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10 Best Cat Shampoos in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

cat bath

If your cat is like ours, then bath time is not their favorite. However, as much as they try to keep themselves groomed, cats still occasionally need baths. They may have skin problems, flea infestation, or other issues they can’t get rid of on their own.

Because we know how tough it is to get your cat in the bath, we’ve tried to make it easier to select the right shampoo. There are so many shampoos on the market and it can be overwhelming to sort through them all, leaving you exhausted before you even try to get your kitty into the tub! Read on for our reviews of the best cat shampoos to meet your needs!

hepper cat paw dividerA Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Pro Pet Wash All Natural Organic 5 In One Oatmeal Pet Shampoo + Condit Pro Pet Wash All Natural Organic 5 In One Oatmeal Pet Shampoo + Condit
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Good for dry skin
  • Best Value
    Second place
    John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Formula Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Formula Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo
  • Moisturizes skin
  • Great value
  • Soothes itchy skin
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Pet MD Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Dog, Cat & Horse Shampoo Pet MD Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Dog, Cat & Horse Shampoo
  • Effectively heals skin conditions
  • Prevents itching
  • Helps prevent the recurrence of skin problems
  • Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath
  • The leave-in formula
  • Good for dry skin
  • Prevents itching
  • Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Cat & Dog Shampoo Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Cat & Dog Shampoo
  • Can be used on dogs and cats
  • Mild, soap-free
  • Prevents itching
  • The 10 Best Cat Shampoos – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Pro Pet Wash All Natural Organic 5 In One Oatmeal Pet Shampoo + Conditioner – Best Overall

    Pro Pet Works Natural Organic cat shampoo

    Benefits Hypoallergenic, soothing
    Ingredients Aloe vera extract, almond oil
    Product Size 17 ounces

    Cat owners love this shampoo! It is our best overall cat shampoo because of its gentle ingredients, great value, and freedom from skin irritants. If your cat suffers from dry, itchy, irritated skin, Pro Pet Wash can help soothe it. This product is also cruelty-free and paraben-free, meaning you can use it without worrying about the source.

    Another great thing about this shampoo is it is safe for cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs. It can save you money since you won’t have to buy different shampoos for each of your furry pets! Finally, it has a great almond scent which makes post-bath snuggles even better!

    Pros
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Packaging made from recycled materials
    • Cruelty-free
    • Good for dry skin
    • Detangler
    • Good value
    Cons
    • Some pet owners may not like the scent

    2. John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Formula Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo – Best Value

    John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Formula Oatmeal

    Benefits Moisturizes
    Ingredients Aloe, Chamomilla extract
    Product Size 16 ounces

    John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Shampoo is the best cat shampoo for the money. This product is a high-quality shampoo with a small price point, making it ideal for the shopper on a budget. It contains aloe and almond oil which will keep your cat’s skin moisturized. Soothing oat protein will help prevent itching.

    You can also use this shampoo on dogs and horses, further increasing its value as a multi-purpose shampoo. This product does contain sodium laureth sulfate, which some pets might have a sensitivity to. However, overall, you can’t beat this shampoo for the best value for your money!

    Pros
    • Moisturizes skin
    • Great value
    • Cruelty-free
    • Soothes itchy skin
    Cons
    • Contains sodium laureth sulfate
    • Does not include a conditioner

    3. Pet MD Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Dog, Cat & Horse Shampoo – Premium Choice

    Pet MD Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated pet shampoo

    Benefits Heals and prevents common skin conditions
    Ingredients Chlorhexidine gluconate, ketoconazole
    Product Size 16 ounces

    If your cat has a bacterial or fungal skin condition, you’ll need shampoo to not only relieve the irritation of those conditions but also to prevent them from reoccurring. Pet MD Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo can do just that. This product is safe for cats, dogs, and horses. The active ingredients will relieve existing bacterial and fungal conditions without causing further irritation.

    You will need to be careful if you are using this shampoo to bathe your cat as it can irritate their eyes. Overuse can cause dry skin, so make sure you are following the usage instructions on the bottle.

