9 Best Kitten Shampoos – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks
By Ed Malaker
A new kitten can be a big responsibility and more work than you originally thought, but the rewards are well worth it when you see your kitty grow into a healthy cat. One thing you won’t need to worry much about is bathing them because all cats are notoriously clean and will do most of the work for you. However, kittens can get dirty, especially as they transition to solid food because they tend to walk in their food and get it into their fur. If your kitten requires a bath, it’s best to use a pet-safe kitten shampoo. We’ve chosen eight different brands to review for you so you can see the difference between them. We’ll tell you the pros and cons of each one and tell you how well they cleaned when we used them. We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide where we discuss what makes a good shampoo and what you should look for while you shop.
Keep reading while we look at the size, ingredients, lather, and more to help you choose the right shampoo for your kitten.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo||
|Best Value||Arm & Hammer Tearless Kitten Shampoo||
|Premium Choice||Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo||
|Burt’s Bees Kitten Shampoo||
|Frisco Hypoallergenic Kitten Shampoo||
The 9 Best Kitten Shampoos
1. Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo – Best Overall
Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo is our pick for the best overall kitten shampoo. It features a gentle formula that won’t dry out your new pet’s skin. It is Free from soaps, glutens, dyes, DEA, sulfates, and phthalates.
We enjoyed bathing our kitten with this shampoo, and its long-lasting aloe vera and cucumber scent was pleasant and not overwhelming!
- Safe and natural ingredients
- Free from soaps, glutens, dyes, DEA, sulfates, and phthalates
- Colloidal oatmeal formula soothes and nourishes dry, irritated skin
- The scent is not for everyone
2. Arm & Hammer Tearless Sweet Almond Kitten Shampoo – Best Value
Arm & Hammer Tearless Sweet Almond Kitten Shampoo is our pick as the best kitten shampoo for the money. The Arm & Hammer name is synonymous with odor control, and their shampoo did a fine job of removing bad smells from our cats. It uses the power of baking soda to clean your cat without irritating the skin or burning the eyes. When finished, your cat will have a pleasant lavender-chamomile scent. The 20-ounce bottle is more than enough for several baths.
The Arm & Hammer Tearless Sweet Almond Kitten Shampoo is a great shampoo that is inexpensive and easy to find. The only problem we had with it is that it contains artificial fragrance and several other chemicals that might bother the skin of some cats.
- Odor control
- Lavender-chamomile scent
- 20-ounce container
- Contains fragrance
3. Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats – Premium Choice
The Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats & Kittens is our premium choice and is also the first shampoo on this list that will kill fleas and ticks, so it’s a great choice if you found your kitten exposed to something harmful. The unscented formula contains no perfumes, and the thick lather makes it easy to rub into the fur to make sure you didn’t miss any spots.
Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo is a fantastic shampoo, but it only comes in an 8-ounce bottle that empties fast, so you might need more than one bottle to eliminate the fleas, especially if you have more than one cat.
- It kills fleas and ticks
- Unscented formula
- Thick lather
- 8-ounce bottle
4. Burt’s Bees Kitten Shampoo
Burt’s Bees Kitten Shampoo is a tearless shampoo that won’t bother your kitten’s eyes and also contains buttermilk to help soothe the skin and lock in oils that might otherwise get washed away. The all-natural ingredients are pH balanced, and there are no artificial colors or fragrances.
The downside to the Burt’s Bees Kitten Shampoo is that it only comes in a small bottle, and it doesn’t lather well, so you can easily use more than you need.
- Tearless formula
- Contains buttermilk
- All-natural ingredients
- pH balanced
- It doesn’t lather well
- 10-ounce bottle
5. Frisco Hypoallergenic Unscented Puppy Shampoo with Aloe
Frisco Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Aloe for Puppies & Kittens, Unscented is another great pick for kitten shampoos. It features a hypoallergenic formula that won’t dry out your new pet’s skin. It uses plant-based cleaners like coconut along with aloe to soothe and protect the skin. There are no dyes or perfumes to irritate the skin, and you can purchase it in two sizes, 20 ounces and 1 gallon.
