These Are the 6 Best Flea Shampoos for Cats, According to a Veterinarian
Non-stop scratching. Excessive licking. Red, irritated skin. If you notice these signs in your feline friend, it's possible that fleas could be wreaking havoc on your unsuspecting cat. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether your cat sunbathes outside or lounges inside. With fleas, if there's a will, there's a way.
Because fleas feed off your cat's blood, this can lead to pain, discomfort, scratching, and even conditions like anemia and tapeworm infections. While the best way to prevent your kitty from experiencing the wrath of fleas is prevention, sometimes it's too late and you need to move to the treatment step.
Some flea medications and shampoos that are made for dogs are not safe for cats, so always read the label and make sure the shampoo you choose is safe for cats, says Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinarian at Senior Tail Waggers with over six years of experience working at Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas. When in doubt, show the shampoo to your vet before you use it, and work with your vet to develop a treatment plan to say farewell to fleas for good.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Advantage Flea and Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats and Kittens ($13)
- Best Budget: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats ($9)
- Best Natural: kin+kind Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats ($15)
- Best Waterless: Vet's Best Flea and Tick Waterless Bath Foam for Cats ($16)
- Best for Sensitive Skin: John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Formula Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo ($8)
- Best for Kittens: Johnson's Baby Shampoo with Tear-Free Formula ($7)
Best Overall: Advantage Flea and Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats and Kittens
"Advantage is a great flea and tick medication for cats. Advantage is manufactured by Bayer, which is a veterinary drug company," Ochoa says. "This product has the research backing that it is both safe for cats and effective at killing fleas and ticks." This shampoo kills fleas on contact and is safe for kittens 12 weeks and older to use.
Best Budget: Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats
Save your cat from fleas and ticks with this affordable shampoo option. This gentle shampoo works quickly and effectively to provide your cat maximum relief from pesky fleas. It's safe to use on cats—and other pets, like dogs, ferrets, and horses—12 weeks and older.
Best Natural: kin+kind Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
Prefer to use plant-based products on your pets? Ochoa says lavender shampoos are both natural and effective at repelling fleas. This shampoo can be used as both a means of prevention and treatment. Made with pet-safe ingredients, this shampoo is vet-approved and cruelty-free to keep your cat safe, healthy, and flea-free. Plus, who can resist a delightful lavender scent?
Best Waterless: Vet's Best Flea and Tick Waterless Bath Foam for Cats
If your cat is anything but a fan of baths, this is a miracle in a bottle. Recommended by Ochoa, this is a wonderful waterless shampoo to combat fleas. Its natural ingredients kill fleas, flea eggs, and ticks—and also repel mosquitoes. You can rest assured your cat will enjoy this easy-to-apply foam as much as you do.
Best for Sensitive Skin: John Paul Pet Sensitive Skin Formula Oatmeal Dog & Cat Shampoo
Fleas and skin conditions often go hand-in-hand. These resilient blood-suckers can make your cat's skin extra sensitive, which is why oatmeal shampoos are a fantastic option, Ochoa says. This is a gentle shampoo that uses aloe, chamomile, and oat protein to soothe and moisturize dry, flaky skin. It also uses sweet almond oil to condition your cat's coat and keep it feeling soft and smelling clean.
Best for Kittens: Johnson's Baby Shampoo with Tear-Free Formula
Some flea shampoos can be too harsh to use on kittens, which is why Ochoa recommends using baby shampoo. "This is very safe for small kittens," she says. Since it's made to be extra delicate for newborns, you can expect it to gently cleanse your kitten's skin and coat if she has fleas.
How to Use Flea Shampoo for Cats
If this is your first time using flea shampoo on your feline friend, you might wonder: How much shampoo do I apply? How long do I leave it on? How many times will I need to mentally prepare to bathe my cat every week?
Ochoa recommends using just a tablespoon size amount of flea shampoo and fully lathering your cat, making sure to avoid the eyes. You'll want to leave the shampoo on your cat for five minutes before fully washing it off.
"It is best to only bathe your cat once a week," Ochoa says. "If you are continuing to have flea problems, you need to try other flea control measures along with these shampoos, such as topical flea medications and treating and cleaning their environment."