    Pros
    • Effectively heals skin conditions
    • Prevents itching
    • Helps prevent the recurrence of skin problems
    • Safe for dogs, cats, and horses
    Cons
    • More expensive than others on this list
    • Can irritate eyes

    4. Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath

    Vet's Best Waterless Cat Bath

    Benefits Waterless, moisturizes
    Ingredients Neem oil, oatmeal
    Product Size 4 ounces

    If getting your cat into the bath is a battle you can’t win, you can try a waterless shampoo. Vet’s Best is a great choice for cats who want nothing to do with the water. It is a gentle, leave-in foam that requires no rinsing. This shampoo is moisturizing and soothing for cats with dry itchy skin.

    It can be irritating to your cat’s eyes so be careful to avoid contact with their eyes. The bottle is smaller and a little more expensive than some of our other top picks, but it might be worth it if you don’t want to struggle to get your cat into the water.

    Pros
    • The leave-in formula—no water required
    • Good for dry skin
    • Prevents itching
    Cons
    • Can irritate eyes
    • A little pricey for the bottle size
    • Cannot be used on kittens less than 12 weeks old

    5. Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Cat & Dog Shampoo

    Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe cat shampoo

    Benefits Prevents itching
    Ingredients Oatmeal, coconut, aloe
    Product Size 16 ounces, 1 gallon

    If your cat has dry or itchy skin, then Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo is a great choice. This shampoo is formulated specifically to moisturize and soothe your cat’s skin. It is mild and soap-free, so it won’t contribute to further dryness or other issues. It can also be used on both dogs and cats. You can buy it in either 16 ounce or full-gallon bottles.

    One drawback is the product must stay on your cat’s hair and skin for at least 90 seconds for it to work. This may not seem like a long time, but when you have an angry, squirming cat in your hands it’s an eternity. However, if you can get your cat to relax for long enough, this shampoo is a good choice for itch prevention.

    Pros
    • Can be used on dogs and cats
    • Mild, soap-free
    • Prevents itching
    Cons
    • Can irritate both pet and human eyes
    • Some people don’t like the scent
    • Must be left on for at least 90 seconds

    6. Burt’s Bees for Cats Hypoallergenic Cat Shampoo

    Burt's Bees cat shampoo

    Benefits Moisturizes, soothes
    Ingredients Shea butter, honey
    Product Size 10 ounces

    This Burt’s Bees Cat Shampoo is a great choice if you have a kitty who is sensitive to a lot of products. It is hypoallergenic and free from colorants, fragrances, and sulfates. It will help soothe itchy skin and leave your cat’s hair silky-smooth. The honey in this shampoo will also give your cat’s coat a nice shine boost!

    It is a little pricey for the size as the bottle only contains 10 ounces of shampoo. This shampoo is free from added fragrances so it won’t leave your cat’s coat smelling any specific way. Some pet owners prefer when their pet’s shampoo leaves their pet smelling fresh and clean, but this is up to the owner’s discretion. Although this product is free from harsh chemicals, it can still irritate your cat’s eyes.

    Pros
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Fragrance and sulfate-free
    • Soothes itchy skin
    Cons
    • Pricey for the size
    • Very little scent
    • Can irritate eyes

    7. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo

    Veterinary Formula Clinical Care cat shampoo

    Benefits Helps to relieve skin infections
    Ingredients Coconut oil, ketoconazole
    Product Size 16 ounces, 1 gallon

    If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly antifungal shampoo option, Veterinary Formula Clinical Care might be a good choice for you. This product comes in 16 ounces and 1 gallon sized bottles. It soothes existing skin itching and deodorizes your cat. This shampoo will help relieve and prevent skin infections that cause your cat to scratch.

    The biggest downside to this product is it must be left on your cat’s skin for 5 to 10 minutes. This will be difficult for many pet parents with feisty, water-hating felines. This shampoo can also irritate your cat’s eyes, the likelihood of which is increased by the long time it needs to be left on to be effective.

    Pros
    • Relieves skin infections
    • Deodorizes
    • Soothes skin
    Cons
    • Eye irritant
    • Must remain on pet for 5 to 10 minutes

    8. Four Paws Magic Coat Cat Gentle Tearless Shampoo

    Four Paws Magic Coat Cat Gentile Tearless Shampoo

    Benefits Moisturizes and soothes skin
    Ingredients Aloe
    Product Size 12 ounces

    Four Paws Magic Coat Shampoo is a nice option for a gentle shampoo. Their product is made to moisturize and soothe itchy skin without bothering your cat’s eyes. Although it is a gentle formula, it does contain fragrance which can irritate sensitive kitties. Some humans may not like the citrusy scent of the shampoo.

