Have you ever wondered — whether you were fed up with shedding, afraid your cat was overheating or dealing with matted fur — can you shave a cat? Shaving your cat can be a painful and traumatic experience (and you should never do it yourself at home!). Here are four things to consider before shaving your cat.
Your cat doesn’t get hot in the summer.
Cats have a natural, built-in insulator — their hair. This self-regulating mechanism allows them to remain warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Isn’t nature amazing? It’s still important to keep kitty hydrated with fresh water, but shaving your cat is unnecessary. Plus, cats are smart about moving to shaded areas when they feel too warm. Connect with a trusted veterinarian if you do suspect overheating; the signs may include (but are not limited to): trouble breathing, excessive panting, an elevated heart rate, vomiting, lethargy, stumbling gait and drooling.
There are more effective ways of dealing with shedding.
It’s the simple truth: pets with hair shed, and short-haired cats shed just as much as long-haired ones — the long hair is simply more visible. In fact, shedding is a sign of a healthy feline.
You might think shaving your cat is the best way to avoid shedding, but there are less drastic ways to handle the situation. Brushing your cat daily will reduce the amount of hair that lands on your furniture and clothing. Additionally, a diet high in protein makes a cat’s coat healthy and will reduce some shedding. This makes sense because hair is made from keratin, which is a protein.
There are simpler methods for removing mats than shaving your cat.
Matted fur occurs more often in long-haired cats than in short-haired ones. These mats can be a result of infrequent grooming on either the cat’s or human’s part. Brushing your cat daily — especially if your kitty has long hair — prevents mats from developing in the first place. Not only is brushing excellent for kitty’s coat, it also helps bond the cat and his human.
Another reason mats form is because a cat is struggling with obesity and often can’t reach certain areas of his body while grooming. Painful mats can form, leaving kitty feeling uncomfortable. Cats who eat a high-protein diet and participate in regular exercise tend to avoid obesity. If you suspect your cat is overweight, contact your vet for recommendations.
Many times, small mats can be removed by untangling the hair with fingers or a brush. If that’s not possible, take your cat to a professional groomer or veterinarian. Unless you are trained in shaving a cat, you may run the risk of injuring the cat’s thin skin and/or creating unnecessary feline anxiety.
Your cat doesn’t need to be shaved into a Stegosaurus, a lion or anything else.
Give your kitty some style with a fun breakaway collar or a colorful ID tag instead.
The final answer to “Can you shave a cat?”
Can you shave a cat? Yes, you can shave a cat, but you should only shave a cat in very specific situations. There could be times when your cat needs to be shaved, but those are either medically necessary or due to a cat’s discomfort. Daily brushing and quality food can prevent some of the other reasons why you may consider the procedure, but always leave the clippers and scissors to a trained professional.
Thumbnail: Photography by ollegN/Thinkstock.
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