Does shaving off the fur coat of a cat cause the pet pain in any way? Well, it depends on various circumstances. A cat’s fur serves a number of useful purposes including protecting the pet’s skin from injuries and sunburns. However, shaving a cat’s fur coat is sometimes very necessary.
So, is shaving a cat cruel? Shaving a cat is not cruel if done for the right reasons and in an appropriate way. The circumstances in which it would be beneficial to shave your furry friend include:
Medical reasons: If your cat has wounds, shaving the fur coat may help in keeping the affected areas clean. Shaving can also help in easy application of topical medicine if the cat has a skin disease.
Resolving matting: When mats are in your cat’s fur, the pet becomes uncomfortable due to the painful irritation underneath the matted fur.
Grooming for overweight and elderly cats: When cats are overweight or old, they may be unable to groom certain areas of their bodies. Shaving would be essential in keeping them clean.
Is It Cruel to Shave a Cat?
It could be… there are some unacceptable reasons for shaving a cat that would be regarded as cruelty to the pet. Such reasons have broadly been discussed in this article. I have also explained the appropriate way of having your cat shaved off in a systematic manner. Some common misconceptions in shaving cats have also been pointed out. Read on to clearly understand the circumstances in which shaving your cat is not a cruel act.
Read Also: Do Cats Get Cold Indoors?
Acceptable Reasons for Shaving a Cat:
Shaving a cat’s fur is often a necessity. Cats with skin diseases and wounds benefit from having their fur coats shaved off which maintains cleanliness on the affected areas.
It also makes it easier to access the affected areas when applying the prescribed medication. In fact, cats are usually shaved prior to undergoing surgery for more or less the same medical reasons.
Also, if your cat’s fur becomes extremely matted, shaving may be the only remedy to the situation.
It’s however important to understand your cat’s reactive nature as well as skin and coat needs before shaving the pet. Most cats like to look and feel good. They have fur coats that require cleaning regularly in order to be maintained in good condition.
Nevertheless, some cats are highly stressed and easily reactive to situations that are seemingly threatening to them, which includes shaving.
Cats that have a negative reaction to shaving usually hide for days, change their eating habits and even hiss when touched.
It would be recommendable to avoid shaving such cats in future cases of trying to resolve their physical health. Cats generally have greasy skins and coats. The grease causes their fur to stick together instead of it falling away during the shedding process. Which in turn results into tangling of the fur that leads to the formation of mats. When left over time, the mats turn into a mess of pelts. Removal of the mats causes a lot of pain to cats and is also highly uncomfortable even at its best.
Shaving the cat’s fur is the only proper remedy of rectifying such a situation. In addition, if the shedding hair of cats is not removed regularly, it contributes to the matting process. Mainly because the hair that sheds also tangles together into hard knots especially when left to air dry.
Shedding hair is also a root cause of hairball problems that are bad for the overall health of a cat. Shaving substantially reduces the amount of hair ingested by your cat when self-grooming.
Hairball are far much more than a nuisance since their ingestion causes intestinal blockages that are life-threatening. Most veterinarians recommend shaving your cat in case your pet is prone to recurrent hairball issues.
Moreover, failure to thoroughly dry your cat after giving the pet a bath causes the fur to felt. Removal of the felted fur attached to the cat’s coat is always a painful experience to the pet. Infections can actually be created on the cat’s skin during the removal process. Such infections are best avoided by shaving the cat. Prevention of such avoidable situations is, however, always a more considerate option.
Shaving is an added advantage to cats that do not do a very good job in maintaining their coats. Which includes cats that are much more advanced in age and obese cats. Mats form faster when a cat is overweight and unable to reach certain body areas to self-groom. Other than shaving, it’s also important to work with your veterinarian to help your overweight cat in losing weight. Mainly because fat in the cat predisposes the pet to many health complications. Also, as cats get older, they lose flexibility and tend to experience stiffness. Which prevents them from properly maintaining their coats as they once did. Shaving keeps the old cats well-groomed even in their golden years.
Unacceptable Reasons for Shaving a Cat:
There are some reasons that do not justify the shaving of a cat and actually cause the cat great harm.
Many cat owners believe that shaving their cats is a convenient way of keeping their pets cool during summer. That is quite a big misconception. No benefit is associated with shaving your cat during summer. On the contrary, your cat is much more likely to be overheated in summer when shaved. The cat’s fur is naturally designed to regulate the body temperature by locking in cool air during warm weather. Cats are well-adapted to regulating their own body temperature and their fur coats are critical in thermal regulation. Moreover, cats have a relatively small body surface area and are able to efficiently get rid of excess body heat. Their natural regulation of body temperatures eliminates the need for shaving their fur coats.
Cats are susceptible to sunburns when shaved, which are just as painful to the pets as they are on humans. Sunburns in cats may actually result in skin cancer. Another not-so-good reason for shaving your cat is to control human allergy issues by helping the cat with shedding.
Shedding is an unavoidable occurrence in the life of a cat and should not necessarily be controlled. Brushing the fur that collects on your furniture or clothes is a better remedy than shaving off your cat’s fur coat. The brushing will only take a few minutes which is insignificant compared to the discomfort your cat will endure from shaving.
It’s also unacceptable to shave your cat simply just for looks. While your cat may look cute after a lion cut or some other trendy haircut, the pet’s health may be in great danger.
The Appropriate Way of Shaving Your Cat
Expert cat groomers and veterinarians recommend following some basic tips when shaving your cat. First, you should hire a professional cat groomer. Many cats feel threatened and react violently if they aren’t used to being groomed.
Painful accidents may occur if you attempt shaving your cat’s fur by yourself. To avoid inflicting accidental harm on your feline friend, it’s important to have the shaving done by a professional groomer. Secondly, at least an inch of fur should be left on the cat’s coat.
The inch of fur is important in protecting the cat against sunburns. It also protects the pet from getting excessively cold during the cooler weather in the nights or in cold air-conditioned rooms. Thirdly, close shaves on cats are unacceptable.
The cat groomer should avoid shaving the pet irregularly which can result in close shaves. A close shave predisposes your cat to several risks. Which include the risk of ingrown hairs that are often painful, irregular growth of fur and other skin problems.
Shaving all of your cat’s fur should also never be an option. Fourthly, the clippers used to shave your cat should be cool in order to avoid burning the skin of your pet.
An experienced groomer will be keen on ensuring the clippers do not heat up to levels that could harm your pet. The groomer will also take frequent breaks to assess the pet’s skin and will only use the lubricant that comes with the clippers.
The Function of a Cat’s Fur
It’s important for cat owners to understand the many purposes served by cat fur. To start with, the fur of cats keeps the pets warm by acting as an extra layer to their body insulation.
The fur also keeps cats cool in warmer temperatures by trapping in a layer of cool air. Therefore, just like a flask, the fur of cats keeps them both warm and cool accordingly.
Cat fur also helps in keeping the skin of cats dry. Water that comes into contact with the pets is shaken off and dried before reaching their sensitive skins.
The fur of cats is also essential in protecting the pets from injuries. Cat fur serves as a protective layer in the prevention of injuries from cuts or falls to the sensitive skin underneath.
The fur is also important in protecting cats from sunburns which cause severe pain and lead to skin cancer.
In addition, cat fur is used in communication by pets. A defensive or angry cat will raise their fur to alert or warn other cats against a certain act. Cats also use their fur in a similar way to communicate with humans.
Article by Barbara Read
Barbara Read is the heart and soul behind CatBeep.com. From her early love for cats to her current trio of feline companions, Barbara's experiences shape her site's tales and tips. While not a vet, her work with shelters offers a unique perspective on cat care and adoption.