Should I Shave My Cats?


I love my cats like family, but I hate shedding season. Not only does it trigger allergies, it also forces me to spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning. Some days I feel like Sisyphus trying in vain to climb a mountain of hairballs. That’s why this summer I’m thinking about shaving my cats -ÔÇô but I don’t want to do it unless the decision is best for everyone involved. Here are some of the pros and cons I’m considering. Have you ever shaved your cat? Please share your experiences in the comments!

Pro: Shedding season will be easier to manage

Every year starting in April, my cats shed like it is their damn job. I can literally pull handfuls of hair off my calico girl, Phoenix, and toss them in the air like I’m celebrating the slow but sure dissolution of my cat’s thick, lustrous winter coat. If I clean my apartment in the morning, by afternoon cat hair tumbleweeds are skidding across the hardwood floors.

To top it off, both of my cats hate being brushed. If I catch Bubba Lee Kinsey mid-nap, I can usually get a few good strokes in before he tries to bite me, but I have to chase Phoenix across the room to even stand a chance. I’ll come at her with the brush and she’ll dart under the bed in a flurry of loose, white fur. By removing the source of the problem, shaving my cats would make dealing with shedding season that much easier to manage.

Con: It will be expensive

Preliminary Internet research has led me to believe that getting a cat professionally shaved, whether at a pet store or a vet’s office, can cost anywhere from $40 to $300 per cat. I’m working part time and preparing to go back to school in the fall, so I’m looking to cut expenses any way I can. I’m not sure I’m ready to drop what could amount to a month’s rent (or at least a week’s grocery money) on haircuts that my cats will style with their tongues and saliva. I’m also not cool with my cats being put under to achieve a desired look. It not only raises the cost but seems like it could be potentially harmful to the cat.

Pro: They will look adorable with kitty mohawks

Say what you will about cats with mohawks, layers, and stegosaurus-inspired haircuts, but I think they look awesome ÔÇô- and can you imagine how much fun they’d be to pet? A haircut does not change anything permanently, so if the cat hates it, I can just wait a month and it will grow back. In the meantime, kitty will have a very distinctive, eye-catching punk rock ‘do.

Con: The experience might traumatize them

Last time I took my cats to the vet, Bubba Lee Kinsey tried to kill the poor woman and Phoenix hid under the bed for three days straight. My cats have never had litter box issues of any kind, and they’ve always adjusted extremely well to new surroundings (after the obligatory weeklong turf war, that is). I’m getting ready to move and I’d hate to deliver the one-two punch of new haircuts plus new surroundings, which will push them over the edge and into "pissing behind the television" territory.

Pro: I will have to vacuum less

In the summer, I vacuum every day, and it’s still not enough. By the time I’ve used the pet hair eraser on the whole couch, the end I started on is already covered again. I admit that my desire to do less housework is probably a selfish one, but if it can cut down on allergies and help me and my cats live more harmoniously together, isn’t it worth considering?

Con: What if they never forgive me?

If my cats’ reactions to going to the vet are any indicator, getting them to and from their hair appointments is going to be absolute hell. There’s the buzzing of the razor, the presence of myriad strange cats and dogs, and many unfamiliar sights, scents, and sounds. Sensory overload will be in full effect, kind of like that time I ate mushrooms, went to the grocery store, and stared at the laundry detergent for like 45 minutes because I was too overwhelmed to move.

Considering my cats spend at least 18 hours of every day perched on the corner of my bed next to the heater and jump if I so much as slam a book too loudly, I can only imagine how they’ll respond to this kind of experience. I worry it might be too much for their delicate constitutions to handle.

So if you’ve successfully shaved your cat for cheap or have found another solution to shedding season, I want to hear about it. Share in the comments!

More by Angela Lutz:

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About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.

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