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10 Best Cat Shampoos in the UK in 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

Bubble bath a small gray stray cat_135pixels_shutterstock

Cats are naturally very clean animals, spending what can seem like hours cleaning and preening themselves. There are occasions when it is still necessary to give them a helping hand, though. Whether you’re looking for a flea solution, trying to get rid of a particularly stubborn stain on the fur, or your cat suffers a condition that needs a dermatological solution, there are cat shampoos to help.

In fact, there is a huge variety of different shampoos, which means that you will be able to find one to suit your needs, but it also makes choosing the right shampoo tricky. Use your reviews below to find the best cat shampoo and read our guide to determine which is best.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favourites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Shampoo TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Shampoo
  • Feature iconInexpensive
  • Feature iconGood for dermatitis and skin conditions
  • Feature iconIncludes omega-fatty acids and vitamins
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Johnsons Tea Tree Soothing Shampoo Johnsons Tea Tree Soothing Shampoo
  • Feature iconVery cheap when bought in large volume
  • Feature iconAlleviates itching and combats flaky skin
  • Feature iconTea tree oil can help fight mild flea infestation
  • Best for Kittens
    Third place
    Pet Head Felin’ Good Cat Shampoo Pet Head Felin’ Good Cat Shampoo
  • Feature iconPleasant lemon scent if your cat can cope with it
  • Feature iconUses natural ingredients
  • Feature iconAlleviates itchy skin and softens the coat
  • Best for Kittens
    TropiClean Hypoallergenic Shampoo TropiClean Hypoallergenic Shampoo
  • Feature iconNo perfumes and soap
  • Feature iconSuitable for kittens 12 weeks and older
  • Feature iconLovely coconut smell in the bottle
  • Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath
  • Feature iconDry shampoo is easier to apply to aquaphobic cats
  • Feature iconPump bottle is easy to use
  • Feature iconFortified with vitamin E
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    The 10 Best Cat Shampoos In The UK – Reviews & Top Picks 2022

    1. TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Oatmeal Shampoo – Best Overall

    TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Medicated
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 3.78L

    TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Oatmeal Shampoo combines alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, and tea tree oil. It first exfoliates the skin, opening up the pores, before cleaning and cleaning. The shampoo can help calm itchy skin and alleviate allergic rashes.

    TropiClean OxyMed is available in a giant bottle, which not only offers the convenience of always having shampoo when you need it, but also helps keep the cost per wash down to a very reasonable price. The shampoo also lathers up well, which minimizes the amount you have to use, making it a cost-effective solution, too, and the soap free formula means that it can be used with most flea treatments.

    The host of benefits offered by TropiClean OxyMed Medicated Oatmeal Shampoo make it our choice as the best overall cat shampoo in the UK. The only real downside is that you do have to buy very large bottles to enjoy the best price, and storage could be an issue.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Good for dermatitis and skin conditions
    • Includes omega-fatty acids and vitamins
    Cons
    • You need to store a massive bottle to get the best price
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    2. Johnsons Tea Tree Soothing Shampoo – Best Value

    Johnsons Tea Tree Soothing Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Liquid shampoo
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 5L

    It is difficult to fault Tropiclean’s medicated oatmeal shampoo, but if it is a little too costly and you have plenty of storage room, this 5-litre bottle of Johnsons Tea Tree Soothing Shampoo is even cheaper: in fact, it is about half the price.

    Johnsons also contains tea tree oil, which helps soother itchy skin. Tea tree oil, when properly diluted, can be effective in the fight against skin born parasites, which includes fleas and lice, while the aloe vera in the ingredients helps provide relief from scratching and any rashes that have been caused. The shampoo is non-perfumed, which makes it suitable for cats with allergies to perfumes, but while it does leave your kitty smelling fresh, the tea tree and aloe vera combination can be quite strong and may not be to everybody’s tastes.

