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10 Best Flea Shampoos for Cats in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

cat bath

When your cat has fleas, the last thing you want to do is mess around with products that aren’t effective. You need a quick solution that actually works, so you can prevent those fleas from spreading. We’ve found 10 effective solutions, though they’re not all created equal. In the following reviews, you’ll see how some of the most popular flea shampoos for cats compare. We’ll even give you our top recommendations, ensuring that you’ll know which shampoo you can trust to solve your flea problems by the end of this article.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo
  • Controls both fleas and ticks on contact
  • Simultaneously exfoliates skin and coat
  • Gently kills pests
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Oster Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo Oster Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo
  • pH balanced formula with no harsh additives
  • Leaves behind soft fur and a pleasant scent
  • Naturally derived pyrethrins kill fleas and ticks
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor
  • Prevents re-infestation for up to 28 days
  • Kills flea eggs and larvae
  • Conditions the skin and coat
  • Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
  • Doesn’t take much shampoo to be effective
  • Kills fleas and ticks quickly
  • Includes coconut conditioners for a healthy coat
  • Vet’s Best Plant-Based Formula Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo
  • Crafted from plant-based ingredients
  • Deodorizes and cleans without harsh chemicals
  • Kills ticks and fleas on contact, including flea larvae
  • The 10 Best Flea Shampoos for Cats – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo – Best Overall

    Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo

    Out of the many viable options on the market, we think the best overall flea shampoo for cats is the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care flea and tick shampoo. It’s safe for many animals over the age of 12 weeks, including cats, dogs, horses, and more. Since it contains aloe and lanolin, it soothes skin that’s likely irritated from flea and tick bites while gently killing the pests. It controls populations of both fleas and ticks on contact, and you’ll see the effects as soon as you wash your cat.

    While killing off the infestation of fleas on your feline, this shampoo also exfoliates the skin and coat. It leaves behind a healthy and vibrant coat, so it’s not just a flea shampoo, it’s actually a good shampoo for cleanliness and coat health as well. However, it can have negative side effects if your cat ingests it, so make sure that you rinse your cat thoroughly after washing with this product.

    All in all, we think this is the overall best flea shampoo for cats this year.

    Pros
    • Controls both fleas and ticks on contact
    • Gently kills pests
    • Simultaneously exfoliates skin and coat
    • Safe on many animals over 12 weeks old
    • Contains aloe and lanolin to soothe irritated skin

    Cons

    • Can have negative side effects if ingested by cats


    2. Oster Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo – Best Value

    Oster Flea & Tick Dog & Cat Shampoo

    Quality flea shampoos for cats don’t have to be expensive, as proven by the Oster flea and tick cat shampoo. This shampoo is dirt-cheap in price compared to the competition, but it’s still an effective remedy for flea infestations. Granted, you’ll have to use a bit more of this product than others to be effective, but considering how much you’re saving on this formula, we think it’s the best flea shampoo for cats for the money.

    The Oster flea and tick shampoo is a pH-balanced formula that contains no harsh additives. Instead, it uses naturally-derived pyrethrins that come from chrysanthemum flowers to kill fleas and ticks. It also leaves behind a pleasant oatmeal scent while relieving dry and itchy skin. Since it’s so gentle, you can use this shampoo regularly, helping to ensure that flea infestations remain a thing of the past.

    To conclude, we think this is the best flea shampoo for cats for the money.

    Pros
    • Dirt-cheap compared to similar products
    • pH balanced formula with no harsh additives
    • Naturally derived pyrethrins kill fleas and ticks
    • Leaves behind soft fur and a pleasant scent

    Cons

    • You’ll have to use more than with other shampoos


    3. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor – Premium Choice

    Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor

    Adams Plus flea and tick shampoo is a fair bit pricier than many alternatives, but since it’s such an effective product, it’s worth the extra cost in our eyes. Not only does it kill fleas, but it also eradicates their eggs and larvae, helping to prevent re-infestation for up to 28 days. This allows you to break the lifecycle of the fleas, putting an end to infestations, rather than just reducing flea numbers for a short while.

