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10 Best Waterless Cat Shampoos in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

a woman applying dry shampoo to a cat

If you’re like most cat owners, you will want to avoid bathing your cat. Your cat usually ends up a seething ball of anger, teeth, and claws, while you end up a drowned mess with scratches in the corner of the room.

Waterless cat shampoos can get rid of the stale dust and the smell of poo that won’t otherwise go away on your cat, but with such a wide variety of foams, sprays, and even wipes to choose from, how can you begin to know which is the best dry shampoo for cats?

Below, we have reviews of 10 of the best waterless cat shampoos we found on the market. Choose the one for your feline bathing requirements and to save your relationship with your cat.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath
  • Easy to apply
  • Soothes and cleans
  • Minimal ingredients
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Burt’s Bees For Cats Burt’s Bees For Cats
  • Cheap
  • Easy to apply
  • Contains apple and honey
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Nootie Wipes Nootie Wipes
  • Very easy to use
  • No harsh chemicals
  • No alcohol content
  • Furminator DeShedding Rinse-Free Furminator DeShedding Rinse-Free
  • Cleanses the coat
  • Reduces shedding
  • For healthy skin and coat
  • TropiClean Waterless Dander Reducing Cat Shampoo TropiClean Waterless Dander Reducing Cat Shampoo
  • Pump bottle
  • Smells of coconut
  • Minimizes dander and cleans
  • The 10 Best Waterless Cat Shampoos – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath – Best Overall

    Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath

    Product Type: Foam
    Pets: Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Waterless Cat Bath

    Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath contains a combination of aloe vera, neem oil, and oatmeal, as well as vitamin E. Its ingredients mean that the waterless cat bath will soothe dry and painful, itchy skin, and will leave your cat’s fur clean and smelling fresh.

    It is easy to apply. Simply squirt the water bath into your cat’s coat before massaging it down from head to toe. Once the shampoo has dried, you can brush your cat to get rid of any residue and to ensure that they are thoroughly clean.

    Suitable for adult cats aged 12 weeks or older, this shampoo does have a strong smell. This can prove useful for cats that get messy but could be unnecessary for cleaner and fastidious cats. A strong smell is enough to deter some cats from future use.

    The dry shampoo for cats is expensive, but it is easy to apply, contains sympathetic ingredients, and does a good job of cleansing. It is a shame about the strong smell, which may be enough to put some owners and cats off using it.

    Pros
    • Minimal ingredients
    • Soothes and cleans
    • Easy to apply
    Cons
    • Strong smell
    • Expensive

    2. Burt’s Bees For Cats – Best Value

    Burt’s Bees For Cats

    Product Type: Spray
    Pets: Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Dry Shampoo

    Burt’s Bees for Cats is a dry shampoo spray that contains honey, apple extract, citric acid, and other gentle ingredients. Burt’s Bees claims that the shampoo uses 99.8% natural ingredients and does not contain any sulfates or artificial colorants. Colorants are entirely unnecessary for pet products but are still found in some ingredients.

    Apple is used to nourish the coat and fur, while honey produces a shiny and lustrous coat. The ingredients have been chosen and formulated in order to provide a pH level that is perfectly suited to cats.

    To apply the dry shampoo for cats, spray it down the cat from the neck to the tail and then massage it into the coat. Towel dry before brushing. The shampoo is not only great for routine bathing but can also be used to spot clean if your cat comes home covered in mud or other dirt.

    Burt’s Bees uses wholesome ingredients, it’s easy to apply, and its low cost means that it is the best waterless cat shampoo for the money. It is a little bit sticky, however, and some cats will dislike the hissing noise of the spray.

    Pros
    • Cheap
    • Contains apple and honey
    • Easy to apply
    Cons
    • Slightly tacky
    • Some cats won’t like the spray

    3. Nootie Wipes – Premium Choice

    Nootie Wipes

    Product Type: Wipes
    Pets: Dogs and Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Waterless Shampoo Wipes

    Nootie Wipes are designed for use with cats and dogs. They come in a variety of scents, with this one being the Japanese cherry blossom variant. A tub contains 70 wipes. If you’re spot cleaning a relatively easy stain, a single wipe should do the trick, but you may require multiple wipes to clean a full pet or if they are covered in particularly stubborn and difficult stains. The need for multiple wipes does mean that these can be an expensive option, but rubbing down with a wipe removes several steps from the bathing process because it means that you do not need to spray or wash first.

