HEALTH & CARE

How to Shave a Cat: In 10 Easy Steps

how to shave cat
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

Having your cat groomed can cost you anywhere from $30 to more than $100, depending on the grooming service and where you go to have your pet groomed. A professional cat shave will also cost more if your pet is heavily matted. Won’t you rather save that money and learn how to shave a cat?

Knowing how to groom your cat at home isn’t just about saving money. It’s also about spending quality time with your pet. Besides, pet grooming is a great skill to learn. Moreover, you get to decide and style your pet’s look, and you can both have fun in the process.

To give your cat a shave, you’ll need the right equipment, so we’ve included some tips about tools and supplies you’ll need for shaving your cat. We’ll then quickly discuss the different types of shaving styles so you can decide which cut is best for your cat. Then, we’ll give you tips on how to shave your pet’s coat in simple and easy-to-follow steps. Finally, we’ll give you some tips on post-shave care.

Why Your Cat Needs a Shave

cat is hot

Your cat’s coat does a wonderful job of keeping your pet warm during winter. Now that summer is fast approaching, and it’s predicted to be blazing hot, you may be wondering if your cat needs a shave.

The truth is, your pet’s coat works as a great regulator of temperature, and it can actually help your cat stay cool. Normally, cats take care of their own personal grooming.

There are instances though, when they can’t do the job properly. For example, overweight or obese cats may have difficulties reaching their genital areas and older cats suffering from joint pains may no longer be mobile enough to groom themselves. In such cases, getting your cat shaved can help keep them clean.

See Also: How Much Should a Cat Weigh

Severe matting is also another problem for cats. When your pet’s coat is extremely matted, it can become painful for your cat to groom themselves, so you will need to help your pet remove the matting.

Other cat parents prefer to shave their cats in situations like this not only to remove the matting but also to address problems with excessive shedding or cat allergies.

Note, however, that shaving your cat may be a painful and stressful experience for your pet. Even professionals sometimes have a difficult time doing it, especially if the cat is not used to being shaved, or if the coat is extremely matted, in which case removing the matted parts can be painful.

Thus, if you’re going to shave your cat yourself, to make the experience as stress-free as possible, you should use the best tools.

Cat Shaving Tools and Supplies

These are just some of the basic tools you’ll need to prepare if you’re planning to shave your cat at home. For your pet’s safety, it’s best to avoid tools that are designed for human use.

Using the right grooming equipment will make it easier for you and lessen the pain and stress for your cat.

#1: Gloves

blue gloves

Even with docile cats, shaving can be stressful and can cause your pet to react aggressively. You will need to protect yourself from possible scratches and bites. Wearing thick gloves will help protect your hands.

You should also make sure your forearms are protected, so it’s a good idea to wear something with long sleeves. If your cat is extremely aggressive, make sure you wear several layers of protection.

See Also: How to Treat a Cat Bite

#2: Pet Hair Clipper

pet hair clipper

This is perhaps the most important tool you will need when shaving your cat, so it’s a good idea to buy a high-quality clipper, even if it’s a bit expensive. Make sure you choose one that’s especially designed for pets. The key is to choose one with sharp blades so it will easily trim your pet’s hair.

Clippers with dull blades can cause your pet a lot of pain while you’re shaving your pet, so make sure you avoid those. Also, if your pet is noise-sensitive, try to get a clipper that operates without any loud buzzing sound.

Choose a clipper that doesn’t easily heat up; you don’t want to burn your pet’s skin accidentally. It’s also a good idea to use a clipper that has a safety feature, so you don’t end up nicking your pet’s sensitive skin.

#3: Brushes and Combs

Brushes and Combs

It’s always a good idea to brush your cat’s coat first before firing the clipper on. Metal combs can help break up mats while brushes can help remove loose and dead hair. Mat combs are also very useful as they cut the matted hair as you comb your pet’s coat.

#4: Cat Hair Detangler Spray

Cat hair detangler spray

This one’s a great investment for your cat’s grooming needs. You can spray it on matted hair and just comb out the mat. You can also use this product anytime you see matting on your pet’s coat.