    While killing fleas and ticks, this shampoo is simultaneously nourishing your cat’s skin and coat. It contains oatmeal, lanolin, aloe, and coconut extract, all aimed at leaving your cat’s skin and coat moisturized and healthy, reducing the itchy, patchy spots that can arise during flea infestations. Your cat will even smell fresh after bathing with this shampoo. It might be strong enough to cure flea, tick, and even lice infestations, but there’s no medicated odor left behind and it won’t dry out or damage your cat’s coat or skin.

    Pros
    • Prevents re-infestation for up to 28 days
    • Kills flea eggs and larvae
    • Conditions the skin and coat
    • Leaves your dog smelling fresh

    Cons

    • More expensive than many similar products


    4. Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats

    Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats

    This flea and tick shampoo for dogs and cats from Zodiac is priced reasonably considering the amount you get in a bottle. It kills fleas and ticks quickly, and you can see the results as you wash. Additionally, coconut conditioners are included in this formula, helping to keep your cat’s coat healthy and nourished.

    Thankfully, this is a pretty strong shampoo and it doesn’t require much to be effective, which is good since it doesn’t really lather well. In fact, it takes just 1.5 tablespoons of product to wash a five-pound cat, so you’ll get plenty of washes out of a single bottle. Altogether, it does a great job of cleaning your cat and killing fleas, even leaving behind a pleasant, albeit faint scent when you’re finished.

    Pros
    • Reasonable pricing
    • Doesn’t take much shampoo to be effective
    • Includes coconut conditioners for a healthy coat
    • Kills fleas and ticks quickly

    Cons

    • Doesn’t lather well


    5. Vet’s Best Plant-Based Formula Flea Shampoo for Cats

    Vet's Best Plant Based Formula Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo

    Vet’s Best Plant-Based Formula flea and tick cat shampoo is an effective product for flea control that’s crafted out of plant-based ingredients, so you know they’re gentle and safe. Even so, it kills fleas and ticks on contact, even taking care of flea larvae in the process, ensuring that re-infestation is unlikely.

    Since it’s plant-based, there are no harsh chemicals in this formula. Still, it manages to deodorize and clean your cat’s coat, leaving behind a light and fresh scent, thanks to ingredients like clove oil and cottonseed oil. But these natural ingredients don’t come cheap, making Vet’s Best one of the pricier options for curing your cat’s flea problems.

    Pros
    • Crafted from plant-based ingredients
    • Kills ticks and fleas on contact, including flea larvae
    • Deodorizes and cleans without harsh chemicals

    Cons

    • Pricier than alternatives


    6. Sentry PurrScriptions Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats

    Sentry PurrScriptions Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats

    Many people will find the incredibly low pricing of the Sentry PurrScriptions Plus flea shampoo to be attractive. It’s the cheapest flea shampoo for cats that we’ve seen, costing just a fraction of some alternatives.

    Nylar in this formula sterilizes and kills eggs; an effect that’s supposed to last for up to a month, though it seems that the fleas generally return far earlier. Pyrethrins are used to naturally kill mature fleas and ticks without damaging your cat’s coat and skin. Despite the low price, it does manage to kill quite a few fleas on contact, though it’s far from the most effective flea-killer on this list. It’s a great choice for the price, but if your cat is suffering from a serious flea infestation, you’ll want something stronger to eradicate it.

    Pros
    • Priced cheaper than alternatives
    • Pyrethrins kill fleas and ticks
    • Nylar sterilizes and kills eggs for up to a month

    Cons

    • Not the most effective flea killer on contact
    • Fleas return quicker than a month


    7. NaturVet Herbal Flea Shampoo for Cats

    NaturVet Herbal Flea Dog & Cat Shampoo

    Available in a 16-ounce bottle for a reasonable price, the NaturVet Herbal flea shampoo for cats is a gentler alternative to flea shampoos that use chemicals and harsh additives to kill fleas. Instead, this formula utilizes natural ingredients that are all pet safe. It’s gentle enough to be used on cats and kittens of any age, though this means it’s also not the most effective product at killing fleas.

