Is Human Shampoo Safe for Cats?

When it comes to your beloved pets, choosing the right products is extremely important. After all, much like us, they can experience allergies and negative reactions to the chemical content of certain hygiene products. Now, this begs the question: Can you use human shampoo on cats? Some would agree whilst others might not. Here’s why.

Cat Shampoo vs. Human Shampoo – What’s the Difference?

You might not think that there is any difference between the two at all, but this is certainly not the case. For the most part, shampoos are species based—they cater specifically to the needs of whoever might be using them. Do a quick check right now and grab your shampoo bottle and that of your furry friend’s. Just reading through the labels, you’ll notice the nuances between the two. Even the ingredients would be different.

This is because most pet shampoos tend to be gentler and contain more ingredients that are meant to deodorize and keep fleas away. Another thing you have to think about is the difference between the pH of our skin and that of our pets. Human skin tends to be more acidic thus requiring something to match that. Having your pet use your shampoo might actually cause allergies or dry out their skin, which can lead to various issues. Their skin, much like ours, acts like a natural barrier against infections and compromising this vital organ can be detrimental to their health. So think about this before using human shampoo on cats.

siamese cat in pond in front of white background

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Cat?

Now, you might think that since baby shampoos are formulated to be gentler and less drying they would work for your pets too. The truth is that this can be done—as long as you make sure that you choose the right baby shampoo. There are still ones out there that contain certain ingredients, such as fragrances, which can cause negative reactions in your pet. So why do baby shampoos work? Simple.

These shampoos have been formulated to be milder in nature and contain far less chemicals than the ones adults use on a daily basis. As babies tend to have sensitive skin, the formulation matches well with your cat’s needs. However, this does not mean that you can forego all the precautions when using it to bathe your pet. For example, despite it being gentler, it would still be wise to dilute the baby shampoo in some water before using it. This is especially so if you know for a fact that your cat is sensitive to various hygiene products. Much like people, cats also have varying levels of sensitivity when it comes to these things so be observant. Also, do avoid getting the shampoo or even the soapy water into their eyes, ears and mouth.

The only downside to using baby shampoo on your cats is the fact that these may not be as deodorizing as cat-specific shampoos. Remember that whilst they do work, it is still recommended that you use a dedicated cat shampoo instead. This is especially so if you frequently groom your cat.

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Cats – The Organic Variety

This one’s a little tricky as there are organic ingredients which your cat can be allergic to. Also, even if it’s organic, the formulation is still best suited for human use and not for your pet. It might clean their fur nicely, but frequent use might do more damage than good. This is an option, however, should you ever run out of shampoo for your pet and haven’t the time to get them a new bottle just yet. Do make sure you look through the ingredients first and make sure that it doesn’t contain anything which might make your cat ill.

For example, these are some of the known organic ingredients which can be toxic to your pet: Aloe, Chamomile, Palm Oil and Avocado Oil. Aloe, especially, is one of the most commonly used ingredients for many organic products, but do know that it can cause vomiting as well as diarrhea in your pet. So if you’re opting for something organic, even for shampoos made specifically for cats, read through the ingredients before buying.

So to answer the question can you use human shampoo on cats? The general verdict would be: NO. There are cat specific shampoos for a reason and that is because these are specially formulated to be well suited for their skin pH and needs. Deodorizing, anti-flea ingredients and the right level of mildness are the top three concerns here. None of which you can really find in regular human shampoos. Just because something does the job for you, it doesn’t mean it would work the same way for your pet. So treat them well and get them their own supplies.

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