Ragdoll Cat Color Change After Shaving Fur

Ragdoll cats are color pointed cats, much like Birmans, Siamese and more.

Did you know that it’s possible for your Ragdoll cat’s color to change? And that one of the potential causes is shaving them?

Ragdoll Cat Color Change After Shaving
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.

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If you shave your cat, their fur may regrow in a different, darker color. That’s because when shaved, your cat’s body is cooler, which causes the color of the fur to darken as it’s growing. It’s the same reason that the points – the coolest parts of your cat’s body – are darker.

Over time, the fur closest to their skin will start to revert to their original lighter color, but this can take a while.

As Wikipedia states, “Point coloration refers to animal coat coloration with a pale body and relatively darker extremities, i.e. the face, ears, feet, tail, and (in males) scrotum. It is most recognized as the coloration of Siamese and related breeds of cat, but can be found in rabbits, rats, sheep, and horses as well.”

The topic came up recently again on Facebook, so wanted to rerun. Please share your experience if you’ve shaved your Ragdoll cat and how the hair has grown back – a different color or not?

Ragdoll Cat Color Change:

I noticed how extreme the extremities can change when Charlie and Trigg’s diet was switched from dry and wet food to wet food only. In addition to getting slimmer and trimmer, Charlie became much lighter. Check out these two posts to see photos of that change:

Interestingly enough, a reader wrote me the other day, sending photos of her Ragdoll Cat shaved and his hair growing back:

“I wanted to share these pictures of my Stanlee before, when and after I had him shaved. Big regret!  Except for his color points, I loved Stanlee’s mostly cream body. His fur grew back very dark after I had him shaved. Per the vet, it grew back this way for the same reason his points are dark – they are the coolest parts of his body. Don’t shave, if you want to keep your Ragdoll light. The proof is in the pictures.  Stanlee’s fur closest to his skin is in fact growing back a lighter color; it will take forever for him to be light colored again though. I was thinking of shaving him again but only as short as the lighter color growing in.”

Do Ragdolls Need Haircuts?

Ragdolls don’t need a haircut – their fur can be left to grow and when it’s time, they’ll shed the coat naturally. You just need to make sure that you brush your cat regularly – twice a week is ideal. This will help to prevent matting, although it’s not always possible to absolutely stop it from ever happening.

In these situations, you might choose to trim the knotted hair. Be careful though – vets report a lot of visits from owners who’ve accidentally hurt their cat by using scissors to cut matted hair and accidentally caught the skin.

Is It Cruel to Shave a Cat?

For most cats, you don’t need to shave them and you shouldn’t. Shaving a cat isn’t inherently cruel but cats don’t need to be shaved when all is going well, and their fur is a natural insulator that regulates their body temperature. Also, shaving is tricky and you could easily hurt your cat.

However, I’m not completely against shaving your cat. Many readers feel strongly that Ragdolls should not be shaved.  However, I do believe there are times that it is more favorable for the cat and the owner to have a kitty shaved. For example, my Charlie hates being groomed, so come March when it’s time for shedding his winter coat, he inevitably gets mats. I cannot keep up with them given how much he fights me about it, so I have considered shaving him. Each case is subjective.

Shaved Ragdoll Cat Tiki with a lion cut 2
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.

How Do I Stop My Ragdoll from Shedding?

Simply, you don’t stop your ragdoll from shedding. It’s important and natural for your cat to shed. What you want to be doing is finding out how to stop your cat shedding all over your home, and for that you want to keep up that brushing routine.

However, your cat might be shedding more than necessary if their diet isn’t right for them – they need enough fatty acids and water to keep their coat healthy. And if you notice a change in your cat’s shedding then make sure you speak to your vet.

Should I Shave My Matted Cat?

As I’ve said, this is subjective. Shaving doesn’t need to be your first action – brushing out the matted fur, or trimming it with nail clippers – would be less invasive and less of a major action to take. But some cats won’t let you do this. If you’ve tried everything to brush out the matted fur with no success, and you can’t comfortably trim the affected areas, then shaving is less cruel than leaving the matted fur to develop further and cause major health issues.

