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How To Shave A Long Haired Cat – A Step By Step Guide

How To Shave A Long Haired Cat – A Step By Step Guide

A long-haired cat owner understands some of the struggles that come with such long fur. The hair can get matted, and things such as sweeping far too often or dealing with knots make it a pain to deal with.

Sometimes the only option for your cat is to shave them, and if you choose to do so, there are essential steps to take after you ask how to shave a long-haired cat. Below is are steps to follow when shaving a long-haired cat:

1. Decide On Brushing Or Not Brushing Your Cats Hair

The first step to take when shaving a long-haired cat is to decide on brushing. Every cat is different, and some long-haired cats don’t need their hair brushed.

A better and safer option is to brush out any knots if you can rather than completely shave your cat. This can help cut down on hair becoming snagged in the clippers.

In addition to that, there’s a lower chance of patching the hair, and it helps to get an even cut if your cat’s hair is brushed prior to shaving.

2. Prepare The Necessary Equipment For Your Cat

When you decide that you want to shave your cat yourself, make sure to purchase the proper equipment for your cat. Do not use whatever you have sitting around because it could lead to injuries.

Specialized pet clippers work best. They have enough power to shave your cat’s hair while also remaining safe.

3. Decide How You Want To Shave Your Cat

Cats can have style too, so it’s very important that you choose how you want to shave your cat. 

You may choose to shave your cat only in specific problem areas, like his stomach or his rear end. Or perhaps you want to do cut the hair low to cut down on shedding as a whole.

Perhaps you want to have some fun and do unique cuts like a kitty mohawk.

Other people opt for a specific style of shaving, such as a lion’s cut. While this cut is popular, it may not be the best for your cat. Cats with low hair can get cold and uncomfortable.

A good rule to stick with is to consider just how much hair your cat actually needs cut, and then to match an appropriate cut to that length. The last thing you want is for your cat to be miserable after the shaving.

4. Slowly Introduce Your Cat To The Hair Clippers

Most cats are timid when it comes to trying new things. Even if they’ve had a haircut before, if the clipper sounds different than the one they are used to, they will not like it initially.

Introduce your cat to the clippers to prevent your cat from getting too afraid. Show them to your cat, let them explore it, put their scent on it and even nibble at it. Your cat needs to get familiar with the touch and scent first.

Next, begin to turn them on around your cat so he can hear the noise. No cutting just yet as you want your cat to just understand that there is no harm when it comes to the clippers vibrating or making a sound. Catching your cat off guard will not end well. 

When it’s time to shave your cat’s hair, you may want to start with a small area so they can get adjusted to the vibration on their skin and the fur dropping off. Keep the cutting sessions short and gradually increase the time until your cat gets used to the routine.

5. Choose A Proper Location To Shave Your Cat

This step is pretty straightforward. Find a place to shave your cat, preferably one where you can easily get to them if they try to hop away.

The bathroom is one of the best places to choose because the floor will make clean up easy. 

If your cat is more comfortable in another part of your house, you can forego the ease of clean-up, so your cat is more comfortable. 

6. Secure Your Cat With A Leash Or Harness

Although cats can be acclimated to clippers, the instinct of fear can sometimes still creep in. For that reason, you’ll need to secure your cat as much as possible.

Leashes and harnesses work really well for this. Once attached you can wrap the other end around a doorknob so your cat cannot easily run away.

If you plan on securing your cat with a leash or harness, do so now. If not, choose the best way to hold your cat that will be comfortable for both you and the cat. Find someone to help hold your cat while you shave if necessary.

Ultimately, if your cat doesn’t like to be restrained, this step may need to be adjusted. Perhaps you can let your cat roam in a small area and cut as they become settled and comfortable.

If they get up and walk, then that’s entirely fine. You may need to set aside additional time to finish the haircut or come back to it later if your cat roams away.

7. Begin Shaving

Now comes the most important step, shaving your cat! Begin shaving your cat, and test a small area. The reason is you want to be careful not to have the clippers set too low and realize you’ve taken off too much hair before it’s too late.

An ideal spot to begin is the hind side or underneath your cat where it’s less visible. If things look good you can continue shaving.

