Cat Care

Can You Use Baby Shampoo on Cats, and Is It Often a Safe Choice?

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Most people probably don’t think of cats as requiring baths very often. Cats are well-known for avoiding the water, and few breeds will swim or play with water voluntarily. Many cat owners are unsure what cat shampoo to use in the rare event a cat requires a bath.

Can you use baby shampoo on cats?

Yes, you can, and this option will often be gentler on a cat than most other types of shampoo. Shampoo designed for cats is a better choice, but baby shampoo is an excellent alternative when unavailable.

This video demonstrates a kitten being bathed with baby shampoo. Although it is easy to see that the cat is unhappy, it is obvious that this shampoo does work.

Is Using Shampoo on Your Cat Necessary, and Why Does the Type Use Matter?

The Pet Supply Guy highlights the limitations that come with using baby shampoo on cats. Although this type of shampoo can work well on cats, it should not be the first choice.

There are relatively few reasons that you may ever need to use any type of shampoo on a cat. Most cats groom themselves well enough that they are unlikely to require assistance from us. When you need to bathe a cat, the shampoo used matters.

When all you have available is baby shampoo, the tearless formula is gentle on our cat’s eyes and coat. However, baby shampoo is not the best choice for your cat’s coat and skin overall. A cat shampoo is the better option in the long run.

Cats have coats and skin that produce oils protecting the fur. One of the purposes that this oil serves is to keep the fur from drying out. Dry cat hair is more subject to breakage, as well as brittle.

When kitties have brittle fur that breaks a lot, they are more likely to have problems related to their coat condition. Hairballs resulting from a cat ingesting its loose hairs during grooming are increasingly expected. Larger hairballs can cause obstructions.

Another effect that is likely because of brittle fur is excess shedding. Many cats shed a lot, and shedding is much worse with fragile hairs. When your furry friend sheds excessively, you will spend a lot more time cleaning up.

Cat shampoo is ideal for making sure your cat’s coat and skin stay in optimal condition. Some of the ingredients in shampoos for cats include protective oils, as well as aloe vera. The baby shampoo does not provide these types of benefits.

What Are Some of the Circumstances Where You Should Bathe Your Cat

According to The Feline Follower, shampoo is only necessary for cats when their coat becomes very dirty. What are some examples of such a filthy coat to require shampoo?

Sometimes cats get themselves into situations where they are unable to lick off what is on their coat. Examples of such substances include the tar or high amounts of mud. When your pet gets into such circumstances, you probably don’t want it licking its coat.

A cat that has gotten its coat dirty because of such substances needs a convenient and mild shampoo. With baby shampoo being something that many adults use for themselves, many households likely already have a bottle at hand.

Although this type of shampoo is not ideal for pets, it has a mild formula. Many shampoos that adults use have ingredients that are irritating to the eyes. Felines have a limited ability to cope with irritants that get into their eyes.

Baby shampoo is unconcentrated, so you will not have to mix it up to make it work. There are also no scents, reducing the chances of your cat encountering an irritant. If you are in the market for something safe and convenient, it is a good choice.

One thing that you should do is avoid using baby shampoo as a long-term solution. Use this shampoo if you need to if you are dealing with a mess that requires you to use whatever is at hand. However, consider a cat shampoo in the long run.

Using baby shampoo on kittens is also safe for “big messes.” Baby shampoo is a safer option for the littlest members of the feline family. In the absence of a cat or kitten-safe shampoo, you can use baby shampoo with minimal worries.

Is It True That Cats Do Not Require Regular Bathing?

Upgrade Your Cat emphasizes the fact that cats never evolved to benefit from bathing. Kitties have naturally rough tongues that are one of nature’s best grooming tools.

One of the things that you have probably noticed from watching your cat is that it spends hours every day grooming itself. This licking helps remove dirt from the coat and spread oils necessary for the skin and coat’s health.

One of the things that we should keep in mind is that domestic cats originally evolved in desert areas of Africa and the Middle East. The ability to clean themselves effectively in this harsh environment contributes to cats’ minimal bathing needs.

However, there are exceptions brought about by situations that relate to domestication. One of these exceptions is the existence of breeds with long coats. When cats are long-haired, they are more likely to develop matting.

Pet cats have all kinds of opportunities to get into trouble that can require a bath. Cats are naturally curious and likely to rub up against surfaces that can get their coats messy very quickly. A quick option like baby shampoo comes in handy.

In a best-case scenario, your cat can take care of everyday dirt and debris on its own. However, it’s probably refreshing to know that you have options for a shampoo that will work without harming your cat.

What Are the Better Alternatives to Baby Shampoo for Cats?

Shampoos designed for cats have a different pH value than shampoo for humans, including baby shampoo.

One thing to keep in mind is that many of the types of shampoo that people use have been designed to address certain issues with hair, like dandruff control or color treatment. The ingredients related to these are ill-suited to cats.

Pet shampoo designed for cats is the best choice. Some of the ingredients these shampoo types contain include honey, shea butter, aloe vera, and coconut oil. The ingredients in these types of shampoo help condition cats’ coats.

Other safe alternatives to baby shampoo if you don’t have cat shampoo at hand include Castille soap, DIY coconut, vinegar, or oatmeal shampoo, and handwashing soap. You can also use small amounts of dishwashing soap.

Is It a Good Idea to Cat Your Cat Used to Being Bathed?

According to OVRS, you can easily bathe a cat in relatively few steps without getting it used to the water first. However, having had your cat get used to being bathed makes everything easier.

Cats will adjust to water more easily if bathed as kittens. Additionally, some breeds, like Turkish Vans, like water better than others. There are some simple techniques you can use to make cats more comfortable at bathtime.

A diffuser with calming essences can make a substantial difference for your cat. Try to keep your composure and avoid losing your temper if the cat gets rowdy. Consider giving your cat a favorite treat once you’re finished bathing it.

You can use baby shampoo on cats, but it should not be your primary choice for a shampoo. Consider using baby shampoo for your cat, mainly if you are in a pinch and do not have access to something else suitable for cats.

Stacy Reed is a writer who lives with three cats who never miss a chance to teach her more about life and, of course, cats. She has been a cat parent since her teens, having had cats ranging from domestic shorthairs to Siamese mixes. Some of what she specializes in writing about includes general cat care, as well as health and behavior.

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