ingredients that could irritate your cat’s skin or make them sick when they groom themselves later. It’s always a good idea to seek out gentle, straightforward formulas featuring vegetable-based cleansers.

The Best Cat Shampoo Is Appropriate For Your Cat’s Unique Needs.

Just as the human shampoo aisle is packed with formulas for thin hair, heat-processed hair, curly hair, red hair, silver hair, and dyed hair, each cat shampoo formula is slightly different and not every one is appropriate for every cat.

In the following list of the best cat shampoo, we’ll address several unique situations and the shampoo that’s right for them.

The Best Cat Shampoos For Dandruff, Allergies, And More

#1 Overall Best Cat Shampoo: Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Totally Natural Pet Shampoo

View On Chewy View On Amazon

This cat shampoo receives consistently positive reviews and is one of the most widely-recommended products on the market. It’s free from all of those things people tend to avoid – no sulfates, no parabens, no dyes, and no artificial fragrances.

Because it’s free from these potentially irritating ingredients, this formula is good for most allergic cats, as well as those with respiratory issues and other sensitivities.

This shampoo is made with purified water, extra-mild renewable coconut-based cleansers, aloe vera, xanthan gum, and olive oil squalene, a natural substance used as a preservative. All of these nourishing ingredients are gentle on your cat’s skin.

This is a strong candidate for your all-purpose cat shampoo, ready for dirt, grime, fleas, and anything else that demands a cat bath.

Pros

  • An extremely popular cat shampoo
  • Free from irritating ingredients
  • Fragrance-free
  • Soothing and comfortable for your cat

Cons

  • This shampoo doesn’t get many negative reviews, but a few customers said that it didn’t do anything to soothe itchy skin

#2 Best Antifungal Shampoo: MiconaHex+Triz Shampoo for Dogs & Cats

View On Chewy  View On Amazon

Skin infections can leave your cat’s skin red and scaly – they may even lose patches of hair or develop increased pigmentation of the skin. This medicated shampoo delivers both antifungal and antimicrobial benefits to help combat fungal and bacterial skin infections in cats.

This fragrance-free formula contains a 2% concentration of miconazole nitrate and chlorhexidine gluconate. These active ingredients defend against multiple causes of skin infections including fungus, bacteria, yeast, and ringworm. The shampoo also contains moisturizing ceramides which may help rehydrate dry skin to prevent dandruff.

Because this formula is fragrance-free, it’s less likely to irritate sensitive skin and noses. Dozens of satisfied customers report that the shampoo delivers results within just a few days when used as directed. It’s best to work the shampoo into a lather and let it sit on your cat’s coat for at least five minutes before rinsing.

Pros

  • Helps resolve bacterial and fungal skin infections
  • Fragrance-free formula
  • Contains ceramides to moisturize dry skin

Cons

  • Fairly pricey, around $15 for an 8-ounce bottle
  • Some customers report that it didn’t completely resolve their cat’s itching

#3 Best Budget Shampoo: Frisco Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo

View On Chewy

Available in 20-ounce and 1-gallon bottles, this economically priced shampoo features a light almond scent. It’s formulated with certified organic aloe vera juice to soothe itchy skin and hydrolyzed oat protein to hydrate and protect against dryness.

This shampoo is made with plant-derived cleansers and other natural ingredients to gently cleanse your cat’s skin and coat without the irritating effects of parabens, dyes, and other harsh chemicals.

Cat owners who have used this shampoo report that the scent is pleasant but not overpowering. The natural formula appears to work well for soothing and rehydrating dry skin, helping resolve issues with dandruff. Several customers also found that the shampoo helped soften their cat’s coat, making it easier to brush and less prone to matting.

Pros

  • Made with plant-derived cleansers
  • Soothes and rehydrates dry, itchy skin
  • Light almond scent is not overpowering
  • Economically priced around $10

Cons

  • Some customers report that the shampoo in the 1-gallon bottle seems watered down
  • Almond scent appears to fade quickly

#4 Best Cat Grooming Shampoo and Conditioner: Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Shampoo + Conditioner For Dogs And Cats

View On Amazon View On ProPetWorks

One happy reviewer said the following about her cats after using this shampoo and conditioner:  “They are SOFTER than the plush blankets Costco sells during the holidays and they’ve never been this soft before.”

This gentle product both cleans and conditions your cat’s coat, yielding soft, shiny fur and skin that’s less prone to itching. The company explains that the shampoo was specially formulated for pets with grass, food, and flea bite allergies. The soothing formula can help to moisturize your cat’s dry skin and minimize dandruff.

It’s made from water, a coconut shampoo base, aloe vera extract, almond oil, hydrolyzed oat proteins, vitamins A, D, and E, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, wheat germ glycerides, blend of cherry botanical extracts, EGDA ( a conditioner), EDTA (a blending agent), and a proprietary blend of skin conditioners and moisturizers.

Pros

  • Specially formulated for cats with allergies
  • Gentle and safe for cats
  • Nourishing for dry, itchy skin
  • Free from irritants

Cons

  • Has a strong cherry scent that some people dislike

#5 Best Cat Shampoo for Allergies: Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Allergen Blocker Foaming Shampoo

View on on NaturesMiracle.com

Note: This cat shampoo can help humans who are allergic to cats, not cats who are allergic. Allergic cats may require a different product, such as Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Shampoo, reviewed earlier in this article.

If you or someone in your home suffers from cat allergies, you might think about bathing your cat with an allergen-blocking shampoo.

