Do Cats Need Haircuts?

Do Cats Need Haircuts

The summer season is fast-approaching and you are planning to give your fluffy friend a nice haircut to help keep them cool during the hot days.

But, while humans might benefit from a shorter haircut to stay cool and refreshed during summer, this does not necessarily mean our feline friends would feel the same!

So, do cats need haircuts? The short answer is no, most cats do not need a haircut. However, there are a few exceptions. If your kitty is long-haired and prone to tangles and hairballs, then trimming their fur every so often might be necessary. Vets might also recommend a haircut for treatment or hygiene purposes. 

More information about cat grooming is explained in detail below.

The importance of a healthy coat

Your cat’s fur has many important functions. Yes, it is soft and pleasing to the touch, but a feline’s coat is more than just beautiful. The thick, fluffy hair provides insulation from cold, heat, and wind. It also protects their delicate skin from scrapes and cuts, as well as from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. 

And the role of your cat’s coat does not end there. Aside from protecting the skin from injuries and sunburn, it is also heavily used for communication and scent marking. So, before you trim – or worse, shave – your cat, it is essential to understand the importance of that beautiful coat.

Do cats need haircuts?

Many fur parents find themselves wondering whether haircuts are beneficial for their feline companions. The truth is, most cats do not need a haircut. However, for long-haired cat breeds like Persians and Maine coons, an occasional haircut might be necessary to keep their fur tangle-free and a manageable length. Some cats that are prone to tangles and hairballs, or have hygiene issues – particularly around the genital areas – might also benefit from regular trimming.

There is a common myth circulating online, claiming that haircuts can help cats cool off during the hot season. There is no truth to this. In fact, veterinarians generally discourage owners from cutting their cats’ hair, except for long-haired breeds prone to hopeless tangles and matted fur. As mentioned, your cat’s fur is important to protect the skin from extreme temperatures. Shaving is the worst thing you can do, as it leaves your cat vulnerable to heat stroke and hypothermia. 

If you do want to keep your cat’s coat shiny and in the best shape, then a haircut may not offer the best solution. Proper diet and regular brushing are generally sufficient for the upkeep of your cat’s gorgeous fur. 

When to give your cat a haircut

While haircuts and shaving are discouraged for most cats, there are instances where a trim may be necessary. Your fur baby might benefit from a haircut for the following reasons:

1. Preparation for surgical procedures

If your cat is scheduled for surgery, shaving a portion of her coat is necessary in order to sterilize the skin beneath. Fur too close to the surgical wound can also get caught in the wound and encourage bacterial growth. Sometimes, the fur of an entire body area is removed to prevent postoperative infections. 

Shaving the affected area will also make it easier to apply ointments or creams while your cat is recovering. It might make them look a little odd, but do not worry! Your cat’s fur should grow back within four to six months.

2. To manage skin conditions

Some skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and skin infections might require the removal of fur for easier cleaning and application of topical treatments. Shaving the fur, as advised by your vet, will also encourage airflow and keep the irritated area dry and free of infection. 

3. To manage hairball issues

All cats, except for the hairless breeds, are prone to developing hairballs. While this is normal and inevitable, a wad of matted fur can sometimes lead to a dangerous blockage of the digestive tract. 

Long-haired cat breeds like Persians and Maine coons, and those that are fastidious groomers, are at higher risk of developing hairballs. While haircuts may not totally solve your cat’s hairball issues, they can definitely minimize the amount of hair ingested. Aside from haircuts, your vet should be able to recommend supplements, proper diet, and other treatments to help prevent a hairball-related blockage. 

4. To reduce shedding

Both short-haired and long-haired cats experience seasonal shedding. A cat’s genetics, diet, and lifestyle can impact the amount that they shed, too. So, if your feline tends to shed a lot when the seasons change, then a haircut might be beneficial to reduce loose hair and maintain your cat’s coat.

However, if your cat sheds excessively, it may be worthwhile investigating the cause of the issue. Haircuts or shaving alone will not solve this over-shedding unless the underlying issue is addressed appropriately.

