Introduction: How to Shave a Cat

Picture of How to Shave a Cat

Well I search the site but didn't find an instructables on this so decided to do my own.

This is not as complicated as you might think.

Basically I have a cat, a cat with a lot of fur. The summers in my appartment can get pretty hot. Altough my cat loves to go out on the balcony he stays indoors most of the time. I didn't do this just for him mind you, he sheds alot and I'm kind of alergic to cats (doesn't mean I don't love them nor that I can't have one). So with all these things in mind I decided to have him shaved for the summer.

At first I wanted to bring him to a pet store and have "pros" do it. Then I figured that it cost about 40$, with that money I could buy a half decent trimmer and do it myself.

Piece of advice from the start, don't go cheap on the trimmer. I bought the cheapest I could find and got what I paid for... it just didn't trim anything. Returned it and bought a 40$ one which worked fine!

Ok so on with the show!

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

- A yet unkowing but most likely unwilling participant.
- A trimmer
- Gloves (very optional)
- A table

Step 2: Shaving

Picture of Shaving

At first I put on leather gloves, fearing that I would get clawed like there is no tomorow.

Turns out that he obviously didn't appreciate it but didn't struggle as much as I thought.

You do have to hold the cat firmly at some points but most of the time he didn't move that much. I think he knew what I was doing and at some point actually started enjoying it.

Now the problem that I mentionned earlier about the cheap trimmer can be seen in the pictures. Basically the one I bought wasn't powerfull enough to trim the fur but since I had already started I didn't want to leave him hanging so I cut most of it with cisors (bad idea... very long and alergies did catch up to me...)

Once I exchanged for the better trimmer it was a completely different storry. He, on the other hand was QUITE unwilling to go under a second time in 2 days... but I managed.

BE CAREFULL !!! when shaving the cat's belly... I didn't pay enough attention and actually cut one of his nipples, he didn't cry or whine but he was bleeding a bit.

Obviously be carefull with the privates as well as they are just as sensitive.

Having seen shaved cats before I kind of knew what the usual trim looks like so basically I left the end of the paws intact. The tip of the tail and didn't touch his head either.

I left a mohawk on his back...


dcgirl1969 (author)2017-05-02

Oppps I forgot. I'm in Virginia/DC Metro/Maryland area so I need something equivalent so any details about the product will help!

dcgirl1969 (author)2017-05-02

I am having the same issues. My cat looks similar to yours but 30pds mostly muscle but about 1/3 furrier. We can't afford the vet or a groomer but I've been a vet tech so sedating him is an option. He's never been outside either,and can't stand strangers either. Also my hubby has farming experience as he held lambs getting sheared etc when he was a kid. Not like my cat is a lamb but they too get furry knotted mats.
Sorry for rambling just explaining....what clippers did you end up getting & where? I look online and prices are $120-290 and higher which I don't have.Please let me know make,model,where from etc....
Thank you!
Good luck with your beautiful fur baby ? sorry they didn't have black w/ cocoa hi lights

RobertC377 (author)2016-07-07

This is not very good instruction. What shaver guard length did you use? What shaver? You don't mention shaving in small increments and not pulling, nor do you mention to shave in the direction the hair grows. This is an epic failure.

NathanH103 (author)2016-06-21

how much special k is enough to sedate my kitty, but not kill it? I know a $20 sack could get me a few trimmings

Depraved (author)2010-08-27

I'd like to know if there's any way I could maybe tranquilize my cat a bit first? He likes when I come the fur on his back but he's matted up on the underside and won't let me near it. Any ideas?

Depraved (author)Depraved2015-04-22

Thanks, I didn't realize The vet would do that just so I could shave my kitty. I'll be asking at his next visit!

AnnikaSkywalker (author)Depraved2015-04-21

I mentioned this in a separate comment, but you can get Acepromazine from a vet as a mild sedative. My cat is on 5 mg (at 8 1/2 lbs) and he's been pretty stoned but walking around all day. It should last 8-12 hours. It's completely safe and easy to deliver - I just hold him, open his mouth and force the pill to the back of his throat and then let go, all as fast as you can and they swallow before they even know what's going on.

Batness (author)Depraved2011-11-21

If your cat is that scared and bites during a shave, you should take him to a groomer at the vets. They can sedate the cat (kitty valium) and then you won't have to deal with any issues. Plus it's safer for you and the cat. :)

logikly (author)Depraved2010-08-29

That's a good one, I probably wouldn' try that myself for fear of giving the cat to much. I guess you could google it nonetheless.

