Cats are notoriously fastidious animals when it comes to cleanliness, and as such, they rarely need to be given a bath. Kittens, on the other hand, are mischievous creatures that can make a mess in the blink of an eye, especially when it comes to dinnertime! Kittens are still learning about the world around them, and their food bowl may be seen as a toy to play with rather than food. It’s not uncommon to find that your kitten has walked through their meal and spread it all over their coat, where it’s now hardened.
Most cats do not enjoy bathing and kittens are much the same. Having the right shampoo for your kitten will make the job easier, but it needs to be both effective and gentle on your kitten’s sensitive skin. It’s best to use shampoos specifically developed for kittens, as these are gentle and safe for your young feline.
With all the various shampoos available on the market, choosing the right one for your kitten can be confusing. That’s why we rounded up our favorites, complete with in-depth reviews, to help you choose the best one for your new kitten.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampo||
|Budget Buy||John Paul Pet Tearless Shampoo||
|Four Paws Magic Coat Tearless Shampoo||
|Frisco Hypoallergenic Shampoo||
|TropiClean Gentle Kitten Shampoo||
The 8 Best Kitten Shampoos
1. Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo — Best Overall
|Key ingredients:||Oatmeal extract, citric acid, aloe barbadensis extract, colloidal oatmeal|
Hepper’s new line of shampoos takes natural ingredients and crafts them into DEA-free products for pets. This colloidal oatmeal shampoo is no exception, and it was our pick for the best overall shampoo for kittens. The soothing properties of this gentle combination cleanser are taken from aloe vera and colloidal oatmeal, which are two ingredients renowned for their protecting, nourishing effects.
Cucumber and aloe lend their scents to the oatmeal shampoo, and it’s suitable not just for kittens but any pet. The scent is enduring but perfectly mild and not overbearing, meaning it won’t irritate your kitten’s keen nose. Aloe vera, paired with the conditioning nature of oatmeal, protects the skin as dirt and debris are removed, leaving the coat soft, glossy, and odor-free! While very soothing, this formula does contain fragrance, so be cautious if a vet has advised you not to use fragranced products on your kitten.
At PetKeen.com we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest, so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
2. John Paul Pet Tearless Puppy & Kitty Shampoo — Budget Buy
|Key ingredients:||Aloe vera, chamomile|
John Paul Pet Tearless Shampoo for Puppies & Kittens is the best kitten shampoo for the money. It is specially designed for kittens (and puppies) and is made with soothing aloe vera and calming chamomile. The shampoo is gentle and ideal for both kittens or older cats with skin sensitivities and won’t irritate their skin, eyes, or ears with its “tearless” formula. The shampoo is made in the U.S.A. and is cruelty-free.
3. Four Paws Magic Coat Cat & Kitten Shampoo
|Key ingredients:||Aloe vera|
If you’re looking for a premium shampoo for your kitten, the Four Paws Magic Coat Cat & Kitten Shampoo for kittens is a great choice. The tearless formula is great for kittens and sensitive adults and won’t irritate their eyes. It contains added protein and lanolin to add extra shine and silkiness to your kitten’s coat. Since it’s approved for use for adult cats, you can keep using the same shampoo as your kitten grows.
There is little to fault with this shampoo, although it is a bit on the pricey side.
4. Frisco Aloe Hypoallergenic Shampoo
|Key ingredients:||Aloe, coconut|
The Frisco Hypoallergenic Shampoo for Kittens & Puppies contains soothing aloe that is great for your kitten’s coat and skin, with a hypoallergenic formula. The added coconut is also great for your kitten’s skin and will help keep their coat shiny. The shampoo is free from dyes or perfumes that can sometimes be irritating. This inexpensive yet effective formula is designed for use in kittens but can be used on adults too, so you can keep using it as your kitten ages.
We love that this shampoo is free from harsh perfumes, although it does have a pungent smell that stays on your kitten for several days afterward.
5. TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Kitten Shampoo
|Key ingredients:||Coconut, oatmeal|
The TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Gentle Coconut Kitten shampoo is made especially for use on kittens and puppies. The shampoo has a mild, gentle formula that won’t irritate or harm your kitten’s skin and eyes, with soothing coconut that helps moisturize your kitten’s coat and skin. The shampoo is pH balanced and made with natural ingredients. It is free from dyes, soaps, and parabens and smells great too!
This shampoo is difficult to fault, although it is not exceptionally strong if your kitten is really filthy.
