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Is It OK To Shave A Cat?

by Lucy

A cat’s fur is so warm and cozy, you just can’t help wanting to pick them up and give them a quick cuddle. Feline coats vary quite considerably from cat to cat. Some have such long fur coats that maintenance levels are pretty high whilst others in the case of breeds such as the ‘Sphynx’ do not have any fur at all and are completely bald.

It can be difficult to manage a cat that has long or thick fur in the summer months. You can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them especially if you are going through a heatwave. The thought may have crossed your mind about shaving your cat’s fur off during this time, but something stopped you and you weren’t sure if this sort of thing was ok.

So, is it ok to shave a cat? No. A cat’s skin is very delicate from age and health issues. Using sharp blades to cut the pelt of the fur off will result in nicks and cuts. Cats require their fur coats for warmth and comfort, however, in certain situations such as extreme heat, it is ok to give them a summer trim.

It is a natural thought to shave off a cat’s fur if you can see they are getting hot and bothered by the heat, but this is never a good idea and can cause much more harm than good.

Cats are naturally used to finding shady spots to keep cool and there are many other ways to manage this other than shaving:

  • Provide plenty of fresh water so your cat doesn’t get dehydrated
  • Find a room for them in the house that tends to stay cool (the bathroom is sometimes a nice cool place)
  • Groom regularly to remove excess fur
  • Limit exercise (especially outside in direct sunlight)
  • Leave the air-con running (but allow them an escape route in case they get too chilly)
  • Make cool treats (such as ice cube trays)
  • Avoid car trips (as cars can heat up like a furnace in extremely hot weather)
  • Use feline sunscreen for cats that have very pink skin (they are still prone to sunburn and skin cancer)

All in all, there are much better ways to manage your cat’s body temperature than shaving their fur.

When is it ok to shave a cat’s fur?

It is never ok for you to shave your cat’s fur yourself and you should avoid doing this at all costs. You will however find that there are instances where your vet will be required to shave sections of your cat if they are unwell.

Blood tests and if your cat requires a drip will result in your vet needing to shave small sections on your cat’s neck and/or leg in order to find suitable veins to use.

If your cat is having an operation (for instance on their stomach) where invasive surgery is necessary then it is likely your vet will shave the area of fur where they need to make incisions and workaround. These are the only instances we can think of where it is ok to violate your cat in this way.

Some owners who have cats with particularly long or thick hair choose to take their cat for a trim at the vets or grooming parlor. This is ok, providing the hair is cut in moderation and the clippers do not come into contact with their delicate skin.

This process can sometimes take the edge off for cats with this type of fur and can be a good solution providing it is carried out by a qualified professional.

Can you shave a cat to get rid of fleas?

Some people believe that shaving a cat will eliminate fleas, but this is simply just not true. Fleas live on the skin and not the fur. It is fair to say that fleas do like warm and cozy places and therefore a nice fur coat is a great place for them to reside, but shaving off the fur will not get rid of fleas completely. Shaving will however make the fleas much more visible.

It is far more important that you put in place a viable de-fleaing solution for this problem. There are many flea treatments available on the market such as tablets, powders that can be mixed into cat food, and topical spot-on treatments that do this job very well.

It is also possible for your cat to get a 6-month injection from the vet to eliminate fleas if you have trouble with regular treatment.

Can I shave my cat to stop shedding?

No. It is never a good idea to shave your cat completely to eliminate shedding. Cats need their fur to keep warm and cozy and therefore shaving off all their fur is considered risky business, especially since the blades on the clippers can cause your cat’s skin harm.

If you are dealing with a cat that has a long, dense, or thick fur then there are some simple steps you can take to ensure shedding is kept to an absolute minimum. Some owners choose to take their long hared cats for a trim however if you have a good grooming routine in place this is usually not necessary.

Here are some great tips for helping to reduce shedding:

  • Brush your cat regularly to remove loose fur, particularly if they have a double coat (daily may be required)
  • Bath your cat once a month (sorry, we know they hate it)
  • Keep your kitty well hydrated
  • Change your cat’s diet (bad diets can be responsible for excess shedding)
  • Invest in a de-shedding brush rather than a regular cat brush

In rare instances where your cat’s fur has become particularly knotted or matted then shaving may be necessary. If you are in this unfortunate situation where you can release the tangles with a brush and neither can your cat you may need to seek help from your veterinarian.

Shaving matted areas of fur is not usually something that your vet will want to do, but if there is a real need they most definitely will. They will however only shave as little as needed to remove the knot.

Is it cruel to shave a cat?

How cruel it is to shave a cat is very much a matter of opinion. In our eyes, yes, shaving is cruel and completely unnecessary. It’s a bit like us coming along and taking away your duvet in the middle of winter.

Cats rely on their coats to stay warm and comfortable. They love being in a cozy environment and it is part of their daily routine to clean their fur.

Shaving a cat’s fur we would consider a violation and not something that should be carried out routinely. It is true that long-haired cats often suffer in the summer heat and therefore trimming fur can be a viable option, however, there are also many more ways you can help with this situation as we mentioned previously.

The process of shaving a cat’s fur can be very stressful for them. They don’t truly understand what is happening and the loud buzzing noise from the clippers can really put them on edge.

It’s always best to keep your cat’s stress level at a minimum and unnecessarily taking them to have their coat shaved when there are usually other viable options available would appear to be a bit reckless in our opinion.

How much does a vet charge to shave a cat?

The prices for shaving a cat at the vets or professional groomers is not widely available information. This partly since not many owners require their cat to be shaved and if you speak to most vets they will tell you this process is completely unnecessary.

If we look at prices for general grooming services you would look to pay somewhere between $30-$75 per session. $50 is around the average price that owners spend on grooming their feline friends. There are several factors that can determine the cost.

Firstly, you should expect to pay more for a long-haired cat than you would a short hair since it is usually the case that it would take a bit longer to see to a cat with a long or thick coat.

Secondly, it would depend on the size of the business and whether you are seeking services from a stationary or mobile business. You would think that choosing a mobile groomer would be more expensive since they are coming out to you, but often you will find they are a much smaller business and therefore their rates are much more reasonable.

Either way, shaving a cat we would not consider to be overly expensive to do, but based on all the reasons mentioned previously we would not recommend you do this to your kitty unless there is no other choice available to you.

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