Can I Wash My Cat with Human Shampoo?

Jun 21st 2012  |   2 Contributions

Janet asks: I have my first Maine Coon, who wants to be washed with a tea towel at least once a day. She got really dirty outside and wants to be soaped (she knocked my shampoo off the rack). Can you use regular shampoo? Since she lives up here on the mountain, about 9,500 feet above sea level, her skin seems dry. How about using conditioner on her -- not tons of it, but a glob or two, with a good rinsing?

Aside from chasing Dunkin with a paper towel to wipe crust off his bum before he jumps on my bed, my cat washing experience is limited to foster kittens. They enjoy walking through their wet meats and then into the litter box. Then they pounce around in their mess for awhile. After that, I scruff them and then it’s off to the faucet with them!

When it comes to bathing adult cats, it seems like less is more. If your Maine Coon’s skin seems dry, it might be because you are overwashing. Like humans, too much washing can dry out the epidermis, causing irritation and flaking. Your vet can prescribe cream if it’s a real problem, but you want to steer clear of people products. There could be chemicals in them that may further aggravate your cat’s skin.

My other thought is that the tea towels could be the culprit, if you wash them with detergents containing scents or dyes.

Maybe your cat could feel beautiful in other ways? Take her out for a deep tissue massage or to a wine bar -- or, hey, take me. Sitting in the tour van for eight hours a day is really taking its toll.

This video was taken at a house concert in Minnesota, and if you’d like to host one, check out my website and contact me there!

"Hand Wash Only" by Sarah Donner

Normally cats don’t need help with hygiene
Occasionally you might see poop on their tails or dirt on their knees
If they do, then please

Hand wash only, with products solely made for cats
Not too often, keep that coat soft and moisturized
Overwashing can dry them out
Cause flaky skin, and no one likes it
When pieces of their cat fall off on them

Our shampoo was made for me and you
With chemicals that could irritate Kitty Foo Foo
Try cat conditioners, leave-in, and tangle-free
Omega-3 supplements or vet-prescribed topical cream

SOURCES: Pet Place, Native Remedies, ASPCA

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