Can I Shave My Cat To Stop Shedding?

Can I Shave My Cat To Stop Shedding

If you have started noticing too much cat hair in your clothes, furniture or bed lately it means that your cat is shedding.  This is part of a healthy feline’s normal body system. However, it  can create a big fuss and may cause embarrassment. Shaving your cat is one way to tame her fur and curb the constant shedding.

Can I shave my cat to stop shedding?

Yes, you can shave your cat to stop or minimize the shedding. However, shaving should be avoided as much as possible since it may remove protective hairs that help cats regulate their body temperature. Some cats may also find shaving as painful while some others are fearful of being shaved.

Here are the pros and cons of shaving your cat:

Pros of shaving your cat

1. It may reduce shedding in cats.

Cats shed their hair especially in the summer months to keep their body temperatures cool. However, an exception to this are hairless breeds like the Sphynx.  Felines with poor health also tend to shed more frequently.  Shaving helps reduce shedding in cats but it is advisable to hire a professional groomer to do it. 

Here are the common reasons why cats shed:

  • to cool down their bodies during hot weather 
  • they may be allergic to something
  • they are stressed or anxious 
  • they have medical issues like thyroid disease 
  • due to ringworm 
  • due to poor diet and nutrition 

2. It gets rid of pests and parasites. 

Have you noticed your cat becoming irritable? It could mean that she has pests and parasites lurking in her coat. Common parasites like fleas, ticks and mites thrive and multiply within the hair follicles and bring discomfort and pain to cats. Shaving may be helpful to stop these parasites and prevent them from causing further damage. 

3. It allows for an easier application of medication.

Topical ointments and medication for skin-related problems are easier to apply on a cat with shaved fur. The same goes for ankle bands and protective plastic bands during post-surgery which are easier to put on if a cat has been shaved. 

4. It keeps your cat clean. 

Cats, especially long-haired breeds like the Maine Coon tend to develop matted hair if they are not regularly brushed and groomed. Matted hair leads to hairballs and your cat becomes dirty and disheveled-looking. Shaving keeps your cat clean and prevents hair from becoming matted and grimy. 

Cons of shaving your cat

1. It does not keep your cat cool. 

Some pet owners shave their cats’ fur since they believe it could help keep their bodies cool. However, this is wrong since cats do not have the same kind of skin that humans have and they need their fur to protect themselves. Shaving your cat’s hair may lead to sunburn, patches, ingrown hair and scars. 

2. It can expose wounds and injuries.

Aside from keeping cats warm, their fur also protects their bodies. Wounds and injuries that are protected by the fur become exposed to the elements and may become infected more easily.  

3. It may remove the natural oils in your cat’s skin. 

Cats have natural oils that keep the skin moist and protect them from bacteria, parasites and UV rays.  If you shave your cat too close to her skin it may create an imbalance and eliminate the skin’s natural oils. This could lead to itching, allergies and irritations and may also result in clogged pores. 

4. It may cause fear. 

Just as it is with nail trimming, shaving your cat’s fur may cause trauma and fear. Cats generally do not fancy having their fur shaved and the sound of a buzzing razor could easily drive them nuts. 

5. Some hair may not grow back and may also result in ingrown hair.

Shaving your cat may result in ingrown hair and there’s a possibility that some hair may not grow back due to the disrupted hair growth. Other cats may also have conditions that may become exposed such as alopecia and patches due to old age. If this happens, you must consult your vet for proper treatment for your cat. 

For more on this topic see our article on the pros and cons of shaving a cat.

Alternative ways to reduce shedding in cats 

Shaving your cat may be a sensible idea but as mentioned earlier, it is not encouraged and should only be done if it concerns medical or health-related issues or if there is parasite infestation.

These are the alternatives that you can do instead of shaving your cat:

  • brush your cat regularly with a quality pet grooming brush 
  • bathe your cat at least once a month to remove excess and undercoat hair 
  • keep your cat hydrated 
  • make sure your cat has a balanced and omega-rich diet to curb shedding and promote a healthy coat

Recommended cat food for shedding control:

  • reduce stress-causing factors such as loud noises and sudden changes so your cat won’t shed a lot of hair 
  • keep your cat indoors as much as possible since outdoor cats tend to shed more since they are not in a climate-controlled surrounding

Do all cats shed?

Yes, all cats shed but the amount of shedding varies depending on the breed and according to the seasons and overall health of cats. Breeds that shed a lot may include the American Bobtail, American Curl, Ragamuffin, Ragdoll and Siberian while those that shed the least include the Sphynx, Siamese, Cornish Rex and Oriental Shorthair.  You may check out our article on do all cats shed for a more thorough discussion.

Image: / peakSTOCK