#5: Old Towels or Newspaper

old papers

You’ll need to cover your work area with either old newspaper or towels. This will protect the surface you’re working on from scratches. You’ll also have an easier time cleaning your work area afterward.

Cat Shaving Styles

There are several cat shaving styles to choose from. Each style has its advantages, so it’s a good idea to consider the reasons why you’re shaving your cat before you finally decide on the style.

Aesthetics aside, you should also take into consideration which style would be the easiest for you, especially if this is your first time grooming your cat yourself at home.

#1: Sanitary Clip

Sanitary clip

As the name of the style suggests, this shaving style is all about hygiene, and it’s focused on trimming the area around your pet’s genitals. This is a really useful shaving style for overweight or elderly cats who can no longer groom and clean their sensitive parts by themselves.

Also called the hygiene cut, this is a practical way of preventing matting and litter clumps getting stuck in your cat’s genital area.

#2: Belly Shave

Belly shave

This style is practical, especially for long-haired cats. The belly area is often where you find the most matting. Because the skin in this area is quite sensitive, removing the matted hair may sometimes become painful for cats, which is why some cat parents opt for a belly shave.

As you can imagine, only the hair in the belly area is shaved while the rest of the cat’s fur is left unshaved. This is also a hygienic cut because the hair between the rear legs and around the genitals is shaved off.

For cat parents who are first-timers at cat shaving, this style might be a bit challenging since the skin in this area is quite sensitive and shaving may become painful for the cat.

#3: Lion Cut

lion type

Perhaps the most popular shaving style for cats, this cut makes your gentle pet look like a ferocious lion while reducing shedding and matting. Most of the hair on your cat’s body is closely shaved, but the fur on the head, shoulders, neck, and legs are left long.

What’s really cute about this cut is that you also shave off the hair on your cat’s tail except for the end part, which makes it look like a lion’s tail. Persians and Maine Coons are often given the lion cut to prevent their long fur from matting.

#4: Comb Cut

Comb сut

The comb cut is also a popular style, and it is a bit similar to the lion cut. When you do a comb cut, you won’t need to shave off your pet’s fur completely. Rather, the hair on your pet’s back is trimmed short while the rest of your pet’s fur is left long. The comb cut is a good style to prevent shedding and matting.

#5: Panther Cut

Panther сut

This is a rather extreme style where you shave off almost the entire body of your pet. Only the fur on the head and legs are left long. However, this is a good style if your cat has severe matting, especially in the neck area.

Cat Shaving in Easy Steps

how to shave a cat

Now that you have your supplies ready and you’ve chosen a shaving style for your cat, it’s time to get down to business. For cat parents who want to learn how to shave a cat with mats, here are ten easy-to-follow steps.

Be sure to have someone to assist you. It’s always better to have a second pair of hands to help you with the tools and to hold your cat down, and, of course, to avoid any accidents.

#1: Location

Choose your location with care. You’ll need a flat surface so your pet can lie down comfortably.

Also, there’s going to be a lot of hair on the floor when you’re done, so you might want to cover the area with old towels or newspaper. This will also help protect from scratch marks just in case your cat becomes aggressive while being shaved and starts scratching the floor.

Choosing a bathroom your cat is familiar with is almost always the best choice, aside from the fact that it’s easier to clean afterward than your carpet-covered living room floor.

#2: Brush First

Before you fire the clippers on, make sure to brush your pet’s hair first. This will help remove dirt and clumps from your cat’s hair. You will also be able to identify the problem areas where matting is most severe.

#3: Calm Your Pet

While brushing your pet, talk to them in a soothing voice. You wouldn’t want your pet to become agitated while you’re shaving them, so try to keep your pet as calm as possible.

See Also: How to Talk to Your Cat

#4: Test Your Clippers

While holding your cat, turn the clippers on and observe how your pet reacts to the vibrating sound of the clippers. If you got yourself a no-noise clipper, try to let your pet get used to the sight of it.

#5: Gently but Firmly

Look for the loose skin at the back of your pet’s neck then grip it firmly. If you’re the one operating the clippers, have your partner hold your pet gently but firmly. Both of you should have your gloves and layers of sleeves on, just in case your pet becomes upset while being shaved and starts scratching.

