While most cats keep themselves free of dirt and grime, they are unable to get rid of fleas, ticks, or other pests that get lodged in their fur. To ensure that their skin is free from pests, it’s imperative to give cats a bath at least once every few months. And to effectively give your cat a bath, regular human soaps like Dove won’t do the trick.
You can’t use Dove or other human soaps on your cat because the pH levels on a human’s skin and a cat’s skin are different. Dove soap can leech the natural oils produced by a cat’s skin, leaving their coat dry and irritable. However, Ivory soap is the only brand you can safely use on a cat.
In this article, we’ll explore further why using Dove on your cat is a bad idea and what to use instead.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Dove Soap on Your Cat
Many cat owners, and some vets, believe Dove soap is suitable for cats because this soap is marketed as a gentle, soothing cleanser meant for all skin types.
However, it’s crucial to remember that Dove was designed for human skin, and the benefits it offers are explicitly geared towards humans. While this soap can effectively remove dirt from a cat’s fur, it’s not designed for their skin, and using it can cause adverse effects.
1. Different pH Levels
All human soaps are created with a specific pH level, and the pH levels of different brands vary only negligibly. Human skin is considered weakly acidic, and soaps are designed and manufactured with raw materials that balance out this pH level.
On the other hand, cats have a completely different pH level that varies across breeds. Human soaps are not designed in relation to a cat’s skin and might be too acidic or alkaline, depending on the soap and the cat breed in question.
This mismatch in pH levels is the prime reason you should avoid using Dove soap on your cat altogether. Using human soaps on a cat can lead to dry skin and flaking, and regular use can even result in severe skin infections.
But Dove and other human soaps aren’t just harmful when used regularly. Even a single use can lead to skin irritation, causing your cat to scratch excessively and shed extra hair all over your home.
And an irritable, scratchy cat is an unhappy cat, and you wouldn’t want that for your feline friend.
2. Harmful Chemicals
Humans and cats are different in several ways aside from the pH levels of our skin. We differ significantly in physiology and the way our bodies function. What’s safe to the human body can be severely harmful to a cat and vice versa.
Dove soap contains certain chemicals and essential oils that were designed to rejuvenate our skin. But the same particles can lead to complicated health problems when ingested by our cats.
Using Dove on a cat’s skin is impractical because cats tend to lick themselves all the time and are sure to ingest the residual soap particles left on their fur. Certain essential oils can also lead to breathing difficulties and congestion in cats, and it’s best to avoid human soaps and shampoos altogether.
While many cat owners have touted Dove as a safe cleaning solution for cats, there are significant risks in bathing your cats with this soap.
As such, it’s best to abstain from using human soaps on cats.
Note: Some feline parents swear by dog shampoo as well, saying it works wonders on a cat’s skin. And while this may be true in some instances, dog shampoos also contain chemicals and essences that may be safe for dogs but toxic to cats.
Luckily, you’ll find plenty of alternatives to bathe your cat.
What To Use When Bathing Your Cat
Getting your cat to stay still during a bath can be a daunting task. And if you’ve made up your mind to undergo this process, then kudos to you!
Here’s a video to guide you on how to effectively bathe your cat without getting scratched:
While natural cleansers like neem or other herbal solutions are often advocated for cat baths, it’s best to use a cat shampoo designed explicitly for this purpose.
These shampoos are designed for cats and free from ingredients that may irritate their skin and lead to adverse skin conditions.
Cats also tend to dislike baths, and they can get wide-eyed and fidgety at any point during the process. Luckily, most cat shampoos are made with this in mind, and you can rest assured that they won’t irritate your cat’s eyes even if they leak into them during a bath.
What To Do if You Don’t Have Cat Shampoo
Your next step as a pet parent is to get a cat shampoo so you can give your cat a good scrubbing the next time you need to. But what if your cat just got home dirty, smelly, and matted, and you don’t have any shampoo at home?
Here’s a quick cat shampoo recipe you can whip up to give them a bath anyway.
- 1 cup (128 grams) Dawn dish soap
- 1 cup (128 grams) Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 cups (512 grams) of warm water
- 1 tbsp (14.8 mL) of catnip
You don’t need to include catnip in this mixture, but it will help relax your cat, making the bathing process more manageable and less stressful. If you don’t have certain ingredients, here are a few alternative home shampoos for cats that you can make in case of an emergency.
Q. Are human soaps safe for cats?
A. Human soaps are unsafe for cats or any other pets as they come with a different pH level. This difference in pH level can lead to skin dryness, itching, and even infection. The only soap brand that is safe is Ivory soap, as it doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that other soaps contain.
Q. What can I use for bathing my cat instead of Dove soap?
A. If you’re out of cat shampoo and can’t find anything except human cleansers, here are a few options you can rely on.
- Baby wipes
- Baby shampoo
- Dawn Dish soap
- DIY Oatmeal Shampoo
It’s crucial to exercise caution when using these products, and it’s always better to get a cat shampoo if you have the time.
Q. Do I need to bathe my cat?
A. Cats are known to clean and groom themselves regularly and are spotless animals for the most part. However, fleas, ticks, and other pests tend to live on their skin beneath the fur, and it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them without bathing your cat.
Additionally, self-grooming won’t eliminate pungent or unpleasant odors, and bathing is the only solution.
Q. How often does a cat need a bath?
A. You should bathe your cat whenever it gets into something that they can take care of themselves. These things might include:
- Fleas, ticks, or other pests
- Harmful chemicals
- Sticky substances that won’t come out through a cat’s normal grooming procedure.
Otherwise, you shouldn’t bathe your cat, as the oils in their skin and fur are healthy for your cat to consume. Washing your cat will take these away and create some nutritional deficiencies.
While Dove and other human soaps may seem safe, they can significantly harm your cat by damaging its skin. It’s best to avoid these products altogether and invest in a cat shampoo that contains the vital nutrients your cat needs.
By investing in a safe shampoo, you can keep your cat clean and avoid any complications that are sure to arise when using products designed for humans.
- Cuteness: Safe Soap for Cats
- Cat Lover Here: Can I Use Dove Soap on my Cat
- Quora: Can you Wash a Cat With Dove Soap
- Neeness: Can I Use Dove Soap on my Cat?
- Cat Wiki: How Well Can Cats See in the Dark?
- Excited Cats: 5 Homemade Recipes Using Simple Ingredients
- YouTube: How to Bathe a Cat
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.