Lion Cut + Old, skinny cat = Blood + Stitches

Bad human!
Yep. You don’t want to be the one who did this.

There’s a heap of denial among cat-loving humans who have skinny, old cats.

Is a cute-looking haircut and less fur on the sofa worth blood and stitches? If you say HECK YEAH! then go to it. Fire up that clipper.

I’m of the opinion that the answer is HECK NO.  I won’t do a lion cut if the cat is likely to be nicked during the shaving process.

I do make an exception for old cats who are so matted that they are uncomfortable. Their comfort is important, so it’s worth the risk.

Long-haired old cats stay dirtier and can’t deal with their own fur. Their tongue is worn out, I guess, not to mention the arthritis. They’re like that uncle who drinks too much and can’t remember to comb his hair . . . . you know, the uncle with the shirts covered with stains? You won’t do his laundry because who knows what he’s gotten into?

Cat skin is as thick as your eyelid. Think about that. You want me to come over and shave your eyelid?

The technical, boring discussion is below. You can skip it, unless you’re deeply interested in shaving cat’s privates.

1. Cat clippers work best on a flat plane. They zip along a flat surface and get every last hair off quickly and safely.

2. Cat clippers on an angle aim the blade at tender skin.  The blade isn’t parallel to the skin.  It’s going INTO the skin.  DANGER ZONES: clipping the fur in the underarms or between the rear legs. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing” thin skin combined with peaks and valleys. DANGER.

3. The thinner the cat, the more peaks and valleys, and the harder it is to shave safely. Shaving a fat cat is like shaving a balloon. It’s much easier to  shave a fat cat than a skinny cat.

4. The older the cat, the thinner and looser the skin.

Comb your cat every day, gently work on the mats with a comb, or maybe a round-tip scissor. If you’re a butterfingers be patient.  Spend some money on my services if you can’t do it yourself.

Awwww. Kisses.
Awwww. Kisses.

 

 

 

 

What do cats and onions have in common?

Answer:  Skin that tears like paper. 

If you use scissors to cut out mats, think “onion” as you snip. Don’t think “orange” or even “pear”, because those fruits have thicker skins than your cat. 

OnionSkinCatSkin

The skin is the largest organ in the body.  Feline skin thickness ranges from 0.02″ to 0.14″.

Well-groomed cats stay cool in summer. Shaving not necessary.

There are reasons to shave a cat, but temperature is not one of them. Best way to keep your cat cool? Frequent brushing, water, shade.

From MPC of Texas (Mobile Pet Care Clinics)

Unlike humans, the skin of dogs and cats does not contain the vast network of blood vessels and sweat glands designed to dissipate body heat during hot weather conditions. True, dogs do possess sweat glands in their footpads, but these glands play a minimal role in overall thermoregulation. Despite being sweat-gland deficient, dogs and cats have an uncanny ability to vaporize large amounts of water from their lungs and airways, water that carries heat from the body when they pant.

Shaving pets for the summer can actually predispose them to sun burn and to heat exhaustion/heat stroke. Long hair and thick undercoats act as insulation against the sun’s rays and their effects. Coats that are kept well-brushed and mat-free allow for good air circulation through the hair, which in itself can actually have a cooling effect. On the contrary, matted, unkempt hair coats stifle air circulation and do little to help cool the body. In other words, daily brushing is a must during the hot, summer months.

Here’s a prime example: My 2 year old Boxer, Titan (who has a short hair coat) and my 8 year old mix, Gobi ( who has long hair with a thick undercoat) love to go jogging with me. Both dogs are extremely fit, yet after 40 minutes in the Texas heat, Titan’s tongue is scraping the pavement, forcing regular water stops, whereas Gobi continues to just trot along like a canine version of Forrest Gump, seemingly oblivious to the heat. Keep pets cool and comfortable during the summer by keeping them well-groomed and by always providing a source of fresh water and shade. But don’t shave them. If you do, you’re only defeating the purpose and you may end up with a very expensive veterinary bill on your hands.”

BUT MOST CATS DON’T NEED TO PANT IN ORDER TO STAY COOL . . .

So how DO they stay cool? According to Dr. Bruce Carstens of Willow Rock Pet Hospital, “Because cats are generally around 10 pounds in size, they are small enough to regulate their temperature by decreasing their activity level and moving to the shade. The surface area of their skin is large enough in relation to their body mass to dissipate most heat build-up. If your cat gets hot or excited, you may see him pant for a short time, but it is not very common.”

 

Do you need to get your long-haired cat a lion-cut in the summer?

I’d say the answer is no, but if your cat is long-haired AND obese, then the answer is yes.

As long as you have air-conditioning or cross-ventilation and shade, your well-groomed cat should be fine.

A matted cat or a cat who is not regularly combed is a different story.

Mats turn a fur coat into a blanket. Dead fur that builds up over time, unless you comb it away, mixes with living fur. That makes the coat dense and heavy. 

A bath will wash away excess oil that makes the fur stick together.

Go for a light, airy coat. If  you accomplish that goal, then your cat can enjoy the warmth of summer. If you can’t keep the coat clean and combed, hire someone who can or get a lion-cut for your cat.  

Siberian beauty from ForestWind
Siberian beauty from ForestWind

99% of cat grooming is daily combing or brushing

There’s no mystery to cat grooming.

15 Minutes a Day:

Comb or brush your medium to long-haired cat once a day.

Use a “love glove” or brush on a short-haired cat once a week.

Trim claws once a month.

 

Big return on small effort.

 

Cat grooming becomes a big deal when the combing, brushing and claw trimming doesn’t get done.

Doing it the easy way or the hard way. It’s up to you.