Cats aren’t real fans of getting wet or getting a bath.  There are also a few pet parents whose cats are not bathed in years because they don’t require one.

Does this make you think, ‘why are cat shampoos made then, they clearly don’t require it that much?’ Or, ‘why can’t we use other soap-based products like dish wash?’

Well actually there is an alternative you can use, it is the safest alternative compared to the others.

And for once vets do not advise it, but they never tell you to avoid it.

It’s a dish washer, particularly Dawn Dish soap.

Let’s find out more about it and also how it works.

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Cats?

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Kittens?

Yes, Dawn dish soap is safe for kittens, until you use the original unscented type.

In reality, Dawn dish soap was designed to help in emergency pet situations, so it is a relatively safer option than anything else.

Kittens tend to get themselves very dirty,  coming back after playing covered in mud is not surprising for pet parents.

It gets difficult when you have to get that mud out of there along with the grease and the smell.

In such situations, Dawn works best to wash the cat.

Dish soaps have excellent degreasing properties which can be both beneficial and harmful. If you want to remove grease from your kitten’s fur dawn is completely appropriate.

It can be detrimental if you use it regularly in large quantities as it may strip of precious natural oils secreted by the cat’s skin.

Kittens also get flea-ridden very quickly if they are exposed but you can also use Dawn to get rid of fleas in kittens.

All of the above suggestions work if you use the original unscented version of the dish soap.

If you use a different version, it may contain various chemicals which may be toxic to your cat’s fur and even more if it swallows or ingests it.

Cats are also very susceptible to new odors, they may have a violent outburst if it encounters new smells it dislikes.

The other varieties of Dawn typically are scented. Fragrances like lemon or lavender aggravate the cat and these are very popular among dish soaps.

Also if the cat has a wound or injury, DO NOT USE Dish soap as it may burn and irritate its skin.

Make sure you take the unscented version of dawn dish soap if you want to make your cat’s bathing experience safe.

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Cats To Lick?

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Cats To Lick?

No, it is extremely harmful if cats lick the dish soap.

Generally, after you give a cat a bath with shampoo or any other material, you’ll observe them licking their skin.

For grooming themselves too, they lick themselves. After bathing them with dish soap, they might lick themselves and swallow some of the soap.

The chemicals present in the soap could harm the cat’s body internally.

This is not a huge cause of concern as the dish soap that you should be using should be non-toxic as that is the only kind you are advised to use on cats.

It is a likely possibility that the cat would not like the taste of dish soap and not even ingest a large amount.

But these are just inconclusive assumptions, and as they say, “you should always be prepared for the worst”, you should be ready for any situation.

If the cat licks the dish soap in large amounts you may observe symptoms such as vomiting. If your cat is just vomiting, that means it is trying to flush out the poison from its body.

If the vomiting persists and you observe other symptoms too like lethargy or diarrhea, you may want to make a trip to your vet as this could be a serious issue.

The worst thing that could happen to your cat would be that it could develop pneumonitis after licking a toxic dish soap. But the Dawn dish soap which is advised to use is the non-toxic one.

This adds another reason why Dawn is relatively safer than the other soaps for bathing your cat.

Does Dawn Dish Soap Kill Fleas On Cats?

Does Dawn Dish Soap Kill Fleas On Cats?

Yes, Dawn dish soap has been proven effective for killing fleas in cats.

Supposedly, Dawn dish soap gets into the exoskeleton of the adult fleas and kills them. Flea colonies do not only have adult fleas they have young fleas and their larvae.

Thus, the effect of using dawn is temporary. If you use it periodically it may remove the fleas, but there is always the risk of overuse.

For fleas, Dawn may be helpful but still, you should use pet shampoo as it would have a longer or maybe the permanent cure for fleas.

You cannot use dawn on cats if they have open wounds or other skin infections.

If your cat gets flea-ridden and she has a cut or an open or a still-healing wound you should not be using dawn or any other dish soap.

It was a common joke during the lockdown when everybody was taking care of keeping their hands too clean. The joke goes as ‘hand sanitizer showed me cuts on my hands that I didn’t even know existed.’

The acute burn of a cut on applying soaps or sanitizer accidentally over a cut can be felt in our bones. This is the reason why you should not use any other thing than a medically approved flea shampoo.

If you think of bathing your cat with dawn dish wash make sure you check that your cat does not have any open wound or injury if you don’t want your cat to feel the burning sensation on her skin, which would hurt it even more and make it highly uncomfortable for your cat.

Do Vets Recommend Using Dawn Dish Soap?

Do Vets Recommend Using Dawn Dish Soap?

Vets do not recommend anything other than shampoos made specifically for cats. But in a situation of emergency, they would tell you to use Dawn dish soap on your cats.

We know that commercialization and new marketing tactics tend to make some vets biased toward recommending what’s best for your pet. They focus on what would benefit them rather than what is best for your cat.

Some pet shampoos are loaded with a variety of different chemicals, excessive usage could be very harmful to your cat.

Whenever you visit a doctor or come down with something serious, people always advise that taking a second opinion is better. That’s what you should do with everything.

If you feel the vet is biased, you could talk to another vet or a  fellow pet parent who is dealing with pets or say cats for a long time.

According to researchers and scientists, dawn or any other kind of dish soap should not be regularly used on your cats because they are good degreasing agents and could deprive your cat of the natural oils secreted by their body.

But in situations of emergency, you are allowed to use dawn dish soap and even if your cat is flea infected, you can use dawn a couple of times to get rid of it.

Dawn is relatively safer than the other dish soaps doesn’t make it the safest option. you should not be too liberal to use large amounts of it or use it too frequently.

Frequently asked questions

What to do if your cat swallows dish soap?

If your cat swallows dish soap, first check the ingredients of the dish soap to make sure they haven’t ingested anything toxic. If they have you need to contact your vet and if they haven’t it’s probably not a big deal and you shouldn’t be worrying about it.

Is dawn dish soap better than other dish soaps for cats?

Yes, dawn dish soap is better than other dish soap as it is designed in such a way that, it could be used in an emergency for cats. That’s why it’s safer than other brands available on the market.

Can I use lemon-scented dawn dish wash on my cat?

No, you should not use any sort of scented dish soap, especially not lemon if you plan on bathing your cat with it. Cats do not react very well to new scents and they particularly dislike the smell of lemon, so you should not be using scented dish soap.

Can dawn be used on a flea-infected cat?

Yes, dawn can be used on a flea-infected cat unless it does not have an open wound or injury. Dawn is highly effective in killing fleas in cats but if the cat has an open wound or injury, it could hurt it.


Dish soaps are common detergents that sometimes can even be used for washing something other than dishes.

Pet parents often use dish soap to bathe their cats or get rid of flea infestation from them. They typically use the brand Dawn for this purpose.

But not too frequently, dish soaps are good degreasing agents and they can leave the skin of cats very dry. Cats use the oils secreted by their skin as a defense against skin diseases, with dry skin they are left completely defenseless against them.

The original unscented version of dawn is proven safe for use on cats.

In a nutshell, you can use Dawn dish soap without worrying too much about toxic effects on your cat. They are relatively safer and could be used sometimes.

Emphasis on sometimes because using dish soap very frequently could be harmful to your cat.


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