How and Why You Want to Shave Your Cat

How and Why You Want to Shave Your Cat

First things first – why might I need to shave my cat?

Shaving a cat is something that should only be done in certain circumstances. Some people shave their cat’s fur for aesthetic reasons or because they believe that it will keep their kitty cooler during the hot summer months. However, cats’ fur has evolved to perform several important functions, such as regulating temperature (including, believe it or not, helping to keep them cool!), protecting the skin from sunburn, and secreting various oils that are necessary for skin and hair health. So, unless you have good reason to, shaving your cat’s fur just because you think it will help them to cool down may well have the opposite effect – they could end up sunburned, hot and with irritated skin.

You can try our recipe for some tuna ice blocks to help cool them down instead…

However, there are several reasons why it is a good idea to shave your cat’s fur in certain circumstances. These include certain skin conditions, mats, and preparation for medical procedures. Let’s take each of these in turn.

The dreaded ringworm.

The presence of the infectious parasite known as ringworm is signaled by an irritated, red ring on the skin. If your cat has ringworm, then the vet will most likely decide to treat ringworm with topical creams that need to be applied to the skin. These creams will sink in to the skin much more easily if you have shaved the fur away from the area.


If your cat is too old or sick to groom themselves, their fur may become matted, which is very itchy for them. Mats can be hard to get rid of, and often only shaving will do the trick.

Medical procedures.

Before an operation such as neutering, your vet will usually shave your cat. You can do this yourself of course, but it is best to leave it to the vet in this circumstance as they know exactly what they need to do in order to make the operation go as smoothly as possible.

So, now you know why you might want to shave your cat’s fur. Want to know how to shave a cat? Read on.

Three tips for shaving a cat.

1. Choose cat friendly clippers.

Cats hate noise, and human style clippers can be too much for them. Head down to your local pet store and pick out some nice, quiet gentle clippers that will suit their delicate skin and ears.

2. Select the right setting.

Any pair of animal clippers worth its salt will come with various attachments and attachments. As a rule of thumb, you should use the gentlest possible setting/ attachment combo to get the job done. You may need to change settings halfway through your feline barbershop session, especially if you are dealing with mats. Clip the mats away with a strong setting/ attachment before switching to a gentler one to smarten up the remaining hair once the mats have been dealt with. Another tip with mats is to try and cat them away with scissors (be careful with those pointy edges!) before you use the trimmers.

3. Shave along the direction of the fur.

This may seem counterintuitive, but you will end up with a much smoother result if you run the shavers along in the same direction as the fur grows. Going ‘against the grain’ can result in clumps of bald patches which can look super unsightly.

Keep things calm.

It goes without saying that you should take care to keep your kitty nice and calm all through the shaving process. Start when they are nice and relaxed, stroke and pet them, and then start using the clipper nice and gently until the job is done. Reward them with a treat or two if you feel they need it!

Caring for shaved areas of skin.

If your cat has ringworm or another skin infection, the next step after shaving them may be to apply a cream or lotion to the affected area. This can be done nice and gently a little while after shaving.

If it is hot and sunny out, the shaved areas of your cat’s skin may be at risk of getting sunburned. Yes, cats can get sunburn too! Luckily, you can buy specialized kitty sunblock both in pet stores and online, so massaging a little bit of this into the shaved areas is all you need to do – just check with your vet if you want to use it in conjunction with medicated creams.

Have you ever shaved your cat?