How to Shave a Cat (And When It’s OK to Do It)

If you’re a cat owner, you know that they leave their fur everywhere! But can you shave a cat and is it harmful to felines?

Shaving a cat is a serious step and should only be done in particular circumstances.

In this article, we will consider those circumstances, talk about how to shave a cat, and discuss if you can do it at home.

When Is It OK to Shave a Cat 

Let’s start with some situations that might demand shaving a part of your cat’s fur. Here are some of the most common problems cats and cat owners have, which can be resolved with shaving:

  1. Matted fur: Fur gets matted when wet, dirty, or tangled. Cats with long hair are especially prone to this issue. The best way to prevent this is by brushing your cat at least once a week and keeping them dry and clean—this way, you can avoid getting clippers anywhere near your cat’s sensitive skin.
  2. Skin disease: Some cats will lick themselves excessively, which can lead to skin diseases such as acne or ringworm.
  3. Infections: Shedding a cat’s coat can help those with skin infections. In order to effectively treat the infection, it’s vital to expose the skin to air. Additionally, it gives easier access for any medication to be applied and absorbed.

Clearly, shaving your cat is sometimes inevitable. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be your cat’s personal pet groomer, you can help them solve some of these skin and fur issues with a few careful flicks of electric clippers.

How to Shave a Cat

Now that we know it is OK to shave a cat in specific circumstances, keep in mind that regular trimming and brushing are preferable and can proactively stop any infections and skin issues that might require shaving.

If that fails and you have to pick up clippers, we’ve got you covered—here are the basic steps to take:

Gather All the Right Tools

Avoid razors at all costs! It could leave your cat bleeding or with patches of fur still clinging to its skin. Instead, look for electric clippers with blades that are close together so they’ll be able to cut through even the thickest coats.

These usually come in a set with a charger and lubricant; the blades will last longer when you remember to oil them every time you use them. Next, you’ll need a metal comb for the knots and a bristle/rubber brush for the loose hair. Towels and rubber gloves for a better hold of the cat—if you have a friend willing to help, that’s a bonus.

Last but not least—provide treats to reward good behavior!

Pick a Good Location

Since there will be hair everywhere, this is a must. Any wooden or tile floor will do—just make sure you don’t do it on your favorite carpet. Bonus points if you can find a place to put your cat that suits your height, aka anything that can be used as a grooming table.

Brush the Cat’s Fur

Brushing your cat’s hair removes filth, distributes natural oils across its coat, prevents tangles, and keeps its skin clean and free of irritants.

Comb its hair from head to tail using a metal comb. Begin with its back and legs, then go on to its chest and stomach area. Then, remove any dead or loose hair using a bristle or rubber brush.

Pro tip: For best results, brush its fur upwards, split the tail down the center, and brush it to either side.

Calm Your Cat

This is where the calming treats come in handy because anxiety has no place while someone is holding electric clippers. Any sudden movement by the cat might cause injury. Some people use pheromone spray for this purpose.

Pull the Cat’s Skin Taut When You Shave It

Feline skin is incredibly flexible and bendable. This means it may easily clump beneath the clippers, and that’s no good for anyone involved. Hold the skin firmly down to avoid injuries and draw it taut while you shave. This will also avoid shaving too close—leaving at least one inch of the fur is recommended so that the cat can still protect itself from the heat and cold somehow.

And that’s it! By following these steps, you can shave your cat quickly and efficiently. 

Never shave past the paws and lower legs since such areas have delicate skin, ligaments, and tendons that are easily damaged. Lastly, don’t forget to take breaks if your cat gets too unsettled and avoid shaving the whiskers under any circumstances.

RELATED: Purrfect Cat Care: A Pawsome Guide

Different Types of Shaves

Now that we know what we need for shaving a cat at home, it’s time to learn more about the grooming style you’re going for. There are three common ways/areas you might need to shave and each one serves a different purpose:

  • Sanitary cut: Cats with lengthy hair or those that are overweight are suitable for this one. This style keeps your cat’s hair free of feces that cling to it after pooping. Make use of those clippers and trim the hair on the anus.
  • Belly shave: This cut is an upgrade of the hygienic cut. It covers the stomach area and helps your cat when it grooms itself. A belly shave also helps to avoid matting and heavy shedding. As you shave, draw the skin taut, and for this cut, go around the rectum, between the back legs, and up the stomach, stopping at your cat’s front legs.
  • Comb cut: With this cut, you shorten the hair but don’t fully shave it. The cat’s body is covered with between 1/2 and 1 inch of hair.

Whatever grooming style you choose, make sure you follow it up. Because your cat’s skin is shaven and more exposed now, it’s important to give them a proper bath, blow dry, and apply sunscreen to their skin on a regular basis.

Key Takeaways

That’s pretty much all we have to say about how to shave a cat. Be equipped, choose the grooming style beforehand, and start shaving! You can always visit your local pet grooming shop if it proves too complex for you or if you can’t complete the process without putting your feline in danger.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get my cat shaved?

If you believe you have what it takes to be a pet groomer, you can shave your cat at home with the help of our guide above. If that’s not the case, your local pet grooming shop is always an option.

How to shave a cat without getting scratched?

Make sure you keep the cat’s skin taut while you shave; cats have extremely pliable skin, so it’s a tricky surface to shave. On the other hand, to avoid getting scratched yourself, it’s best to use calming treats or pheromone spray.

Is it cruel to shave a cat?

Shaving a cat is tricky and has its downsides. So, if you don’t feel confident enough to shave your feline friend on your own but have to do it for sanitary or health reasons, invest in a cat groomer every now and then.

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