As you shave your cat, make sure that you are constantly pulling your cat’s skin tight. Cats have loose skin that can easily be pinched or sliced by the clippers.

Do not get lazy with this step. Hurting your cat with the clippers can create a negative situation for the both of you that’s hard to come back from in future shaves.

8. Take Breaks To Calm Your Cat And Cool The Clippers

Haircuts are an intense experience for most cats. So, you’ll need to take breaks for two reasons. 

First, breaks will allow your cat to calm down, even if it is only for a minute or two.

Second, a break will prevent the clippers from overheating, which is a possibility. Cats with sensitive skin can feel that heat and you risk a burn.

9. Finish Shaving And Brush Away Clipped Hair

Finish shaving your cat and brush away any clipped hair that is on your cat. Keeping a clean area is important as cat hair can easily spread all over the place.

10. Assess The Haircut And Continue Shaving If Necessary

Assess how your cat looks by asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • Did I get all the areas I want to?
  • Is the cut even?
  • Should I ask to shave other areas?

If you are satisfied with your job, then you do not need to continue cutting for the sake of cutting.

11. Trim The Tail If Necessary

Consider what you want your cat’s tail to look like before putting the clippers away.

Do you want your cat’s tail mostly shaved like a lion’s cut? Would you prefer to have hair left on your cat’s tail?

The tail is an excellent place to end with because your cat is probably the calmest he has been if he spent the shave session struggling against you and the clippers.

12. Bathe Your Cat

Although your cat no longer has fur, it is vital to give your cat a bath.

If you are in the bathroom, the sink is a good place to bathe your cat. It’s a small area so you can keep your cat secure in one place. Tubs can sometimes be intimidating to cats which is why the sink is preferable.

Fill the sink up with lukewarm water and place your cat in the water. Use a shampoo that is designed specifically for cats. Then comes the not-so-easy part; washing and drying your cat.

If you think that your cat needs a break before another stressful event like a bath, you can also choose to wait to give your cat a bath. Do not wait too long.

I would suggest that you do not wait to give your cat a bath because he may be difficult to catch if he thinks that you are bringing him back to the bathroom to shave him again. 

13. Apply Sunscreen To Cats If Necessary

Now that you are finished shaving and bathing your cat, you may choose to apply sunscreen to your cat. Much of this depends on how low the haircut is. And yes, there is sunscreen specially formulated for cats.

Cats are more prone to sunburns now that you have removed their hair, so it is essential to protect their delicate skin.

14. Clean Up Remaining Fur And Let Your Cat Relax

Clean up the fur that has inevitably gotten everywhere after you let your cat free.

If the floor is not wet from the bath, it is easiest to vacuum it up.

Wet fur is more of a hassle, so a damp cloth may be easier to use to pick it all up. 

Once the haircut is done, give your cat a treat and give it some space. Getting a shave is an intense experience for cats; even if they don’t always show it!

Do You Need Special Clippers To Shave A Cat

You do not need special clippers to shave a cat, but you should have a pair of clippers used explicitly for your cat. Keep in mind, there are specially designed clippers with safety features designed to help pet owners cut their cat’s hair at home. Those are not necessary but are really helpful.

There are things you can look at when you’re going to purchase a pair of clippers, but let’s save that for the next section.

If you’re planning to shave your cat at home, you will want to make sure that you have clippers for your cat that you do not use for anything else.

For example, do not use the clippers that your husband uses to shave his beard or mustache. 

You may have a great, expensive pair of clippers that you use for personal grooming, but that does not mean it is a good choice for your cat too.

It may seem like it is an investment – and it is – but it will go far to make sure that you keep your cat safe when you decide to do an at-home shave job for your cat. 

Best Clippers To Shave Long Haired Cats

There are tons of clippers on the market that say they are best to shave long-haired cats. You can follow one of these lists, but you can also make the decision yourself. 

If you’re planning to take choosing a pair of clippers into your own hands, here are some things to be on the lookout for to help you choose the best pair of clippers.

