Fleas are nuisances. They bite and make your cat itch, causing endless amounts of discomfort for your feline —and you, too, if your home ends up infested. Getting rid of these pests can be a pain, especially when your feline best friend hates flea collars and can’t stand topical spot treatments.
There’s a large variety of flea shampoos that can be used in tandem with more common flea treatments to provide wider coverage. We put together these reviews to introduce you to your options, whether you’re looking for a natural remedy for your kitten or a fast-acting flea pesticide for your newly adopted stray.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners in 2024
|Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo With Precor
|Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo
|Sergeant's Gold Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo
|NaturVet Herbal Flea Dog & Cat Shampoo
|Sentry PurrScriptions Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats
The 10 Best Flea Shampoos for Cats
1. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo With Precor — Best Overall
|12-ounce, 24-ounce, or 1-gallon bottles
|12 weeks and older
|Prevents fleas for up to 28 days
|Aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor works to prevent fleas on your cat or dog for up to 28 days by targeting not only the adult fleas but also the larvae and eggs. As the best overall flea shampoo for cats, Adams Plus also kills ticks and lice. It’s available in three sizes — 12- or 24-ounce or 1-gallon bottles — to support multi-cat or multi-pet households and can be diluted or used at full strength.
The recipe contains aloe, coconut extract, lanolin, and oatmeal so it doesn’t irritate cats with sensitive skin, and it moisturizes their fur to remove dirt and dandruff.
Although the Adams Plus is suitable for both cats and dogs, it shouldn’t be used on kittens younger than 12 weeks of age. To help this formula work the most effectively, it’s recommended to partner it with other flea prevention measures to subdue infestations around the home and garden.
2. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo — Best Value
|16-ounce or 1-gallon bottles
|12 weeks and older
|Prevents fleas for up to 14 weeks
|Aloe and lanolin
Formulated using ingredients recommended by veterinarians, the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo protects your cat against flea infestations for up to 14 weeks. Available in 16-ounce or 1-gallon bottles and filled with ingredients recommended by veterinarians to control fleas, it’s the best flea shampoo for cats for the money.
With a fresh, clean scent to keep your feline smelling nice for longer, the Veterinary Formula contains aloe and lanolin to avoid aggravating sensitive skin.
For maximum effectiveness, this shampoo should be left on your cat’s fur for 5–10 minutes before rinsing, which might be difficult if your cat doesn’t like baths. This option is also unsuitable for use on kittens younger than 12 weeks.
3. Sergeant’s Gold Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo — Premium Choice
|12 weeks and older
|Prevents infestation for up to 30 days
The Sergeant’s Gold Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo protects your cat from fleas for up to 30 days and is effective on eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. Along with pyrethrins that kill fleas on contact, the recipe for Sergeant’s Gold contains pyriproxyfen to stop the flea reproduction cycle, in order to combat infestations before they start.
To keep your outdoorsy, dust-loving feline smelling clean for longer, Sergeant’s Gold also includes a spring freesia fragrance.
Only available in 12-ounce bottles, this option is more expensive than some others and doesn’t contain ingredients to soothe sensitive skin. It’s also unsuitable for kittens below 12 weeks old.
4. NaturVet Herbal Flea Dog & Cat Shampoo — Best for Kittens
|Herbal, rosemary, thyme, cedarwood, geranium
Our best flea shampoo for kittens is the NaturVet Herbal Flea Dog & Cat Shampoo. With its herbal recipe, it is gentle on sensitive skin and doesn’t contain chemicals that could potentially harm young kittens. The formula contains a mixture of rosemary, thyme, cedarwood, and geranium to repel fleas and protect your feline from infestations. Along with preventing fleas, NaturVet also keeps your cat’s coat shiny and sleek.
Since NaturVet doesn’t contain chemical pesticides, it might not work as fast as some other options. It also needs to be left on your cat for 10 minutes before rinsing, which may be difficult for kittens that get bored and uncomfortable easily.
5. Sentry PurrScriptions Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats
|Prevents fleas for up to 30 days
With a spring freesia scent to keep your feline smelling delightfully clean, the Sentry PurrScriptions Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats kills adult fleas, eggs, and ticks. This option also contains Nylar to sterilize fleas and prevent their reproduction cycle to protect against infestations for up to 30 days.
Along with cleaning away dirt and grime, Sentry PurrScriptions will deodorize and condition your cat’s fur to keep it sleek and shiny.
Like many other treatments, this shampoo needs to stand for 5 minutes before rinsing. It also doesn’t repel fleas from the surrounding environment and might be more effective partnered with other flea control solutions. Some users have said that the protection against fleas doesn’t last for the stated 30 days.
