Ah, cat shaving! That wonderful process of bothering your cat that usually has disastrous consequences. For you and your hands, at least. If you ever had to shave your cat, you probably know what I’m talking about. And you’ve probably wondered many times how to shave a cat that hates it.
Your furry feline could need shaving for many reasons. Maybe her fur has become matted. Or she is a long-haired breed and requires grooming. Or perhaps she is injured, and her fur has to be shaved so that the wound can be tended properly.
Whatever the reason might be, professional groomers are the best and safest option when it comes to shaving your cat. They have the much-needed experience with cat temperament and shaving, and will most certainly do an amazing job.
But if for some reason professional groomers are not an option for you, you can shave your cat at home. Yes, it can be a scary process – we all know how hard it is to do anything that a cat hates. But with a little practice and plenty of patience, you can easily do it.
Ready to learn the tricks on how to shave a cat that hates it? Keep on reading!
Why do cats hate to be shaved?
You’re probably familiar with the fact that cats’ senses are very heightened. They are extremely sensitive to sounds and are able to hear three times better than us. And their other senses are much more developed than ours, too.
Because of that, they can be easily frightened by sights, sounds, and scents.
This is why your cat doesn’t enjoy the shaving process. Mechanical clippers produce a strange sound that she perceives as a threat and wishes to run away from.
Also, your cat might dislike shaving because of previously experienced trauma. A former groomer may have been rough with her and didn’t pay attention to her feelings and needs. Perhaps your cat was even hurt in that process.
Another reason your cat might hate being shaved is if she has some skin condition that causes her discomfort. Because of it, she might be more sensitive to grooming tools since they are more painful than for other cats.
How to shave a cat that hates it? 7 amazing tips and tricks
Shaving your furball can be a nightmare – for you and for her! If you’re not careful enough, it can end up so badly, your cat might start to avoid you afterward and associate you with that negative experience.
But, there’s a way to avoid bad blood between you two. To shave a cat that hates it, you have to take into consideration many things. Below, you will find 7 tips and tricks taken from professional cat groomers that will make shaving your kitto as easy as possible.
So, let’s cut to the fluff and find out how to shave that purrincess of yours!
1. Trim her nails first!
Oh, believe me, you do not want to skip this one!
You should trim your cat’s nails first since she’s most definitely going to try to defend herself. So, it’s best to play it safe.
If you’ve never trimmed your cat’s claws, here’s what you should do. Firstly, invest in high-quality cat nail clippers. You should never use your own clippers since your and your cat’s nails are not the same. Cat nail clippers are specially modified to hold a cat’s claw in place.
Then, make your cat comfortable and go one paw at a time. Take one paw in your hand and gently press it with your thumb to extend her claws. Take a little off the top, and don’t get too close to “the quick” which is the pink part of the nail where your cat’s blood vessels and nerve endings are.
And, keep in mind that it’s okay not to cut them all in one sitting. Listen to your cat and act according to her reaction.
You could also get cat nail caps for your feline to make sure the shaving process goes as scratchless as possible.
2. Make your cat comfortable
It’s also important to make your cat feel comfortable and relaxed. And this is not just a good trick to use when shaving your cat, but when you do pretty much anything for her. A comfortable kitty equals a successful outcome!
Make sure the general atmosphere is calming and stress-free. You can even consider placing lavender essential oil close to the grooming space. The smell will distract your fluffball and help her be calm and content.
Another thing is to make sure your cat has somewhere nice and soft to stand. If you opt for something cold and slippery, like a metal surface, your kitty will probably be alarmed and off balance.
Many professional groomers use a dedicated grooming surface that’s usually not that comfy (that’s for hygiene purposes). But you don’t have to do the same, as you’re not out to groom the entire neighborhood’s felines. A towel or blanket should do the trick and make your cat feel more secure.
You can also try to determine what place your cat feels most comfortable in. It might be your lap, your dining table, or the floor. Find a space where your cat feels most safe and where you can even place some toys for distraction.
3. Stock up on treats!
This one is the biggest secret from professional groomers for successfully shaving a cat that hates it.
Make sure you have enough treats to reward your kitty’s good behavior. By doing so, your cat will likely start associating shaving with treats, and therefore future shaving or any form of grooming will go more smoothly.
Also, be gentle with your kitto. Let your voice be calm, soft, and reassuring. You can even sneak in a little petting session in between. Gentleness is the best treat your cat can receive during such a frightening ordeal as shaving.