  • Sound – Even if the clippers are made for pets, some will be louder than others. If your cat is sensitive to noise, you should read reviews to find the quietest pair of clippers. 
  • Speed – Speed is an essential factor in how well your clippers shave your cat’s skin. A high speed is great, but it will also make the clippers louder. You also must be careful with high speed clippers. One wrong move and you can end up taking off more hair than you anticipated.
  • Blade length – To most people, blade length does not mean anything and is just a number, but it means a lot when it comes to haircuts and shaves. Do your research before choosing a blade length.
  • Corded or cordless – These days, almost any electronic device can come cordless. A cordless clipper means you have to charge it or use batteries, which can be a downside, but it may be easier to maneuver while you’re wrestling your cat. 
  • What it’s made for – Some clippers are used for different cuts. Get a pair of clippers that do what you plan. 

Think about your situation and what you want to do with the clippers. That will help you decide what kind of clippers you need to get the job properly finished.

How To Hold A Cat To Shave It

If you are cutting your cat’s fur without a second person helping you, you should keep your cat on a flat surface, like a table or fur.

An at-home shave job for a cat is best done with two people. One person should hold your cat firmly or hold your cat still on a table or the floor.

We don’t always have a second person, however. 

Cutting a cat by yourself is more complicated but can be done. Your first instinct may be to hold your cat, but that is not the best idea. Instead, you should put your cat down and hold him that way.

You will need to gently pull your cat’s skin taught while you shave. This could be not easy when you shave your cat unless you are cradling him in your lap.

A relatively calm cat can indeed be held in your lap when you start clipping his fur. That way, you can keep one arm hooked under your cat’s feet, but you will still be able to use your hand to hold your cat’s skin. 

A groomer will put a leash or a harness on your cat to keep both their hands free. If you have a leash or harness for your cat or one that will fit your cat, then you can rig a similar device at home.

You can tie the leash to a chair, but you need to make sure the chair is sturdy. You do not want your cat to tip the chair and cause a potential injury. 

Is It OK To Shave A Long Haired Cat

It is OK to shave a long-haired cat, but you will first want to make sure you know how to keep your cat calm.

An anxious or scared cat is more prone to lead to injuries, for both you and for your cat. 

If your cat is not declawed, you could end up getting scratched by your cat. A scared cat is more likely to break the skin and draw blood. You will want to avoid these injuries at all costs because it will make shaving even harder. 

A terrified cat is also a danger to itself. Too much squirming could lead to your cat getting cut by the clippers. If he twists too much, he could hurt himself that way too. 

The best way to keep your cat calm is to slowly introduce your cat to the clippers that you are using. You will not catch your cat off guard by using something that he has never seen before. The sound will be the scariest part to most cats. 

If your cat is particularly anxious, your vet may be able to prescribe you a type of sedative. This will not knock your cat out, but it may be able to help with your cat’s overall anxiety. You will only be prescribed this if your cat is anxious as part of his daily life.

You can also shave your cat when he is tired. Play with him until he is ready to fall asleep or wake him up before he is ready. He will be easier to hold and shave if he is not wide awake. 

Does Shaving A Cat Ruin Its Fur

Some people will tell you that shaving a cat ruins its fur, but that is just a myth. 

It has become a common misconception that shaving your cat’s fur will ruin the integrity of your cat’s fur, but that is not something that you should be overly concerned with. 

Your cat’s fur will always grow back after you shave it, but some things could make your cat’s fur grow back unevenly.

For instance, if you do not cut your cat’s fur properly, your cat’s fur will not grow back evenly. Some of the furs may grow back in patches that are longer than other patches. 

Depending on the kind of cat you did for your cat, it may also take some time for your cat’s fur to grow back to the way it was before you shaved your cat.

You do not need to worry about ruining your cat’s fur, though. Your cat may look funny for a little while, but eventually, he will be back to normal. 

Is It Bad To Shave A Cat

Yes, it can be bad to shave your cat, especially if you do not know the proper methods to shave your cat.

Some bad things can happen when you attempt to shave your cat. Even a professional groomer does not make some of the following things impossible to happen:

  • You can nick your cat’s skin with the clippers.
  • The clippers could tug at your cat’s fur painfully. 
  • Your cat will feel itchy when the hair is growing back in.
  • It can make your cat upset and scared, which can mean that your cat will hate going places.

