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As the owner of a kitten, you’ll probably already know that cats are very clean animals who regularly groom themselves.

You may also have heard that cats have an aversion to water, which is true the majority (though not all) of the time.

Knowing this information, it may surprise you to know that there are occasions where you may need to give your cat a bath.

This will mostly be necessary if your cat has managed to come into contact with a substance that they can’t wash out of their fur themselves, or if they are undergoing flea treatment.

Bathing might also be appropriate for long-haired cats who suffer from hair matting.

Finding a suitable shampoo for an adult cat is relatively easy, but when it comes to kittens, things get a little more complicated.

Not only are curious kittens the worst offenders for rolling around in things they shouldn’t, but they have more sensitive skin and lighter coats than fully grown cats. Therefore, they require specially formulated kitten shampoo.

Our list of the best kitten shampoos on the market will help you to keep your kitten healthy, clean, and happy with the highest quality products.

If you have any further questions, we’ve also included a buyers guide and FAQ section below.

It’s best to introduce your kitten to bathing sooner rather than later if the need arises. If you’re in a hurry to find the best shampoo for your kitten, take a look at our top choice:

Burt’s Bees for Pets Hypoallergenic Shampoo

  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Moisturizing and shine-enhancing
  • Free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, fragrances, and colorants
  • Cruelty-free
  • Easy application
  • Recommended by veterinarians

1. Burt’s Bees for Pets Hypoallergenic Shampoo

Burt's Bees for Pets Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Shea Butter and Honey | Best Shampoo For All Cats and Kittens With Sensitive Skin (FFP5766)
Burt’s Bees is one of the most well-loved manufacturers of skin and body care products on the U.S. market, and this company’s range of pet care products is no exception.

One of Burt’s Bees’ most popular pet products – and one of the most popular kitten shampoos on the market overall – is the Burt’s Bees for Pets Hypoallergenic Shampoo for Cats and Kittens.

This shampoo has been formulated with natural ingredients including shea butter and honey, which moisturize the skin and enhance the shine of your kitten’s coat.

The formula is also carefully pH balanced to meet the needs of cats and kittens and does not contain sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, fragrances, or colorants. This ensures that the shampoo is gentle and hypoallergenic.

The application process for this shampoo is easy: just apply a generous amount to your cat’s coat after pre-wetting, rinse, and towel dry.

Additionally, this shampoo formula has been approved and recommended by veterinarians, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re using a safe and medically recommended product to bathe your kitten.

Pros

  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Moisturizing and shine-enhancing
  • pH balanced
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, fragrances, and colorants
  • Cruelty-free
  • Easy application
  • Recommended by veterinarians

Cons

  • Achieving a lather requires some effort

2. Espree For Kittens

Espree Kitten Shampoo, 12 oz
This kitten shampoo from Espree is primarily formulated for kittens, but it’s also a great choice of shampoo for adult cats with sensitive skin. It’s also suitable for nursing and pregnant cats.

Espree’s kitten shampoo is made from 100% naturally grown aloe vera and other natural ingredients such as coconut and jojoba oil. It also contains a range of important vitamins like vitamins A, C, E, and B5, amongst others.

Although this shampoo does contain a coconut fragrance, it is very gentle, tear-free, and hypoallergenic, ensuring it won’t cause any adverse reactions.

Espree’s shampoo can be diluted (1 part shampoo to 16 parts water) and the application process is very straightforward. Wet your kitten’s coat with room-temperature water before gently working the shampoo into a lather. Then, rinse thoroughly and towel dry.

Pros

  • Contains natural ingredients
  • High vitamin content
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Tear-free
  • Dilutable
  • Easy application
  • Also suitable for nursing and pregnant cats

Cons

  • Owners have reported finding the smell unpleasant

3. John Paul Pet Tearless Odor Absorbing Shampoo

John Paul Pet Tearless Odor Absorbing Shampoo, Clean and Fresh Low PH Formula for Puppies, Dogs, Kittens and Cats, 1-Gallon
John Paul’s Tearless Odor Absorbing Shampoo is a favorite amongst kitten owners, but it’s also formulated for puppies. If you’re the proud owner of both these adorable animals, this shampoo could be a game-changer!

This shampoo is made in the U.S.A. and formulated with all-natural botanical extracts. The formula also includes natural conditioners such as aloe, chamomile, and oatmeal.

The shampoo is also highly concentrated, meaning that less product is required per application, so a bottle will last you longer than many other competitor products.

The low pH of John Paul’s pet shampoo and its natural ingredient content make it a gentle, tearless, and non-irritating product.

