Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
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 any product (or anything in general with pets) is making sure that the products are made out of the most basic ingredients. This will help ensure that the product does not contain 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 basic 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.
When using these soaps make sure to rinse your cat very well until the water runs clear. This is a precaution since Pure Castile Soaps have a number of oils and their residue may be tart or unsettling for your cat. You’ll want to make sure that your cat has been given a good rinse before they start trying to lick themselves later!
I know, I know, I covered this in the past article, but it’s still important to bring up. It is possible to find a dish detergent that is gentle and safe enough for you to use on your cat.
One of the most popular dish detergents to use to clean cats is Dawn.
Now, I will say again that I would never use Dawn frequently 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. I must admit, I can’t confirm how effective Dawn is on fleas since I haven’t had first-hand experiences with them. I will put it out there that I have done extensive research on how to prevent or kill fleas and Dawn dish soap seems to be in the top 5 ways.
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.
You are looking for main allergens when choosing whether or not to bathe your cat in a product. At the end of the day, these are all great substitutes for infrequent bathtimes, but if you’re looking for long term use I would highly recommend using cat specific products.