Long-haired cat breeds like the Siberian, Himalayan, Maine Coon and Persian look elegant and regal in their lush and glossy coats. But it can be daunting once they start to shed and when their fur tends to mat. One alternative to curb the shedding and matting is to shave your long-haired cat.
How to shave a long haired cat?
Deciding to shave your cat yourself can be a tedious process but it can be done as long as you follow the right steps and take precautionary measures. Here are the steps to follow when shaving a long haired cat:
1. Prepare the needed supplies.
To make sure that the shaving process will proceed smoothly, you have to prepare the supplies beforehand. These include rubber gloves, towels, brush, treats and pet hair clipper with #10 blade. Do not use a razor blade when shaving your cat.
2. Trim your cat’s nails.
No matter how affectionate your cat is, her wild side will most likely surface when she is about to be shaved. Trim your cat’s nails beforehand to avoid being scratched.
3. Choose someone to assist you.
It is hard to shave your cat when you are alone so you should choose a partner to assist you with this task. Choose someone that your cat is familiar with, it may be such as your child or husband/wife.
4. Pick a location.
Choose a location where you can shave your cat with ease. It should be somewhere with tile or wood flooring instead of a carpeted area as there will likely be hair all over the place. Make sure it is a familiar area for your cat.
5. See to it that your cat is calm and relaxed.
Most cats do not like to be shaved or trimmed so expect that your cat may become agitated or restless. Consider giving her pheromones like Feliway or you may opt for natural sedatives like catnip or valerian. Check our earlier article on how to sedate a cat for grooming for helpful tips on this topic.
6. Groom and brush your cat.
It is easier to shave your cat if you brush her beforehand. This will remove dirt, spread natural oils, prevent tangles and keep her skin irritant-free. Brush your cat from head to tail and use a detangling brush or a de-matting comb to untangle knots and remove loose or dead hair.
Long-haired cats should be brushed every week. Brush in an upward manner and brush the tail by parting in the middle and brushing the fur to either side.
7. Decide on a grooming style or cut.
Various styles or cuts look good on your long-haired cat but the popular ones include the following:
- sanitary or hygiene cut – it frees the anus area so it can be cleaned easily
- belly shave – hair in the belly area is removed, the belly is where matting usually occurs
- comb cut – it essentially thins the hair and helps reduce shedding
- lion cut – the fur in your cat’s body is shaved except the hair on her face
8. Make sure that the clippers are kept cool.
Be sure to do an initial test of the clippers and do not shave your cat for too long. Take frequent breaks to cool it off. Consider using lubricant to make the shaving process easier and to avoid overheating of clippers.
9. Slowly pull the skin taut.
Promptly proceed with shaving your cat and make sure to stretch the skin enough to avoid nicking your cat with the clipper. See to it that your cat is calm and relaxed while you do this.
10. Maneuver and move the clippers properly.
Shave your cat’s fur using the clippers and proceed in the direction of the fur’s lie since if you shave against the lie it is likely that you will snag your cat’s skin. Do not apply downward pressure to the clippers as it may cause rashes and abrade the skin.
11. Avoid shaving too close to the skin.
Make sure to leave one inch or about 2.54 cm of hair so your cat stays protected against the heat of the sun and chilly weather. Shaving too close may result in guard hair becoming embedded under the skin and lead to skin problems. Shave your cat starting from the top of the body and work toward the base of the tail but do not include the entire tail area.
12. Avoid high-risk areas like the whiskers and above the eyes.
Do not ever shave your cat’s whiskers, the area above her eyes and the backside of front paws. You should also not shave further down your cat’s legs and paws since ligaments and tendons are prone to nicking. Stop shaving any sensitive area if your cat grows restless, agitated or aggressive. Give her treats to assure her that nothing is wrong and resume shaving in other areas.
13. Do post-shave care after you are done shaving your cat.
Once you are finished shaving your cat you may bathe your cat and use a pet shampoo or baby shampoo if you weren’t able to secure the former. After bathing your cat, blow-dry her and smoothen rough spots. Be sure to apply sunscreen to block the sun’s UV rays and help prevent sunburn and skin cancer.
If your cat becomes too hard to handle and becomes aggressive you may not be able to finish shaving her and the best thing to do is to book a pet groomer to do the job. The cost to have your long-haired cat shaved by a professional groomer is more or less $50 but this may vary depending on your area or region.
Keep your long-haired cat’s fur well-maintained and healthy-looking by giving her a good shave. Make sure that your cat is calm and relaxed while you shave her, give her treats and get a partner to assist you with the task. You may also opt to hire a pet groomer if you don’t feel confident that you can do it or if your cat becomes agitated or aggressive.
Image: istockphoto.com / Aksakalko