However, despite being gentle, this shampoo is also a highly effective cleanser which neutralizes and absorbs odor whilst conditioning and adding luster to your kitten’s coat.

As an added bonus for animal lovers, a portion of the proceeds from each sale of this shampoo is donated to animal and wildlife charities.

Pros

  • Suitable for both kittens and puppies
  • Made with natural botanical extracts
  • Includes natural conditioners
  • Tearless and non-irritating
  • Odor-absorbant
  • A portion of proceeds is donated to animal and wildlife charities

Cons

  • Some customers do not like the scent

4. TropiClean Gentle Coconut Hypoallergenic Puppy and Kitten Shampoo

TropiClean Gentle Coconut Hypoallergenic Puppy and Kitten Shampoo, 20oz - Gentle Cleansing for Dogs and Cats with Sensitive Skin, Made in the USA
Another shampoo formulated to meet the needs of both kittens and puppies, TropiClean’s Gentle Coconut Hypoallergenic Puppy and Kitten Shampoo combines a delicious scent with all the natural, hypoallergenic properties a kitten shampoo needs.

Made in the U.S.A., this TropiClean shampoo provides a gentle clean that is suitable for kittens and adult cats with sensitive skin or skin conditions.

This formula is made from either raw natural or naturally-derived ingredients, including the light tropical scent, which effectively combats any unpleasant odors your kitten may have picked up during the day.

In addition to its natural ingredient content, this shampoo is free from soap, parabens, and dyes. However, despite its hypoallergenic properties, some owners have reported a drying affect on their pet’s skin.

Pros

  • Suitable for kittens and puppies
  • Naturally-derived ingredients
  • Pleasantly scented
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Only suitable for kittens 12 weeks and over
  • Some reports of a drying effect on the skin

5. Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath

Vet's Best Waterless Cat Bath | No Rinse Waterless Dry Shampoo for Cats | Natural Formula | 4 Ounces
If your kitten really hates water, as many of them do, this shampoo could be the answer to all of your bathing worries!

Vet’s Best has created a shampoo that is suitable for kittens and cats over 12 weeks old and doesn’t require any water to be used in conjunction with it.

This is a cleansing, moisturizing, and soothing formula made with natural, plant-based ingredients, including aloe vera, neem oil, oatmeal, and vitamin E.

Possibly the best thing about this shampoo is how easy it is to apply. Just massage into your kitten’s dry fur and brush through to detangle and remove any excess product once the shampoo has dried.

You can be confident in the knowledge that this shampoo has been formulated and recommended by veterinarians, so it’s completely safe for your little one.

With this shampoo, you and your kitten will be able to enjoy stress-free bathtimes from now on!

Pros

  • No water required
  • Easy application
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Formulated and recommended by veterinarians

Cons

  • Only suitable for kittens over 12 weeks old

Buyer’s Guide

We understand that when it comes to the wellbeing of your feline friend, you want to be confident in your purchases.

That’s why we’ve put together this buyers guide, where we’ll talk you through the most important factors to consider when choosing a kitten shampoo.

Age Restrictions

Before you purchase or use any shampoo product on your kitten’s fur and skin, it is essential to check the product guidelines for age restrictions.

All of the kitten shampoos on our list are, of course, suitable for kittens. However, a cat is still technically a kitten until they are 1 year old, and a lot of development happens during the first year of a kitten’s life.

Some shampoos, therefore, are only suitable for kittens over 12 weeks old. Before 12 weeks, your kitten’s skin will be extra sensitive, so fragranced or flea-treatment shampoos are likely to be too irritating.

It’s very important to adhere to the age restrictions stated in the product guidelines. Failure to do so may result in adverse skin reactions or even more serious conditions.

Ingredients

It’s important to look carefully at the listed ingredients on kitten shampoos to make sure that they don’t contain anything that might irritate your kitten’s skin.

Most of the products listed above contain mainly natural or naturally-derived plant-based ingredients and, where possible, are free of potential allergens and irritants such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

There are a few specific ingredients commonly used in kitten shampoos that are particularly good to prioritize.

Aloe vera is found in many kitten shampoo formulae because of its soothing and hydrating properties. Since kittens have such sensitive skin, aloe vera is ideal for calming any existing irritation and moisturizing the skin to keep it healthy.

Oatmeal is also an effective moisturizer as well as a natural cleanser, so if you’re looking for a shampoo that will keep your kitten’s skin and coat both clean and hydrated, oatmeal should be a priority ingredient.

Honey is something of a miracle-worker when it comes to hair and skin treatment. Not only is it a great moisturizer for your kitten’s skin and coat, but it can also help to soothe and prevent inflammation, replenish nutrients, and promote cell growth!

