Summer Shave-Downs – Good or Bad for Cats?
Are summer shave downs good for cats? Do cats love it? Does shaving all the hair really keep a cat cooler?
As the temperatures rise across the country, many well-intentioned cat parents consider shaving cats to keep them more comfortable with the warmth and humidity. After all, we don’t want to wear a fur coat during the summer, so why should our cats?
Common sense tells us that shaving off a dense fur coat would help keep cats cooler in hot weather, but shaving your cats down actually robs them of their own natural defense against summer heat and sunburn.
Cat fur is entirely different from human hair. For both dogs and cats, their fur coats help them regulate their temperatures in both cold and warmer weather, similar to insulation for our houses.
Unlike human hair, cat fur has different layers that are responsible for your cat’s comfort and temperature control.
If you do decide to trim down your cat’s coat during the next heat wave, keep these tips in mind.
Tips to Safely Shave Your Cat
- Clipper blades heat up quickly! Make sure to use cooling clipper blade lubrication and rest the blades throughout the grooming session to avoid painful dermal burns.
- Better yet, leave it to a professional. At-home grooming attempts may result in accidental lacerations and burns. In an effort to save a few dollars, you may find yourself at the emergency clinic getting your cat stitched up.
- Leave at least an inch of fur. Leaving too little fur puts your cat at risk for sunburn, and a clip too close to the skin puts your cat at risk for ingrown hairs and irritated skin.
- How do you know if your cat is at risk for sunburn? Check your cat for visible pink skin around the face, paying special attention to areas with thin hair, such as the ear tips. If you can see pink skin, it is possible that your cat could be vulnerable to sunburn.
While shaving your cat down in attempts to help them beat the summer heat is typically discouraged, there are times the clip down may be of benefit.
For the majority of our cats, if the fur isn’t already matted, keeping the coat well-brushed is key. Coats that are kept well-brushed and mat-free allow for good air circulation through the hair, which in itself can actually have a cooling effect. On the contrary, matted, unkempt hair coats stifle air circulation, do little to help cool the body, and make the cat more likely to develop skin infections.
I hope this gives you great information about the pros and cons of shaving your cat during the summer months.