AnnikaSkywalker (author)2015-04-21

Regarding "kitty valium", go to a vet and ask for a sedative. I got some before a flight called Acepromazine. The pills are 10 mg each, but every animal has a different tolerance level. I have an 8 1/2 lb indoor cat (lean) that I gave a half pill (5 mg) to and within an hour he was pretty chill. I got the pills in Orange County, 4 for about $20 and now live in Houston where a nice groomer charges $75 flat fee. I'm planning to get clippers, a small cone and keep nail caps on him and do it myself in the future. Good luck to you all.

Bloody Cleaver (author)2015-04-13


cosmicshepherd (author)2014-10-05

I think there are excellent ideas here. I need to shave my cat for sanitary reasons as well as shedding and heat. I read that several are quite concerned about the regrowth of the hair in spots or not at all, very good thinking. I, myself am not shaving my cat to the skin surfaces. I am just going to shorten the length by a few inches. He is so thick and long haired not to mention chubby he is unable to keep from matting or keep bottom cleaned well. Ty all for such great points! ✂️

meismeems (author)2012-12-17

What kind of shaver did you use?

logikly (author)meismeems2012-12-18

something like this :

meismeems (author)logikly2013-12-13

Thank you!! I bought one and my kitty doesn't mind it one bit!! He just relaxes while I shave his nether regions and he looks so pretty!

awesaomeness5 (author)2013-11-25

in the comments someone posted something about kitty valium? If high school health is worth anything than that would be ketamine. right?

kcli (author)2013-11-16

Interesting! I've been trimming my crippled cat's bottom with scissors, but I imagine she would be much happier if her fur was a consistent length and who knows...maybe it will never grow back (bonus!)

While the rest of my comment is not really related to your instructable it did bring back a memory...I once had a few sheep and the sheep shearer cut off a nipple. She reached into her tool kit and dabbed it with super glue. At the time I thought it was kinda weird but it quickly stopped the bleeding.

puahina (author)2013-05-13

this is sooo cute wish my cat would let me shave him

GregScottHumbird (author)2012-09-22

My cat has scabby skin irritations, mostly on her back and base of her tail. She doesn't mind the shaver, but I shave her in small sections with a small rechargeable cordless trimmer. I introduced it to her without doing any clipping at first, just "petting" her with it, without using the clippers. I think she thinks it's like purring, so she doesn't mind. I could tell a couple of times when it was bothering her, but I was able to shave below her butt, where she has cleanliness issues. (She's too fat for the classic rear leg to the sky posture, I think. Never seen her do it.)

I wonder if it helps. I like having her itchy areas shaved, as it helps me keep an eye on the sores, and I think it makes here exfoliation baths easier.

Baths: use the kitchen, double sink. Fill one sink full with water at 102 to 105 degrees. 105 may be too warm, at least at first. Put the cat in the empty sink, rub on the cat shampoo first, then slowly pour a little water on her using a large plastic cup, dipping it from the other sink of warm water. Control her head, and she will learn to tolerate it. Do NOT get her head wet. If you need to wash the head, use a wet soapy cloth, and "lick" her with that. My wife helps, mainly applying shampoo when I tell her to. After several "cup rinse baths", I put the cat directly into the sink full of warm water, slowly, and held her head. This way I could give her a good soak, to help remove soak and remove the scabs. Likewise, the sink sprayer can be learned to be tolerated. Start out just spraying her side and front legs, so that she can see what's happening. It's important that the water be the right temperature, about 102. Advanced: Throw a towel over the cat when the bath is done, blot her off, pick her up for a cuddle and towel dry. Always give a food treat immediately when done. I prepare it beforehand, because it's important for it to be as quick as possible after the bath.

Batness (author)2011-11-21

Good call about the trimmer! I too started with a cheap trimmer, and it was TERRIBLE. A good one should cost around $40, although I found one on special at Walmart for $20.

I've done this to my cats in the summer many times. The cats are happier and more energetic afterward. I have three cats; one get TOO scared when he hears the shaver turn on, and I will NOT shave him because if he gets that freaked out, it's actually bad for his health.

The other two are a different story. One doesn't like not being able to move while I'm shaving her, but she doesn't seem particularly scared of the noise/vibration. And my fatty black cat (who looks much like yours!) LOVES it. He actually purrs and attempts to roll around when I shave him.

Most cats do NOT like their tail touched at all, let alone shaved, so I wouldn't shave that area. I would mention that boy cats especially do NOT like having the groin/butt area shaved, so be very careful near the privates; maybe even avoid the butt area altogether.

I would add a last step here as well; after shaving, there is a lot of little loose hairs on the cat (just like when you get a haircut there are leftovers). To prevent itching and hairballs, I'd gently comb the cat, or brush him off with a towel or mitt. Then give your cat a couple treats to show them it's okay and reinforce it as a sorta positive experience.