6. Miracle Care De Flea Shampoo Concentrate for Dogs & Cats
|Kills fleas on contact
Filled with pyrethrin-based pesticides, the Miracle Care De Flea Shampoo Concentrate for Dogs & Cats works on contact and is effective against eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. Using a non-toxic recipe, this option is safe for cats and also your dog, and the 1-gallon bottle allows for plenty of use even with multi-pet households. For extra effectiveness, it can be combined with other flea prevention treatments to give your feline protection against fleas for longer.
Along with being more expensive than some other options, Miracle Care needs to be diluted to be completely safe for your cat. Several owners have also complained about the strong chemical smell.
7. Natural Chemistry Flea Shampoo for Cats
|Prevents fleas for up to 7 days
|Cinnamon, clove, cedar oils
Another option for the best flea shampoo for kittens is the Natural Chemistry Flea Shampoo for Cats. It combats fleas, ticks, black flies, and mosquitos with natural ingredients and doesn’t interfere with topical flea treatments. The recipe uses cinnamon, clove, and cedar oils and is formulated to provide lasting protection for up to a week.
For maximum effectiveness, it should be left on your cat for at least 5 minutes before you rinse it off.
Some users have complained that it doesn’t lather well and that the smell is unpleasant, while others said that they received a broken bottle or one with a damaged seal.
8. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Foaming Shampoo for Cats
|12 weeks and older
|Prevents flea infestations for up to 28 days
|Coconut, oatmeal, aloe, and lanolin
The Adams Plus Flea & Tick Foaming Shampoo for Cats is formulated to remove dandruff, dirt, and grime along with conditioning your cat’s fur to keep it healthy. This product contains coconut, oatmeal, aloe, and lanolin to be gentle on your feline’s sensitive skin. The Adam’s Plus recipe uses pyrethrin to kill fleas, eggs, larvae, ticks, and lice on contact and prevent future infestations for up to 28 days.
To make application easy, this Adams Plus option comes with a drip-free dispenser.
Some users have complained about the strong odor given off by this product, and it’s unsuitable for kittens less than 12 weeks old.
9. Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo
|12 weeks and older
|Kills fleas and ticks on contact
Using an unscented formula so it doesn’t bother sensitive noses — yours or your feline’s — the Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo can relieve your cat of their flea infestation. It works on contact with fleas and ticks and can be used instead of other topical flea treatments. To be completely effective, it’s recommended to be used alongside treatments for your home and garden to protect your cat against future infestations.
Advantage shouldn’t be used more than once in 7 days or on kittens less than 12 weeks old. This option is only available in 8-ounce bottles and is a little expensive compared to some other options.
10. Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
|12 weeks and older
|Prevents fleas for up to 2 weeks
The Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats is a good option for multi-pet households. As a full-strength flea treatment, it can be used without being paired with other flea prevention solutions. The formula is designed to be effective against fleas and ticks for up to 2 weeks while conditioning your cat’s fur.
Due to the strength of this option, it requires dilution, which makes this a longer-lasting solution for multi-cat and multi-pet households. To increase effectiveness, it should be left on your cat for at least 5 minutes before you wash it off.
Zodiac is unsuitable for kittens younger than 12 weeks old and pregnant or lactating cats.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Flea Shampoo
What Are Fleas?
A flea is a brown, wingless insect ranging between the size of a pinhead and ⅛ of an inch long. They have thin, flattened bodies, a tubular snout for sucking blood, and powerful legs that enable them to jump great distances. A flea can jump as far as 7 feet! This makes it easy for them to pass from animal to animal.
Combined with the miserable itching that they cause your cat by sucking their blood, fleas carry disease and can cause health problems for your cat and you.
Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae. If your cat accidentally swallows a tapeworm-carrying flea while grooming, the larvae will develop inside your cat and infect them.
Flea allergy dermatitis can also develop. Flea bites may trigger an immune response in your cat and cause an allergic reaction, leading to even more itchiness and discomfort for them.
If the flea infestation is severe enough, it can lead to anemia from the blood loss, and this can be life-threatening for your cat. Anemia is especially dangerous for small kittens.
What to Look For When Choosing a Cat Flea Shampoo
Now that you know more about cat flea shampoos, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best one for your feline friend. There are so many options available, so getting one that works effectively will make all the difference for your cat. Let’s see how to pick the best cat flea shampoo for your cat.
Make Sure It’s Safe for Cats
The first thing to do is make sure the shampoo that you choose is formulated for cats. Flea shampoo for dogs may not be as effective and can even be harmful in some cases. Cats react differently than dogs to flea products. Giving your cat something intended for a dog could have severe consequences.
