What Shampoo is Safe to Use on Cats?

You may think that any shampoo would be safe when it comes to cleaning your cat, but that’s not the case. Different shampoos have different pH levels, which can impact a cat’s skin. They also may have ingredients that irritate your furbabies skin. This is why it’s essential to use a shampoo specifically designed for cats. In this article, we’ll share with you what ingredients in shampoos are safe to use on your feline friend and what are not. So, let’s get started.

How do Dog and Cat Shampoos Differ?

We get this question a lot of times, as cat owners what to know what is the difference between cat shampoos and dog shampoos? People tend to believe that both are furry animals and that what works for their dogs would also work for the cats. But that’s not necessarily true. Dogs have hair; cats have fur.

There are many reasons why cat shampoos differ from their canine counterparts.

  1. For one thing, cats are much more sensitive than dogs regarding chemicals and artificial fragrances. This means that you must be careful when choosing a shampoo for your feline friend, as many of the ingredients in dog shampoos can be irritants for cats.
  1. Another difference is that most cats tend to have shorter fur than dogs do hair, so their shampoos don’t need to be as thick or creamy. This means they are easier to rinse. And since most cats would rather avoid being bathed, this is a good thing.
  1. Finally, cats have softer and more sensitive skin than dogs. Therefore, it is essential to stay pet-specific while choosing shampoo products unless the label states it is formulated for both cats and dogs.  

What to Look for in a Cat Shampoo

There are thousands of commercially available shampoo brands for cats, but only some of them you can rely on for making your cat’s skin healthy and the coat shiny. So before buying a shampoo for your cat, consider the following;

  • The ingredients should be safe for cats specifically and should say it on the bottle. This is the most important thing to look for in a cat shampoo.
  •  Avoid harmful chemicals or nasty preservatives. When possible, go for all-natural shampoos, as they are innately gentler on the skin.  
  • The shampoo should not remove the natural oils from your cat’s fur. A good shampoo will leave your cat’s coat clean, soft, and healthy-looking.
  • Look for a shampoo that is easy to use and rinses off without leaving residue. The better shampoos don’t have sulfates, which means they won’t later as well and this is a good thing. Sulfates are not healthy for your cat’s skin so please read the labels.

Safe Ingredients for Cat Shampoos

When shopping for a cat shampoo, prioritize products with safe and natural ingredients explicitly labeled for feline use. Avoid shampoos containing harmful chemicals like sulfates, which can strip away natural oils from the cat’s fur and disrupt the skin’s pH balance. Opt for gentle natural cleansers enriched with ingredients like aloe vera, olive oil, and herbs known for their conditioning,, soothing and moisturizing properties.

Steer clear of shampoos with artificial fragrances, dyes, and harsh preservatives like parabens, which can cause skin allergies and other health issues in cats. Instead, choose products free from camphor, phthalates, and other potentially harmful additives. Always check the label for pH-balanced formulations suitable for cats to maintain their skin’s natural acidity and prevent irritation. It will say it on the label.

Preservatives like formaldehyde releasers and sodium benzoate should also be avoided, as they can pose serious health risks to cats. According to the ACS’ Journal report of 2018, certain preservatives have been linked to toxicity and diseases in pets, highlighting the importance of selecting safe grooming products.

When it comes to choosing an organic shampoo for your cat, you can prefer and look for some of the following good ingredients in the shampoo products:

  • Aloe vera
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Oatmeal
  • Yucca root
  • Red clover
  • Cedarwood
  • Buttermilk
  • Shea butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Nettle leaf

What Should you Avoid in a Cat Shampoo?

You should be aware of a few harsh ingredients in the local cat shampoos.  We have listed some of the harmful ingredients below, but we urge you to visit our Health Center and read our in depth article Cat Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid.

 Avoid pH-Disrupting Shampoos

This means it is not too acidic or alkaline, irritating your cat’s skin. A cat shampoo should have an average pH of around 6.46, which differs from a human of 5.84. So always avoid human shampoos for your cats, as they can be slightly acidic.

 Avoid Artificial Fragrances & Dyes

You also want to ensure the shampoo does not contain fragrances or dyes, as these can also irritate. Some chemicals to be avoided are;

  • Alcohols
  • Camphor
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Stearates
  • Linalool
  • Benzaldehyde
  • Ethyl acetate

Avoid Harsh Preservatives

There are certain preservatives used in cat products, even by well-known pet grooming brands, that are so toxic and cancerous for cats. Kindly look for the following bad preservatives.

  • Formaldehyde releasers
  • Isothiazolinones
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Parabens

According to the ACS’ Journal report of 2018, preservatives like parabens are toxic and disease-causing in pets.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, do your homework about what the shampoo is made of; ingredients do matter, especially when it comes to cat shampoos. While some seem good for temporary use, they may cause skin and coat issues down the road. There are a variety of shampoos available that are safe to use on cats, but it is always best to err on the side of caution. Always read the labels carefully and only use shampoos specifically designated for use on cats.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact us through the comment section or subscribe to our newsletter where we offer tips on how to keep your cat healthy.

Thanks for reading!

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