If your cat seems restless and keeps scratching its skin nonstop, it’s probably infested with fleas.
Since fleas lay 40-50 eggs a day for around 50 days, they will invariably infest your other pets, your home, and even your body, turning life into one long itchy nightmare.
While Dawn may eliminate adult fleas, it doesn’t kill the eggs. It also wreaks havoc on your poor cat’s exhausted skin.
Read on for five excellent picks to help you find the best cat flea shampoo for your feline.
Cat Flea Shampoo Reviews
Here are the 5 best cat flea shampoos I found.
Used in conjunction with cleaning your house with anti-flea treatments and paying special attention to anything your cat touched, the right shampoo is an important part of the process.
1. Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats – My Top Pick
This concentrated lathering shampoo provides near-instant relief, killing adult fleas, lice, and ticks on contact.
Even better, the precor insect growth regulator stops the eggs from turning into biting adult fleas for 28 days.
Enriched with aloe, coconut extract, lanolin, and oatmeal, the creamy formula not only cleans your cat’s fur but also conditions it and leaves it smelling baby-fresh.
It won’t irritate super-sensitive skin, and your cat’s coat will feel soft and look lustrous.
- Moderately priced
- Also removes dirt, scales, and loose dandruff
- Can be used without gloves
- Only safe for cats 12 weeks and older
2. Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats – Best Mildly Scented Shampoo
This pleasant-smelling shampoo kills fleas on contact, and is also effective in getting rid of ticks.
It works for both cats and dogs, so you don’t have to look for another type made specially for dogs.
Paraben-free and with no harsh detergents, this shampoo is gentle enough for your cat’s skin and your bare hands.
It’ll relieve your furry friend from the agony of fleas and leave its coat silky and lustrous.
It also contains pyrethrum, which is widely feared to be toxic to cats but is actually a naturally occurring insecticide.
It’s even safe enough to be used topically on cats at the right concentration.
- Non-intrusive smell
- Affordable price
- Generous lather
- Can only be used once every seven days
3. Zodiac Flea and Tick Shampoo – Best for Super-Sensitive Skin
If every shampoo you’ve tried has wreaked havoc on your kitty’s sensitive skin, this affordable shampoo may be your best bet.
It smells wonderful without offending your cat’s delicate nose.
It not only eliminates fleas but also kills ticks and lice.
It’s also both pH-balanced and alcohol-free, and the coconut oil is super-effective as a conditioner for your cat’s abused fur.
The manufacturer recommends using it every two weeks for the best possible results.
- Ideal for cats with extra-sensitive skin
- Softens fur significantly
- Can also be used for dogs
- Only for cats 12 weeks and older
4. Natural Flea Shampoo for Cats & Kittens – Best for Any Age
This shampoo is part of a whole line of products to treat fleas on your cat and in your cat’s environment.
The 100% natural formula is gentle enough to be used on cats at any age, and its botanical formula kills fleas on contact.
It keeps your cat flea-free for one week and smells pleasantly of cinnamon.
Keep in mind that this shampoo doesn’t really lather but is quite effective nonetheless.
- Can be used on kittens younger than 12 weeks
- Also kills and repels black flies, mosquitoes, and ticks
- No mixing required
- Not suitable for people who dislike cinnamon scent
5. Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath – Best No-Rinse
Bathing a cat is a heroic feat, but if your kitty absolutely puts its paws down where water is concerned, this no-rinse shampoo can be the answer.
All you need to do is rub a little of the shampoo into your cat’s coat and it’ll foam on its own, turning your kitty’s bathtime hassle-free.
The formula contains vitamin E, aloe vera, and oatmeal, which hydrate and soothe your cat’s exhausted skin, leaving its coat soft and manageable.
- Doesn’t affect any topical flea treatment
- Leave-in formula requires no water or rinsing
- Safe for cats 12 weeks and older
- Neem oil may have adverse effects on some cats
What to Look for in a Cat Flea Shampoo
After consulting your vet and mixing crushed flea tablets into your kitty’s food, there are a number of things you should take into consideration when shopping for a cat flea shampoo.
Whatever shampoo you end up choosing, always read the label and research the ingredients before using it on your cat.
Effect on Fleas
If you can, find a shampoo that not only eliminates adult fleas but also kills fleas at their other three stages of life.
Another excellent option to look for is shampoos that also repel fleas for a week after your cat’s bath.
Insect Growth Regulator
Look for a shampoo with insect growth regulators, also known as IGRs.
These work by disrupting the flea life cycle, stopping non-biting larvae from developing into biting adults, eventually killing the larvae.
The good news is that IGRs are practically non-toxic to cats, other pets, and humans. IGRs also have a long-lasting effect: They can keep working up to seven months.
The downside is that they work slowly on biting adult fleas.
This is why they’re usually used in combination with other insecticides that work faster on that particular life stage.
Rinse-Out vs. No-Rinse Shampoo
Most flea shampoos need to be left on your cat for five minutes or longer.
If your furball will never stand for staying wet or getting wet in the first place, you’re better off with a dry no-rinse shampoo.
These types of shampoo foam up with no water added, allowing you to work them into your cat’s fur and maybe even comb through its hair while your kitty is none the wiser.
Your cat’s fur and skin are already in pretty bad shape, having been bled dry by fleas and scratched furiously by your kitty’s claws.
The last thing your cat needs is a harsh shampoo that dries it out even more.
Look for ingredients that help soothe your feline’s flea-ravaged skin without making its fur fall out along with the dead fleas.
Coconut oil, for instance, is a well-known conditioner, capable of soothing itchiness, dryness, and coat health overall.
A naturally occurring preservative, Vitamin E is also brimming with powerful antioxidants.
It helps protect your cat’s delicate skin against the elements, especially with all the scratching leaving it probably broken and bleeding.
Oatmeal works miracles to calm dried-out, itchy skin, with micronized oatmeal proteins preserving the natural moisture content of your cat’s skin.
Famous for its gooey gel, aloe vera is widely used in beauty and skincare products worldwide.
It’s not only rich in amino acids but also chock-full of vitamins A, B, C, and E, helping your cat maintain a healthy, supple coat.
Its Acemannan content protects moisture in healthy skin.
Make sure the shampoo you pick meets the following safety checks.
Cats Less than 12 Weeks Old
Most flea shampoos aren’t safe for use by cats younger than 12 weeks old.
If your kitty is in that age group, look for a shampoo that explicitly states it’s safe for use on kitties that young.
No essential oils
Even though it’s so dangerous it can often be lethal, the essential-oil fad shows no signs of slowing down.
As a vigilant pet parent, you need to make sure there are none in your cat’s shampoo.
- sweet birch
- tea tree, also known as melaleuca
- ylang ylang
Keep in mind that you won’t be treating the one flea-infested feline: If you have other pets, you need to give them all the same treatment, in addition to treating your entire home.
This means you’ll be doing 2-4 applications a month on all your pets on a regular basis.
If you’re on a tight budget, economy-sized bottles are an ideal choice.
Small in size but absolutely monstrous in their problems, fleas are the bane of every pet parent.
Luckily, our top pick, Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs and Cats, can help you get on top of the problem faster than any other shampoo.
However, remember that shampooing your cat is only part of the battle.
Keep your furball’s bedding clean and treat your home and pets against fleas, and those blood-sucking nuisances will stay out of your cat’s coat — and yours!
Steve is a blogger with an unhealthy cat obsession. He enjoys reading non-fiction books, cooking and cuddles with his cat Fij.