We enjoyed reviewing Frisco Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Aloe and felt good about putting it on our kittens because it contains all-natural ingredients. However, some people might not like the way your kitten smells when you finish with the bath, and it can take a day or two to wear off.
- Plant-based cleaners
- No dyes or perfume
- 20-ounce container
- The scent is not for everyone
6. TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Gentle Coconut Kitten Shampoo
TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Gentle Coconut Puppy & Kitten Shampoo is a hypoallergenic shampoo that uses natural ingredients to clean your kitten safely without harmful dyes or fragrances. It moisturizes the skin and leaves your pet with a pleasant coconut aroma. You can purchase this shampoo in multiple sizes, including 20-ounce, 1-gallon, and 2.5-gallon containers, so it’s perfect if you have multiple kittens or you clean kittens commercially.
The downside of TropiClean shampoo is great if you have a lot of cats, but it has a gel-like consistency that can be difficult to work into the fur to get a good cleaning. It doesn’t lather well, and the 20-ounce bottle is a thin plastic that leaks easily.
- Multiple sizes
- Pleasant aroma
- No artificial dyes
- Hard to work into the coat
- Flimsy bottle
7. John Paul Pet Tearless Shampoo for Kittens
John Paul Pet Tearless Shampoo for Puppies & Kittens features a tearless formula perfect for cats that don’t like to sit still while bathing them. It’s also good for kittens with sensitive skin and will help lock in moisture to reduce itching and scratching. It also comes in a 16-ounce bottle that should be suitable for most people.
What we didn’t like about John Paul Pet is that it contains a fragrance that some cats might be sensitive to. We also had difficulty creating a lather with it and felt like we were using more product than we needed.
- Tearless formula
- 16-ounce bottle
- Safe for sensitive skin
- Contains fragrance
- It doesn’t lather well
8. Espree Shampoo for Kittens
Espree for Kittens is a dilutable shampoo, and you can add up to 16 parts water for every serving of shampoo, making it one of the most condensed soaps on this list. It won’t bother your pet’s eyes and contains all-natural aloe that will help soothe the skin and soften the fur. It works into a thick lather, so It’s easy to apply, even when fully diluted.
While we were using Espree for Kittens, we noticed that the bottle often leaks, which can be quite wasteful and messy. It’s also hard to rinse off, and several of our kittens felt a bit sticky after bathing.
- Contains aloe vera
- Thick lather
- Bottle leaks
- Leaves sticky residue
9. Innovet Pet Products Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + Conditioner
Innovet Pet Products All Natural Oatmeal & Honey Shampoo + Conditioner for Dogs Cats & Small Pets comes in a good size 16-ounce container that should be enough for a few baths. It works into a good lather and will kill fleas and ticks if you leave it to sit on the fur for a few minutes. Oatmeal and honey ingredients will help soothe the skin and keep the hair soft.
The downside to the Innovet Pet Products was that it leaves the cat with a bad smell that takes several days to subside. We also found it difficult to rinse, and a few of our cats were sticky with clumped hair after the bath. The bottle was leaky around the spout and the shampoo would run down the bottle.
- 16-ounce container
- It contains oatmeal and honey
- Removes fleas and ticks
- Bad smell
- Leaky bottle
- Hard to rinse
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Kitten Shampoo
The first thing most people look at when they choose a new shampoo for kittens is the bottle size. Buying in bulk can reduce costs, and you won’t need to worry about it spoiling. We recommend purchasing a bottle of at least 16-ounces so you will have enough for a few baths. Many brands are condensed and require you to add water before using it, so you won’t need such a large bottle.
Before you purchase your kitten shampoo, we recommend looking at the ingredients. Avoid products that contain dyes and fragrances. Some cats can negatively react to these ingredients, and it’s best to avoid them for small kittens. We also recommend avoiding brands with an ingredients list that consists of most chemicals. Natural ingredients are less likely to cause dry skin or and itching.
