Just like the range of human shampoos has expanded in recent years, there is an almost dizzying array of cat shampoos available. As well as standard shampoos, there are those that contain anti-flea treatments and those made from natural ingredients. There are hypoallergenic shampoos for sensitive cats, and then there are rinse-free, waterless, and even shampoo bars.
Because getting the right cat shampoo is important, we have compiled reviews of the best products and included a guide to help you find the most suitable option.
A Quick Comparison of Our Top Picks (2023)
|Best Overall||Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Cat Shampoo||
|Best Value||Mikki Cat and Kitten Shampoo||
|Premium Choice||Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes for Cats||
|Best for Kittens||Espree Natural Kitten Shampoo||
|Animology Feline Great Cat Shampoo||
The 10 Best Cat Shampoos in the UK
1. Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Cat Shampoo – Best Overall
Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Fragrance Free Cat Shampoo is a hypoallergenic liquid shampoo that is ideal for kittens, cats, and senior cats that have sensitive skin and are sensitive to certain allergens. It uses coconut-based cleansers to clean and condition, aloe vera to soften the coat and soothe the skin and is fortified with vitamins A, B, D, and E.
The formula is pH balanced for cats who have different pH requirements than humans, and it can be diluted at a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part shampoo, which is beneficial if you need to bathe a kitten and want to ensure it is sensitive to a young cat’s skin. The shampoo is unscented and hypoallergenic. It also works with anti-flea treatments and won’t wash them out, making it the best overall cat shampoo in the UK.
However, Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Fragrance Free Cat Shampoo is unscented, so if you’re looking for a shampoo to mask a strong smell, it may not be the best choice for you.
2. Mikki Cat and Kitten Shampoo – Best Value
Kitten shampoo offers many of the same benefits as baby shampoo. It is milder and it should offer a tear-free formula, so it won’t stress your young cat out or cause them any negative side effects. However, it still needs to be effective at cleaning and conditioning their coat.
Mikki Cat And Kitten Shampoo is suitable for kittens and adults, but because it produces less lather, it is targeted primarily at kittens. Less rinsing means less stress while the mild formula won’t irritate young skin. It boasts a crisp pear scent, which is also quite mild and not overpowering. It is also really inexpensive and suitable for adult cats and kittens, making it the best cat shampoo in the UK for the money.
It is a mild shampoo, and it is thinner than other shampoos, so you may find you use more if your kitten really needs bathing.
3. Nootie Waterless Cat Shampoo Wipes – Premium Choice
No matter how sympathetic a shampoo you choose, some cats simply can’t abide being bathed, even if you started them in the bath as a kitten. There are also occasions when you’re unable to bathe your cat. For example, if travelling or if you need to avoid getting certain areas of your cat wet.
Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes For Dogs & Cats provide a viable alternative in these cases. They contain oatmeal and aloe vera to clean and condition the coat and are pH balanced for cats. They have a cherry blossom scent and there’s no need to rinse your cat once you’ve finished wiping.
The smell is quite strong and smells more chemically than natural cherry blossom. While a long-lasting scent is good if you have a smelly cat, it may prove overpowering. Because it may take a few wipes to get your cat cleaned, these do work out to be more expensive than a bottle of shampoo, but they are convenient and more effective than a lot of cat wipes.
4. Espree Natural Kitten Shampoo – Best for Kittens
Espree Natural Kitten Shampoo combines aloe and jojoba to give a hypoallergenic shampoo with a tear-free formula, making it suitable for kittens and for sensitive cats that react poorly to chemical-based shampoos. Aloe is not only beneficial for cleaning and conditioning the coat, but it can also alleviate and soothe itchiness, rashes, and sensitivity caused by the sun or other environmental factors.
This is a wet shampoo, which is about average priced, and Espree also makes a version of their kitten shampoo in wipe format. The shampoo has a baby powder scent, but at full strength, this can be quite overpowering. However, Espree Natural Kitten Shampoo can be diluted at a ratio of up to 16 parts water to 1 part shampoo, which not only means the shampoo goes further but will dilute the strong smell and still clean and cleanse all but the muckiest of kittens.
5. Animology Feline Great Cat Shampoo
Animology Feline Great Shampoo is a paraben-free shampoo with a built-in conditioner. It contains aloe vera extract, which helps improve the condition of your cat’s coat while also soothing any irritation of their skin caused by skin conditions or excessive grooming. Animology claims the shampoo is lightweight, which reduces the time it takes to bathe your cat and, therefore, reduces the amount of stress you both have to suffer. Animology also says that the formula can help tackle dandruff.
The shampoo is an average price, and it has a pleasant peach smell, which does dissipate a little once applied to the cat. Because it is designed for quicker bathing, it doesn’t lather up easily. Owners of long-haired cats, especially, will find that they then use more of the shampoo to get a decent, deep clean.