    As with the Tropiclean, you do have to buy a large bottle to get the best savings, but the savings it offers makes this the best cat shampoo in the UK for the money.

    Pros
    • Very cheap when bought in large volume
    • Alleviates itching and combats flaky skin
    • Tea tree oil can help fight mild flea infestation
    Cons
    • Have to buy a big bottle for the good savings
    • Tea tree oil smell won’t suit everybody
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    3. Pet Head Felin’ Good Cat Shampoo – Premium Choice

    Pet Head Felin’ Good Cat Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Liquid shampoo
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 300ML

    Pet Head Felin’ Good Cat Shampoo sits resolutely at the other end of the budget scale and is the most expensive wet shampoo on our list.

    It is packed with natural ingredients and is formulate so that even a small amount creates a lot of lather: a little really does go a long way with Pet Head shampoo. Natural ingredients include verbena for aroma, safflower oil to leave the fur shiny, and vegetable protein and aloe vera to help alleviate itching and scratching.

    The shampoo is lemonberry and includes lemon oil as a scent. Ideally, pet shampoos should be unscented, and considering a lot of natural cat deterrents are citrus flavoured because cats don’t like it, many cats won’t like the smell of this one. If you and your cat do like the smell, it unfortunately doesn’t last that long, and you should avoid bathing your cat too often, unless there is a medical or dermatological reason to do so.

    Pros
    • Pleasant lemon scent if your cat can cope with it
    • Uses natural ingredients
    • Alleviates itchy skin and softens the coat
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Many cats dislike lemon
    • The smell disappears quite quickly
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     4, TropiClean Hypoallergenic Shampoo – Best for Kittens

    TropiClean Hypo-Allergenic Gentle Coconut Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Liquid shampoo
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 562ML

    TropiClean Hypoallergenic Shampoo is a pH balanced and hypoallergenic shampoo designed for kittens, although its gentle formula means that it can be used on cats, and indeed dogs, of all ages.

    It has a coconut aroma and is free from soap and dyes. Although TropiClean claims that the natural coconut scent is long lasting, it does fade quite quickly, although it will leave your kitten smelling fresh and clean. The shampoo also contains aloe extract, which soothes irritated sin while leaving the coat shiny.

    TropiClean is a reasonably priced shampoo, although not the cheapest on the list, but is designed specifically for puppies and kittens over 12 weeks old. It can also help irradicate itchiness and it can repair a damaged and tired looking coat. The only real downside to the shampoo is that, while it has a great coconut smell in the bottle, this quickly dissipates when on the cat, although it does leave a clean smell behind.

    Pros
    • No perfumes and soap
    • Suitable for kittens 12 weeks and older
    • Lovely coconut smell in the bottle
    Cons
    • Smell dissipates quickly
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    5. Vet’s Best Natural Waterless Cat Bath

    Vet’s Best Natural Waterless Cat Bath

    Shampoo type: Waterless
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 150ML

    Vet’s Best Natural Waterless Cat Bath is a waterless, no-rinse shampoo. This means that you don’t have to wrestle the cat into the shower and once applied, you can leave it to disappear naturally, while ensuring that your cat or kitten is clean and smells fresh. Ingredients include aloe vera, chamomile, and oatmeal, and the cat bath formula is fortified with vitamin E.

    Some cats enjoy being in water, others love having a bath. If your fussy feline won’t go near running or pooled water, bathing can be a claw and tooth filled nightmare. This is the primary use for waterless cat baths.

    To apply the shampoo, pump the foam into your hand from the bottle and then gently rub it into your cat’s fur, ensuring that you get right down to the roots. Because this is a no-rinse formula, once it has been applied, you can simply leave it to naturally dry and disappear.

    Vet’s Best is expensive, and because it doesn’t do as good a job of cleaning as traditional cat shampoos, you may have to use more to get the desired results. It can also leave flaky bits in the fur, which is undesirable if you’re using it to help get rid of dander and dirt.

