There have been extreme cat grooming competitions where cats are transformed into works of art; some are made into lions, dogs, and birds. If you admire such creativity, you might be tempted to subject your cat to such grooming. However, before you do, you should know that while a shaven cat may get you the top spot in such competitions, you will be exposing the skin to lots of environmental hazards. Simply put, it is not okay to shave your cat. This detailed article will help you understand why and explain the few occasions you should consider shaving your feline.
Why You Should Not Shave Your Cat
Pet Place details the composition of a cat’s hair coat and skin. The outer skin layer is the epidermis, which acts as an environmental shield. The epidermis contains a dark brown pigment in some cats, which protects the feline against the harmful UV sun rays.
The pigment also gives a cat its distinctive color. The inner layer is the dermis, where hair follicles, sweat glands, oil glands, nerves, and blood vessels are located. A hair follicle has guard hair and, at most, 15 secondary hairs that grow to form a tuft of hair.
The amount of fur varies from cat to cat, depending mainly on breed and types of hair coat. Some cats have long guard hairs; others have awn hairs of medium length, while others have downy fur that is short and makes up the undercoat. Besides preventing sunburns by blocking the UV rays from reaching the skin, fur acts as the first defense against external objects or substances that can cause damage to the skin.
It prevents bacterial and fungal skin infections by acting as a water-repellent. Fungi require moisture to multiply, and since the fur helps keep the skin dry, infections are rare. The cat’s fur also acts as an insulator during cold weather because the hair follicles contract, facilitating the provision of extra body warmth.
During hot weather, the fur traps a layer of air to protect the skin against extreme heat; thus, preventing sunburn and diseases such a squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. The trapped air also helps to keep the feline cool. Without the fur, a cat cannot stay in tune with its environment.
According to First Vet, the cat’s fur is a sensory instrument that detects vibrations in the air. As a result, it enables your furry friend to sense danger hence avoiding it. When threatened, the cat uses hair to show aggression since the fur on its back rises to communicate with the opponent that it is ready to fight.
Instances Your Cat Needs a Shave
Given all these benefits that cat hair provides to your feline, you might wonder why some people would even consider shaving it off. Gallant advises that it is wrong to shave your cat. Contrary to popular belief that a shaven cat should keep the summer temperatures low by eliminating the long hair, the hair helps keep it cool.
You might want to reduce shedding; instead of opting for the cut, brushing the fur daily results in less hair on your furniture. Besides, a protein-rich diet offers the feline enough keratin to keep the coat healthy and reduce shedding. Still, some instances make it necessary to shave your cat. If your cat suffers from obesity, it will be difficult to groom itself as it cannot reach certain areas. Consequently, the hair gets matted, and it can be painful and uncomfortable for your kitty.
On the other hand, the matting could be due to you putting off the grooming schedule for a while; long-haired cats should be brushed daily to prevent matting. Although small mats can be removed using a brush or fingers, big ones have to be shaved. Still, unless you have experience in shaving your cat, always seek professional grooming services to avoid injuring your four-legged friend.
The only other valid reason for shaving your cat is for medical reasons. A cat undergoing surgery must be shaved before the procedure to facilitate the placement of drips or other aesthetic monitoring equipment. Usually, the medical attendant shaves the wrist, tail, and front legs.
If blood tests are needed, the neck hair can be shaved. Ultrasound examination also demands shaving cat fur, and a surgery site will have to be cleaned and cleared off any hairs before surgery starts to maintain the site’s sterility. Once the operation is completed and the area sutured, the cat’s hair will grow back in two or three months.
How to Safely Shave Your Cat
If you feel that your long-haired cat could still use regular trimming, you can shave your cat’s hair once in a while. According to MyPetNeedsThat, grooming long-haired cats requires a great deal of patience hence the recommendation to seek professional services.
However, you can train your cat to be patient during shaving when it is still young. If your cat can sit still for a few minutes and have the nails clipped, it will build perseverance to endure a shave. Since you are not a skilled groomer, you must be careful when handling the trimming equipment.
It is best to use scissors when cutting long hair. They enable you to get as close as possible to the areas that need trimming. Scissors tidy up the long hairs on the cat’s bottom and around the ears, vulva, and nipples. The shaven cat nipples ensure that a breastfeeding cat does not get infected since bacteria will not have a place to cling to; kittens also find the nipples faster. Trimmers are noisy and can spook a cat not yet used to the sound.
Finally, no matter how confident you are of your grooming skills, never use a trimmer on the cat’s head or face. Also, always start from the tail towards the head, and if you feel you are not up to it, a visit to the groomers will only cost around $50.
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