Expert Advice on Dry Shampoo for Cats, Plus 8 Options to Try
Is bath time an utter cat-astrophe for you and your feline friend? If the mere thought of getting your cat to somehow enjoy bath time seems wildly impossible, we've got some good news: there's such a thing as dry shampoo for cats!
For a stress-free way (for you and your cat) to make sure your curious kitty stays fresh and clean, dry shampoo can be an easy option. Before you start sharing your own bottle of dry shampoo with your feline bestie, read on for tips, tricks, and veterinarian advice on using it for your cat.
8 Dry Shampoos for Cats Who Seriously Hate Baths
1 Vet's Best Waterless Cat Bath
Does your cat have sensitive skin? Freshen up her coat with this soothing dry shampoo! Formulated by veterinarians, this no-rinse foam shampoo uses plant-based ingredients to clean, condition, and moisturize your cat's coat, so she can feel fine, fresh, and fierce. Vet's Best can be applied on cats 12 weeks and older and doesn't affect topical flea treatments.
Shop now: Vet's Best Waterless Cat Bath, $7; amazon.com
2 Burt's Bees Cat Waterless Shampoo Spray, Apple & Honey
Burt's Bees is widely loved for their natural products for humans and pets—this waterless shampoo being one of them. You can rest assured that you're using only the best natural products on your cat with a dry shampoo that is 99.8 percent natural. Made with apple and honey, your cat's coat will look shiny and feel soft. This dry shampoo is pH balanced, sulfate-free, and cruelty-free.
Shop now: Burt's Bees Cat Waterless Shampoo Spray, Apple & Honey, $3; chewy.com
3 TropiClean Waterless Shampoo for Pets
If your cat has dry, sensitive skin, this soothing coconut cleanser is sure to keep her coat healthy. In addition to making cats smell clean, this foaming dry shampoo nourishes their skin to help them look good, but most importantly, feel good. Even better, it can also be used on dogs. Safe for cats (and dogs) 12 weeks and older.
Shop now: TropiClean Waterless Shampoo for Pets, $10; amazon.com
4 Purina Pro Plan LIVECLEAR Rinse-Free Allergen Reducing Cat Shampoo
Allergic to your feline friend? The first of its kind, this dry shampoo reduces the allergens in your kitty's hair and dander so you can clean him stress-free—and cuddle him sneeze-free. This hypoallergenic shampoo is formulated with 99.8 percent natural ingredients. Use for a gentle, convenient, and effective cleanse.
Shop now: Purina Pro Plan LIVECLEAR Rinse-Free Allergen Reducing Cat Shampoo, $12; petco.com
5 John Paul Oatmeal Waterless Foam
Spa time calls for spoiling Fluffy with a salon-quality dry shampoo! John Paul, the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell, launched a waterless shampoo just for our four-legged friends. Made with pure oatmeal, aloe, sweet almond oil, and chamomile, this shampoo uses the same natural botanical extracts as the Paul Mitchell shampoo we humans use for a gentle clean.
Shop now: John Paul Oatmeal Waterless Foam, $11; amazon.com
6 Begley's Natural No Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo
Looking for one dry shampoo to bathe all your pets? Plant-based and environmentally friendly, this shampoo can be used on cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and other pets. Available in scents including lavender, citrus, oatmeal mango, and tea tree, this waterless shampoo uses an all-natural formula designed to not just bathe, but pamper your cat. Achieve a fresh-smelling, shiny coat without the stress—and scratches—that come with using water.
Shop now: Begley's Natural No Rinse Waterless Pet Shampoo, $11; amazon.com
7 Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Cat Grooming Foam - Fragrance Free
No dirt, no sniffles, no problem! Made with organic, fair-trade shea butter, this hypoallergenic shampoo is purrfect for a gentle, effective groom. Not only does it give your cat a luscious coat, but it also helps control shedding. This is a wonderful fragrance-free option for those sensitive to scent or who prefer no scent. Safe for all cats 6 weeks and older.
Shop now: Earthbath Hypo-Allergenic Cat Grooming Foam - Fragrance Free, $13; petsmart.com
8 Pet Head Cat Grooming Foam
This high-quality, all-natural waterless shampoo is made with everything needed to help your cat stay so fresh and so clean. Formulated with natural oils and extracts like aloe vera and vegetable protein, your cat's fur will look and feel amazing thanks to its soothing and healing properties. Kitty will enjoy a no-rinse foam, while you enjoy a fuss-free groom. This lightly fragranced shampoo is cruelty-free, vegan, and free of parabens, surfactants, and dyes.
Shop now: Pet Head Cat Grooming Foam, $22; amazon.com
Is Dry Shampoo Good for Cats?
While dry shampoo might seem like the best solution to the whole bathing your cat who hates water issue, you might be wondering if it has any health side effects to worry about first.
"Dry shampoo is great for cats," says Sara Ochoa, DVM at Senior Tail Waggers and Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas. "Most cats do not like to get wet. Using dry or waterless shampoo is great at helping clean your cat without having to give them a bath." However, there are instances where this product may not be the best option, Ochoa says.
"If your cat is very dirty, they will need a bath," she says. "Dry shampoo is really only good for spot cleaning or making your cat's fur look nice and clean. Cats are very clean animals and are constantly grooming themselves. Many times, cats do not need a bath because they will clean themselves up if they are dirty."
A downside of using dry shampoo, Ochoa adds, is that cats may try to lick it off. It's important to only use grooming products specifically formulated for cats. Do not use dry shampoo made for other pets unless it's stated to be safe for all pets—and never use the human version on pets.
If your cat has oily hair, matting, or seems consistently dirty, dry shampoo might not be the trick.
"They [cats] should maintain their coats in a clean manner by themselves through grooming," Jamie Whittenburg, DVM at Senior Tail Waggers, says. "If a cat is overly greasy, matted, or dirty, it's likely they have a medical condition that needs to be addressed."
If you recognize these signs in your own kitty, check with your veterinarian to determine whether your cat has a skin condition.
How to Use Dry Shampoo for Cats
We humans know when our hair needs a little de-greasing. But it's a bit trickier with cats. So, how do you use dry shampoo on cats? And how often should you use it?
"It is best to spray a little dry shampoo on a towel and rub on your cat. I would do this only about once a week," Ochoa says. "I would not try to soak your cat with dry shampoo. It is not meant to fully replace a bath if your cat was covered with mud."