Do You Shave Your Kitty for the Summer?

Can You Shave a Cat to Beat the Heat?

Teddy Shaved
Shaved Cat – Teddy

Originally published Apr 6, 2011 – I thought it might be fun to run this post again to get more updated responses, especially after this post, Ragdoll Cat Color Change After Shaving Fur, earlier this week. reader, Christina, sent me photos her Seal Bicolor Ragdoll cat, Teddy (who has also been Ragdoll of the Week) because he got a lion cut for summer.

This is a very interesting topic – whether or not to shave your cat for the summer.

So…it begs the question – do you shave your kitty for summer?

Teddy the Shaved Cat

Teddy on his porch

Jennifer submitted these of her kitty, Phoebe the shaved cat with a Lion Cut:
A cat sitting on a cat tree



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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Teresa Reid says:

    No, none of mine get shaved. They would all probably have a heart attack literally. None of them have hair that mats so we just brush them daily. We keep the AC on upstairs and the downstairs has open windows all summer long. Interesting to me to find all of them (2 Ragdolls and 1 Maine Coon)sleeping downstairs throughout the day though they have full access to go anywhere they choose. At night, we all go upstairs to sleep, eat, play again. Wouldn’t consider shaving them unless it was something like an extreme skin condition or they were showing signs of being too hot and felt lethargic or sick. So far, though, they seem to tolerate the heat and cold without changing anything with their natural coat.

  2. i think teddy looks adorable in his summer suit. i plan on shaving my long haired cat. it’s over 100 here and is supposed to be 110 tomorrow and over 100 all next week. mine like to go outside, don’t ask me why. and they will lay on the back patio (which is shaded for the most part) but it’s still hotter than hell. they get in the chairs and sleep. i’ll make sure if i shave my black and white that he doesn’t stay out long. i think he will look like a milk cow with a shave.. haha! he went to the vet today and i asked her about shaving and she said that she thought it was a great idea for long haired cats. she said with all the shedding that they get a lot of hair in their stomachs and that they do get awfully hot. last year i just shaved his neck and his pants (which killed me) and under his belly. his pants grew back even fluffier this year. i think he will get the lion this summer though and see how he likes it. teddy looks like he doesn’t mind.

  3. Patti Johnson says:

    Teddy and Phoebe look so cute with their short shaved cuts! No, we don’t shave Miss Pink Sugarbelle (never even thought of doing it really). She’s strictly an indoor kitteh and I keep our small apartment pretty cool year round (because I get overheated really easily so a nice, cool apartment suits me just fine…but my hubby is always dressed for winter no matter what season it is…lol).

    But, I think our girl would look adorable with a lion cut! *giggle*

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  4. Deb Smith says:

    One important thought, save your Rag fluff till bird nesting time if you have a garden. Imagine how comfy the chicks will be!

  5. The past two summers – the first two he was here – he was shaved. I don’t have AC and my house can get really hot.

    The first year he was miserable and hardly eating so I had him shaved and he was much happier.

    Last year I did twice. Both time me taking about two weeks to work little bits at a time and then a quick trip to the vet for them to clean him up while I held him.

    This year hasn’t been hot enough yet and he’s scouted out a couple of cool spots to sleep in.

    I’d like to not shave him but being a reasonable temperature is a pretty basic necessity so I have to put that above my wallet or want!

  6. Deb Smith says:

    It’s humid in the UK, but cool at night, I just trimmed her underside so she can cool down on a cold surface if she’s hot, and ball up or sleep on a warm surface (me!) when it’s cool. I just used hairdressing scissors, don’t think the cat even noticed!

  7. Shirley J. Meyer says:

    I just had my 3-yr. old ragdoll shaved due to severe matting. They gave him the lion cut and I hate it. He was overweight and now his skin hangs big time under him. I think he knows he looks terrible as he is very quiet today and that is not like him. I will never do this again. I had tried to cut some of the mats out and cut him in two spots. I’m going to try to brush him frequently when his hair starts to grow out with the hope this won’t happen again. I feel like the worst person on the planet for doing this to him.