    Granted, it does kill some of the fleas. However, you’ll find that this formula doesn’t prevent re-infestation since it won’t take care of flea eggs or larvae. The fleas will return only a few days after washing with this shampoo. But considering the price, you’re getting a fair amount and it’s very gentle on your cat’s skin and coat. If you have a flea infestation on a kitten under 12 weeks of age, this product is a great choice. Otherwise, we’d probably opt for something that’s stronger and more effective at killing fleas.

    Pros
    • Priced reasonable for the amount you get
    • Uses natural ingredients
    • Soothes the skin
    • Gentle enough for kittens of any age

    Cons

    • Not terribly effective for killing fleas
    • Doesn’t prevent re-infestation


    8. kin+kind Flea & Tick Dog & Cat Shampoo

    kin+kind Flea & Tick Dog & Cat Shampoo

    Offering natural relief from flea and ticks, the kin+kind flea and tick shampoo for cats and dogs is made with essential oils rather than harsh chemicals. It’s still pretty effective at killing flea and tick populations, even though it’s made entirely with plant-based ingredients. Of course, the downside to this is the high price tag that accompanies this shampoo; it’s quite a bit more expensive than most similar products.

    You might expect that a shampoo made with all-natural ingredients would be easy on the skin, but this shampoo tends to dry cats’ skin out. It does leave behind a fresh and natural fragrance of cedarwood, peppermint, and lavender, but some might find the odor to be too strong.

    Pros
    • Plant-based formula
    • Uses essential oils instead of chemicals
    • Leaves behind scents of cedarwood, peppermint, and lavender

    Cons

    • Outrageously expensive
    • Tends to dry skin out
    • Some find the shampoo’s odor to be too strong


    9. Sergeant’s Gold Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo

    Sergeant's Gold Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo

    Sergeant’s Gold flea and tick shampoo for cats is decently effective at killing fleas and ticks, reducing their populations, and eradicating infestations. Other products do kill fleas better, but this shampoo prevents re-infestations for up to 30 days by rendering fleas unable to reproduce. Still, you’ll probably need to wash your cat several times to really kill the fleas with this product.

    One of the worst things about Sergeant’s flea shampoo is its price. It’s wildly expensive, costing more than twice as much as other similar products. Worse, it contains chemicals that many pet owners won’t want to douse their cats with, and these can leave your cat’s skin feeling dried out and flaky. We might be more open to the high price if this was the single most effective flea killer on the market, but many products offer similar performance at a lower price without leaving your cat’s coat and skin feeling unhealthy and too dry.

    Pros
    • Prevents re-infestations for 30 days
    • Renders fleas unable to reproduce

    Cons

    • It’s prohibitively expensive
    • Contains chemicals that can dry out the skin
    • Other products kill fleas more effectively


    10. Fleabusters RX for Fleas Plus Shampoo

    Fleabusters RX for Fleas Plus Shampoo

    Fleabusters RX sure sounds like a product that will eradicate your flea issues once and for all. It’s also priced like real medication with one of the highest price to product ratios on any flea shampoo we’ve seen. But is it effective? Well, sort of. You have to use a lot of this product to really kill the fleas. Other shampoos can kill more fleas with less product at a more affordable price, which is why we’re not big fans of the Fleabusters RX shampoo.

    Luckily, this shampoo is made with all-natural and non-toxic ingredients, so it’s completely safe for your cat. It also won’t leave your cat’s skin and coat feeling dry and worn since it moisturizes the skin with coconut oil. This formula is so easy on the skin that you won’t even need to wear gloves while washing your cat with it. Still, given the high price you pay for a small amount of a product that requires a heavier dosage than others to be effective, we can’t recommend the Fleabusters RX shampoo.