    The wipes do not contain any alcohol, instead, they rely on the soothing nature of aloe vera, the cleaning properties of oatmeal, and the moisturizing of glycerin.

    The wipes are effective and even easier to apply than foams and sprays. However, they also work out to be quite pricey and the smell of the perfume may be too strong for some cats and even some owners.

    When it comes to premium picks, we think this is the best dry shampoo for cats.

    Pros
    • Very easy to use
    • No harsh chemicals or alcohol content
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Strong smell

    4. Furminator DeShedding Rinse-Free

    Furminator DeShedding Rinse-Free

    Product Type: Foam
    Pets: Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Deshedding Waterless Shampoo

    The Furminator DeShedding Rinse-Free shampoo uses plant protein and is fortified with additional omega fatty acids. Fatty acids help strengthen your cat’s fur, which prevents excess shedding and, therefore, stops your cat from swallowing hair and creating fur balls. The ingredients are also formulated to help clean and cleanse the coat. Apply by massaging into the coat to create a lather and then leave it to dry naturally.

    The waterless cat shampoo is a foam, which means that there is no squirt or spray to put cats off, and it has proven effective in the prevention or reduction of shedding. However, as with a lot of dry shampoo for cats, it does have a strong smell that could put your cats off. It is also quite sticky and may require you to remove the foam with a towel, which means that it isn’t as simple to apply or use as some other products in this category, and especially not the wipes and sprays. It is moderately priced, however, and is beneficial for combining the features of waterless shampoo with the benefit of a deshedding product.

    Pros
    • Reduces shedding
    • Cleanses the coat
    Cons
    • Sticky
    • Strong smell
    • May require wiping off

    5. TropiClean Waterless Dander Reducing Cat Shampoo

    TropiClean Waterless Dander Reducing Cat Shampoo

    Product Type: Foam
    Pets: Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Dander Reduction

    TropiClean Waterless Dander Reducing Shampoo is a foam that is applied by massaging it into the cat’s coat. In doing so, the natural ingredients not only help clean the fur but can reduce the amount of dander that the cat produces. Dander is the white flakes of skin that are found in your cat’s fur. Dander contains the Fel d1 protein, which is responsible for allergic reactions in humans and can be an irritant to some cats. By using an effective dander-reducing shampoo like TropiClean, it is possible to reduce the amount of dander produced, therefore reducing allergic reactions to and from your cat. TropiClean contains coconut, which is used as a natural cleanser, as well as extracts of cucumber and oatmeal, which are also known to soothe irritated skin and clean the cat’s fur.

    The application requires the foam to be massaged into the cat’s fur. Brushing will not only help ensure that the shampoo is evenly and thoroughly spread across the cat, but can also help remove dead cells and further prevent the spread of cat dander.

    Although the spray does a good job of cleaning and reducing dander, it does require regular reapplication, which means that the cost of the shampoo quickly mounts up. Also, although the pump avoids the spray bottles that can put some cats off, it is difficult to pump the thick shampoo out effectively.

    Pros
    • Pump bottle
    • Minimizes dander and cleans
    • Smells of coconut
    Cons
    • Pump bottle is difficult to work
    • Needs regular reapplication for best results

    6. TropiClean Waterless Hypoallergenic

    TropiClean Waterless Hypoallergenic

    Product Type: Foam
    Pets: Cats
    Life Stage: Adult and Senior
    Feature: Hypoallergenic

    TropiClean Waterless Hypoallergenic shampoo is made from hypoallergenic and natural ingredients. As well as purified water, it contains coconut, oatmeal, and cucumber ingredients. The use of these ingredients not only prevents allergic reactions in the cat but should also provide allergy-free use for owners and cat parents too.

    The waterless cat shampoo is a foam. It is massaged into the fur and then left to dry naturally. It doesn’t need rinsing or rubbing out, and along with its other benefits, it has proven to help soften and condition the cat’s coat, making it easier to brush and care for afterward.