#6: Stretch the Skin

Once you think that you, your partner, and your pet are ready, choose the area of your pet’s body where you want to start and make sure that you pull the skin taut before you start clipping.

#7: Top to Bottom

It’s best to start shaving from the top going downward. Start from the back of your pet’s neck going downward. Then work your way towards the tail. When you’re working near the belly or the base of the tail, be extra careful as these are very sensitive areas.

Also, your cat may start moving around when you get near these sensitive areas so make sure you and your partner are holding your pet down gently but firmly.

#8: Follow the Lie of the Fur

When you start, move your clippers in the direction following the lie of the fur. If you shave in the opposite direction, the chances are high that your cat’s hair will get snagged on the clippers—that can get extremely painful for sensitive cats and can cause them to become upset and aggressive.

#9: Not Too Close

Avoid shaving too closely. Your pet will need their hair to keep them warm and to protect against the sun. Also, make sure you don’t press the clipper too close to your pet’s skin as this may cause clipper rash or abrade your pet’s skin.

#10: Clipper Temperature

Check the temperature of your clippers often. If it gets hot, take a break. Hot clippers can cause burns, and you wouldn’t want your pet’s sensitive skin to get burned.

Post-Shave Care

Congratulations! It probably wasn’t easy, but now that you’re done shaving the matted hair off, it’s time to give your cat some post-shave grooming.

#1: Treats

giving treats to a cat

Your pet has done a great job of submitting themselves to the grooming process. Even if your pet wasn’t quite as cooperative as you would have liked them to be, it’s still a good idea to reward your pet with a treat.

This is also one way for your cat to associate grooming with a reward, so that hopefully, the next time you take the clippers out, your pet will be more cooperative.

#2: Bathe

giving cat a bath

Give your pet a bath using lukewarm water and cat shampoo. Your pet may have gotten upset while they were being shaved, so try to give them a soothing massage while you’re applying the shampoo.

See Also: How to Massage a Cat

#3: Dry

drying a cat

Dry your pet’s hair with a towel then blow-dry to make sure your pet’s totally dry. Don’t forget to set your dryer to low or cool so as not to harm your pet’s skin. Also, make sure you keep the hairdryer about a foot away from your cat’s body to ensure your pet’s sensitive skin doesn’t get burned.

Comb or brush your pet’s hair while you’re drying it, and if you see any tangles, you can use a wide-toothed comb to remove the tangles.

#4: Sunscreen

Sunscreen for a cat

A cat’s coat doesn’t just protect them from the cold—it also protects your pet from harmful UV rays. Since you’ve shaved off that protection, it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen on your pet to prevent your cat from getting sunburned. Just make sure that you use a sunscreen that’s formulated for pets.

#5: Regular Inspections

Regular inspections

Now that you’ve removed the matted hair, it will probably be some time before your pet’s coat becomes problematic again. However, cats being cats, it’s a good idea to inspect your pet’s coat for clumps or matting regularly.

#6: Frequent Brushing

brushing a cat

Long-haired cats are especially prone to matting, and although they do groom themselves regularly, it’s not a bad idea to help your cat. You can prevent matting by regularly brushing your cat’s coat. As soon as you see any clumps or matting, you should remove it right away using your de-matting comb.

For long-haired cats, try to make a habit of it by giving your pet a brush once or twice daily. Short-haired cats do not really require that much maintenance, but brushing at least thrice a week should help.

#7: Regular Vet Visits

Regular vet visits

As soon as you see any lumps on your pet’s skin, or if there is any severely matted hair that you can’t remove, it’s always a good idea to ask your vet for help. Your vet should also be able to give you more advice and tips for your pet’s grooming.

Wrap Up

cat grooming

Shaving a cat is never an easy experience, especially for cat parents who are attempting it for the first time. Nevertheless, it’s not an impossible thing to do.

If you have tried shaving your pet at home, how did it go? What made it difficult or easy for you? Please feel free to share your experience with us. We always appreciate your comments and suggestions. If you’re worried that shaving your cat’s hair might cause them to catch a cold, check out our article on how cold is too cold for cats.

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.

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