Sometimes it seems like cats spend all day grooming themselves. That doesn't mean, though, that they never need a little boost to keep them clean.
Unfortunately, human shampoos aren't good for your pet, and specialized feline blends can get expensive. Why not try making your own cat shampoo? Below are three simple recipes that will clean out your cat's fur and not your wallet.
Important Safety Tip: Essential oils might seem like a natural choice for homemade shampoo, but cat livers aren't great at absorbing these substances. So if you want to incorporate them into this process, make sure to dilute them heavily and rinse your cat off thoroughly at the end.
Dry Cat Shampoo
Most cats are not huge fans of getting wet, so they're likely to prefer a dry bath. Any combination of baking soda, oats, cornmeal, and bran will help absorb the oils from your feline's fur and skin, letting you brush off any dirt or dust. Baking soda will provide some deodorization, too.
This method is especially useful for short haired cats. Long haired kittys will need some kind of liquid treatment from time to time.
Begin by spreading a selection of oatmeal, bran or corn meal on a baking sheet. Place the material in an oven set on low, until it's warm to the touch.
Now bring your kitty to an open, outdoor spot, or one indoors that's easy to clean later. Expect some of the powder to get thrown off in the process, and dress accordingly. If you're sensitive to dust, you might want to consider wearing a breathing mask.
Brush out your cat's fur with a grooming brush to eliminate loose hair and dirt before applying the shampoo.
Rub the warm mixture into your cat's fur all the way to the skin. Spread out your attention, from the top of the head to the armpits (legpits?). Go easy on the face, though, to avoid any contact with the eyes. Rub thoroughly to make sure the shampoo coats the skin beneath the fur.
Leave the dry substance for five minutes or so, staying with your cat so she or he doesn't start self-cleaning just yet.
Finally, brush out the coat again, and finish off the cleanup with a dry towel, getting off as much of the mixture as possible.
Simple Wet Cat Shampoo
If your cat is very dirty, or has long, fluffy hair, a wet bath might be the only good option.
To make a basic kitty cleaning solution, mix one cup of natural dish soap with one cup of organic apple cider vinegar and four cups of water. For a skin moisturizing boost, add 1/3 a cup of glycerin to the mix.
Apply and rub to a lather, working over the whole body thoroughly but carefully avoiding the eyes.
All Natural Wet Cat Shampoo
If you prefer to go even further back to basics, you can substitute soapwort root mixed with water for the dish soap recipe above.
To make the base, combine two teaspoons of powdered, dried soapwort root with two cups of boiling water. Set the mixture aside to cool and mix.
At this point, you can add a tiny drop of essential oil, such as peppermint, lavender or lemongrass, to give your shampoo a pleasant, herbaceous smell, and bring a little shine to your cat's fur. Just make sure to go very easy on this step for your pet's safety. To bathe your cat, apply the mixture and rub to a lather.
Rinse thoroughly when you're finished. Your cat is likely to start licking its fur right away, so make sure to remove any substances you wouldn't want them to ingest.
Both kinds of wet shampoo can be bottled and stored for later use.
Lifelong Tip: The younger your cat is when you start regular shampoo sessions, the more willing they'll be to stay still for the process as they grow up. If you treat them with love and care while you clean them, they might even discover they enjoy it!