This allergist-developed shampoo contains an enzymatic allergen blocker that can break down inanimate dander proteins on your cat’s coat. Remember, however, that dander is found in your cat’s saliva, so the shampoo is far from a permanent solution to your allergy problems.

If you’re looking for an all-natural product, you might not like that this shampoo’s ingredient list is vague, containing a mild surfactant blend to clean the coat, a conditioner to soften it, nameless preservatives, and added fragrance.

Pros

  • Can help to minimize allergic reactions to your cat
  • Formulated with cats in mind and safe to use
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not ideal for sensitive cats

If you and your cat both hate baths, consider these gentle alternatives:

#6 Best Waterless Cat Shampoo: Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo for Cats

View On Chewy

If you’ve ever used dry shampoo on your own hair, you’ll understand the ease and convenience of a cleaning product that you can spray on, rub in, and forget about.

This waterless shampoo from Burt’s Bees is a liquid you spray on your cat’s coat and brush it through. It can be used as a spot cleaner or simply to freshen your cat’s coat between baths. It’s pH-balanced for cats, so it is unlikely to cause skin irritation, and it’s free from artificial fragrances and colorants.

One reviewer commented that this product is ideal for older cats who tend not to groom themselves as well as younger cats, though it’s not as effective as a full bath. Others have noted that the product makes their cats’ coats nice and soft.

Pros

  • Perfect for spot cleaning or between baths
  • pH-balanced for cats to reduce irritation
  • Leaves the fur nice and soft
  • Free from irritating essential oils, fragrance, and colorants

Cons

  • Not as effective as a full bath

#7 Best Rinse-Free Shampoo Wipe: Mr. Tom’s Magic Towel

View on Mr.TomsMagicTowel.com

It’s important to find a shampoo that works for both you and your cat, but there’s no rule saying that shampoo has to come in a bottle. The traditional bathing experience can be overwhelming for some cats, but Mr. Tom’s Magic Towel provides a safe, stress-free bathing alternative.

Mr. Tom’s Magic Towel consists of compressed fabric that expands and lathers in water. Simply sprinkle water over the towel then watch it expand and bubble. The towel itself is soft yet durable, perfect for bathing your cat head to toe without getting him completely soaked.

This towel is made with pet-friendly, non-toxic ingredients and the formula is pH-balanced to protect your cat’s skin. It’s free from harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and formaldehyde and is even infused with a pleasant lavender fragrance.

Mr. Tom’s Magic Towel is a great product to include in your grooming arsenal, especially as a convenient option for travel. When fully expanded, the towel measures about 9.8-by-11.8 inches.

Pros

  • Expands and lathers in water
  • Made with non-toxic, pH-balanced ingredients
  • Stress-free alternative to traditional bathing
  • Large enough to wash your cat’s whole body

Cons

  • Lavender fragrance may be too strong for some

#8 Best Cat Grooming Wipes: Pogi’s Grooming Wipes – Deodorizing Wipes for Dogs & Cats

View On Chewy View On Amazon

If your cat’s self-cleaning abilities have declined with age or if they tend to roll in the dust when they go outside, grooming wipes are a convenient daily solution.

These moist wipes keep your cat clean and happily out of the bathtub. Each wipe is infused with aloe vera, vitamin E, and Hawaiian Awapuhi, which safely condition and clean your cat’s coat. The wipes are hypoallergenic and safe for use on cats.

Amazon reviewer Susan Duffey says, “My older cat doesn’t bathe himself very well anymore. Brushing him daily didn’t do the trick, his coat was still wiry and harsh. Since I started using these wipes 2-3 times a week his coat has become shiny and soft.”

Pros

  • A good choice for daily touch-ups
  • Enables you to clean without bathing
  • Gently conditions the coat and cleans the fur

Cons

  • Not effective for serious messes

Once You Have The Best Cat Shampoo, It’s Time To Give Your Cat A Bath. Here’s How To Do It

In the following video, Dr. Karen Becker goes into depth on how to give your cat a bath without traumatizing them.

First, Prepare For The Bath

As Dr. Becker suggests, use a pheromone spray to help your cat to stay calm during this potentially stressful experience.

Since the pheromone spray may not be enough to sedate your cat into a blissful state of mind for their spa date, it’s a good idea to give them a manicure and pedicure in advance. This will help to protect you from scratches if your cat gets nervous during the bath.

Set up your bathing area by laying a towel down in the sink or bathtub. This will give your kitty’s paws something to grip onto – slipping around in a wet tub will only make them more nervous.

Gently Moisten Your Cat And Massage In The Shampoo

Avoid dunking your cat in water and be sure to heat the water to a lukewarm temperature that won’t bother your sensitive cat. Use a sprayer or hose attachment to get your cat wet, then apply the shampoo and lightly massage it into your cat’s coat.

Rinse Thoroughly

Although you’re using a non-toxic cat shampoo, it’s still important to rinse thoroughly to ensure that no residue remains on your cat’s coat.

Ensure That Your Cat Gets Warm And Dry As Soon As Possible

Immediately after bathing, wrap your cat in a warm towel – who doesn’t love warm towels fresh out of the dryer? – and carefully dry them off as thoroughly as you can. If your cat finds this frustrating, it’s okay to allow them to find a warm place in the house where they can air dry.

And don’t forget to give your cat a delicious treat after their bath – this helps to leave them with positive memories of the experience.

If possible, don’t bathe your cat more than once a week. Even if you use a moisturizing shampoo, bathing strips the natural oils from your cat’s skin. Too many baths can leave your cat dry and irritated.

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About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is the Head of Content at Cats.com and an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on Cats.com is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.

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