  8. We also shave our rag doll every summer, on advice from our veterinarian. She always said something that will stick with me: “you might think the hair is gorgeous, but to a kitty in the summer it’s as oppressive as a jail cell”. I think this is kinda what it always comes down to. You have owners who care more about the look of their breed (we adopted our Ragdoll as an adult from a shelter, we would NEVER buy a pure-bred outright as there are more than enough animals who need homes desperately). The thing is though, the cat doesn’t know how cute it is. End stop. It’s a cat. And I think it’s very cruel to put your cat through suffering in the summer for the look.

  9. Christine says:

    We just gave our Ragdoll and another longhair cat lion cuts and they are DEFINITELY happier, more comfortable and more energetic. I can’t see why anyone would think its mean to do this – its mean to let them suffer in the heat with tons of hair!

    Thanks Christina, for posting photos and video of Teddy – we studied your photos before shaving our cats ourselves. We got our Ragdoll from a woman who was distressed, going thru divorce moving etc. so we did not get his vaccination papers. All of the professional groomers I’ve seen want proof of vaccination, so we end up grooming ourselves, we don’t want to over vaccinate. Our cats are indoor.

    Helpful Tip: After getting nowhere with the Conair hair clippers for humans, we borrowed a friends’ Oster Golden A5 professional pet hair clipper. This made a HUGE difference – it has a quiet operation, removes TONS of hair quickly & gently, and does not tug a cat’s gentle skin. Next time I shave him though I’m gonna wear goggles – whew! there was a ton of hair flying around – getting into my eyes, nose, sticking to my face etc. I have a new respect for cat groomers – its messy work!

    1. Christine – thank you for taking the time to write this comment because I have thought of doing the same with my Charlie – he is so hot all the time. Where do you live? We live in Kansas City and temperatures range from 80-100 and humidity is crazy!

      Any chance you want to share photos of your shaved kitties?

      Thanks for the tip on the trimmer and on the goggles!

      1. Christine says:

        Hi Jenny

        I did post a few before/after photos of my Ragdoll Ziggy at the link you gave…apparently I can’t post photos here in this section. We live in Santa Monica near the beach, it doesn’t get hot here very often. Part of the reason we shaved him was the shedding was out of control…my husband couldn’t take it and we were vacuumming, tape-rolling, brushing him constantly. MUCH less shedding around the house now…and we have more time to play with him instead of tape-rolling and vacuuming!

        1. Christine! Thanks for letting me know – here’s the link to his posting. No, unfortunately it doesn’t have features where you can post photos just yet!

  10. People think it’s mean to do this but it’s not. My poor cat, who never mattes, all of a sudden is so matted I have no choice. The matting presents some really horrible problems that make me ill to think about. I am taking him in next week and visualizing how goofy he’s gonna look. He is the most beautiful, fluffy Ragdoll and I’m gonna laugh when I see him, then probably cry, and then laugh till it grows back.

  11. I have two kitties with long hair that don’t appreciate a good brushing. One is Maine coon (about 22 pounds) with extremely long thick hair. I get lion cuts for both every summer and they are so happy and bouncy afterwards that I know they appreciate the help cooling down when the weather is in the 90’s plus.

  12. I have too kitties with long hair that don’t appreciate a good brushing. One is Maine coon (about 22 pounds) with extremely long thick hair. I get lion cuts for both every summer and they are so happy and bouncy afterwards that I know they appreciate the help cooling down when the weather is in the 90’s plus.

  13. I stay updated with Christina’s blog too and saw Teddy’s new do when she posted it, I thought it was super cute! He looks even softer now that it is short, reminds me of a fleece blanket! Hopefully Teddy won’t be hot this summer =] and can enjoy basking in the sunlight. My cat used to pant from playing too much since chasing was the oh so fun favorite game =P

  14. Oh, man, did you ever luck out with that white-tipped tail! I love it! That’s strange that he was panting–hopefully the lion cut has improved that. He must have been quite hot! My Raina hates anything warm–she will never, ever lie in the sun and seeks out cool places–but I don’t shave her because her fur is so silky that it isn’t very dense. She never mats (well, I found the first one in four years yesterday!) and seems to keep cool by laying “spread eagle” on the ground. She’s skin and bones and would look so thin if I shaved her! But I’m all for giving cats the lion cut if it makes them happy! 🙂

    1. i LOVE his tail tip Alissa!! Jenny (floppy cats blogger) said i HAD to get him when i showed her his baby pics with his little white tail tip!