Aloe vera is a great ingredient that can help moisturize the skin and protect it from damage. Cats with dry skin and dandruff will benefit the most from aloe vera.
Honey will help protect the skin and will also help make the fur of your pet soft.
Baking soda is a great ingredient that will help clean your pet as well as absorb odors. Cats that get into skunks or other smelly things will benefit the most from baking soda.
Vitamins and Minerals
Many shampoos will fortify their shampoos with vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, E, and B5. These vitamins can help create stronger fur and healthier skin.
No matter what brand of shampoo you are using, you will need it to rinse away completely. Some brands will create a thick lather that will be difficult to rinse off. Others will not create a lather at all, so you might not notice a spot you missed. If you have one of these shampoos, you will see that the fur is slightly sticky once it dries and might even clump. If this happens, you will need to rinse the cat again. We tried to point out any brand that did not rinse easily, but you will need to pay attention to the reviews of any other products you consider that are not on this list.
We mentioned that you should avoid fragrance and perfumes in your shampoo, but many brands can naturally make your cat smell nice. Lavender, coconut, chamomile, honey, and other ingredients can help make your kitten smell better without resorting to synthetic chemicals. However, we recommend avoiding essential oils because many can be harmful to your cat.
How Often Should I Give My Kitten A Bath?
As we mentioned earlier, your cat will not need many baths because they tend to groom themselves and usually don’t like water. Bathing them can drain the skin of important oils, causing it to become dry and itchy. Besides the discomfort for your cat, scratching will cause more fur and pet dander to spread through your home. Most experts suggest bathing your kitten no more than once per week, but we recommend doing so only when necessary to remove fleas or extreme soiling.
The lather is an essential aspect of cat shampoo because it helps you get the entire body, and it also helps kill fleas and other parasites. Unfortunately, many pet shampoos do not create a good lather and can be challenging to use. Without the foamy suds, it will be much harder to know where you clean, and we found that we tend to use much more soap when we don’t see it foam. We tried to list any brands that don’t create a good lather, but you will need to be cautious if you continue to shop.
Using a tearless formula is extremely important when bathing your kittens because they tend to struggle and break free easier than larger cats, so it’s not hard to get soap in the eyes. Brands that use natural ingredients tend to be easier on the eyes than chemicals, and you can use that as a guide when choosing a brand that doesn’t say tearless on the package. Most of the brands on our list are tearless, and we tried to point out any that caused problems for our kittens.
- Bathe your kitten after it eats and is ready to sleep, and it will struggle less.
- If your kitten is old enough, give it some treats or catnip to relax it before its bath.
- Brush your kitten to remove loose hair before you bathe it.
- You can place cotton balls in your kitten’s ears to keep the water out.
- Place a mat or folded towel in the tub to give your cat something comfortable to stand on that isn’t too slippery and fill the tub with 3inches of lukewarm water.
- Use a helper to hold the cat while you wash.
- Move quickly and efficiently so you can finish as soon as possible.
- Handheld sprayers and small cups will help you get the cat wet and will help rinse.
- Rinse well, then rinse again.
- Dry it as much as it will allow with a towel, and make sure the temperature in your home is a little above average.
When choosing your next kitten shampoo, we highly recommend our pick for the best overall. The Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo, it is gentle and natural to provide your kitten with a good bath without drying out the skin with harsh chemicals. It’s easy to use, and you get enough for several baths. Another smart choice is Arm & Hammer Tearless Sweet Almond Kitten Shampoo. It’s our pick for the best value, and it provides you with maximum odor control by a company you know at a reasonable price. The tearless formula won’t cause any pain if it gets in your cat’s eyes, and it will leave your cat smelling nice.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over our reviews and they have helped answer your questions. If we have helped you get your kittens clean safely, please share these eight kitten shampoos on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Olleg, Shutterstock