It’s one of the most common questions our vets get from cat parents this time of year. And it’s well-founded. Your cat’s wearing a fur coat in the summer heat…why shouldn’t you shave him!?
Should You Shave Your Cat?
In a word: no. It’s more complicated than that, though. Your cat’s fur does a lot of things, and it’s an excellent insulator. Not only does his coat keep him warm during colder weather, it can actually keep him cooler in hot weather by trapping cool air against his skin. Nature designed his fur exactly the way it is.
That being said, it’s totally okay to want to give your cat a “summer cut” to help him keep cool, shed less, and generally just get less tangled and matted. It’s best to have a professional groomer clip your cat’s fur – don’t ever try to do it yourself with scissors! And be sure to leave at least 1/2″ or more of fur to ensure your cat’s coat retains its insulative properties.
Is is BAD to Shave My Cat?
It’s not necessarily bad to shave your cat, but he doesn’t need it. Not only that, shaving his fur off completely can actually be pretty risky for a variety of reasons.
Removing all his fur can actually make him more likely to overheat. It can also make him more likely to be bitten by insects or to get sunburn which can ultimately even lead to skin cancer. There are, of course, a few specific instances wherein it makes sense to shave a cat, such as before surgery or if his fur becomes so matted it has to be removed.
Summer is not one of those instances. And given the health risks posed to your cat when shaved, it’s best to avoid “trendy” cat haircuts even though, we know, your cat would look amazing shaved like a lion.
What About the Shedding?
Shedding is annoying, to be sure, but it’s also one of the most reliable signs of a healthy cat. Your cat will shed his fur throughout the year, but you may notice an uptick in shedding during the hottest months of the year. Rather than shaving your cat, be more vigilant about fur-care. Brush her twice daily with a vet-approved fur brush and give her plenty of rubs to remove as much loose hair as possible.
But My Cat Still Seems Hot…
Even with a super-cool insulative fur coat, cats get hot. The good news is, they’re pretty good at getting themselves to a colder place once they feel too warm. Always make sure your cat has somewhere to go that’s shaded, and that she has plenty of water. And of course, never leave your cat in an enclosed outdoor space like a car or a garage for any period of time when it’s hot outside!