    Pros
    • Dry shampoo is easier to apply to aquaphobic cats
    • Pump bottle is easy to use
    • Fortified with vitamin E
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Can leave flakes
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    6. John Paul Oatmeal Shampoo

    John Paul Oatmeal Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Liquid shampoo
    Pet life stage: Adult
    Volume: 473ML

    John Paul Oatmeal Shampoo is a pet shampoo, which means that it is suitable for use with cats and dogs. It is a wet shampoo, so is applied in the shower or bath, and is another that uses natural ingredients including aloe and chamomile. As the name suggests, its primary ingredient is that of oatmeal. Oatmeal is not only safe for cats, but also added to some commercial foods because it is a good source of vitamin B. When used in shampoo, it can moisturize fur and soothe itchy skin, while also being natural and sympathetic to your cat. It also leaves your cat’s coat feeling soft and smooth.

    JP Oatmeal Shampoo is average priced and is paraben free. Parabens are a type of preservatives commonly used in shampoo, as well as other haircare products and pharmaceuticals. While they serve a purpose is preserving certain products, they can be absorbed into your cat’s kin, causing irritation and itching. They can even cause discoloration of the fur.

    This pH neutral shampoo does not have a strong smell and what smell it does have will disappear quickly, which means that you may end up wanting to bathe your cat more often.

    Pros
    • Paraben free
    • Oatmeal soothes and treats
    Cons
    • Aroma disappears quickly
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    7. Johnson’s Vet Flea Pump Spray

    Johnson’s Vet Flea Pump Spray

    Shampoo type: Wet shampoo
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 125ML

    Johnson’s Vet Flea Pump Spray is a cleansing shampoo that contains natural herbal extracts designed to soothe itching, clean coats, and to help fight off fleas. It can be used on kittens over 8 weeks of age, as well as adult cats, and is considered safe for use on dogs.

    It is a modestly priced shampoo that smells good, and it does do a reasonable job of killing some fleas, although it won’t be effective on a heavy infestation. It also does a good job of keeping your cat’s fur soft and smooth, and while it is around average in terms of price, the bottle is quite small, so if you have multiple cats that need a hand with their bathing habits, it will dry up quickly.

    Pros
    • Helps fight fleas
    • Soothes skin and cleans coat
    Cons
    • Small bottle
    • Not effective against all fleas
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    8. TropiClean Coconut Deep Cleansing Shampoo

    TropiClean Coconut Deep Cleansing Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Liquid shampoo
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 3.78L

    TropiClean Coconut Deep Cleansing Shampoo is a shampoo that uses oatmeal for its cleansing and cleaning properties, combined with berries and coconut for the aroma. It comes in a very large bottle, which won’t be convenient for all cat owners but does keep the cost down for those that are willing to buy in bulk. It lathers up well and does offer a deep cleanse, so it can help soothe sin and roots as well as the tips of the hair.

    As well as adult cats, TropiClean Coconut Deep Cleansing Shampoo is also suitable for kittens from the age of 12 weeks. You do need to dilute the shampoo before using, at a rate of 16 parts water to one part shampoo, which means that it works out even cheaper. However, diluting is more hassle than simply using it straight from the bottle, and although the coconut smells good in the bottle, it disappears quickly when on the cat.

    Pros
    • Dilutes down to create even more shampoo
    • Cheap
    Cons
    • Coconut smell disappears
    • Dilution is more hassle than straight use
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    9. Animology Feline Great Shampoo

    Animology Feline Great Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Liquid shampoo
    Pet life stage: All
    Volume: 250ML

    As well as being free from parabens, Animology Feline Great Shampoo is also SLES free. Sodium Laureth Sulphate, or SLES, is a lathering agent. It helps ensure that you can create a good lather of bubbles before applying to your cat. It also acts as a degreasing agent, therefore helping get rid of grease from your kitty’s coat and skin. However, it is also known to strip the hair of essential oils, which are especially important in cats and dogs, and SLES is recognized as a skin irritant with carcinogenic properties. Using an SLES-free shampoo is better for your cat.