6. Burt’s Bees Kitten Shampoo
|Key ingredients:||Buttermilk, honey|
Burt’s Bees Kitten Shampoo contains 99.8% natural ingredients, including buttermilk and honey, and is thus ideal for sensitive kittens. The tearless formula is free from sulfates and colorants and won’t irritate your kitten’s eyes. It is perfectly pH balanced, making it great for regular use. Burt’s Bees has long been a trusted name in skincare both for humans and animals, and the products are cruelty-free and made in the U.S.A.
This 10-ounce bottle is rather small for the price, and since the solution is somewhat watery and doesn’t lather well, you can easily end up using more than you need.
7. Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo for Kittens
Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo For Cats & Kittens is a great option if you have a tick or flea problem in your home. The scientifically-formulated shampoo is unscented and free from perfumes but contains powerful ingredients like pyrethrin, which is proven to be effective against ticks and fleas. We love that this shampoo lathers and foams so well — you can be sure that it will spread and you won’t miss any spots.
That said, the 8-ounce bottle is small considering its hefty price tag. Also, this shampoo is not suitable for kittens under 12 weeks old and cannot be used more than once every 7 days.
8. Arm & Hammer Tearless Sweet Almond Kitten Shampoo
|Key ingredients:||Jojoba oil, lavender|
Arm & Hammer Tearless Sweet Almond Kitten Shampoo has a gentle, tearless formula that won’t irritate your kitten’s skin or eyes, and the included lavender and chamomile help keep your kitten calm and relaxed. The shampoo uses a signature baking soda formula that’s specially designed to keep unwanted odors away, yet it is still gentle enough to be used on sensitive kittens. The added jojoba oil will help keep your kitten’s coat smooth and healthy, and the formula is free from harsh chemicals.
While this shampoo does contain great natural ingredients, it also has sodium laureth sulfate, a foaming agent, which is disappointing. Several customers reported that the shampoo left a sticky residue even after thorough rinsing, and it has a pungent, musty odor.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Kitten Shampoo
Choosing a safe, gentle, yet effective shampoo for your kitten can be challenging because there are so many ingredients in many of these products and it’s difficult to know where to start. That said, all the listed kitten shampoos are perfectly safe for kittens, and most have been specially formulated as such. Still, it helps to know what to look for when choosing a shampoo for your kitten, so let’s examine the most important factors to consider.
Related Read: Can Kittens Drink Milk? What You Need To Know!
Check the Ingredients List
The ingredients inside the shampoo that you choose for your kitten are arguably the most important things to look for. Since kittens are still growing and thus, are more sensitive than adults, you’ll want to make sure there are no harsh chemicals, dyes, or artificial fragrances that can cause negative reactions. Natural ingredients are best because they are far less likely to cause skin reactions.
Fragrances are frequently artificially made, and these can irritate your kitten’s skin. These are also often pungent odors that can remain on your kitten even after rinsing, sometimes for days. A cat’s sense of smell is far more powerful than ours, so you can imagine how strong it is for your kitten!
The shampoo that you choose should ideally have no scent or a mild scent. That said, many kitten shampoos with natural ingredients have a naturally mild yet pleasing aroma, usually from the included honey, lavender, or chamomile.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Kitten?
Cats and even kittens are fastidious cleaners that are perfectly capable of keeping themselves clean and do not need bathing regularly. Bathing your cat too frequently can strip their coat and skin of its natural oils, causing discomfort and dander for your cat. We recommend bathing your cat no more than once every 2 months or ideally, only when they really need it.
That said, there are certain occasions where bathing is necessary for your kitten. Your kitten may have got into something they shouldn’t have that can potentially harm them, such as paint or cleaning products, or they’ve gotten their coat full of food that has dried hard. Also, if your cat has a flea infestation, bathing them with a tick and flea shampoo will be necessary.
All these shampoos are ideal for your kitten, but the Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo is our top choice overall. It has a mild, gentle formula with soothing oatmeal and aloe, is pH balanced, and is free from dyes, soaps, and parabens.
The Tearless Puppy and Kitten Shampoo from John Paul Pet is the best kitten shampoo for the money. It’s specially designed for kittens and made with soothing aloe vera and calming chamomile.
If you’re looking for a premium shampoo, the Magic Coat Tearless Shampoo for kittens is a great choice, with a tearless formula that contains protein and lanolin to add extra shine and silkiness to your kitten’s coat.
Finding the right shampoo for your kitten can be stressful, but hopefully, our in-depth reviews have narrowed down the options and helped you find the perfect shampoo for your new feline friend!
Featured Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock