Soaps for Cats

Cats are self-cleaning pets, but there are situations that call for soap and water. Soaps and products to avoid using on your cat make a longer list than the safe choices because many common household ingredients can cause irritation or result in contact poisoning. Nontoxic options include pet shampoos formulated for cats, odorless baby shampoo, and Castille soap without essential oils formulated for babies. For some uses, dish soap is an alternative. If an ill, pregnant, nursing, overweight or old cat isn’t grooming herself efficiently, consult your veterinarian.

Safety Issues

Like humans, cats soak up product ingredients through their skin. She also may consume product residue when she licks herself. Don’t use harsh products such as laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, hand sanitizer, household cleaning products, disinfectant or bleach to fresh pets. Vinegar is acidic and can irritate her skin. Common ingredients in products for humans and even in dog shampoos can hurt cats, including essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, tea tree and jojoba. Glycerin, the main ingredient in some soaps, can cause loose stools.

Cat Bathing Challenges

If your cat gets smelly or has poop in her fur, you’re both going to be more comfortable when she’s clean. Add a few drops of mild, unscented liquid soap to a pan of lukewarm water for her bath. If she experiences a bad reaction to a spot-on flea treatment or other product, bathe her right away to prevent the irritation and contact your veterinarian.

Although liquid dish soap can strip natural oils from your cat’s fur and skin, it’s a helpful option if your cat runs afoul of motor oil, lard or other greasy messes. If your cat’s coat or skin has been uncovered to a substance toxic to cats such as tea tree oil, call your vet. Bathe her with dish soap to remove the toxic substance.

Natural Soap and Safe Alternatives

Pure castille soap is made from an olive oil base. Natural castille products contain no animal ingredients and are free of chemicals and dyes. Castille liquid or bar soap for babies lathers well with water for cat bathing. Rinse the cat well after lathering. Continue gently applying fresh water to your cat until the water runs clear. She’ll appreciate not having to lick soap residue, no matter how clean and natural the source.

Baby shampoos are formulated to be gentle on a baby’s scalp. Many commercial baby shampoos still contain dyes and other unnecessary ingredients, and not all products labeled “natural” are equal in value. Read labels carefully when you’re shopping for a safe cat soap.

Cat Shampoo

Veterinarians, pet supply vendors, drug stores and even many grocery stores carry shampoo designed for cats. Although like any product, quality varies and not all manufacturers share the same values in regard to natural ingredients and environmentally friendly products. Consumer demand for products made from good ingredients and free of unnecessary chemicals, dyes and additives have led to a wider choice of safer products.

Here’s are examples of product for fleas

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