A domestic cat’s saliva does not contain shampoo-like substances. It does not act like a shampoo. It contains bacteria and it also contains certain enzymes which encourages blood to clot and wounds to heal (I am told). It also contains a protein called Fel D 1 which causes an allergy in some people. To return to my original point which I hint at in the title; the coat of a healthy, well looked after domestic cat is not greasy. It is clean and it smells nice. And yet it is never shampooed; unless you’re a Persian cat breeder showing your cat at a cat show. Of course cats groom their fur with their tongue which is like a fine comb. The healthy domestic cat keeps her coat in perfect condition with spittle and a comb!
By contrast, humans often shampoo their hair daily, as I do, in order to maintain their hair the way that they like it. A recent study in America concluded that some products such as deodorants derived from petroleum based substances can pollute the environment and damage our health as badly as traffic pollution can.
There is an argument that we should stop using shampoo and wash our hair in warm water instead. Matthew Parris writing in the Times says that when he did this 25 years ago his hair initially became more greasy but then it stabilized. He advocates not using shampoo and thinks that the manufacturers perpetuate the use of shampoo as it creates greasy hair because the scalp’s natural oils are stripped away by shampoo. The skin reacts by an overproduction of natural oils.
I wonder whether he uses soap in the shower or has he completely abandoned any form of detergent or cleansing agent when washing himself? I can see the argument though. The manufacturers want us to keep on buying shampoo but when you compare ourselves with the domestic cat, their coat is as good as our hair if not better.
As mentioned, to the best of my knowledge, there is no specific cleansing agent in a domestic cat’s hair despite what is claimed by the author on the 1-1800-PetMeds website. She claims that there is a detergent-like substance in the saliva. She may be referring to the enzymes which I have mentioned above but these are not, to the best of my knowledge, detergent-like substances.
The conclusion is that we should reconsider using shampoo and certainly give some thought to using products such as deodorants and other cleansing agents (including some household spray cleansers) when they are based on petroleum derivatives. The domestic cat can teach us a few lessons.