    Although this product is sympathetic to cats and also owners, its effects only last a few hours so it won’t completely replace regular water baths. Also, the bottle does break easily, which makes it difficult to store and use.

    Pros
    • Hypoallergenic for cats and owners
    • Dries naturally
    Cons
    • Pump bottle breaks easily
    • Needs regular reapplication for best results

    7. Burt’s Bees Dander Reducing Wipes with Colloidal Oat Flour & Aloe Vera For Cats

    Burt's Bees Dander Reducing Wipes with Colloidal Oat Flour & Aloe Vera For Cats

    Product Type: Wipes
    Pets: Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Dander-Reducing

    These dander-reducing wipes from Burt’s Bees contain honey and natural ingredients. They are free from colorants and harsh, harmful chemicals. They are also pH balanced for cats, ensuring they are sympathetic to feline physiology. Colloidal out flour helps condition and improve dry skin while aloe vera soothes and softens irritated areas. The pH-balanced formula prevents drying out your cat’s skin, which can cause further irritation and itchiness. Wipes are very easy to use. Simply make sure that you wipe down the cat from the neck to the tail, and if you want to ensure that the content of the wipes is fully dispersed, you can brush the fur. The wipes can be used for spot cleaning if your cat gets dirty when out of the house, and even for cleaning paws.

    Wipes can prove expensive because owners tend to use a handful at a time, but these are low-cost wipes, so even if you do use several at a time, they should still prove affordable overall. They do help reduce dander but they have a somewhat strong smell that some cats dislike.

    Pros
    • Low-cost wipes
    • Wipes are easy to use
    • Reduce dander
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like wipes
    • Strong smell

    8. Ark Naturals Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog & Cat Shampoo

    Ark Naturals Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog & Cat Shampoo

    Product Type: Foam
    Pets: Dogs and Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Waterless Shampoo

    Ark Naturals Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog & Cat Shampoo uses a botanical, natural formula, to clean, condition, and cleanse your cat’s fur. This product works on both dogs and cats and is easy to apply. Simply apply the foam and work it in by massaging the coat. You can dry the coat with a towel if you want to avoid your cat licking the shampoo away, but this isn’t necessary.

    Ingredients include balsam, rosemary, cedar, and orange. It can be used to spot clean your cat when they roll in or pick up something in their coat that you want to get rid of but don’t want to give them a full bath. The bottle is a pump applicator, which means that it doesn’t squirt and hiss at your cat. It is somewhat sticky and it leaves a similarly sticky residue on the cat’s coat once you’ve finished, but it smells natural and comes in a big bottle so you won’t have to replace it too often.

    Pros
    • Large, convenient bottle
    • Easy to apply
    • Smells natural
    Cons
    • Somewhat sticky
    • Only really suitable for spot cleaning

    9. Bodhi Dog Waterless Lemongrass Dog, Cat & Small Animal Dry Shampoo

    Bodhi Dog Waterless Lemongrass Dog, Cat & Small Animal Dry Shampoo

    Product Type: Spray
    Pets: Dogs, Cats, Small Animals
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Dry Shampoo

    The Bodhi Dog Waterless Lemongrass Dog, Cat & Small Animal Dry Shampoo is made from water, lemongrass, and coconut extract. The natural ingredients ensure that it is safe for your pet to lick, although you can dry and brush the shampoo through after use, which will minimize the amount that your cat digests.

    To apply, you lightly spray the affected area with shampoo, leave it to stand for a minute, and then dry the area with a towel. Then allow the area to dry naturally before brushing. Bodhi claims that the shampoo can be used to spot clean or as a full body wash.

    Although this is a dry shampoo, meaning that it does not need water to apply to your cat, it is quite wet and does need drying afterward. Also, while it is supposed to be effective for a full body wash, it is best reserved for spot cleaning and light use, otherwise, it would take a lot of the liquid and results would not be the best.

    Pros
    • Natural ingredients
    • Good for spot cleaning
    Cons
    • Strong smell
    • Very wet
    • Not good for full body wash

    10. BioGroom Waterless Klean Kitty Cat Shampoo

    BioGroom Waterless Klean Kitty Cat Shampoo

    Product Type: Spray
    Pets: Cats
    Life Stage: Adult
    Feature: Waterless Shampoo

    Biogroom Waterless Klean Kitty Cat Shampoo is a waterless shampoo that is applied by massaging into the coat to create a lather and then drying with a towel. The manufacturer claims that the neutral pH means that it is sympathetic to your cat, while the ingredients do not leave a sticky residue.

