Dry Shampoo for Cats

If you're looking for a shampoo for cats but don't want to use water, consider a dry preparation. Both commercially available and homemade versions of dry feline shampoo are readily available to clean cats that just can't stand getting wet.

What to Look for in a Dry Cat Shampoo

The type of dry shampoo you purchase at a pet supply store depends on your tastes. Different types of products are available, including powders, sprays, mousses and foams. Some offer additional grooming benefits, such as helping to control hairballs.

You can use a dry shampoo on your cat's coat monthly to improve her appearance. Supplementing the dry shampoos with regular baths will depend on your cat's overall coat condition, whether or not she's a show animal and her comfort level with getting wet.

How to Make a Dry Shampoo for Cats

Making a dry shampoo for your cat is a fairly simple process. You need to decide if you want to simply clean your cat's coat or if you need additional grooming properties, such as odor control or coat conditioning. Baking soda can help control odors, while cornstarch can help bring a silky shine to your cat's coat. Oatmeal can sometimes soothe itchy skin, although its benefits are better used when it's made into a paste with water.

Warm a single ingredient, such as oatmeal, baking soda, bran or cornmeal, on a baking sheet in a low-temperature oven (about 250 degrees Fahrenheit) for about five minutes, or until it is comfortably warm. Apply as directed below to give your cat a cleaner, fresher coat.

How to Use Dry Shampoo for Cats

If possible, give your cat her dry shampoo treatment outside, possibly in a large cardboard box. If that isn't possible, think about using your tub or shower stall to minimize cleanup after the shampoo session is complete. You may need to enlist the help of an assistant if your cat is particularly uncooperative. One of you may need to hold the cat still while the other applies the dry shampoo, or you may be able to dry shampoo the cat on your own if she has a cooperative personality.

Brush your cat's coat completely before applying the dry shampoo. This will help loosen any dirt or shed hair, getting them out of the way prior to shampooing. If you're using a commercially available product, such as a powder or mousse, follow label instructions carefully. Some products don't require brushing after application, but many do. If you're using a product that requires brushing, be sure to brush or comb all traces of the shampoo out of your cat's fur before turning her loose, because she will likely continue the grooming routine on her own.

If you're using a homemade dry shampoo, rub it into your cat's coat with a towel and work it gently down to your cat's skin. Try to keep the shampoo on your cat's coat for at least five minutes. Wipe off the excess and brush your cat's coat thoroughly before rewarding her with a treat.