    Pros
    • Moisturizes the skin with coconut oil
    • Made with all-natural and non-toxic ingredients

    Cons

    • Outrageously high pricing
    • You get very little in the bottle
    • Requires a ton of shampoo to be effective
    • Doesn’t kill fleas better than other products

    Related Read: 8 Best Cat Shampoos for Dander – Reviews & Top Picks

    Buyer’s Guide: Select the Best Flea Shampoos for Cats

    If you’re looking for an easy way out, then all you have to do is follow our recommendations. We’re confident that you’ll end up with an effective flea shampoo for your cat. But if you’re the type of person who prefers to make a more informed decision before making a purchase, then this short buyer’s guide is for you.

    How to Pick a Flea Shampoo for Cats

    Unless you know a lot about flea shampoos, it can be difficult to compare two different products. Ingredients lists are full of long names and every shampoo claims to be the best option. To make the decision easier, we’ve narrowed down all of the comparison points to the most important ones. If you focus on these factors and choose a shampoo that meets your needs in these areas, we’re certain that you’ll be satisfied with the shampoo you’ve picked.

    1. Effectiveness at Killing Fleas

    While you do expect the flea shampoo you choose to be effective for cleaning your cat, its main purpose is to eradicate the infestation of fleas that’s currently plaguing your feline. Getting your cat clean is secondary to this main purpose. Naturally, this means that the best flea shampoos are the ones that kill the most fleas, rather than the ones that leave your cat the cleanest and freshest.

    Unfortunately, many of the most effective flea killers also contain harsher ingredients and additives that can dry out your cat’s coat. That said, many products contain moisturizers and natural additives such as essential oils to condition your cat’s coat and skin while still doing serious damage to any flea populations currently residing on your cat.

    close up fleas on cat
    Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

    2. Does it Kill Flea Eggs and Larvae?

    Killing fleas is all well and good, but that won’t eradicate an infestation of fleas. If you want to get rid of the fleas once and for all, you’ve got to kill off the eggs and larvae. This requires different ingredients than simply killing the mature fleas. Many products will kill fleas without doing anything to the larvae and eggs, which means your flea problem will see a resurgence before long.

    Look for products that prevent re-infestations. These generally prevent such occurrences by killing off the eggs and larvae. Once the eggs and larvae are dead, any recurring infection is likely caused by the reintroduction of fleas from another source.


    3. Nourish the Skin and Coat

    All the flea-killing chemicals and ingredients in a flea shampoo for cats can wreak major havoc on your cat’s skin and coat. That’s why we think it’s important to pick a shampoo that contains many nourishing ingredients that can help moisturize and restore your cat’s skin and coat. These can leave your cat feeling clean and fresh, rather than dry and flaky. Ingredients like coconut, oatmeal, and many essential oils are great natural moisturizers that will help your cat’s coat to stay healthy instead of dying with the fleas.

    Cat with fleas
    Image Credit: Maja Marjanovic, Shutterstock

    4. Price to Product Ratio

    You might notice that some products are considerably more expensive than others, but you have to also consider how much product comes in each bottle. Bottles of flea shampoo for cats range in size from eight ounces to a gallon, though 12 and 16-ounce bottles are most common. When comparing the price of two different flea shampoos, make sure you take the volume into account. If they’re priced similarly but one bottle is eight ounces and the other is 16, you’re actually getting twice as much product for the same price in the 16-ounce bottle.

    Conclusion

    There’s no shortage of options when it comes to flea-killing cat shampoos, but if you want one that’s effective, there are three we recommend. As you’ve read in our reviews, our favorite is the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care flea shampoo that kills fleas and ticks on contact while soothing and exfoliating the skin with aloe and lanolin. For the best value, we suggest the Oster Flea and Tick shampoo that’s priced affordably yet still effectively kills fleas and ticks with naturally-derived pyrethrins. Adams Plus flea shampoo is a bit pricier, but it also kills flea eggs and larvae, preventing re-infestation for up to 28 days, and earning our premium choice recommendation.


    Featured Image Credit: KDdesignphoto, Shutterstock

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