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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?