Waterless Shampoos Can Make Bathing Your Cat A Lot Easier ⁠— This Is When To Use Them

by Marshall Bright
Elnur / Fotolia

Giving a cat a bath is rarely how you (or your cat) would choose to spend your time. Regular brushing will typically help with problems like shedding and tangled coats better than a bath. However, in some instances, bathing is required. If your cat is too ill or otherwise unable to regularly groom itself, waterless shampoo is a good choice that’s effective and easy. The best waterless cat shampoos will help you keep your pet’s coat shiny and well-maintained even if he or she no longer can, without covering your kitchen or bathroom in splashes of water. However, if your cat has gotten a bad case of fleas or into a sticky or dirty mess, you will still want to break out the shampoo and water.

Because you are not using water, most waterless foams and sprays will need to be brushed through your cat’s coat to help detangle. This can be especially beneficial for long-haired cats who need extra help grooming fur. If you are planning to regularly bathe your cat or your cat has only recently had trouble grooming, it is also a good idea to talk to your vet about health changes in your cat in case they can be indicative of something more serious.

Whatever your reasons for giving your feline a bit more of a clean, these are the picks that can’t steer you wrong:


The Best Foaming Cat Bath

This best-selling foam waterless shampoo can be applied directly to the cat’s fur then brushed out. Ingredients like aloe vera soothe cat’s skin as it gently cleans. Oatmeal also soothes skin and could help with topical irritations like flea dermatitis, or areas of irritation from scratching flea bites. Additionally, the light smell also helps with some odors you might want to address. Plus, It won’t interact with topical flea medicine.

What reviewers say: "This product is great at helping me keep my long haired Persian's hair smelling and feeling clean without actually having to bathe her multiple times a month. She is a rather messy eater and gets her chest dirty and this waterless foam cleans the mess right up. I have also noticed less shedding since using this product and her hair is so soft and fluffy."


The Best Spray Cat Bath

This Burt's Bees spray bath is made from 97 percent natural ingredients and free of parabens, phthalates, SLS, petroleum or synthetic fragrances. Apple and honey are designed to add shine and soothe, too. It is also pH balanced specially for cats and kittens. Simply spray the cat and then brush him or her to use. It will not clean as deeply as the foam shampoo because it's a spray. However, it can be thought of as grooming aide and detangler for more surface-level cleaning. The spray also won't interfere with tick and flea medicine.

What reviewers say: "After three uses (one week apart each) FINALLY the dandruff on my poor itty bitty black kitty is GONE! The spray is not smelly, does not make her sneeze.... SO happy though that she is less itchy and not snowing dandruff when I pet her."


The Best Waterless Shampoo To Reduce Shedding

Designed to help clean and decrease shedding, this foaming shampoo helps remove loose hairs as well as strengthen fur with omega-3 fatty acids and plant proteins. This rinse-free shampoo can be applied to the cat then toweled off. Brushing afterwards also helps remove fur. It can be used alone or between regular grooming as needed, but should only be used once a week. While it contains no dyes or parabens, it does have added fragrance so it might not be the best choice if your pet's skin is particularly sensitive. Furminator doesn't include information on whether or not it will interfere with tick and flea treatments.

What Reviewers Say: "I Love it! It definitely helps with shedding and makes my cat smell beautifully! I would purchase again and recommend."


Also Great: These Fragrance-Free Cat Wipes

For cats who need help with specific areas, like litter box related messes or eye draining, wipes may offer an easier, more targeted option for helping clean your cat. These natural fragrance-free and lanolin-free wipes are also good for cats with sensitive skin. In addition to helping with problem areas, wipes can also help remove a lot of saliva and dander, which are what many people with cat allergies are specifically allergic to. The wipes incude mild cleansers that also can help gently deodorize, while aloe and vitamin E moisturize. This pick will also not remove flea spot treatments.

What Reviewers Say: "My overweight cat is not able to groom himself well. We've tried all sorts of foods and fish oil supplements, but he is solid black and has HORRIBLE dander. ONE WIPE with these and he's almost completely dander-free for at least a day or 2, and really doesn't need to be wiped down again for 4-5 days"

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