ALSO: since people seem to think this is bad for a cat, you may want to put a warning saying "ask your vet if this is okay for your breed of cat" or something. A long-haired show cat or a cat with a stress/health condition probably shouldn't be shaved. :)

iamkeebler (author)2011-11-06

The only reason a cat should be shaved is for medical purposes or to remove mats. A cat's coat is not like a dogs coat. It may not grow back. And if it does, it grows back in patches. Also, shaving a cat can be harmful to the cat. Their skin is very thin and and can be easily caught in the blades of the clippers. You can also accidentally burn your cat with the clippers as well since they do get fairly warm. There is no need to shave a long hair cat for the summer either. Their bodies will naturally cool themselves off. If you're really concerned, put a fan on the floor and if your cat is warm, it'll lay in front of the fan.

If you really want your to torture your cat and have him shaved, take him to a professional groomer. They are trained in how to properly shave a cat without stressing them out and cutting them.

Batness (author)iamkeebler2011-11-21

You should ask a vet if it is safe to shave your cat; for most cats it is absolutely safe to shave them. "Medical purposes" could include fleas, itching, and in this Instructable; HEAT. Cats CAN tolerate higher temperatures than humans, but that doesn't mean they like it. I have a cat that was SO miserable during the summer even with a fan. One shave later and he was back to being perky, happy, and moved around MUCH more.

Unless there is something terribly wrong with your cat, the hair WILL grow back. It might not be the same color, length, or texture JUST like cutting a human child's hair.

The author did mention that you have to be careful with the skin; abrasions and cuts are a top problem for TRAINED GROOMERS.

I'd also like to point out that in the US you can get your grooming "license" In less than a month. I've taken more training in animal health than that (only 150 hours required), so I trust myself as a groomer much, much more.

jching2 (author)2011-10-06

i'm worried that my cats will be afraid of the noise the shaver makes or the vibrations. is this something i can be concerned of? is there a way to avoid this?

logikly (author)jching22011-10-07

My cat was afraid of the noise at first. I did have to hold him down tightly but he got used to it after a while.

Rainh2o (author)2010-06-27

Although I don't like cats, I wouldn't want to see one hurt and was wondering, can they get sunburned without hair? If they lay in the sun like a lot of cats like to do, with no hair I would think maybe they would burn, I dunno. Funny instructible.

logikly (author)Rainh2o2010-06-28

He's not shaved to the skin, there is still a layer of fur. But I guess you do bring up a good point. On my end, my cat is lazy and rests in the shade, even on my balcony.

afreeland (author)2010-06-21

I thought my grandma was the only one that did this...Miss Priss (the name is actually very appropriate) after getting shaved looks like a lion...tail and all

jpmarq (author)2010-06-19

DO NOT just shave your cat! Check to make sure the breed you have will have fur that will grow back normally. Some species will not grow their fur back properly and may be stuck with patch growth for a VERY long time. Hilarious, yes but in a you screwed up kind of way. By the way it was not me but a friend and his wife was not amused and we still laugh at him when the cat scurries by him!

logikly (author)jpmarq2010-06-20

That's very good advise! I sure hope my cat's fur comes back normally.

ChrysN (author)2010-06-18

So how does your cat feel about this?

logikly (author)ChrysN2010-06-18

I think he loves it actually... It has to be cooler without all that fur.

ChrysN (author)logikly2010-06-18

Yes, they must get really hot in the summer, and he's black too.

I was going to suggest doing this ( ) with the fur, but since you have allergies it's probably a really bad idea.

logikly (author)ChrysN2010-06-20

That's a great idea, I'm kind of sad that I threw that fur away now...

rimar2000 (author)2010-06-19

Thanks for the idea. I have a "she" cat as furry as your cat. Many times I thought I would shave her for the summer, but I never dared to do so, for fear that it go wrong, or that his hair don't grew back normally. I simply pass the wire brush, to which she reacts growling so that it appears that he will kill me, but then she thanked me purring and rubbing on my legs. The wire brush extracts many handfuls of dead hair.

dimestorefind (author)2010-06-18

Hi! Would you mind telling me what kind of trimmer you bought? My cat is a semi-longhair and suffers through the summers when we don't trim her, but every trimmer (2 or 3 different ones) I've used has been sub-par and it always ends with a very unhappy and silly looking trim. Thanks!

logikly (author)dimestorefind2010-06-18

I don't know where you are but I bought mine at Canadian Tire, it's a Wahl (don't know the model) but I bought the most expensive one they had which was about 40$.

dimestorefind (author)logikly2010-06-18

Thanks! I'm in Pennsylvania; I guess my mistake was buying ones that are sold specifically for pet hair - they're all terrible. I'll try a trimmer like that next time, thanks again!

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