5. To improve hygiene

Cats are excellent at grooming themselves, which is why they do not usually need our help for the upkeep of their coat. However, there are medical issues that might get in the way of their fastidious grooming habits. For example, if your cat is overweight, old, or has mobility issues, then keeping clean will be more of a challenge. 

Long-hair cat breeds are especially prone to hygiene issues. For example, you might occasionally find a bit of poop attached to your cat’s fur near their bottom area. For most cat parents, cleaning their bum from time to time can be somewhat inconvenient. To avoid this hassle, a haircut in that area may help keep the coat clean. Although you can do the trimming yourself, it is best to let a professional groomer do the job for better results. 

6. To remove matted fur

Matted fur can be harmful to your furry friend in several ways. Clumped hair can cause pain and irritation to the skin underneath. It also provides fleas, ticks, and other parasites with a great place to hide and reproduce. If this goes on, the irritation and insect bites can soon turn into larger lesions that lead to secondary skin infections.

Outdoor cats and cats with long, thick hair are most susceptible to developing tangles and knots in their fur. Sometimes, even regular brushing might not be enough to maintain a soft, tangle-free coat. In this case, a haircut might be the only solution to keep the cat’s hair and skin healthy.

How often do cats need a haircut?

While haircuts are generally unnecessary for most cats, you can have their coat trimmed every four to six weeks, especially if your kitty’s fur is long and thick. 

The cat’s age and lifestyle might also affect their grooming needs. For example, if you have a senior cat with mobility issues, then employing a professional grooming service once a month might be very useful to keep their coat clean and healthy.

Do short-haired cats need haircuts?

Unlike long-haired cat breeds, short-haired cats do not require regular haircuts to maintain their coat. Giving your kitty a good bath (only if necessary) every four to six weeks and regular brushing is usually sufficient to maintain short fur.

However, there are a few exceptions when a haircut might be necessary. If your furry friend is prone to issues like hairballs, skin conditions, or certain medical problems that affect their hygiene, then a haircut or a shave might be necessary. 

How much does cat grooming cost?

Grooming costs might vary from cat to cat, depending on the length of the hair and the additional services you request. The complexity of the haircut, such as the removal of severely matted fur, might also affect the amount you end up paying. On average, most cat owners in the United States pay around 30 to 70 dollars per visit. 

Is it okay to shave your cat?

If you are thinking about shaving your feline to help them cool down during summer, please think again!

Cats do not need shaving. Unless recommended by your vet, shaving poses more risk than benefit for your cat. Removing all the fur not only exposes your cat’s thin and sensitive skin to the elements, but also leaves them vulnerable to overheating. Skin inflammation and sunburn can also result since your cat will no longer have the insulating fur that protects their skin from extreme heat and cold.

Do cats feel depressed when shaved?

Our feline friends do not take well to change, and shaving is a drastic change for them! Thus, it is quite normal to see a cat upset and stressed after being shaved. Give your kitty a day to adjust, and she should return to her normal self. Remember that shaving is not cruel if it is approved by your vet and done professionally. 

However, if the episode of depression lasts for several days, this might warrant a visit to your vet. 

Should a cat’s whiskers be trimmed?

Never! Whiskers are extremely important for your cat’s balance and communication. Also known as vibrissae, cats’ whiskers help them sense vibrations in the air, navigate their environment, determine approaching predators, and even catch prey. 

It is thus very clear that whiskers serve a crucial role in your cat’s daily life, and you should never trim (or even touch) these sensitive hairs. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that trimming a cat’s whiskers will stop them from hunting or wanting to roam outside. 


A healthy cat with a well-maintained coat should not need a haircut. Occasionally, though, your feline friend might benefit from a haircut for hygiene or medical reasons, especially if they have long, thick fur. Other than this, the best approach to keeping your cat’s coat healthy and soft is by following a regular grooming routine.

Image: / Aksakalko