Finally, the inclusion of plant-based oils such as neem, coconut, or jojoba oil in kitten shampoo provides effective moisturization and healing properties for skin conditions. Additionally, neem oil is a natural insect repellant.

Odor and Fragrance

The deodorizing properties and fragrances of kitten shampoos often go hand in hand because fragranced shampoo often helps to eliminate unpleasant odors.

However, where possible, fragrances in kitten shampoo should be kept to a minimum. If fragrances are present, they should ideally be naturally-derived.

This is, once again, because of the heightened sensitivity of kittens’ skin. Synthetic or chemical fragrances have the potential to irritate or dry the skin.

Coconut or botanical fragrances derived extracted from natural oils, for example, are a good choice if you want to keep your kitten smelling fresh and clean without risking adverse reactions.

Application

We’ve selected kitten shampoos with the simplest application guidelines possible to minimize stress during the procedure.

Most kitten shampoos simply require you to dampen your kitten’s coat with room-temperature water and work a specified amount of shampoo into a lather before rinsing and towel drying.

If a water bath is too much for your kitten to handle, there are waterless shampoos available that allow you to massage the product into your kitten’s dry coat.

Whatever the preferences and limitations of you and your little one, you’ll find a shampoo on our list that meets all your application needs.

Cruelty-Free?

We have tried, wherever possible, to include products on our list that have achieved a cruelty-free status. This is because, like you, we love animals and want to make sure that no other animals were harmed in the making of your kitten’s shampoo.

If animal welfare is something that is close to your heart, there are plenty of cruelty-free shampoo options on our list to choose from.

Additionally, some shampoo brands have pledged to donate a portion of their proceeds to animal welfare organizations, so this is something to bear in mind if you want your purchase to contribute to a good cause.

Veterinary Approval

It can be surprisingly nerve-wracking to choose a shampoo for your kitten. After all, you want to be absolutely sure that the formula is safe for your little companion.

One of the best ways to make sure that you’re purchasing the safest possible product is to look for the seal of veterinary approval.

Whilst this isn’t an absolute necessity, checking that a kitten shampoo has been approved by veterinary professionals is a good way to ensure both your own peace of mind and the dermatological health of your feline friend.

Even better, a shampoo that has been formulated by veterinarians will have been overseen from the beginning by professionals with expert knowledge of pet skin and hair care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I bathe my kitten?

There are two main methods you can use to bathe your kitten with shampoo. You can either give them a traditional bath with water or, if your shampoo allows it, you could opt for a waterless bath.

When bathing your kitten with shampoo, it’s crucial to check the product guidelines for instructions on how to properly apply the shampoo, since each product will have slightly different requirements.

However, there are a few steps that will remain more or less consistent across different shampoo brands.

For a traditional water bath, you’ll first need to make sure that your water is at room temperature. This is so important because water that is too hot may scald your kitten and water that is too cold may cause shock or even illness.

Once you’re sure that the water is at the right temperature, gently introduce your kitten to the water. Avoid sudden movements and speak soothingly to your kitten as you wet their coat to minimize distress.

Now that your kitten’s coat is dampened, it’s time to use your shampoo. Check the product instructions at this point to verify the amount of product you should use. Work the shampoo gently into a lather in your kitten’s coat before rinsing. Make sure to avoid your kitten’s extra-sensitive eye and ear areas.

Towel-dry your kitten immediately following their bath. Kittens are unable to regulate their own body temperature, so this step is important to prevent the onset of hypothermia.

If possible, make sure that the kitten has a warm room with blankets to help them to dry off, and reward them with a treat!

Please bear in mind that bathing your kitten should be avoided altogether before the age of 8 weeks.

If your kitten needs bathing before they are 12 weeks old, you will need to pay extra attention to the shampoo products you use, since many kitten shampoos are only suitable for kittens over 12 weeks old. If possible, consult your veterinary practitioner for advice.

Can I use baby shampoo on my kitten?

Many pet owners have reported using baby shampoo to bathe their cats and kittens with no adverse effects.

However, in general, we strongly recommend against using any shampoo that has not been specifically formulated for use on kittens.

Specialized kitten shampoos have a pH level that is perfectly suited to their skin, and this will not be the case with baby shampoo, however mild.

If you find yourself in an emergency where bathing your cat is unavoidable and you don’t have any kitten shampoo to hand, try to make do with a water-only bath until you can purchase some appropriate shampoo.

We understand that this isn’t ideal, but when it comes to something as serious as your kitten’s health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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