    2. Alissa – I have only seen it on one other Ragdoll – a kitten video I found on YouTube. It is sooo cool!

      1. Chantel Winton says:

        My seal mitted boy, Sydney, has a white tipped tail too. I didn’t realize it was so uncommon and I also LOVE it, I think it’s adorable. I just gave my seal boy, Simon, a lion cut 2 weeks ago to test it out (he’s the sweeter and more easy going of my 2) and he seems fine with it. I don’t even think he realizes he’s been shaved! So Sydney will brave the shave this weekend! It’s already helped SO much with shedding and will definitely help when we get into the triple digits here in Austin Texas this summer!

  15. I don’t think I’d ever shave Annabella, unless the a/c went out and we couldn’t fix it quickly. Our neighbor’s cat gets shaved every summer, but she’s outdoors all day long. She looked very embarrassed the first time, but we made such a to-do over her that she walked tall and proud after that!

  16. My husband and I are believers in lots of AC in the summer, so we don’t shave the kids. If we didn’t keep the house so cool, I would consider it. I had a Maine Coon cat that got heat stroke one day when the temps unexpectedly got up to 95 degrees in May (very odd for MN!), so I make sure they are kept cool and comfy.

    1. I have the AC, too. I do love the looks of the lion cut. It’s nice, but I don’t think it would fit my girlie girl’s personality. Heat stroke is scary. My Angel is strictly an indoor cat and a “cool cat.” She loves the AC and doesn’t get too far from it when it’s really hot, but here in Maine by the ocean we don’t get the oppressive heat.

  17. Alexandra says:

    I have ten Ragdolls and have each one shaved in the summer……they just have a problem with extreme temperature esp. when it is hot and humid.. My seal point lynx is the only one I hate to shave because he has perfect ragdoll fur and I miss it when it is gone……but in the end they are much happier and healthier being shaved….that has just been my experience…..I do the lion cute also.

    1. I’m thrilled to hear this other ragdolls love this too!! i MISS the long fluff too Alexandra!

  18. Coinneach Fitzpatrick says:

    Maisy-the-Persian gets a lion cut every six months (her next appointment to get her hurrs did is Friday, AAMOF) and she always feels wonderful after, bouncing around and purring nonstop. Charlie doesn’t have problems with matting and overheating so I don’t shave her.

  19. I think he looks adorable, but I thought the hair acted as an insulation from both the heat and the cold. I wouldn’t have Angel done, but I think that’s a decision each person has to make. Teddy certainly seems happy. My girlie girl, Angel might be upset to lose all of her pretty hair. She’s full of pride. (:>) Teddy is a gorgeous boy.

    1. Thanks Jackie! I have read that too. I consulted the vet about this and it is true, but this can help them even more if they’re just very hot and panting all the time. Teddy was panting a lot last summer and I know that’s not good for cats to do it constantly like it is for dogs.

      1. You did check with your vet so all should be fine. I have never heard of a cat panting so Teddy was definitely hot. I’m sure you put a lot of thought in it and you did the right thing for Teddy. I know I like to do the strip when I get hot, too!!

  20. I could never do that to my Ragdoll. Even if it was 100degrees out. I would have a fan in every room for him and the AC on. Bless her for her bravery in shaving him. I know the fur will grow back, but it’s something I could never do. 🙂

    1. It was definitely hard for me! Teddy is gorgeous with his full coat! I consulted my vet and she advised me to do it because he was constantly panting. I made sure to talk it over with her first. Cats have a great ability to control their body temperature though! Last summer was brutal here, and although our AC is always on, Teddy loves to sit on our balcony and watching the bugs and birds. He would end up going out for 10 mins then coming back and sprawling on the cold kitchen floor. We all felt really bad for him and decided to shave him this year.

      Now he is happily playing on the patio again. I will say that cats lose some of their sunblock defense, so make sure the cat is only in a shaded area if their hair is cut very short. We are monitoring him and don’t let him sit in the sun or outside too long.

      But over all he is very much happier and hyper with his new short cut. It is already starting to grow out and I’m looking forward to see its progression of growth! He gets AWFUL knots in his hair so this was another preventive for that. Even after we shaved some of the knots out, they would grow into the longer hair and knot again, even with diligent brushing. This time, we’re starting from a clean slate and making sure this doesn’t happen again!

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