    Unfortunately, the SLES has seemingly not been replaced with another lathering agent, and it is a struggle to get a good lather from the Feline Great shampoo. This, in turn, means that you will use a lot of the shampoo to cover all of your cat’s fur, so while it is around average in price per millilitre, it works out expensive per use. Also, this is another cat shampoo that smells great in the bottle but doesn’t really smell when on the cat.

    Pros
    • Parabens and SLES free
    • Reasonable price per ML
    Cons
    • Doesn’t lather well
    • Not much scent
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    10. Espree Natural Kitten Shampoo

    Espree Natural Kitten Shampoo

    Shampoo type: Liquid shampoo
    Pet life stage: Kitten
    Volume: 354ML

    Espree Natural Kitten Shampoo is hypoallergenic, so it won’t cause rashes and irritation for your young kitten. It can be used on cats as young as 12 weeks. It uses a combination of aloe vera and jojoba to clean and to replace bad smells with pleasant aromas.

    The shampoo is expensive, and it does contain aloe vera, which is poisonous to cats if they ingest it, although most cat shampoos do use aloe, so this isn’t a problem specific to Espree cat shampoo and it should be fine if the shampoo is properly rinsed off and your cat isn’t allowed to eat it. Unlike a lot of natural cat shampoos, which don’t have much aroma, this one has a strong smell.

    In fact, the smell has proven too strong for a lot of cats. Considering most cat shampoos are suitable for 12-week-old kittens, there may be better options for you and your feline friend.

    Pros
    • Hypoallergenic and tear-free
    • Designed for kittens
    Cons
    • Very strong smell
    • Expensive

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Cats are naturally very clean animals. They can seemingly spend hours cleaning and preening their fur, in between extensive periods of rest. However, sometimes they do need a hand.

    Whether they have come home caked in muddy water from the neighbour’s pond, or your cat gets really nervous when visiting the vet and you need a solution to get urine out of their coat, bathing can help. It can also help to soothe irritated and dry skin while some shampoos claim to help combat flea and tic infestations, as well. Generally, you should not need to bathe a cat any more than every two months, unless it has been involved in a muddy incident. And, if you do, you shouldn’t use human shampoo or soap, which are formulated for our unique skin pH. Dog shampoo may be safe, depending on the ingredients and other factors, but it is better to have a bottle of cat shampoo on hand, for just such emergencies.

    Below, we look at the some of the most important things to consider when deciding what is the best cat shampoo for your kitty.

    Shampoo Types

    There are several basic types of cat shampoo to choose from:
    • Liquid Shampoo – This is similar, at least in function and use, to the shampoo that humans use in the shower. It is a thick liquid that can be lathered up and then applied to the coat. Different shampoos have different lathering qualities, aromas, and ingredients, but they are all used and applied in the same way. If your cat is happy to be bathed, or you have very thick gardening gloves and a willing pair of extra hands, this is likely the best choice for you.
    • Dry Shampoo – If your cat lashes out at the sight of a few drops of water, it might be worth considering a dry shampoo. Dry shampoo can be a mousse, powder, or a spray, but whatever its consistency, it does not necessitate convincing your cat to get into the water. Dry shampoos do not really address the cause of bad smells. Rather, they mask the smell. This means that they can be beneficial if there is simply no way of getting your cat in the water, or in an emergency, but their effects will not last long, and they can be expensive.
    • Clean Wipes – Cleaning wipes have a very small amount of liquid or other substance designed to clean your cat’s skin and fur. They do not usually contain alcohol, although this is worth checking, and they should be pH neutral to match the value of your cat’s coat and skin. Wipes are only really beneficial for spot cleaning, wiping dirty bums, or for daily cleaning cats that really detest baths.
    cat bath_Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock
    Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

    Questionable And Toxic Ingredients

    There are many ingredients that can be found in cat shampoo. In most cases, these are listed on the bottle, although some manufacturers do use vague ingredient names like “perfume”. If you are concerned about an ingredient, either dig deeper to find out exactly what the shampoo contains or avoid that product and opt for something else. The following ingredients are noteworthy either for their benefits or because you should avoid them altogether.

    Avoid:

    Parabens – These are preservatives that extend the shelf life of a product. Parabens are commonly found in human cosmetics and shampoo and can also be found in some cat shampoos. As well as being bad for the environment, parabens are absorbed by a cat’s skin and are considered carcinogenic, which means that they are linked to some forms of cancer and other diseases.

    SLS And SLES – Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureate Sulphate (SLES) are added to shampoo as synthetic foaming agents. They help the shampoo create a bubbly lather when agitated, but are also used as a degreasing agent, therefore helping to clean a cat’s coat. They strip natural and essential oils from the cat’s fur, however, and are one of the reasons that pet owners have been told that they should never bathe a cat. They irritate the skin and eyes, and potentially also cause damage to the lungs.

    Questionable:

    Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera is found in cosmetic products and often seen in cat shampoo and conditioners. It is popular because it is a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent. Because it’s natural, and because of its benefits to humans, many owners instantly assume that it is safe. While parts of the plant, specifically the white latex, are toxic to cats, the juice is not. Because the juice is non-toxic, and offers the many benefits of this ingredient, it is safe for use in cat shampoo.

    Chamomile – Chamomile is another ingredient that is found in some cat shampoos but has a reputation for being dangerous for cats. In large enough doses, chamomile is toxic to cats and dogs. However, in small doses, it can be used to calm and soothe a cat, which can be especially useful when they have endured the ordeal of a bath or shower. It also has a pleasant smell that is not usually overbearing or too powerful.

    bathing cat
    Image Credit: ilmarinfoto, Shutterstock

    Is It Safe to Use Human Shampoo On Cats?

    It might be tempting, if your cat is caked in poop and you don’t have any cat shampoo on hand, to reach over and grab your own shampoo. However, it is not advised to use human shampoo on cats. Human and cat skin have different pH values. Cats require a pH neutral shampoo, and human shampoo is not neutral. As such, using human shampoo can strip away essential oils and may cause injury to your cat’s skin and illness to your cat.

    Should I Wash My Cat?

    Most cats can do a very good job of looking after their own cleanliness. They wash and preen regularly. However, there are occasions when your cat may be too muddy or too dirty for them to be able to clean it all off. Some cats also suffer from dermatological conditions that benefit from occasional bathing with a sensitive soap. A typical cat should not need to be bathed more than two or three times a year, and most groomers recommend it not be done more than every two months. Ensure you use a good shampoo and don’t use any human products during the bathing session.