4. First – brushing!
Before the actual shaving, you should brush your cat’s fur. Brushing will make shaving less difficult and painful. Especially if your cat is dealing with severe matting. Mats can tangle your clippers and lead to hair and skin tearing. And neither you nor your cat wants that.
Invest in a good cat brush that your cat enjoys and has previously been introduced to. You don’t want your cat to have the first time brushing and shaving experience in one day.
And, it goes without saying, but please don’t use your own brush.
5. Use the right tools
Besides good cat nail clippers and a cat brush, you should also have proper shaving tools.
You have to use pet-safe clippers. Don’t even think about using your old ones. Human clippers and pet clippers are not the same and are designed for entirely different hair types. Human clippers are not made for pet fur, and if used for pets, can get easily jammed up.
It’s advisable to use cordless pet-safe clippers, so you don’t have to worry about cords getting in the way. And also, use a ½ inch guard with your clippers to avoid shaving your cat too close, which can then lead to nicks, cuts, and skin irritation.
Another useful trick is to constantly check your clippers as you shave, so you can catch them before they start overheating. Never use overheated clippers since they can be very uncomfortable and even burn your kitty. When you notice they’ve become too hot, turn them off and let them cool down before resuming.
And before shaving, let your cat get familiar with all the tools. Let her sniff and inspect everything, so she’s a little less frightened when the actual shaving begins.
6. Shave in the right direction
Shave your cat in the direction her hair grows. Shaving against natural hair growth is more painful for a cat. Also, always shave from head to tail because this is the most natural and enjoyable direction for them.
Professional groomers claim that this way of shaving mimics their natural grooming instinct. If you pay close attention when your cat is grooming herself, you will notice that she licks herself in the same manner – from head to tail and in the direction her hair naturally grows.
7. Take breaks
And finally, when you’re trying to figure out how to shave a cat that hates it, it’s important to be aware that you should take breaks.
Since clippers can overheat, use the time when they’re cooling to give your cat treats, pet her and cuddle with her. You can even play with her for a while or let her leave and take a break on her own terms.
Don’t force anything on your cat that she doesn’t like. And don’t rush with the shaving process. If you don’t have enough time that day, leave shaving for another day when you’ll be more available.
How not to shave a cat? What should you avoid?
There are so many things that can go wrong while shaving a cat that hates it.
Even if you stick to these tricks above, you could still do something wrong. Which is okay, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Taking care of cats is a set of trials and errors, but the important thing is that you improve as time passes.
However, there are three things you should never do. Please remember them now so you don’t accidentally do them while shaving your cat.
So, the three things your cat definitely won’t enjoy are:
- shaving her face
- trimming her whiskers
- being panicky and nervous.
Cats are not very fond of their face being touched, let alone shaved off. And by cutting her whiskers, you decrease her spatial awareness. This can result in her being clumsy and accidentally knocking things over, disoriented, and less able to protect herself.
Also, try staying calm as much as you can. Your cat will be able to sense if you’re afraid and overly panicky, and would not be willing to leave her fur in your nervous hands.
If you believe you will not be able to handle it peacefully, then it’s better to let professionals do the job.
When should you even shave your cat?
As mentioned above, your cat might need a shave if her fur is matted. Severe matting can cause discoloration, scarring on your cat’s skin, and many other serious medical conditions.
Other reasons for shaving might include hairballs, cat allergies, or excessive shedding. In these cases, you can reduce the complications by thinning your cat’s fur.
There are also some external parasites, such as lice and mites, that can live on your cat’s hair strands. Though most parasite infestations can be easily treated with anti-parasitic medications, in some cases, the infestation is so severe that the only option is shaving.
Because of these conditions, your cat might hate shaving since she’s already feeling uncomfortable. But generally speaking, it’s best to avoid unnecessary shaving.
Do you have to shave your cat during the summer?
It’s a common misconception that you have to shave your cat during the summer because she’s too hot. Your cat’s fur is designed to keep her warm during winter and cool her down during summer.
Fur also protects her from injuries and serves as a communication tool with humans and other animals. Think of a cat whose fur bristled because she sensed danger.
Your cat’s fur helps her stay dry and when the temperatures are extremely high, it helps her to cool down because it traps a layer of air within and it serves as a buffer against extreme heat.
Also, sunburn is inevitable for furless cats, and it can be very damaging to a feline’s skin.
So, no, you don’t have to shave your kitto during the summer, as she is not feeling hot and bothered under all that fur.
If your cat doesn’t have any skin conditions or health problems, don’t do the thing you know she really hates, and stay away from shaving. Let her do the grooming the way she likes it (all by herself).