Can You Shave a Cat? Everything You Need to Know
When the summer months roll around and the temperatures start rising, you may worry about your cat’s thick shaggy hair. You may think that shaving some off will provide relief, but it is the right thing to do? There are certainly times that cats do need shaving when they are suffering from wounds or about to have surgery. It may even that your cat’s fur has become so matter that there is simply no other recourse. But generally, these are jobs that are best left to the professionals. As to whether you should ever do shave your cat yourself, the answer is generally no. And there are a few reasons as to why this is the case.
So, let’s start by looking closer at cat fur and find out just why it is so important to your cat and some of the main functions that it serves for them. Next, we will look at: it is ok to shave a cat?
What Does Cat Fur Do?
Cat fur has several different purposes, which are all highly important to their general wellbeing. Firstly, it helps to keep kitties warm and dry. It also serves to protect their skin from injury, provides some sensory feelings, and as a form of communication. Believe it or not, when temperatures start to rise, cat fur can help to keep them cool. It traps air within it and acts as a buffer against extreme heat.
Some cats don’t have any fur at all, and these ones are at a higher risk of developing sunburn – along with shaved cats. Not only can this cause your kitty pain, but it can also increase their risk of suffering from some types of cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is common in cats and can affect areas including their eyelids, the bridge of their noses, and their ear tips. White felines are also at a higher risk of developing skin cancer as their fur doesn’t do as good a job of protecting them from UV light.
So, based on this information, you can see that it is not a good idea to shave off your cat’s fur without due cause. And if for any reason you do have to shave it off, you may want to invest in some kitty clothing to cover them up.
Dealing With Shedding
One of the reasons why you may be tempted to shave your cat is shedding. But this is a sign of a healthy cat. Both short-haired and long-haired cats shed, but it is the latter’s fur that we tend to see more around the house. Instead of shaving your cat, brushing them every day should be enough to stop hair from getting everywhere. You could also try adding more protein to your cat’s diet as this improves the health of their coat and reduces shedding. Cats’ coats are made of keratin, which is a protein, so this makes sense.
Another common reason for wanting to shave a cat’s coat is the removal of mats. But these often arise when you neglect grooming your kitty. Daily brushing should prevent these from developing in the first place. Another possible reason for the formation of mats is that your cat has become obese and is struggling to groom their whole body properly. If these mats become bad enough, they can be painful. Small mats can usually be removed with fingers or a brush. If this is not possible, you may need to take them into a professional groomer. Unless you know what you are doing, you could risk causing an injury to your cat. They have especially thin skin which is easy to nick or cut if you are not careful. Or you may simply cause your cat anxiety which it was possible to avoid.
Shaving Indoor or Outdoor Cats
If you have a cat who spends most of their time indoors, shaving them should not be necessary for heat reasons, even if their fur is particularly long or dark. In most homes, your kitty should be able to find a place to rest that is nice and cool. Cats tend to naturally avoid direct sunlight that is too hot or areas that are too warm for them. As long as your feline has access to as much fresh water as they like, there shouldn’t be any problems. If you do suspect that your cat is overheating, some of the main signs that may point to this include them struggling to breathe, heavy panting, an increased heart rate, lethargy, vomiting, and drooling.
As for outdoor cats, while they are out in the direct sunlight more often, they need the protection afforded by their coats. If you shave your cat and then allow them to go outdoors, they are more likely to suffer from sunburn and other skin conditions. In wintertime, there are dangers as well. For example, your kitty could suffer from hypothermia. If you are concerned about your outdoor cat overheating, it is safer to keep them indoors rather than shaving them and allowing them to go out.
Why is Grooming Your Cat So Important?
Grooming your cat is highly important as it helps to prevent shedding and mats in their coat, which are two of the most common reasons why owners want to shave their kitties. Brushing has also been shown to help improve the bond between owner and pet. Regular grooming keeps your cat’s coat functioning as it should be. Don’t do anything extreme like shaving without receiving advice on the subject.
Brushing your cat has a number of benefits including removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout their skin, and keeping it clean and free of irritants. If your cat has short hair, brushing them once a week should be enough. If they have long hair, you should brush them more regularly, especially during the summer months when shedding is more frequent. Use a metal comb as this is best for getting the knots out. You need to comb them from head to tail as mats can develop all of their bodies. Be careful around the chest and belly areas as these are the sensitive parts of their bodies. When you are brushing, you should use an upward motion.
If you get your cat into good grooming habits from a young age, it is much easier to keep these up as they get older. But even if you have got your cat later in life, it is still highly important that you give them the grooming attention that they need. Sometimes, it helps to have someone else with you who can distract your cat or hold them down gently.
Consider Going to a Pet Groomer
If your cat’s coat has gotten out of control, you may need to take them in to get a cat haircut from a professional groomer. First, you should check out the prices and locations. Nowadays, it is much easier to obtain reviews online, so look for these too. Or even better, try to get a personalized recommendation. If you need to do some serious grooming work on your cat’s coat, it is safer if a professional takes care of the job rather than you risking it yourself. They are much less likely to cause a nick or cut to your cat’s skin, which is likely to be very painful for them. As well as this, they also know the ways in which they can keep a cat calm during the process. If you attempt to do it yourself, you could easily find yourself getting scratched or bitten. Prices will depend on the individual services that you require. Basic grooming will be cheaper than a full shave, and this should be your go-to option.
Check With Your Vet
If you are unsure of what to do about your kitty’s coat, you could always take them into the vet to get another opinion. They may be able to remove any tangles using the equipment there. They can also advise you on whether or not shaving is a good route to go down and give you advice on how to shave a cat with matted fur if they think it is okay.
Shaving your cat is not an action that you usually need to take. Firstly, the fur helps to regulate your cat’s temperature, whether it is hot or cold outside. And if your kitty stays indoors most of the time, they can usually find a cool spot and will be fine if they have access to plenty of fresh water. If you keep on top of grooming your cat on a regular basis, shedding and mats should not be a problem. But if things have gotten bad, you could always take them in for a professional grooming session. Whatever the case, you need to take good care of your cat’s coat as it is so important to their general wellbeing.