    While it is paraben and dye-free, this product does contain sodium laureth sulfate. Some of the higher-ranked choices on our list are free from this potential skin irritant.

    Pros
    • Gentle tearless formula
    • Moisturizes and soothes
    • Paraben and Dye-free
    Cons
    • Contains sodium laureth sulfate
    • The scent may not be appealing to all pet parents
    • Fragrances can irritate some cat’s skin

    9. Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals

    Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse pet Shampoo

    Benefits Moisturizing, detangling
    Ingredients Oatmeal
    Product Size 1 ounces

    Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless shampoo is another nice option if your cat is terrible about going in the water. It is meant to be used between baths, however, not to replace baths entirely. It can cut down on the number of times you need to coax your kitty into the tub, though, and all cat owners know this is a good thing.

    The formula is plant-based and free from harsh chemicals and skin irritants. It can safely be used on dogs, cats, and horses. Some humans may not like the scent of this shampoo, but they do have other scent options if coconut-lime is not your style.

    Pros
    • Waterless option
    • Good for dogs, cats, and horses
    • Plant-based ingredients
    Cons
    • Some humans might not like the scent
    • A little more expensive
    • Doesn’t replace baths

    10. Espree Silky Show Cat Shampoo

    Espree Silky Show Aloe Vera cat shampoo

    Benefits Silky, shiny coat
    Ingredients Aloe vera
    Product Size 12 ounces

    If your cat has a long, luxurious coat or is prone to matting, you might want to give this product a try. It is made to specifically target your cat’s coat by moisturizing and detangling the hair. It differs from the other products on our list in that it is not made for soothing your cat’s skin.

    One drawback is that this product lists ‘conditioners’ and ‘detanglers’ in the ingredients. This non-specific detail makes it harder to determine if your cat will have a negative skin reaction to this product. This shampoo is also not suitable if you are looking for something to prevent or soothe itching.

    Pros
    • Conditions hair
    • Plant-based ingredients
    • Detangles
    Cons
    • Ingredients are not fully listed
    • Can irritate eyes
    • Some humans may not enjoy the fragrance

    hepper cat paw dividerBuyer’s Guide

    Now that you have read about our top picks, let’s review a few of the important things you need to consider when finding the right cat shampoo for your needs.

    Finding the Right Cat Shampoo for Your Needs

    Before buying cat shampoo, you should ask yourself the following questions about your cat.

    • What purpose do you need the shampoo to serve? Is your cat itching? Does he or she have a skin infection? Is their skin dry?
    • Do they have allergies or sensitivities to any ingredients? You may need to speak with your vet before purchasing a shampoo to determine if there are certain ingredients you should avoid.
    • Will you realistically be able to get your cat into the tub or do you need a waterless option?
    • How long will you be able to keep your cat in the tub? Some shampoos require leaving the product on your pet for a set amount of time before rinsing.
    Persian cat bathing
    Image Credit: 135pixels, Shutterstock

    What Makes a Good Cat Shampoo

    There are a few things you should look for when selecting a cat shampoo. These include:

    • Does it contain harsh chemicals?
    • Are the ingredients safe for my cat?
    • Is the shampoo made of plant-derived and eco-friendly materials?
    • Does it contain parabens or sulfates?
    • Are there fragrances that may be irritating to you or your cat?
    • Will the shampoo irritate your cat’s eyes?
    • Does the shampoo address a problem your cat has, such as dry skin or itchiness?

    hepper cat paw dividerFinal Thoughts

    When it comes to cat shampoo, you can’t go wrong with our best overall pick: Pro Pet Wash All Natural Organic 5 In One Oatmeal Pet Shampoo + Conditioner. This shampoo is a great choice for all cat owners with its gentle ingredients and soothing powers. Our best value, John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Formula, is another good choice for the budget-conscious cat owner.

    Hopefully, our reviews have helped you navigate the dense forest of options out there for bathing your cat. You can now feel confident that you can find the best cat shampoo for your needs.


    Featured Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock