a white maien coon beign bathed

Can You Use Human Shampoo On A Maine Coon?

Many people like to wash their cats.

They go outdoors, roll around in the dirt, and take a bath every now and again to keep their coat sleek and clean, as well as their skin free of irritations.

Sometimes it’s for looks, and other times it’s because there is paint or oil on their fur.

Then your Maine Coon will NEED a bath.

But what shampoo can you use – is there something harmful in the one you use on your cat.

Can you use human shampoo on a Maine Coon?

Maine Coons shouldn’t use any human grooming products including shampoo. The pH (acidity) levels of the products are different in humans and cats. Human shampoo is acidic to cat skin which becomes an irritant if left unrinsed. Cats also groom themselves so any unrinsed shampoo on the fur may be ingested.

Although you probably shouldn’t be using human shampoo on a Maine Coon the fact is that it’s an issue that divides many owners.

Many people don’t but quite a few people do use a shampoo not designed for cats, but that approach comes with knowledge requirements.

Having to shampoo your Maine Coon may not have been something you’ve had to think of before.

After all, cats are pretty well known for grooming themselves.

A Maine Coon can always find themselves brushing up against paint though, or stepping in oil, or even the unlucky recipient of pigeon waste.

Having to shampoo your Maine coon may be something you are forced into learning about – rather quickly.

a ginger maine coon looking around

What Does Human Shampoo Do To A Maine Coon – Is It Harmful?

When deciding if you want to shampoo your Maine Coon it’s worth pondering if it is even necessary.

After all, why not just rinse the coat, wash out the dirt, and let the cat dry naturally – what harm can that do?

That is in fact many people’s argument – you don’t actually need to shampoo the coat.

While perhaps not fatally toxic, human shampoo is formulated for humans in terms of the acidity level – known as the pH.

The pH (acidity level) of human skin is 5.2 to 6.2, whereas cat skin ranges from 6.2 to 7.2.

This means human shampoo is slightly acidic to cat skin, which is a caustic irritant and can leave itchy and flaky skin.

Kittens have even more delicate skin than an adult cat so for kittens, it’s even more recommended that you just rinse or use specific cat shampoo.

Cats also do not sweat through their skin as humans do.

Your body can wash away irritants but a cat cannot.

Specific cat shampoos are made for the pH level of the cat’s skin and will not irritate.

You can probably get away with a very mild shampoo at low levels of volume and finished off with a thorough rinse but a heavy shampoo will be more problematic.

That would probably be the takeaway – human shampoo is not ideal for cleaning your Maine Coon – however, if you do, use a mild one, be quick, and rinse incredibly thoroughly to get the shampoo off the skin.

alita the maine coon in the shower

Can You Use Baby Shampoo On Your Maine Coon?

Although baby shampoo is designed to be more delicate, it is still designed for humans.

It will still have the same problems as adult shampoo, just at a less abrasive level.

Shampooing your Maine Coon with baby shampoo still isn’t the best idea, it’s just better than adult variants.

Shampoo specifically designed for the pH level of the cat’s skin is still the more preferable method.

In general, a cat will not need a bath, a shower, or shampoo unless they come back with something that immediately needs removing from your Maine Coon.

a ginger maine coon with its tongue out

Can You Use Human Soap On a Maine Coon?

Human soap has the same problem as human shampoo when used for cats.

The pH level of human soap is too acidic for cat skin.

Used regularly the higher acidity from human soap will be an irritant to your cat and produce flaky and dry skin.

This leaves your Maine Coon vulnerable to skin diseases.

Soaps also have fragrances and chemicals in them for human use, which if left on the fur will be ingested by your cat when it grooms itself.

So soap is not ideal for use either, and should really only be used when there is a bigger issue than soap in the cat’s fur, like oil.

In any case, if you use human products on your cat, make sure there is plenty of water to rinse off the chemicals.

a tabby maine coon close up

What Can I Use To Wash My Maine Coon If I Don’t Have Cat Shampoo?

You might be able to understand why the issue tends to divide many people.

While human shampoos and soaps aren’t ideal – many people use them in a mild formula and wash away the chemicals very quickly.

Done in brief this won’t be harmful – but there are better ways.

Not least of which is just rinsing the coat with water – this leaves many people only using human shampoos in an emergency when the cat has another infectant on the coat.

So if you don’t have a specific cat shampoo, is there anything you can clean your Maine Coon with?

Wipes And Waterless Shampoo

For cats who refuse to take a bath, premoistened wipes and waterless shampoos can be used instead when they won’t go into the tub.

Waterless shampoos are rubbed into the fur and don’t have to be rinsed off.

They are also safe for your cat when they groom themselves.

These types of shampoos are typically better for adult cats and are less safe for very young kittens.

a maine coon kitten in a cat basket

Can I Wash My Maine Coon With Just Water?

If you do need to bathe your Maine Coon then using just water may be the best option.

It washes out dirt and grime leaving the coat sleeker and glossier without being harmful.

The only exceptions would be greasy fur or a foreign contaminant like oil or muck.

Elderly cats can sometimes soil themselves and you may want to wash that away with a mild shampoo.

a black maine coon on a black background


Human shampoo is not safe to use on Maine Coons, and other shampoos are available on the market specifically made for them.

Bathing your cat with just water can be good if you’re in a pinch or want their coat to shine more without being harmful.

You may need other products like mild shampoo or conditioner depending on the situation of your pet, namely muck, feces, oil, or paint on the fur.

Using human grooming products are designed for the acidity level of human skin and will be abrasive to your Maine Coons skin.

A VERY THOROUGH RINSE is recommended if you do use human graded chemicals.

The fact that there are differing opinions on this probably means you can but it’s not the best idea.

It’s not fatally harmful usually, it’s just that there is another option, like a specifically designed cat shampoo.

About the Author


My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

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Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One