    Can You Use Human Shampoo on Cats? What You Must Know! Cats are equipped with all the tools they need to bathe and clean themselves, but there may be times when your cat needs some assistance, possibly after they have walked through or played in something particularly dirty. Besides the fact that your cat will probably hate the experience of being bathed, it is important to remember that regular bathing can cause more harm than good, so it should be reserved solely for emergencies. With that said, there is a good chance that you won’t have cat shampoo laying around in the cupboard. So, can you use human shampoo on your cats? Is it safe? The quick answer is no, you shouldn’t use human shampoo on your cats. We’ll tell you more below. Should You Bathe Your Cat? Your cat has a rough tongue and powerful teeth. He has the tools he requires to effectively keep himself clean most of the time. This is especially true of short-haired cats. As such, it is rare that you will even consider bathing your cats. However, it is also true that cats are incredibly inquisitive. Some might say nosey. They want to investigate every portion of every room. They want to know what you keep grabbing out of the cupboard, and what it is that has such a strong smell in the back of the shed. They rub against things, roll in liquids and substances you don’t want them to, and have a seemingly endless list of ways in which they can cause mischief and end up caked in mud and other nasties. There may, then, be occasion when you feel it is necessary to bathe your cat. Occasional bathing is fine. The same natural oils that help protect your cat’s coat from everyday dirt and grime will recover after a bath. Frequent bathing, though, can strip these oils from the fur. This will leave your cat with dry fur. It can also lead to dry skin, rashes, and other problems that not only leave their fur lacking luster but may actually cause them harm. So, you can bathe your cat, but you should only do so when it is absolutely necessary. If you have ever had to bathe a cat, you likely won’t want to repeat the process too often. It tends to result in a lot of soapy water everywhere except on the cat, and a terrified and angry cat warning you off. It’s a lot of water, claws, and hissing, but not a lot of cleaning. You should make the process quick, be confident, and you should have everything ready before you even consider turning the tap on. Should You Use Human Shampoo? Even the most delicate human shampoo contains chemicals and other ingredients that are harmful to your cat. A lot of shampoos contain perfumes and even essential oils, both of which can prove toxic to your cat. The ingredients are effectively absorbed through the cat’s skin and broken down by the liver, but a cat’s liver is not the same as a human’s and it is not as effective at breaking down the chemicals that are found in human shampoo. Therefore, it is safest to use a shampoo specially designed for cats. Using Specialist Cat Shampoo It is worth having a bottle of cat shampoo in the cupboard, ready for any mud-based emergency. These shampoos are formulated especially for use on cats. They have the right pH balance, so are not usually as acidic as human shampoo, and they do not contain the same essential oils and perfumes as are used in our own shampoo. Cat shampoo won’t dry out your cat’s fur or skin as readily. It will contain some natural odor that will help get rid of the smell of dirt and muck, but it uses natural ingredients that are not damaging to your cat. Is Human Shampoo Safe For Cats? Some human shampoo may prove relatively safe for cats, but the majority of ingredients found in human shampoo can prove dangerous for your filthy feline. Stick to cat shampoo, only bathe when necessary, and be prepared before you grab the cat because the process is likely to get a bit scratchy.
    Image Credit: Olleg, Shutterstock

    What Can You Use Instead of Cat Shampoo?

    If you don’t have cat shampoo to hand, or you don’t wish to use it for any other reason, there are a few options you can turn to. Baby shampoo, especially tear-free, should be fine because it is designed to be much gentler than adult shampoo. A baking soda solution can be effective on lighter coloured cats, while fragrance-free baby wipes are great for getting rid of unexpected stains or one-off dirt. You can even make a homemade cat shampoo from oatmeal, baking soda, and water, if you have all the ingredients around the house.

    Why Do Cats Hate Water?

    Wet fur is heavy, takes a long time to dry, and can be very uncomfortable for a cat. Therefore, some cats do indeed hate water, although it is worth noting that some cats not only tolerate but love water. The Maine Coon can be obsessed with water, hanging around sinks and toilets just to have a splash about. You may even find yours out in the pond, on occasion, inevitably meaning that you will have to provide a bath or shower.

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    Conclusion

    Most cats do a great job of keeping themselves clean through regular grooming and preening. They will lick dirt off their fur and encourage natural oils that get rid of grease and other stubborn dirt. However, there are situations where you might need to bathe your cat and finding the best cat shampoo is important. It needs to be sympathetic to a cat’s physiology so that it doesn’t damage the coat, fur, or the cat itself, and should do a good job of getting rid of dirt and leaving a pleasant aroma behind.

    While compiling the reviews above, which we hoped help you find the best shampoo for your cat’s next bath, we found TropiClean Medicated Oatmeal Shampoo to be inexpensive while containing a good combination of vitamins and other beneficial ingredients. Alternatively, if you are on a really tight budget, TropiClean Shed Control Shampoo is a little cheaper and is especially formulated to prevent cats from shedding their fur too heavily.

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    Featured Image Credit: 135pixels, Shutterstock