I’ve had two cats shaved by a professional groomer, and I leant her a hand, holding the kitties down while it was happening.
These poor kitties were cats who frequented my neighbourhood, and I was in the process of adopting them because they looked so shabby that I didn’t have the heart to leave them to fend for themselves outdoors when they so obviously weren’t cut out for being so bushy + that wet, wet rain.
It left them with mats on their bodies that were practically like armor. And I’m sure it hurt badly.
The process of getting all that shaved off was pretty traumatizing, if I’m honest. Both for me and the cats.
Because they had massive matts, to the point where they essentially looked like they had body armor, and because the shaver was trying her absolute best not to cut them while they freaked out from the pain and anxiety of the experience.
They looked fine, albeit having to have had their hair shaved quite close and poor Athos need his cheeks shaved off entirely cause they were so matted.
Still, the process was so stressful I basically told myself I would long-term prefer to never have to use a groomer if I could figure out how to shave my cats on my own.
And I sure did. Actually, I had to because soon after these shavings, when it came time for the cats to be shaved again, 2020 hit and that just wasn’t an option.
So I experimented with shaving my two Persians (Athos and Bjorn), my brother’s Persian (the white fluff named Aramis) and basically over time figured out what works for me at home.
I can now officially shave all the cats with literally no help from anyone else. Not even in the moment.
By the way, I strongly recommend if you’re going to try shaving a cat at home that you use a ceramic safety blade shaver; doesn’t really matter which one in my experience, but this particular one looks pretty good and similar to mine if you want an example of what I mean.
It’s important because if you don’t have this safety feature, it’s a heck of a lot easier to cut your cat. Thus far, I’ve never pierced a cat’s skin.
Crossing fingers it never happens, but I won’t start using shavers without this feature because I think it’s a risk I won’t ever want to take.
Now here’s how I shave my cat, ideally.
How I Shave My Two Persian Cats at Home
1. Clip their nails.
This is why I said the word “ideally” in the intro. Sometimes I just don’t bother and their nails are still pretty sharp.
The way I do things, this isn’t the biggest deal, but it’s way more ideal to clip a cat’s nails before you start.
It makes life so much easier for you and for them as well (since the less stress you have the less stress they will have).
If you have a cat who hates getting his or her nails cut, check out my article here for some tips on how to do it.
2. Have your shaver ready on the floor, bring your cat, lay them down flat on the floor, and nape them.
For some reason, this is the best position I’ve found, and being on the ground makes it easy to for me to give my cats breaks without it being an issue.
I also like vacuuming the area after which is a lot easier to do on the floor rather than on a counter or desk or something like that where the hair flies everywhere.
The cat being “scruffed” or held by the nape, calms them, and makes them stay put as well, and understand that they are about to be groomed, in my opinion.
3. While holding the cat’s nape in your less dominant hand, grab the shaver and shave that side of your cat.
So basically for me, my left hand is holding my cat’s nape, my right is using the shaver, and I will essentially shave from the neck down to mid back, and then completely around my cat’s neck to finish the whole upper side of him.
Then I’ll move to the bottom section and do that quarter of my kitty. I usually ignore the belly area as this is sensitive and makes my cat hyper. I try to do that another day, so that the stimulation isn’t too much, and I can get the majority done.
4. Once you’re done one half, flip your cat over and repeat the same on the other side.
I typically don’t allow my cat to rest while being free so they don’t run off, but if it was anxiety inducing, sometimes I do let them have a little walk.
Usually a break where I just give them a minute not being shaved, and maybe give a little stroke on the back of their neck or on their face, or wherever my cat typically likes to be pet in a way that will not make him hyper, that’s what I go for.
5. If at any point kitty starts getting hyper, call it quits and pick up another time or day.
I know when my cats are basically over the whole shaving process “for real” when they start trying to get hyper and attack the shaver like it’s some kind of toy mouse.
At that point, I typically allow for at least a very long break, then continue if I only have a teensy bit left to do.
But most of the time at this point I just call it quits for the time being and start up again in another few hours, or even the next day.
Always time to try again when you’re home with them later. And it doesn’t take more than 2-3 times of shaving before my cat’s are pretty well done.
6. Reward kitty for getting through the shaving process.
Give your kitty a bunch of verbal affirmations, like saying, “Good job!” in a very positive tone, give your kitty cuddles if they like them, or brush your cat if he or she likes that, or treats, or play with your cat.
You could also do all of the above.
The more you associate a reward coming with shaving the easier the process will become over time, and the less stressed your cat will be.
Cat absolutely hate being shaved?
I’ve got an article on how to shave cats who hate being shaved as well, so check that out for tips I’ve learned.
All in all, I’ve created a system that works for me, and while I have fairly difficult cats who don’t like to be shaved, I normally get them looking pretty darn good if I do say so myself, after about 2-3 attempts, sometimes within the span of 2-3 days, sometimes within the same day.
Do the cats look perfect after I’m done with them? No, but I like the way they look, and after a few days of their hair growing in they look pretty great.
If I was to do this once a week, they’d probably look pretty darn near perfect with short cuts, which I like cause their heads look so big and their bodies look so tiny, stupendously cute!!
Oh and that oh-so-fuzzy skin. My cats are always happier after a shave, too. They groom so much more, as if to tell me “Good, that hard bit’s gone, now I can stay clean so much more easily!”
Also a good way to beat the summer heat, though I think I might continue to cut their hair this short throughout the winter as well if they don’t get cold. Because again, my cats seem to love it and feel so much more comfortable in short cuts.
Your Thoughts on Shaving Cats at Home?
Do you have any tips and tricks or ideas that might work for shaving cats at home? Have you ever done this?
Would you ever shave a cat yourself if you haven’t tried yet? What stops you?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below!