Is It OK to Shave an Indoor Cat?

Yes, if you need to shave your cat and they’re an indoor cat they will be OK. Shaving an outdoor cat is more risky as the cat could be burned by the sun if their skin isn’t properly protected.

You shouldn’t need to shave your indoor cat, unless matted fur is becoming impossible to manage through other means.

Shaved Ragdoll Cat Tiki with a lion cut
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.
Shaved Ragdoll Cat Tiki with a lion cut

What Is the Best Dematting Tool for Cats?

The best dematting tool for your cat will depend on how matted their fur is and how adverse they are to having it worked through. Often it makes sense to clip the matting out using small scissors or nail clippers, but if you aren’t confident and your cat fights you then you’re more likely to do damage and nick your cat’s skin.

If you can’t trim the matting out then try a specialist molting comb, ideally one with long and short teeth so you can switch between them to cause the least discomfort to your cat. Check this post for some recommendations from my readers.

Can a Cat’s Hair Change Color after Being Shaved?

It’s possible for your cat’s fur to change color when it grows back after being shaved. Over time, your cat will normally revert back to their original color, but the initial regrowth could be a different color as suddenly your cat’s body is a lot cooler, which affects the shade of the fur.

Why Does Cat Hair Get Matted?

One of the main causes of matted fur is when it’s time for the cat to shed, especially when it’s the long winter coat. The loosened hair gets trapped in the intact hair and forms knots. There are other causes too, including cats that are very active and moving around a lot, or cats that have trouble grooming themselves due to poor health. Shedding is the most common cause though and it does affect many cats even when they’re perfectly healthy.

How long does it take for a shaved cat to grow its hair back?

If you shave a short-haired cat, they’ll regrow a full coat of fur in around 8-12 weeks at most, and it could even be faster. For long-haired cats such as ragdolls it’ll take a while longer – potentially up to six months to get the coat back to the length it was before the cat was shaved. It’s important to bear that length of time in mind when you make your decision.

Does Coconut Oil Help Matted Hair?

Coconut oil is a great way to detangle hair – both for your cat and even for humans. It’s natural and perfectly safe to use and ingest, so you don’t need to supervise your cat and stop them preening if you want to try it. Simply rub the coconut oil onto your hands and then rub it into the matted area. Leave it to soak in for an hour or so, and then brush through – the tangled fur should be a lot easier to work through.

Does Matted Hair Hurt Cats?

Matted hair can be uncomfortable for cats, and left for any length of time it can certainly become painful. It’ll tighten to a pelt which can cause sores for your cat, and could even be dangerous if they were to block the cat from defecating comfortably. Removing mats can be uncomfortable for the cat too, but it’s better to get it done as soon as you can and to brush your cat on a regular basis to protect their fur and also the skin underneath. If you leave mats then they’ll get worse and be even more painful to remove.

Floppycats Reader Catherine’s experience:

Shaved Ragdoll Cat Lion Cut Dr Seuss Tiki Beloved King of Catherine Johns house
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.
Tiki, Beloved King of Catherine & John’s house

How old was your kitty when you first shaved her/him?  Why did you do it?

I don’t remember exactly but Tiki was probably around 6-7 years old or so when I first shaved him. I did it because his fur was getting on everything and my allergies were out of control. Plus he kept getting poop stuck in the thick fur around his bottom and he doesn’t like it when I try to clean it off.

Shaved Ragdoll Cat Lion Cut Dr Seuss Tiki Beloved King of Catherine Johns house
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.
Tiki, Beloved King of Catherine & John’s house

Have you shaved him/her more than once?

I have had him shaved about once every 9-10 months or so since that first time.

Shaved Ragdoll Cat Lion Cut Dr Seuss Tiki Beloved King of Catherine Johns house
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.
Tiki, Beloved King of Catherine & John’s house

Do you shave your kitty or does a professional groomer do it?

I have a groomer shave him. I researched it and read that a cat’s skin is much more fragile than a dog’s and might tear easily if you don’t know what you’re doing. I wouldn’t risk injuring him.