Make Sure It’s Age-Appropriate
If flea shampoo formulas are made for adult cats, they may be too strong for kittens to handle. Flea shampoos are not considered to be safe for kittens under 12 weeks old.
Consider Your Cat’s Skin Type
If your cat has sensitive or dry skin, you may want to choose a natural or organic shampoo. These aren’t made with chemicals and can still kill and control fleas. D-limonene is an active ingredient in natural flea shampoos and is made from the peels of citrus fruits. It is safe for people, dogs, and cats but will kill fleas and ticks.
Organic shampoos use essential oils to repel fleas and ticks. Peppermint, clove, and cedar oils may not eliminate the parasites, but they do make the cat’s body an unappealing place for them to live. These shampoos aren’t harsh on your cat’s skin and can be used as an effective preventative against infestations.
Chemical shampoos contain pyrethrins and pyrethroids. Pyrethrins are mixtures of chemicals derived from chrysanthemum flowers. They kill fleas by attacking their nervous systems. Pyrethroids also kill fleas the same way, but these chemicals are manufactured instead of naturally occurring.
Too many of these chemicals can be toxic to cats, and unfortunately, these poisonings are commonly the result of cat owners trying to control fleas and ticks and accidentally using the wrong amount of a product or a product made for dogs instead of cats.
Always make sure you use the intended amount of shampoo on your cat during a bath. Only bathe your cat as often as the directions suggest.
Pyrethrin poisoning can be life-threatening.
How to Use Flea Shampoos on Cats
Read the instructions on the label before you begin. Cat flea shampoos will work differently depending on their ingredients. Know the proper amount to use and how long to leave it on before rinsing. If you are using any topical flea treatments, pills, or collars on your cat, always ask your veterinarian first if adding the shampoo is safe and if the products will interact with one another.
When it comes to flea shampoos, where you start using them is important. Once the cat’s body is partially submerged in water, the fleas will move to the areas that aren’t. The highest point of safety for them is the top of the cat’s head. You may see them scurry up there and start to hide.
This is why starting the lather at the head is important. Don’t give the fleas a chance to escape or hide until the bath is over.
Avoiding the eyes, lather the top of your cat’s head gently. The fleas may start to run down their face, so it’s a good idea to have a flea comb handy. Softly and carefully to avoid eye injuries, comb the fleas that you see out of your cat’s face and into the soapy water.
Fleas hide behind cats’ ears and in any nooks and crannies that they can find. Working down from the head, lather up your cat, including in between their toes and tail base. Don’t forget to thoroughly scrub your cat’s stomach and legs.
Once your cat is lathered, the shampoo may take a while to work. Leave the lather on your cat for as long as you are directed to by the label. Your cat may not enjoy this part, but they will feel much more comfortable when it’s over. The upside is that if the bath is effective, you won’t have to do it again soon.
Any shampoo left on your cat’s skin can irritate it, so be sure to rinse them thoroughly. Take care to ensure that no shampoo runs into your cat’s eyes. A helpful rule of thumb is that when you think that your cat is thoroughly rinsed, rinse them again. Then do it once more.
Why Use a Flea Shampoo?
Flea shampoos are not a permanent or complete cure for flea infestations, but they do help in ways that flea powder, collars, and sprays don’t. They cover the hair and skin, leaving no spot untreated. They can kill fleas in minutes and work for weeks afterward to repel fleas and prevent further occurrences. Some also have ingredients to soothe your cat’s skin and provide nearly instant relief.
How to Tell If Your Cat Has Fleas
Excessive grooming, scratching, and head shaking by your cat can be signs of a flea infestation. If you notice these behavioral changes, check their coats.
Moving their fur apart so you can see down to the skin will enable you to watch for anything running or jumping. Fleas can move and jump quickly. You’ll see them running fast and trying to hide as you search through the fur.
You may also notice hair loss or scabbing on your cat’s skin. These can also be signs that fleas are present.
You can use a flea comb to pull through your cat’s coat and yank out any fleas that are trying to hide. You’ll see them stuck to the comb’s teeth. After each comb-through, douse the comb in a bowl of soapy water to remove the fleas and eliminate them.
Our choice for overall best cat flea shampoo is the Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo. The protection that it offers lasts for 28 days, and it contains skin-soothing ingredients. The Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo, as a budget-friendly option, prevents future infestations for up to 14 weeks and contains aloe and lanolin. It has a pleasant scent while keeping flea infestations away. We hope that our reviews have helped you find the right flea shampoo for your cat to keep them healthy and comfortable.
Next on your reading list:
- My Cat Has Fleas – How Do I Clean My House?
- 10 Best Antifungal Shampoos for Cats – Reviews & Top Picks
Featured Image Credit: Olleg, Shutterstock