Shampoo for Cats: Would You Want to Lick That Off?

Cat Shampoos Used on My Ragdoll Cats

DVM PHARMACEUTICALS Hylyt Shampoo for PetsIf I had a dollar for every time I was asked how often I bathe my cats and what I use to bathe them with, I would be a rich woman.   I do not bathe my cats unless they are sick.  I am not an expert, certainly, but rather a firm believer that cats weren’t meant to be bathed.  There are many human things are do to animals that aren’t natural to what an animal is.  Such as bathing cats.  I do, believe, there are exceptions to that rule.

For an Old Oily Cat

Pet Naturals SOOTHE Oatmeal shampooWhen Rags was an old man (16 years old) and going through chemo and thereafter, he stopped taking care of his coat – stopped grooming himself.  So it was suggested I bathe him with Hylyt Shampoo.  It helped keep his coat looking good and not so oily.  You can see the video below of my mom bathing him – and as long as we rinsed it all off, he never seemed to mind.

For Young Cats with the Runs

I have had to bathe Charlie and Trigg a few times – it was years ago when we were on dry food and having episodes of diarrhea on a regular basis.  They were not as compliant as Rags was (see video below) about getting bathed.  So my solution was to take them into the shower with me and bath them there.  When I did so, I used Pet Naturals of Vermont Soothe.

I think waterless shampoos for cats and dogs are just rude. If I were a cat and I licked my entire body, I would not appreciate you putting a substance all over my body for me to lick off.   I mean think of anything you have ever had to lick that was disgusting to you – you quickly go to wash out your mouth to get rid of the taste.  A cat isn’t able to do that – so they have to lick it all off while dealing with the taste.  Not to mention, of course, I am doubtful the waterless shampoos are good for them to ingest.

Here is a video of my mom washing Rags when he was 19 years old. He had just gone for a swim in my parents’ chlorinated pool, so I wanted to make sure he was washed off after that.


This seems to be a good video of showing how you can bathe a cat that isn’t as compliant as Rags was. And as she suggests, do not get your cat’s head wet and don’t leave any shampoo in the coat.


Do you bathe your cat?  Why or why not?  What products do you use?

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Teresa Reid says:

    Great post. My girls have had to get cleaned up when they’ve had GI upsets before, Grace especially because she seems to be prone to upsets every now and then. I struggled washing them by myself in water because they are terrified and both of us would be struggling. Discovered that if I do have to run water, I do that BEFORE they are anywhere near the sink or tub. Since I don’t have the luxury of having help, I use Pet Head Mouse together with a very wet, dripping washcloth. The Pet Head Mousse smells like it could be eaten and doesn’t contain anything that is toxic. However, when I wash them, always rinse the mousse off really really well because I don’t want them licking it either and that’s always the first thing they do to re-groom after I’ve washed them. They don’t seem to mind me doing that and actually act as though they are glad to have the help. Have found that keeping all four on the floor on a towel and just working from that end helps them feel stable and not afraid like they used to do with water in a bathtub or sink. Hats off to Rags for being the sweetest, most calm kitty in the whold world. It’s not often that you come across a kitty who can actually swim in the pool and even stand still to be washed. He was(IS- his soul) AMAZING!!!!!!!♥♥♥♥

  2. i agree. i have never bathed the cats i have now (2 are short haired anyway). i thought about bathing my fluffer nutter a couple of times when he had poop on his fuzzy pants but i decided to just sponge bathe him in that spot. i used a shampoo that you recommended, i got it on “amazon” and it smells really good. i just used a tiny bit and made sure i got it rinsed really well. he tolerated all this pretty well but i think he would NOT be happy about a bath even though he is a very sweet and mellow cat. i just don’t feel it’s necessary to bath cats. i used to have a cat that i bathed and blew dried and she hated it. i feel bad about it now. i agree too that we tend to project our own “stuff” onto our animals. they just don’t need baths unless like you said.. they are sick or have poop on them.

  3. Great post, Jenny! I have never bathed Miss Pink Sugarbelle. There has never been a need…yet. The few small bouts of diarrhea she had as a kitten (while we were transitioning her diet) were very mild and we were able to clean her up by washing her rear with a wet washcloth and trimming her fur back there (an ordeal to be sure but we got it done). She doesn’t get hardly any digestive upsets anymore and we are very fortunate with that. We do keep her “butt fur/pantaloon” area trimmed about ever 2 to 3 months to make it easier in the event there are any issues with loose stools. (Still an ordeal to do that but we get through it with treats and sweet words and teamwork!) She’s so fluffy back there! I do agree with what you’ve said about the need to bathe a cat. Totally. And, I would never use a dry shampoo.

    Very good videos. Your mom washing Rags was so sweet. He was such a compliant boy and I lurve that he took a swim in your parents’ pool. I’m always fascinated by cats who enjoy being in the water.

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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