Dish soap does not have the right pH for your cat’s skin.
However, when you have nothing else available, it can make a pretty good cleaning agent.
It is not going to hurt your cat’s coat or skin if you use it once.
We recommend purchasing a shampoo, whether in its foam, dried, or liquid form, that is specifically made for cats.
Even the dog ones are not safe for this species.
Is It Safe?
Bathing your cat with dish soap is as safe as you can make it to be.
What we mean by this is that you have to make sure that you get rid of any traces of the cleaning substance from your cat’s fur.
As you know, cats have the habit of grooming their bodies, and when they come in contact with something that doesn’t naturally belong on their coat, they will practice excess grooming.
This is why even though dish soap is generally viewed as a safe short-term solution for washing your cat’s body, your pet’s coat needs to be very well rinsed.
Not every dish soap is the same when it comes to ingredients.
Some could contain more dangerous ingredients while others might be made with natural ones, which obviously will not put your cat’s health at risk.
How To Wash Your Cat Using Dish Soap
To wash your cat with dish soap follow these steps:
1. Grab a towel
Cats have this way of knowing when something wicked is going their way, so if they feel that you have any bathing intentions, they might hide or might try to jump from your arms when you grab ahold of them.
If you want to make sure that your cat is properly restrained, we suggest using a towel.
Naturally, you will remove it later on, but it can be a very helpful tool especially if you have no one else to help you.
2. Make a bath in your sink
It’s far easier to give your cat a bath in the sink than it would be for you to do the same in the bathtub.
Fill it up with warm water and gently put your cat in the sink.
Make sure to prevent any water from getting into your cat’s eyes or ears, whether you’ve added any dish soap to it or not.
3. Add dish soap to the water or use some on your cat’s coat
There are two methods of cleaning your cat’s coat.
Some people prefer to add dish soap to the water as they feel that it’s safer, since you’re not putting any specific amount of dish soap on your cat’s fur directly, the concentration is lower.
On the other hand, doing so will not clean your cat’s coat as well as the other method, which involves squirting some dish detergent right on the fur.
4. Rub your cat’s fur until it’s nicely coated in foam
You don’t have to aggressively rub your pet’s body.
When you start seeing that your cat’s fur is getting clean and that there’s a decent layer of foam on the coat, start rinsing.
5. Rinse your pet
Make sure you remove all of the traces of detergent from your cat’s fur.
This is a very important step and it can prevent your cat from ingesting any of the dish detergent.
Since cats usually become impatient by this stage of the process, you might have to use your shower to get rid of the foam as quickly as possible.
6. Dry your cat with a towel
Rub the towel on your cat’s body to remove any excess water that might have remained in her coat.
7. Use a hairdryer if your cat lets you
This step is a little problematic. On the one hand, it would be ideal if you were to dry your cat’s coat with a hair blower, but that’s often not realistic.
Cats hate the noise that these appliances make and they’ll hide wherever they can because of it.
Sometimes, if you get the hair blower’s head too close to your cat’s body, she might feel uncomfortable because of the heat.
If this is not possible, you have to do your best at drying your cats with a towel and hope that they’ll dry on their own.
We recommend bathing your cat in the summer, if at all possible.
Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe for Cats?
Dawn Dish soap is non-toxic, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe for your cat to drink any of the bathing water or ingest some of it while grooming her body.
Like any other type of dish detergent, this variety, too, poses the risk of modifying your cat’s skin pH.
This means that if your cat is generally predisposed to allergies or dermatitis, you might inadvertently do more harm than good and actually cause a health issue.
Does Dish Soap Help With Fleas?
Yes. To some extent, dish detergent can help with your cat’s fleas in that it will remove a part of them.
However, for serious flea infestations, we do not recommend washing your cat’s coat with dish soap.
There are anti-flea and anti-tick shampoos if you feel compelled to bathe your cat, but do keep in mind that doing this on a regular basis is detrimental to your pet’s health.
Cats don’t have to be bathed if they are not extremely dirty and there are many other options for dealing with fleas, from spot-on solutions to injections and pills.
What Else Can I Use to Wash My Cat?
Johnson’s baby shampoo is generally safe to use on cats, too, because it is also manufactured using non-toxic ingredients only.
Baby shampoos are usually safe to use on pets on occasion, but like anything else that is not uniquely made for animals and this species, in particular, you will hurt your cat if you wash her with human products time and again.
There are some articles recommending that you bathe your cat with a mix of warm water, human soap, and vinegar.
While it is true that vinegar can be considered a disinfectant since it is acidic, your cat is not going to love the vinegary smell and you’re both going to have a very hard time during the bathing experience.
Moreover, human soap is not safe to use in most cases.
Soap bars are the worst, because they effectively remove all the oils present on human skin and they will do the same on your cat’s skin, too.
Some specific products, such as those designed for sensitive skin and those that don’t contain any chemicals like parabens or artificial flavors and colors, might be more appropriate for your cat.
However, they are still not going to have the right pH, so we do not recommend using them time and time again to bathe your cat.
Just to make things clear, some cats can live perfectly for a decade or more without needing a bath.
Of course, if your cat gets really dirty and you have to bathe her so as to get her clean more quickly, it is understandable.
But in general, vets don’t recommend washing your cat more often than once every 3-6 months, even with the right pet products.
While dish soap is a fairly harmless cleaning agent, so you can use it to wash your cat, it is definitely not the best product for the job.
There are many cat-safe shampoos currently available for sale and most of them do not even cost a fortune.
What truly makes the difference between them and dish soap or any other product that might have crossed your mind is that they are uniquely made for this species, they are non-toxic and safe, and they also have the right pH.
If you do have to bathe your cat with dish detergent (if you have nothing available and it’s an emergency), make sure that you thoroughly rinse your cat’s coat so as to remove all of the product from it.
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