How to Make Homemade Cat Shampoo | Fluffy Kitty

Cats do not usually need bathing. But in some circumstances, whether your feline friend likes it or not, bath time can be a necessity for their health. You may be tempted to purchase a commercial shampoo from the local pet store, but there is another way. With a DIY homemade cat shampoo version, you can control exactly which ingredients your cat is exposed to. What do you need to know to learn how to make homemade cat shampoo?

Follow along as we teach you everything you need to know about making the best cat shampoo!


In this article:

  • Why should you bathe your cat?
  • Dry shampoo vs. wet shampoo
  • How to make homemade cat shampoo: dry version
  • Home to make homemade cat shampoo: wet version
  • Avoid those ingredients

How to Make Homemade Cat Shampoo

Why Bathe Your Cat?

Many cat owners are surprised to learn that bathing their cat could be necessary . There’s an old myth that cats are inherently clean creatures, and this is true to some extent. Their rough tongues are perfect for licking off dust and dirt that leave their coats feeling grimy when you snuggle up with them.

However, an outdoor cat, a long-haired cat, or certain breeds may not be able to do this as effectively.

Large debris and particles may make their way off the fur easily enough, but smaller items may be tangled in it. Cats can become too dirty to keep up with using these methods alone though.

It could also be that your cat is getting too old or even too depressed.

Whatever the reason, a bath with an effective shampoo can help your cat to feel clean. This may make their skin feel better, as well as make it more enjoyable for you to pet them.

A cat bath can be beneficial for their health, the quality of their coat, and their skin to receive a thorough cleaning once in a while.

cats paws

Dry Shampoo vs. Wet Shampoo

Are you finding it hard to picture dunking your feline in a sink full of water? If you haven’t exposed your cat to water since they were a kitten, you may be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to giving them a “proper” bath. Many cat owners find it preferable to use a dry shampoo instead.

Dry shampoo can penetrate all the way through your cat’s fur, clinging to dirt and debris. You can then brush it out easily enough. The downside to dry shampoo is that it is an inherently messy process and can take much more time to thoroughly clean your kitten.

Cat after a Homemade Cat Shampoo session

Wet shampoo is a great option for cats to get the process over with quickly. You’re probably fairly efficient at shampooing and drying, whether you practiced on your cat or your kids.

All you have to do is wet your cat’s fur and rub in the shampoo for a finished feline that is sparkling clean!

How to Make Homemade Cat Shampoo: Dry Version

The easy peasy dry shampoo

If you’ve been eager to learn how to make homemade cat shampoo, you’ll want to learn this easy secret. It only requires one ingredient!

Warm-up some baking soda (for odors) or/and oatmeal (for skin problems) on a tray in the oven for five minutes. The temperature should be set extremely low, around 250 degrees.

While you wait, put your cat either outside with you or in the garage over a mat because this will be messy.

Brush out everything you can before you get started. Then, retrieve your warm ingredient and massage it into your cat’s fur, making sure to get it all the way into their skin. You may find it easier to use a towel during this process.

Allow it to sit for five minutes, then wipe it off and brush the cat’s coat thoroughly.

Other ingredients

Depending on the desired outcome, a few other ingredients can be used to prepare your cat shampoo.

  • Cornstarch
  • Clay powder

A note on using any kind of powder: Protect your cat’s eyes, ears, and lungs when applying the powder.

How to Make Homemade Cat Shampoo: Wet Version

The classic wet homemade shampoo

If you prefer a more traditional bathing experience for your feline, you need to know how to make homemade cat shampoo the usual way. All you need to do is combine:

  • 1 cup of natural dish soap (Dawn dish soap works great)
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 vegetable glycerin

Mix the ingredients together thoroughly and add a little water (3 cups) to make it easier to use. Then, wet your cat and lather them up! Be sure to rinse thoroughly to prevent your cat from feeling itchy later on.

The sensitive skin homemade shampoo

Just like humans, every cat is different. Some are more sensitive than others and require a more gentle touch. Those ingredients will be softer for your cat :

  • ½ cup of blended oatmeal (the secret moisturizing ingredient)
  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp of dawn dish soap
  • 2 cups of warm water

Apply this mixture to your cat, massage well, let it sit for 1-2 minutes if you can, and rinse gently.

The Lazy Shampoo

This shampoo is actually the simplest recipe in this article. We can’t actually call it a recipe as it only requires one premade “ingredient”: Dr Broner Baby Unscented Pure Castile Soap.

Convenient if you don’t have anything else on hand or if you don’t want to complicate things.

Yoda is a fluffball, so when he gets dirty, sometimes he needs us to step in to make sure he gets clean (ahem, diarrhea accidents..). A wet bath for cats is the best option in this case. It avoids him having to lick himself clean… Yuck!

Dangerous Ingredients to Avoid

A quick list of no-no ingredients that are dangerous and sometimes lethal to cats :

Essential oils: Some people may be tempted to add essential oils to their cat shampoo, but this should be avoided as they are too powerful for your little beast.

Human shampoo: As a rule of thumb, human shampoo is designed for human skin.

Marseille soap: One of the most natural soaps out there. The PH of this soap may be too harsh for your fluffy companion.

Any artificial ingredient: artificial colors, fragrances, parabens, all those artificial ingredients do more harm than good (even for us humans). Stay healthy, choose natural ingredients.

Final Thoughts: How to Make Homemade Cat Shampoo

You can gain all the benefits of using natural products when you learn how to make homemade cat shampoo. No need to spend money on expensive store products that are full of risky chemicals.

Whether you opt for a dry shampoo or a wet version, your kitty will be cleaner than ever before with a homemade cat shampoo ! Don’t forget that if your cat is healthy and grooming himself normally, you do not need to bathe him. Only do it if necessary, avoid creating extra stress if your cat is the situation does not require you to intervene.

Final note: homemade shampoos are not effective against fleas. We tried when we were in Nepal as we did not have access to proper flea products for a while. Unfortunately, a flea infestation requires more drastic measures.

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The Fluffy Kitty

The Fluffy Kitty blog inspires cat owners around the world to live a more adventurous and eco-friendly life with their cats. Read more about our story on our about us page.

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