There are many options when it comes to prevention and flea treatment for cats, such as flea collars and both oral and topical medicines. One treatment to consider discussing with your veterinarian is a flea shampoo for cats.
“When used properly, flea shampoo can be one step in the process of eliminating fleas on cats,” says Daryl Conner, CMCG (Certified Master Cat Groomer) and owner of Fairwinds Grooming Studio in Appleton, Maine.
What to Know About Flea Shampoo for Cats
There are multiple benefits to using a cat flea shampoo to address your kitty’s pest problem, such as being relatively easy to use, and the fact that many are formulated to soothe sensitive skin and promote a shiny coat. However, it’s important to note that a flea shampoo shouldn’t be your cat’s only flea treatment.
“Flea shampoo is best used in conjunction with other flea treatments,” Conner says. “It is difficult to reach every flea when shampooing, so employing other veterinary-advised treatments in almost always necessary.”
Flea shampoo also is not a preventative treatment, notes Conner.
“Flea shampoo has no residual effect and does NOT prevent fleas from getting on the pet,” Conner says, so it’s important to work with your vet to get a flea prevention plan in place.
Pet parents should also pay close attention to the ingredients list when choosing a flea shampoo for their feline.
“Cats do not metabolize some insecticides the same way other mammals—such as dogs—do, so extreme caution must be used,” Conner says. “Even some shampoos that are labeled as safe for cats can be problematic. Choosing ‘natural’ shampoos is not always safe, either, as cats can have adverse reactions to many essential oils.”
According to Conner, cat parents should avoid flea shampoos that contain ingredients like permethrin (a type of insecticide), citrus oils and tea tree oils.
“Pet [parents] need to learn to read labels before using any flea shampoo on their cat,” Conner says. “Ideally, they should ask their veterinarian for advice.”
How to Use Flea Shampoo for Cats
When using a flea shampoo, patience is key.
“Fleas are excellent at hiding in the cat’s ears, nostrils, lip folds and eye corners to escape the poison,” Conner says. “The shampoo must stay on the pet for up to 10 minutes, depending on the product.”
Follow your vet’s instructions and the directions on the label carefully.
The Top-Rated Flea Shampoo for Cats
Not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a flea shampoo for your cat? Here are eight options, all rated highly by Chewy pet parents.
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo with Precor
If your cat can’t stop scratching, they can irritate their sensitive skin. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor is designed to help your feline fight off fleas and ticks, while simultaneously soothing their skin. The moisturizing oatmeal, aloe and coconut extract in the formula can help remove loose dandruff, dirt and scales, and condition the skin and coat.
Veterinary Formula Flea & Tick Shampoo
This flea shampoo for cats and dogs is designed to control fleas and ticks with its active ingredient of pyrethrin, an insecticidal compound that’s derived from flowers. Aloe and lanolin are also featured in Veterinary Formula Flea & Tick Shampoo, as it’s designed to also soothe irritated skin from flea and tick bites. Plus, it can be used as a flea shampoo for kittens over 12 weeks.
Oster Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal
A flea infestation can cause your cat to scratch a lot, which can irritate their skin. Oster Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal doubles as a flea treatment for cats and relaxing bath to help ease those symptoms. This shampoo contains oatmeal, which is designed to soothe your feline’s skin, along with a high dose of surfactants to cleanse and remove dirt, keeping your cat’s coat nice and shiny.
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Gentle-Mist Spray for Cats
We don’t blame you if you’re not keen on giving your water-loathing cat a full-blown bath, so consider discussing a dry shampoo or mist as an alternative to traditional shampoo with your veterinarian. The Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Gentle-Mist Spray for Cats is a chemical-free, plant-based formula that’s designed to attack ticks, fleas and flea eggs with peppermint oil and clove-derived eugenol. Simply spritz it on and massage it into your cat’s skin and coat. No rinsing required.
PetAg Fresh 'n Clean Flea & Tick Conditioning Shampoo
This formula contains pyrethrin, and is designed to kill adult fleas and ticks on contact. PetAg Fresh ’n Clean Flea & Tick Conditioning Shampoo is also formulated with nourishing coconut oil to add moisture to your pet’s skin and shine to their coat, while pet parents report that the fresh scent is long-lasting.
Natural Chemistry Natural Flea Shampoo for Cats
If you’re looking for a plant-based flea shampoo for cats, Natural Chemistry’s Natural Flea Shampoo for Cats is a highly rated option to consider. With natural ingredients like cinnamon, clove and cedar oils, it’s crafted to kill fleas and ticks without chemicals, and won’t interfere with topical flea treatments. And if it’s a flea shampoo for kittens that you need, rest assured that this one is labeled safe for cats of all ages. (Just be sure to ask your veterinarian before starting any flea treatment, no matter your cat’s age.)
Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
With 0.05 percent pyrethrin as well as nourishing coconut conditioner, the Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs & Cats is formulated to help control fleas and ticks quickly, while also producing a lustrous and tangle-free coat. To use, wet your pet’s coat, and then measure out the recommended amount of shampoo per your pet’s weight. Work the shampoo from the head and ears all the way down to the hindquarters and legs, lathering for three to five minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
Natural Chemistry De Flea Shampoo Concentrate
If you have a multi-pet household, this gallon-sized flea shampoo concentrate is perfect. Simply mix one part Natural Chemistry De Flea Shampoo Concentrate with three parts water and apply to your cat’s dry coat until it’s completed saturated. Rinse after five minutes, and dry. The shampoo is formulated to kill all fleas on contact at all stages of the insects’ life cycle, and give your pet’s coat a healthy sheen. Plus, it can be used in conjunction with topical spot-on flea treatments.
If you, in tandem with your veterinarian, determine that a flea shampoo is right for your cat, treat them to a soothing bath with a top-rated cat flea shampoo, formulated to bring them relief. You’ll help keep their coat clean, shiny and pest-free.