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I Washed My Cat With Human Shampoo (Now What? Safe?)

If your cat has been washed with a human shampoo you may be worried and wondering if you should have used a dedicated cat shampoo (click here to see my best cat shampoo on Amazon #Ad)

Can I use human shampoo on my cat?

The short answer is no. But, why? The main reason for this is, humans have different PH tolerance levels. Meaning cat shampoo is specially formulated so it does not harm cats.

My Best Cat Shampoo

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01. TropiClean cat shampoo (My Best)
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02. Waterless Cat Shampoo
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03. Lillian Ruff Cat Shampoo
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4 stars

So, now you know. But, what can human shampoo do to a cat? Can it kill them? Could you just stop bathing your cat altogether? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What happens if you wash your cat with human shampoo?

can i use human shampoo on my cat

A cat being dried off after a bath.

Human shampoo we use can be very harsh on a cat’s skin. This can result in dried-out skin and other related skin issues, such as skin flaking and dandruff, etc.

The main ingredients that cause issues for cats are Parabens, dyes, etc. Let me now explain the difference between our skin and cats, what shampoo kittens can use, which ingredients are important, and more.

Can human shampoo kill cats?

Human shampoo is not known to kill cats. However, it still needs to be avoided because of its ability to dry out your cat’s skin and cause irritation.

To be safe stick to a shampoo formulated for a cat’s skin (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad). This way you can keep your cat safe from these irritations.

Is it OK to never bathe a cat?

It is OK to not bathe some cats. And, some cat owners have never bathed them. However, it is a good idea to keep them groomed and look out for matted fur or heavily soiled fur that they cannot deal with.

For some cats that may have heavily greasy fur or long-haired cats, a bath can help to keep them well maintained.

Can I wash my cat with just water?

You can use just water to bathe your cat. But, it won’t add any value. If you want to truly clean it you will need an effective cat shampoo (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) along with the water.

This is because water alone does not have the ability to deal with greasy fur, or heavily soiled coats the same way as a cat shampoo can.

Why do cats hate water?

One of the main reasons why cats hate water is because it is less waterproof to other animals, such as dogs. They spend a lot of time licking and grooming themselves which contributes to this.

What are the differences between a cat’s and a human’s skin?

Apart from the obvious visual differences, there are other issues under the surface that I will discuss. The main difference is the acidic level on a human is different (hence the PH level mismatches).

Also, humans have distinct glands made for sweat, while cats do not. These subtle differences require a cat to have different ingredients in its shampoo. This is so they do not get harmed by the chemicals (as discussed earlier.

Can Kittens use any Cat Shampoo?

Do kittens need a cat bed?

A kitten sitting on a bed.

You may be thinking, what about my little loveable kitty, right? Can she use just any cat shampoo? The short answer is no. But let me explain why…

Kitten’s skin is even more delicate than adult cats. Therefore you need to take extra precaution with them, are you with me? You can get special shampoo for kittens (can they use a baby’s one? click here) that is more delicate. This is ideal and better for your peace of mind.

Important Ingredients in cat shampoo

When looking for cat shampoo you need to make sure the ingredients are right. Therefore in this section, I am going to explain what to look out for to make sure you get this right.

Basic is best (but is it?)

The main thing is making sure the ingredients are basic. But, what do I really mean by that? Well, ideally from natural ingredients. Basically, avoid all those chemicals and “E numbers”. The problem with these chemical ingredients, it is not always obvious exactly what is in these chemicals by glancing at the ingredients, are you with me?

However, even if the ingredients are basic, it does not guarantee that it is safe. Yes, that’s right, it is a bit complicated. The problem is, some natural ingredients cause unwanted side-effects for your cat.

Unwanted Basic Ingredients

Let me give you an example of what I mean by this. Vinegar is a great thing to have on your chips (or fries for people in the US)? And in fact, it makes a great cleaner for fish tanks (Can you cat-proof this? Click here) coincidently. However, it is not great for cats. This is just one example.

Here are a few others to avoid:

  • Tea Tree
  • Lavender
  • Glycerin.
  • etc.

One thing to be mindful of. Even if you attempt to rinse off these things from your cat, if they come into contact with it, it does not mean it is gone for good, but why?….

The reason is, they can penetrate their skin and a surface level rinse may not cut it. This is worrying because you may feel it’s gone. And, there is still a chance that your cat can lick the contaminated area and fall ill. So, best to avoid them at all costs.

Are Natural Soaps Good for cats?

You may have seen the ads, don’t these natural soap bars look, prefect pure, and natural, right? Well, unfortunately, as good as it looks, it is still a risk. But, let me explain.

The problem is, not all-natural products are good for your cat (as briefly discussed above).

The danger of essential oils

In some of these products, you will find essential oils. They are natural oils that help to make the soap smell delicious. But, even though they smell great, they are not good for your cat.

In fact, these essential oils are quite dangerous for your cat (toxic even). The problem with these oils is, unlike us humans, cats can’t metabolize these oils. Therefore it causes them issues.

In extreme cases, cats could suffer from liver failure. Best case vomiting or other related sicknesses. So best to avoid this.

How can you stop your cat from getting dirty?

Cats are not really built to be bathed regularly. The more you bathe them it increases the chances of irritating their skin. The best way to prevent this is to avoid them getting dirty in the first place. Are you with me?

For that reason, I am going to share some ways that you can reduce the chances of your cat getting dirty.

  • Reduce its exposure to the outside world (indoor cat basically).
  • Groom and clean her regularly.
  • Keep your house and surfaces clean.
  • Provide fresh and clean cat litter.
  • Keep your hands clean before handling.

These may seem quite obvious, but you will be surprised how many people overlook these simple tips and instead over bath their cat (Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Cat ? Click here).

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some related questions about cat shampoo that will help you. If you feel that there is a question in your head that has not been answered, feel free to leave a comment below.

Q: What can I use instead of cat shampoo?

You can actually create your own homemade shampoo products. However, be warned, it is not cheap to do this. But, I will give you some ideas never the less.

Dry Shampoo

You can create a dry shampoo. You may be thinking, why would I want to do this? Simple, it will fluff up and clean your cat’s fur. Think of this as the home equivalent to waterless shampoo (click here to see my best waterless cat shampoo).

To make this you will need oatmeal, cornmeal, baking soda, and corn starch. The corn starch will add a nice shine to your cat’s fur. And the baking soda will remove any unwanted odors. To use this you just need equal parts of oatmeal and cornmeal. With the addition of a few tablespoons of corn starch and baking soda.

Q: How can I clean my cat’s fur without water?

Bathing your cat is quite a difficult and unpleasant activity. This is for you as well as your cat. Therefore, you can consider cleaning her without using water. One method is using a damp towel.

The idea is to substitute running water completely and uses a damp towel. This is less traumatic. But I will say, it is still not a walk in the park, are you with me?

You can still use shampoo using this method, but it’s not 100% necessary. Another thing I would say is this, it will never be as effective as conventional water and cat shampoo. But it is a viable alternative.

Q: How can I get my cat to like water?

In reality, there is no easy way to do this. Simply because cats naturally hate water. There are ways that you can help to improve their natural fear though. For that reason, I will share some pointers here for you.

The first thing you can do is start exposing your cat to water earlier. Ideally as early as a kitten. This will acclimatize your cat and make her less likely to put up resistance.

Before actually trying to bathe her, allow her to play in the water first. This will help to associate fun with water, rather than being dragged into an unwanted bath, are you with me?

Lindsey Browlingdon