Monday, September 6, 2010

Cat Grooming - Shaving : Fashion, Necessary or Plain Cruelty?


Sesame : Here he is being blown dry after a shower.  His mum wanted him to be shaved as he had mats on his lower body, armpits and chest area despite daily brushing.

There are people who think that shaving a cat is cruel and unnecessary.  While I won't perform creative cuts (shaping motifs on the cat's fur) or colouring on cats (or dogs), I do think that shaving a cat becomes necessary especially when the cats are badly matted or when the cats are unable to properly groom themselves either due to age or obesity.  Some long fur cats groom themselves excessively which may result in impaction (blockage of the digestive tract) that may require surgery.  Being in Malaysia, where the weather is persistently hot AND humid, shaving heavily coated cats can be done to keep the cats comfortable.

Even with regular brushing, mats form quickly and often go unnoticed until they have become huge and formidable, very close to the skin. The area where the mat is becomes very painful and uncomfortable and trying to brush out the mat humanely at this point becomes impossible. The most humane thing would be to have the cat shaved.  Shaving a badly matted cat is a very delicate procedure, since it involves clipping very close to the skin where any wrong move can result in nicking the cat's thin skin.  Therefore, it should only be done by a professional cat groomer.

Shaving a cat does not always mean a lion cut or a complete shave.  It can also be that only problem areas are shaved, such as the armpits, belly area, inner thighs and perhaps only an inch off from the tail base to help keep it clean.  Done properly, the cat will still have the "full coated look" which may be more agreeable to some owners.

There are numerous other reasons for shaving cats and cat owners always do it with the cat's health and happiness foremost in mind.  As for me, I do my part by always asking the owners questions, which include why they want the cat shaved before an appointment is set.  This is to ensure I get enough information to best advise on the type of style that best fit their (cat and owner) need.
 

10 comments:

Brian said...

I'm not sure I would like that!

Ramblingon said...

My little girl (who lays biteys on me once in a while) had two awful mats kast month..one on each flank that I was embarrassed to ask the Vet to shave. The cat needed her comfort and her skin is ultra sensitive as she has bad allergies. She has to have an allergy shot every two months. But while waiting toward the last of the weeks to go back for another shot, her skin is so sensitive from allergy that she won't allow me to brush her. Then, a mat may form. :-(

Katnip Lounge said...

This was a good post. I am considering having one of my kitties shaved next summer, she really suffers in the heat. So you don't think the cat is psychologically damaged by the shaving? I can't see how, but I worry about it.

Whisppy said...

Hi Katnip Lounge,

If your cat is being shaved for the first time, do ask the groomer to leave at least an inch of fur to allow the cat (and you) to adjust to the new look. This may take a few days, but I won't worry about him being psychologically damaged from the furcut. :) Try to get a dedicated cat groomer if you can.

Hannah and Lucy said...

If I find a matt early in Hannah's coat I can usually get it out myself but occasionally I do have to ask if the vetinary nurses can do it and sometimes she has to have a quick whiff of gas because although she looks angelic she certainly has a mind of her own and is very strong!!
If you live where the temperature is high in summer I think it is probably kind to have the fur cut shorter but I don't think I would like to see a close shave.

Gattina said...

I have one long haired cat and I had to get her shaved because she was full of knots and it hurt her. she doesn't allow us to brush her so I have to go regularly to a grooming salon where now she is brushed and gets rid of her knots. She doesn't have to be shaved anymore. Short haired cats do all by themselves. Bathing is not recommended because of the cold and wet clima and they need grease in their fur to protect themselves.

Lucy the Cat said...

Both our kitties are short haired and are able to groom themselves, but i can see how in the situations you listed such as the matting, not grooming or really bad heat, shaving could be a blessing. This is a good article.

Au and Target said...

I used to think shaving a cat was pretty weird but in Malaysia with the heat I've changed my mind. Ginger is soooo much happier with short fur that I can see why she'd want that look all year round. But I'd leave it kinda long like half a centimeter or more and do it often rather than save money and cut it too short as some people do.

Admiral Hestorb said...

Coming to see you again. That is my mommy up there called ramblingon. She forgot to log out so when I left my Admiral comment, it was under her name. Silly mammy!

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