    It is advised for use in between water baths, rather than as a replacement for water baths, but it can also be used on senior cats that cannot safely or reasonably be bathed. The shampoo is expensive, contains alcohol-based products, and there are reports that it needs to be properly rinsed out, defeating the point of waterless shampoo.

    Pros
    • pH balanced
    • Can be used with flea treatments
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Sticky
    • Needs rinsing out
    ]

    You might also be interested in: 8 Best Kitten Shampoos in 2021 - Reviews & Top Picks

    hepper cat paw divider

    Buyer's Guide: What to Look for When Buying the Best Waterless Cat Shampoos

    Waterless shampoo cleans, deodorizes, and conditions your cat’s fur without the need to have to even turn the tap on. These products are great as a means of spot cleaning a cat, especially beneficial if you have a cat that seems to roll in something every time they leave the house. Some of the shampoos may also offer additional features and benefits, such as dander reduction or being hypoallergenic. When buying a dry shampoo for your cat, consider the following.

    Shampoo Type

    There aren’t too many different types of waterless shampoo.

    The main variants you will find are:
    • Spray – The spray bottle contains a liquid that is usually misted out of the bottle and onto the cat’s fur. These can leave your cat damp and some of them leave a sticky residue behind. This type of shampoo may require that you dry your cat afterward, and it could be argued that they defeat the object of a waterless shampoo, for this reason.
    • Foam – Foam is easy to apply and does not usually leave your cat as wet as the spray option. However, the foam applicator can make something of a hissing noise that is off-putting for a lot of cats and this type of shampoo is even more likely to leave a sticky residue behind.
    • Wipes – Wipes are similar to hand wipes. They contain the shampoo and as you wipe them across your cat’s coat, or into their fur, the shampoo is applied to the cat’s fur. Wipes are convenient but you cannot control the amount you use, they dry out quickly and can cost a lot more. They are not usually considered suitable for a full body wash because it would take too many wipes.

    The Benefits of Waterless Shampoo

    Waterless shampoo is quick and convenient. It can be applied stealthily, too, unless you have a squirt bottle that makes a hissing sound. Your cat may think you’re simply stroking or brushing it, while you are, in fact, washing and deodorizing it.

    Also, some cats detest being washed and hate water. These cats make it very difficult indeed to bathe them. If you have such a cat and they roll in something or get a small amount of dirt on them, the last thing you need is to have to run a bath and try to dunk your cat. Some waterless shampoos offer additional features, such as dander reduction, too.

    cat in the bathroom
    Image Credit: Mathilde Langevin, Unsplash

    Can You Use Human Shampoo On Cats?

    You should never use human shampoo on cats. The chemicals and detergents used in human shampoo can be way too harsh for a cat’s hair and may damage it. The ingredients can also dry out your cat’s skin and leave them feeling itchy and irritable. Cat shampoo should be formulated to be sympathetic and kind to your cat’s coat and skin.

    How Often Can You Use Dry Shampoo For Cats?

    How often you can use dry shampoo on your cat will depend on the shampoo in question. Some are designed primarily for spot cleaning. They are used in between full water baths, and they tend to be quite safe for regular use. Their effects may only last for a short time, which means that you will have to reapply regularly. Always check the instructions on the bottle or container, and ensure that you do not exceed the recommended amount of shampoo or frequency of use.

    hepper cat paw divider

    Conclusion

    Dry shampoo for cats can provide a great way to spot clean your kitty or to shampoo a senior cat or one that is unwilling to get wet. It is quicker and more convenient than having to run the water, fill the sink or bath, and attempting to wash and dry your cat. Choose one that is convenient and offers the features that you require.

    While compiling our reviews, we found the Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath to be soothing for the cat and easy to apply, although it is a little pricier than most. If budget is a major concern, Burt’s Bees for Cats is not only formulated using honey and other natural ingredients but is also inexpensive and effective.

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    Featured Image Credit: Koltsov, Shutterstock

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