Shaved Ragdoll Cat Lion Cut Dr Seuss Tiki Beloved King of Catherine Johns house
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.
Tiki, Beloved King of Catherine & John’s house

How did you go about finding a professional groomer to trust?

It wasn’t easy to find a groomer who would even groom cats, but I called around and then looked up reviews on them. I’m generally a good judge of character so if I spoke to the groomer and felt uneasy, I wouldn’t use him/her. I’m a big believer in trusting your gut.

Shaved Ragdoll Cat Lion Cut Dr Seuss Tiki Beloved King of Catherine Johns house
Photo credit: Used with permission for Floppycats.
Tiki, Beloved King of Catherine & John’s house

If you shave yourself, what sort of clippers do you use? I only trust a professional to clip him.

Do you shave your kitty for the summer?  If so, how does the hair grow back?


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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. I’ve recently experienced the darkening of the fur after a (necessary) shave, with my now 16.5-yr-old bluepoint Ragdoll, Boomer. After a thyroid issue diagnosis, I opted to treat the problem with radiotherapy–which meant he was stuck in a very small, enclosed space (with zero handling/petting by the techs) for a few days, during the treatment… and then, he spent another 14 days with absolute MINIMAL contact from me, at home (due to the still sky-high levels of radioactivity). End result? Major matting. 🙁
    Getting help from a groomer was the only solution… which wound up meaning a serious, close-cropped shave. Now, several months later, the fur on his back is nearly entirely dark grey (“blue”), whereas before it had lighter-medium parts, getting darker the closer to his tail and haunches.

    1. how interesting – thank you for sharing. sorry about the hyperthyroidism.

  2. How do you get your ragdoll to eat wet food mine will only eat biscuits.

    1. Check out catinfo.org – they have a whole way of how to transition them.

    2. My ragdoll is like that too… she ate wet food as a kitten, but since the 6 month point she wasn’t interested in wet food. Whereas my other 3 non ragdolls can’t get enough. I found soups or broth cat foods, she still doesn’t eat as much wet food as my other 3 but she will eat a small packet of the soup/broth style stuff. Mind you, I don’t think the lack of wet food has been a detriment. She is the biggest of my cats, even though she doesn’t seem to eat near as much as the others. Go figure

  3. Marilyn Attard says:

    I had my beautiful ragdoll cat neutured last February and the hair where she has the scar has grown grey . (She is a lilac point so body is all cream except for the points obviously).
    Does the hair remain grey or will return to its original colour eventually?

  4. Great re-post & topic, Jenny honey! ALWAYS a fascinating & educational read! TYSVM for sharing this with us again! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  5. Roxy Mosen says:

    hi guys please i have a beautiful cream almost white ragdoll. i shaved her not all the way but she was so furry and matting it was starting to get hot here in perth australia. i shaved her a month ago and about 2 weeks ago noticed dark grey and orange on her back. i thought maybe she accidently got out the front and got underneth the neighbours car or something but now got worse. i juag tried washing her and ive realised its not dirt her fur has changed to an afull colour. what ca. i do i want my pretty white cat back. she doesnt even look ragdoll anymore. i am freaking out will she go back to normal? im never shaving her again!!!

    1. Sophia Sabin says:

      Nope, she’s ruined forever might as well put her up for adoption.
      I’m joking. Her fur should go back to normal by itself but it’s going to take a while. I shaved my cat and it took around 6 months for all the blunted hairs to fall out so I figure it will take at least 6 months but it may take a year depending on the weather. Warm=White.

  6. science9teacher says:

    Zelda was shaved because she spent a lot of time coughing and had stools full of hair. The fur grew back the same color and longer than ever. Now I try to keep it under control with the Scaredy-cut. She looks “ruffled” since I am not a pro but the fur is manageable.
    After Zelda was shaved, Zoe (also a ragdoll) did not recognize her. She would sneak a peak around the corner and then run away from this stranger!

  7. I saw a desk extension which would be PURRfect for our floppy cat, Ben.
    He loves to be on the desk, with his head on my keyboard. I noticed a photo of a desk extension. Ben is only 8 months old but he is already a big boy. We also have 2 Bali’s but Ben is the one for whom I desparately need a place where he can be close to me while I work.

