Sometimes our cats get messy, especially if you have a curious cat who likes to jump on counters and knock things over.
I’m personally really glad that my cats don’t get into very many messes. At most my cats like knocking small objects off of our coffee table, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t had to wash either of them before.
In the case of Beau, our eldest, we had to wash him quite a number of times after he got a Perineal Urethrostomy (an operation that helps reduce the chances of blockages caused by urinary tract infections.) Beau, not being able to travel very far after surgery, kept soiling himself. The concern with this is the fact that Beau would be prone to getting a burn or rash from the acidity of his urine.
A similar thing happened with our youngest, Kalista. When we first adopted Kalista she was an absolute scardy cat. She would commonly sleep in laundry baskets, under our bed, and sometimes she would pee on herself in her sleep. Although it wasn’t nearly as frequent as Beau soiling himself post-surgery, we still needed to give Kalista a helping hand because she was too scared to clean herself.
Whenever our cats get into a sticky situation we want to deal with it as quickly and effectively as we can. Though, that being said there are some methods or products that are considered toxic or harmful to cats. So, that being the case yo
Similar to a post I wrote before about whether you can use dog shampoo on cats, let’s cover the non-pet specific soaps you can use on your kitty!
PRECAUTIONS & SAFETY
The main precaution before using or anything in general with pets) is making sure that the products are made out of the most basic/natural ingredients. This will help ensure that the product does not contain harsh chemicals that are lethal to your pets.
Although you will be trying to find products that have the most basic ingredients/shortest ingredient list, it is also very important to understand that some natural ingredients are still lethal or problematic for your pets. For example, I use vinegar to clean a lot of my fish stuff. I also use vinegar to clean household objects that Beau chews on or has the potential to lick, but vinegar is much too acidic to clean your cat with.
That being said, some shampoos/soaps, specifically some of the ones made for dogs are actually toxic to cats because of ingredients like peppermint, lavender, tea tree, jojoba, and glycerin.
Remember, like humans, cats will absorb these products through their skin, and even after being rinsed they may still have some of the products on their coat. If left on your cat’s skin or fur, cats may lick some of the product and may become ill. You want to be very, very safe when using non-pet specific products!
Human Shampoos (Specifically Baby Shampoo)
The first question people usually ask is, can I use human shampoo on my little ones? Actually, sometimes yes! You’re looking for human shampoos that are made for babies though.
Make sure to read the ingredients thoroughly though, and if there are any ingredients that you don’t recognize or are on the list we’ve provided above, stay away from the product or do some extra research!
The main trouble with baby shampoo is the fact that they use dyes, fragrances and other detrimental ingredients to cats. Some brands will label their products as “natural” even when they are not actually natural.
At the moment the most popular baby shampoo that is used on cats is Johnson’s Baby Tear Free Shampoo, however, as always I recommend using cat branded shampoos since someone has already done the job of making sure it’s not toxic for your kitty. I understand that we’re sometimes in a pinch and don’t have time to buy a product, or your local pet store is out of stock, so you may want to keep an extra bottle of cat shampoo on hand.
Sometimes we think that the word natural means non-toxic, but this isn’t 100% true. Some natural ingredients can actually harm your cat, so make sure you’re looking for soaps such as pure castile soap.
Pure Castile Soap bars are made from olive oil bases and are both chemical-free and dye-free.
Due to the fact that pure castile soap isn’t overly acidic, it can be used regularly. Though, it would still be advised that you do not wash your cat frequently unless they are having difficulty cleaning themselves or if they have gotten themselves extremely dirty.
When using pure castile soap it is still extremely important to make sure to rinse your cat thoroughly until the water runs clear. This is especially important with Pure Castile Soaps since they contain a number of oils.
Not only may residue suds cause discomfort to your cat’s skin and fur, but the taste caused by them may also be tart or unsettling for your cat. This will cause a cat to become uncomfortable with the idea of a bath.
The more positive the experience, the more chances your cat won’t fight you if they need to be cleaned at a later date.
The use of Dawn Dish Soap on pets became extremely popular after their commercials about the use of Dawn on wildlife affected by the oil spill. Although the original Dawn Dish Soap is considered safe to use on cats, it is extremely important that you do not use it frequently on your cat as it was developed to take out oils from the surfaces it cleans. This being the case, it will 100% dry out your cat’s skin when used long term.
That being said, Dawn is very effective for the rare occasions when your cat has gotten too dirty for themselves to clean or has fleas.
Please remember if you are going to use Dawn you only use the original one as it is the gentlest and doesn’t have any ingredients your kitty can’t handle. Other variants may cause harmful side effects such as allergies.
At the end of the day using a soap or shampoo that was made for cats is always the best option. Although, that being said it is also still important that you read the ingredients on the bottle.
A cat’s skin has a very different pH than our skin does, making human shampoos problematic for a cat’s skin and fur. Not only that, many human shampoos contain ingredients that are considered toxic towards cats and may cause a cat to vomit or experience an extremely upset stomach.
Cats, being extremely meticulous cleaners, will not require frequent baths unless they are experiencing a health condition that hinders them from cleaning themselves or are refusing to clean themselves because they feel unsafe.
Truthfully, I always keep a bottle of waterless cat shampoo on hand just in case my little ones get into a quick mess. It’s the easiest to use on my cats and is quick to use in sticky situations.
So pet parents, I’m curious, what’s your favourite method to clean your cat? How did your cat react to you cleaning them? Does your cat hate water or are they part fish? Let me know in the comments below!