Your cat does not need to be shaved, and for the risks, it may be a bad idea to shave your cat without a good reason.

Is It Cruel To Shave A Cat

Some people believe that it is cruel to shave a cat.

Although shaving a cat is not the worst thing you can do to your cat, some people think it is cruel to do. 

Most cats do not need their fur shaved, so most people believe that it is cruel to shave a cat that does not need to be shaved.

If your cat is shaved the right way, shaving is not a painful experience for your cat. It still may make your cat upset, though, and for some people, that is enough. 

It is your choice to decide whether it is cruel or not. 

How Do You Cut A Long Haired Cat With Clippers

It could be more difficult to shave a long-haired cat than a short-haired cat with clippers, but it is not impossible.

All the steps will be the same when you shave a long-haired cat with clippers like any other cat.

You must be aware that your cat’s fur is more likely to be caught in the clippers than a cat with shorter hair. You may need to work more carefully to ensure that you do not get your cat’s skin pinched or hair snagged.

You will need to think about snags more than anything else in the process of shaving a long-haired cat. 

If your cat’s long fur gets snagged, you should not panic. That is the first step. Do not act suddenly because you could rip your cat’s fur right out in a chunk. 

Keep scissors nearby. Carefully trim the fur from the clippers to remove it. Do not use large kitchen scissors but something smaller like eyebrow scissors. You will be less likely to cut your cat with those.

Ultimately, it is essential to make sure that you are careful when cutting your cat’s long fur. 

Shaving Cats: Pros And Cons

As with many things that are a choice, there are pros and cons when it comes to shaving your cat.


  • Your cat will not get knots if its fur is shorter.
  • Your cat will feel cooler, especially in the summer.
  • Your cat will not be as likely to get fleas or ticks if their fur is shorter; if your cat does get fleas or ticks, they will be easier to spot. 
  • If your cat needs topical medicine for any reason, it will be easier to apply. 


  • Your cat could feel cold, especially in the winter or in a colder house.
  • Your cat can be hurt when they are getting shaved. There could be nicks or tugged skin. 
  • You may not realize it, but your cat could get sunburn if he is in the sun for too long. 
  • Your cat’s skin could be more irritated if there is no fur to protect it and create a barrier. 
  • Overall, it makes your cat’s skin more vulnerable to numerous things.

In your unique situation with your cat, you may find that there are different pros and cons. These are essential considerations for you when you are deciding to shave your cat. 

If you need a second opinion, then you should also talk to your vet or a professional groomer that you trust. 

Things To Consider 

Let’s say that you chose not to shave your cat, for whatever the reason may have been.

But now your cat is dealing with knots and matted fur! 

Mattes and knots are not something that you can leave alone with your cat. Matted fur can be painful, itchy, and comfortable. Knotted fur can hide fleas or even get moldy with trapped water if left there for too long. 

Brush, Brush, Brush

The first step should be trying to brush the knots out. Get a comb with metal teeth. You may have to go one by one, so it may take a long time. It will be tedious, but it is the best way to get the knots out. 

Snip, Snip

You can also try snipping some of the larger knots off. It will make your cat’s fur uneven, but it is one of the fastest ways to remove the knots.

Grip the knot at the base of the fur and carefully snip off the knot. Be extremely careful not to cut your cat’s skin. If you need to, cut your cat’s knot in half to avoid nicking your cat’s skin. 

Make It Easier

Using water or a conditioner for cats could loosen up the knot. You will still need to brush or cut the knot out, but it will keep your cat’s fur softer. 

Maintenance Is Key

It is always better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to any situation. Your cat’s fur is no exception. 

You should always brush your cat’s fur. This is especially important if you have a cat with long hair. It is not as big a deal if you have a short-haired cat. 

If the knots are bad, a professional groomer is the best option for you. Groomers know exactly what to do and will work carefully on your cat.

Particularly bad knots may end up with the vet. Vets can put your cat to sleep and shave your cat down extremely quickly. This should be the last resort for you, but it is an option for you if it is that bad.