  8. I just read all three articles – thank you, Jenny, and Stanlee’s mom! My Ragdoll boys were never shaved so I had no experience with that. Gizmo was a kitten when he was given to us, developed his color points as he grew. Moosie was about 11 months old (according to our vet) when I adopted him; his points were already dark. Both boys’ “back fur” darkened as they grew older. Their tummies and manes stayed light (white to cream-colored) their whole lives.

    Thanks to everyone for the new information and a very interesting discussion!

  9. Patti Johnson says:

    Fascinating topic, Jenny! Wow! I had no idea about any of this! Well, Charlie and Stanlee (lurve that name, btw) are still gorgeous as can be!

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  10. Elines Acevedo says:

    It is so fascinating how temperature affects the coloration of colorpoit cats! Cat color genetics is so cool!

    1. Elines Acevedo says:

      No pun intended haha

  11. Becca Dutill says:

    We live in Central Florida on the Gulf Coast. I’ve been tempted a few times this summer to shave our Ragdoll, Molly. She is always indoors, but still seems to feel the heat unless we keep the AC at 72* or lower. I like it lower too! But I would hate to have her beautiful cream color darken. We are transitioning to mostly wet. I keep the dry out. They eat it less and less. But I feed them wet food twice a day with plenty of broth and added vitamins.

  12. I’m still confused about the changes of hair color (but I failed physics three times so there’s that…). I have read that if you remove the hair by brushing then it does not change color which then goes against the whole “cooler area = darker fur” explanation. I mean brushing like furminating. When I do that with Yoda it looks/feels as if her hair is clipped so I’m extrapolating that it would be fairly similar (of course there may be a human evisceration involved in attempting to furminate a cat!).

    I’ve also read that the more than you clip it (it terms of how many times) it will get successively darker but then cycle back to lighter. Again, huh?

    Also, shaving hair does not effect the root – where the hair gets it’s DNA “messages” from. Ladies when we shave our legs, our hair does NOT get thicker, it might feel that way because it stubby but it’s not scientifically possible to change the DNA by doing something topical (and you should totally listen to me with my 3x physics failures, I obviously know of what I speak!!).

    Prossimo came full of mats so there was no choice but to shave him. I have no A/C and live in the worst possible architecture/layout for that so my house gets “microwave hot”. The first summer I shaved him twice. Once at the beginning of May – massive heat wave and he was obviously uncomfortable. 2nd time in late August since it had grown back enough and the heat was unrelenting. (3x in less than a year) His hair grew back significantly darker on his back.

    Last summer I shaved him myself over the course of 2 weeks and then took him in for a quick touch up for his belly and “armpits”. Again, this winter he was quite grey, more than the winter prior, on his back.

    I shaved parts of his back, armpits and belly 2 months ago because I discovered patches of mats but the hair is slow to grow back in so it’s hard to tell what will happen.

    Jenny, the pictures of Charlie that you link to are kind of shocking – that is an AMAZING difference!

    1. I am not sure how it all works either – although with Charlie it was a definite diet change. I have known others to shave their kitties for summer and not have this happen.

    2. Sophia Sabin says:

      I don’t know if this will help but:
      Pointing is caused by a genetic mutation. The animals that have it have an enzyme in their skin that is inactive at warmer temperatures so a firm brushing shouldn’t cause enough of a dip in temperature at the skin level for the enzyme to become active. Which brings me to my next point, hair is really really really good at insulating. For me personally it doesn’t matter if it’s 1 inch or 12 it’s the same amount of warm but 1/2 an inch and under and I’m sleeping with a hat on.

  13. wow i never heard of such a thing. i can see maybe food changes but shaving ? what a trip. either way your cat is gorgeous and i’m sure he felt much cooler with a shave (if that is why you did it) i’m going to shave my black and white. i wonder if his color will change? very interesting topic.

    1. Elines Acevedo says:

      Haha no, no it wont affect the coloration of your black and white cat. This is mostly unique to colorpoint cats and cats whose coat changes colors due to body temperature. You are safe to shave your cat.

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