cat shampoo products
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The 9 Best Cat Shampoos, According to a Veterinarian

Whether you need to give your cat a quick wash or help treat a skin condition, these vet-approved shampoos are purrfect for every kind of cat.
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Did your cat have a heyday outside? Roll around in the dirt? Maybe tip over his glass of cat wine? While your cat is totally capable of cleaning himself most of the time, there are some instances when a bath with cat shampoo is needed.

Cat shampoo can help not just clean your cat's coat when he gets extremely curious, but it also provides relief if he has fleas or skin conditions. Before you give your cat a bath, read on for advice on picking the best shampoo for your cat and recommendations from a veterinarian.

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Can You Use Dog Shampoo on Cats?

There are some shampoos specifically formulated for cats and dogs. But is it OK to use dog-specific shampoo on cats?

It depends on the type of shampoo, says Sara Ochoa, DVM at Senior Tail Waggers and Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas. "Most dog shampoos can be used on cats other than flea and tick shampoos," she says. "These shampoos contain chemicals that can be toxic to your cat. Oatmeal shampoo and other antibacterial and antifungal shampoo can be used on cats or dogs."

It's best to always check the bottle to see if it's cat-friendly. When in doubt, ask your vet if the shampoo is safe to use on your feline friend.

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Cats? 

Cats and humans have different skin pH balances, so is it at all safe to use human shampoo on your cat? "Human shampoo can be used but is not the best," Ochoa says. "Human shampoos can strip your cat's fur of the natural oils and cause your cat's hair and skin to become very dry."

9 Vet-Approved Cat Shampoos to Try on Your Feline Friend

pet o cera cat shampoo
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Best Overall: Breezytail PetO'Cera Cat Shampoo

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"As a general all-purpose bath for your cat, this is a great shampoo to use," Ochoa says. It's sure to soothe and replenish your cat's skin. Not only will his coat look nice and fluffy, but it'll be clean and healthy, too! Each safe, botanical ingredient takes care of your cat's skin, from simply cleaning it to calming any irritations and helping with shedding. 

Shop now: Breezytail PetO'Cera Cat Shampoo, $15;

advantage flea tick cat shampoo
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Best Flea Shampoo: Advantage Flea and Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats and Kittens

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Looking to get rid of those pesky fleas for good? This is one of the few flea shampoos Ochoa actually recommends for cats. "Advantage is safe to use on cats. This is also one flea shampoo that will actually work to kill the fleas that are on your cat," she says. "[With] other flea shampoos, fleas have become resistant to and do not work."  

Consult your vet before using this shampoo on your cat. Recommended for kittens and cats 12 weeks and older.

Shop now: Advantage Flea and Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats and Kittens, $13;

head and shoulders dandruff shampoo
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Best Shampoo for Dandruff: Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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"This is the only time I recommend that you use a human shampoo for your cat or dog," Ochoa says. "If your pet has dandruff, the best shampoo to help is Head and Shoulders' shampoo."

This shampoo provides up to 100-percent dandruff protection and relieves flakes, itchiness, oil, and dryness when used regularly. Infused with almond oil, this gentle shampoo moisturizes your cat's skin and coat and keeps it clean and hydrated.

Shop now: Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $6;

jungle pet aloe oatmeal cat shampoo
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Best for Dry Skin: Jungle Pet Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo

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If you like piña coladas … you'll love this fresh-scented shampoo! Ochoa says, "Oatmeal shampoo is the best to help rehydrate your cat's skin." So, if your cat has dry skin, this is a must-have for bath time. Formulated with aloe, oatmeal, and other natural ingredients, this shampoo will help leave your cat's coat feeling soft, looking shiny, and smelling clean.  

Shop now: Jungle Pet Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo, $9;

petway petcare cat shampoo
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Best for Oily Skin: Petway Petcare Cat Shampoo

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Rejuvenate your cat's coat with this deep cleansing shampoo. Made with plant extract-based ingredients, this shampoo is suitable for every skin and coat option and is especially helpful for oily skin. 

"If your cat has oily skin, there are some shampoos that have a degreaser, which will help remove excessive oils," Ochoa says. This shampoo will do exactly that while maintaining your cat's natural oils and deep conditioning your cat's skin for an all-around healthy coat. 

Shop now: Petway Petcare Cat Shampoo, $19;

veterinary formula clinical care hypoallergenic shampoo
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Best for Sensitive Skin: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hypoallergenic Shampoo

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Have you tried countless shampoos to help your cat's sensitive coat to no avail? This one may just be the one you've been looking for! This gentle, tearless formula is bound to be a hit for your cat.

"Some cats do have sensitive skin, and many shampoos can cause them to itch and scratch," Ochoa says. "Even changing to a different brand of shampoo may still make your cat itch. Finding a sensitive skin shampoo will help keep your cat from itching after their baths. These shampoos have very few ingredients that can cause your cat to itch."

Shop now: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hypoallergenic Shampoo, $9;

tropiclean berry coconut waterless cat shampoo
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Best Dry Shampoo: TropiClean Berry & Coconut Deep Cleansing Waterless Shampoo for Cats

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If Fluffy despises baths with a fiery passion, you need this dry shampoo in your life. This dry shampoo will "wash" away any dirt and bath-related worries. Simply apply it to your cat's coat, massage it in, and brush it out. It's really that easy!

"This is my favorite waterless shampoo," Ochoa says. "I love the smell of this shampoo, and it is so easy to use on cats who hate baths."

Shop now: TropiClean Berry & Coconut Deep Cleansing Waterless Shampoo for Cats, $10;

coat defense clean pet shampoo
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Best Natural: Coat Defense CD Clean Pet Shampoo

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With aloe as the primary ingredient, this shampoo is super moisturizing and will leave your cat's coat soft, smooth, and shiny. "This is the best all-natural shampoo for your cats," Ochoa says. "The ingredients are all-natural and safe for your pets and the environment."

Shop now: Coat Defense CD Clean Pet Shampoo, $25;

veterinary formula clinical care antiseptic spray
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Best for Skin Infections: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray

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"There are many diseases that can cause a skin infection," Ochoa says. "If your cat has a bacterial or fungal infection, they will need an antibiotic or antifungal shampoo to help clear this infection. This is my favorite antifungal/antibiotic shampoo for cats."

This shampoo can be used twice daily for one week, then once daily for an additional week. Use it on your cat every other day for two more weeks if the skin infection has not cleared up. (Be sure to check with your vet to see if this is the best option for your cat's specific infection.)

Shop now: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray, $6;