6. TropiClean Luxury Cat Shampoo & Conditioner
|Scent:||Papaya & Coconut|
TropiClean Shampoo For Pets is a papaya and coconut-scented shampoo that is soap, paraben, and dye free. It is pH balanced for cats and dogs and claims to clean, moisturise, and condition the coat and skin. The shampoo uses coconut cleanser, oatmeal, and salt for the cleaning, and papaya for a natural scent.
This is a very large bottle, containing 3.78 litres, which does help reduce the cost significantly. Because it is suitable for dogs and cats, it is a good choice for parents of large and extended pet families or even for professional groomers and grooming services. You will likely want a smaller container to siphon the shampoo into, however, and the natural scent does not last long. It will take a couple of washes to remove any stubborn dirt using this shampoo, too.
7. Vet’s Best Natural Waterless Cat Bath Shampoo
Some cats are especially averse to water and no amount of coaxing or layers of clothes make bath time feasible. But, if your cat needs cleaning, there is still a solution. Waterless shampoo is a foam-like shampoo that is applied to the cat without the need to wet or even dampen the coat first. It is left in and doesn’t need rinsing out, either.
Vet’s Best Natural Waterless Cat Bath is a waterless foam shampoo that contains vitamin E, aloe vera, and oatmeal, as well as chamomile, which is added for its calming effects. This is a small bottle, and it works out to be an expensive option. As well as being expensive there are some controversial ingredients in the shampoo, like sodium laureth sulphate, which can cause skin irritations in some cats. The shampoo can also leave a greasy residue behind.
8. JVP Johnsons Vet Cat Flea Cleansing Cat Shampoo
Fleas are a problem that most cat and dog owners have had to deal with at least once in their pet-owning lives. They’re a nuisance for humans and they can cause serious skin problems for your cat. Regular and effective treatment is important.
JVP Johnsons Vet Cat Flea Cleaning Shampoo is a citrus-based flea shampoo that cleans and aims to kill fleas. The shampoo is on the expensive side and does a reasonable job of cleaning cats and leaving them looking good. However, the citrus and natural herb scent is very mild and doesn’t last, and the shampoo alone will not deal with most flea problems. You will likely need to combine it with a flea treatment, flea collar, or another solution.
9. Animology Glamour Puss Cat Shampoo
Animology Glamour Puss Cat Shampoo is a no-rinse, waterless shampoo that comes in a spray bottle. Simply spray the shampoo on your cat, groom it through the coat, and then leave it to dry naturally. The water-free washing technique is well-suited to those cats that hate baths or showers, although it doesn’t tend to give as clean a result. The shampoo contains aloe vera extract and leaves a natural peach scent on your cat.
Although the shampoo is an average price, it does take more to ensure that your cat is thoroughly covered, so it works out to be an expensive method of bathing. And, while the peach smell is pleasant, it disappears quickly.
10. Animigo Flea and Tick Cat Shampoo
Animigo Flea and Tick Shampoo is a liquid shampoo designed to help kill fleas and ticks while soothing irritated skin and cleaning and conditioning the coat. Ingredients include oatmeal, coconut oil, avocado oil, tea tree oil, and chamomile. Animigo claims that this washes out fleas and ticks without the need for any potentially harmful or irritating chemicals in the formula. The shampoo is described as being easy to rinse.
It is on the upper end of the price scale compared to most other shampoos on the list, and while it does a good job of soothing itchy skin, it is less effective at killing and getting rid of fleas and ticks. So, it will need to be combined with other treatments for the best results.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Shampoo in the UK
Cats are generally known for being clean animals. They spend a lot of time grooming themselves and, in most cases, they really can keep themselves clean. However, some cats also like to roll around in dirt while others avoid the responsibility.
Unless your vet advises otherwise, it is generally considered OK to bathe your cat every few months, and some breeds may require more frequent baths. When you bathe them, you will want to ensure that you use a good quality cat shampoo and not a human shampoo. Human shampoo will not only clean your cat’s coat but leave them smelling fresh. Some shampoos even claim to kill fleas and ticks, soothe irritated and painful skin, and more.
Do Cats Need to Be Shampooed?
Most cats are very good at self-grooming, but there are times when they need a hand. If your cat is unable to clean itself fully or properly, or if they get especially dirty, then they will need shampooing just the same as we do. However, shampooing and bathing too often can do more harm than good and may strip the protective oils from your cat’s coat, leaving dry skin and matted fur as the end result. Only wash your cat when absolutely necessary or if you have been advised to do so by your vet.
The main types of cat shampoo include:
Liquid: Liquid shampoo is traditional shampoo. It comes in a liquid form and it needs to be applied to your cat when they are wet. It should form a lather, be worked through the cat’s coat from tip to root, and will need to be rinsed out thoroughly afterward.
This type of shampoo tends to be the most effective because the lather it creates gets down into the roots. However, if you have a water-averse cat, the application of a liquid shampoo may not be possible.
Foam: Foam shampoo is applied to a dry cat, groomed through, and then left to dry naturally. The main benefit of this type of shampoo is that you don’t have to try dunking your cat in the bath, which can be a harrowing and trying experience for all concerned. However, some foam shampoos can leave an oily or greasy residue, which is somewhat self-defeating.
Spray: Another solution is the spray shampoo. Again, this is usually applied dry and needs to be groomed into the coat. Brushing the spray shampoo ensures that it gets down to the roots and yields a full and deep clean. Because more of the shampoo needs to be applied, spray shampoos can work out to be expensive.
Wipes: Shampoo wipes are pieces of disposable fabric that are coated in a shampoo or other cleaning solution. You can wipe your cat with them as though stroking them, so they are ideal for untrusting cats. They can be a good solution if travelling or to spot clean a stain, but because it is difficult to get to the base of all of your cat’s coat, they tend to be less effective than other solutions.
Hypoallergenic Shampoo: Hypoallergenic shampoos are those that contain fewer well-known allergens, although cats, like people, can be allergic to almost any substance or ingredient. Hypoallergenic is sometimes used to describe shampoos that contain natural ingredients because chemical ingredients are more likely to elicit a negative physiological response from your cat. Hypoallergenic shampoos are good for cats with sensitive skin or with poor condition coats.
Flea Shampoo: Fleas are a nuisance. They can be uncomfortable and painful for your cat and even for you. They can even cause a severe allergic reaction. But, even if your cat isn’t allergic, the constant biting can lead to overgrooming and to scratching and biting. This, in turn, can cause lesions and skin complaints.
Treating fleas as soon as they emerge is important. Flea shampoo contains ingredients that are designed to kill fleas and prevent them from coming back straight away. Flea shampoos are not usually effective when used alone and you may need to combine them with a spot treatment and a house treatment.
2-In-1: 2-in-1 shampoos contain shampoo to clean and conditioner to add moisture. These should leave a cat clean and with a good-looking coat. They can prevent dandruff, but they also tend to be a little more expensive. Unless your cat really needs their coat conditioned, you may consider it unnecessary.
Top 5 Tips to Bathe a Cat
Bathing cats can be notoriously difficult. However, there are some tips that can help make the experience less painful—figuratively and literally.
- Start Young: If you start bathing your cat when they are a young kitten, there is a chance that they will become accustomed to the process. With that said, some cats will never get used to the water, and you shouldn’t bathe most cats too often anyway.
- Don’t Dawdle: Make sure you have everything you need ready and to hand before you grab the cat. You’re going to need shampoo, a cup or jug, a washcloth, towels, and a fine-tooth comb. The washcloth is used for cleaning around the face. The comb is necessary because your cat will groom themselves a lot when the ordeal is over and getting rid of loose hairs will help prevent excessive furballs.
- Get Help: Having at least two people will make the process a lot easier. One of you can hold the cat while the other rinses. At the very least, there will be two of you to catch the cat when it makes a slippery bid for freedom.
- Don’t Overfill the Bath: You really only need a few inches of warm water in the bath, and there are very few cats that will enjoy more than this level of water.
- Get Professional Help: If all else fails, consider using a professional grooming service. They have experience dealing with ferocious felines and they have the tools and the setup to ensure the job is done quickly and well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Human Shampoo on My Cat?
In general, you should avoid using human shampoo on cats. It is formulated to meet the pH value of human hair and not cat hair, and is used too frequently, it can damage your cat’s sensitive coat. It may also contain harsh chemicals, and your cat will lick themselves after the bath, so it could cause some serious problems.
Is Baby Shampoo Safe for Cats?
Baby shampoo has a tear-free formula and has fewer chemicals. It shouldn’t be used on a regular basis for your cat, but it should be OK to use a good quality baby shampoo in a one-off emergency.
How Often Should You Bathe a Cat?
Typically, cats are good at keeping themselves clean, but they may need a hand occasionally. Avoid bathing your cat except when it is necessary and try to stick to the rule of bathing three or four times a year. Some breeds need more frequent bathing, while some cats may rarely need a bath at all. Always listen to your vet’s advice first.
Is It OK to Let My Cat Air Dry?
Ideally, you should towel dry your cat after a bath and ensure that the house is reasonably warm for them. You want to get your cat dried off as soon as possible. If there are two of you bathing your feline friend, ensure your helper sticks around long enough so you can both get to work with the towel, too.
Avoid using a hairdryer, even on the lowest setting. If it’s too hot, it could cause serious injury, and, in most cases, a hairdryer will scare a cat, making it even more difficult to bathe them the next time they roll in something gross.
Cat shampoo is formulated differently from human shampoo. It is designed for the somewhat neutral pH of a cat’s coat, but it can take many forms. Hopefully, our reviews and guide have helped you identify the shampoo that is best for your cat. We found Earthbath Hypoallergenic Shampoo to be sympathetic to cats’ coats and it can be diluted to make it even more sensitive, making it the best overall choice. Mikki Cat And Kitten Shampoo, although a little thin, is a really good price and it has a pleasant, albeit short-lived, pear scent.
Featured Image Credit: Karin Chantanaprayura, Pexels