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Giving a Cat a Haircut


My cat's very long hair has become matted over the past couple of months. Since it's so hot here in Texas now, I wanted to give her an overall short haircut to clean her up and keep her cooled off. I have some electric clippers with various size combs on them, but I can't come near her with those. She's terrified of the noise and vibration. Any ideas? Thank you.



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By Karen 3 05/21/2005

I'm a cat groomer, and wouldn't suggest trying to groom your kitty with clippers on your own unless your cat is very laid-back and calm around them. Cats aren't as easy-going about being groomed as dogs are, so it's best to take them to a professional groomer for a haircut. Also, their skin is a lot thinner than dogs, and it's very easy to cut the skin with clippers or shears (and never use scissors on your cat... even the professional groomers won't do that that... dangerous).

However, if you want to get the mats out yourself, the cheapest and safest way is to rub lots of corn starch (like you can get in the bakery aisle of the grocery store) on the mats and let them sit for 15 minutes or so. Then they will be much easier to comb out. Corn starch dries out the moisture that keeps the mat together. Sometimes a the mat will come right off and leave a bald spot, but if you use enough corn starch and let it sit, it shouldn't be at all painful for your cat. Still, if the cat is really very badly matted, this may not work for all the knots and it's better to talk to a groomer. Good luck!


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By Annie Rios Hill 14 1,777 05/23/2005

My kitty had long hair she was not going to a groomers!!! So I would place her on a tv tray table
and let her sit in the sun and I would sit next to her
using scissors cutting her hair she liked the mane
cut short and then she would flip over to belly so I could get all that. It took a few times and then she
looked forward to it. My yorkie and I go through this and first attempts he barked/yapped and now he
likes it. Oh kitty used to enjoyher tub time her
cat shampoo made bubbles and she would watch bubbles in the water and loved baths, start early
and it is really fun EXCEPT when she jumped into
shower with my husband scared him pretty good.!!!

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By KLS8800 (Guest Post) 05/25/2005

We had an orange persian cat when I was young, and we lived in the PNW. Slugs were rampant, and the cat was both indoor/outdoor. He got a couple of slugs in his fur, and he just wouldn't let my parents near him with anything to help. We wound up taking him to the groomer, and that poor cat was shaved except for his head, paws and tail. He looked hideous. Lesson learned: Leave the matted fur to professionals, don't want to hurt the cat. then when the fur started to grow back, we sat him on our laps and first petted him with our hands. With more growth, soft cat grooming brushes. By the time his fur was grown back, he would sit and let us groom him no problem. He also learned to stay indoors when it rained.

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By (Guest Post) 11/30/2007

DO NOT USE SCISSORS TO CUT A CATS HAIR! This is especially dangerous to try when cutting out mats. Sometimes mats can be extremely close to the skin. I used to work as a vet tech and saw this happen more than once. An owner, meaning well, tried to cut the mat out with scissors and cut right through the cat's skin and it literally leaves a huge open hole in the skin. A cat's skin is extremely delicate- like tissue paper. For mats your best bet is to take to a professional groomer who has experience with cats and who is fast and have them clipped.

I have a Himalayan and I do this once or twice a year-in fact he goes tomorrow. He gets clipped and bathed and the whole process takes maybe 20 minutes...our groomer is very fast and very gentle. She cuts his hair as short as possible-not for the look, but because it is safest for the cat to use the shortest blade (the space between the teeth is the smallest and less chance of the blades "biting" and tearing the skin). It's a very delicate your homework! I also would not try to pull a mat out...I imagine that would be quite painful-you are ripping the fur out of their skin.

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By Cindy Kolpien (Guest Post) 05/23/2005

I had a similar problem after returning from a vacation. The groomer I took her to muzzled her and ripped the mats off - traumatizing her and me both. I purchase a rubber pet brush that she loves. It really just massages her but it gets her to come for grooming. Little by little I use a pet comb to work out the mats as she will let me. I groom her before I feed her in the morning. She is hungry and eager to come because she knows she will be fed next.

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By (Guest Post) 05/23/2005

Hey, thanks for the tip on Corn Starch - I didn't know that. My tip is go to the pet store. They have a special wide tooth comb that has edges like a razor. I'm not sure if they sell it for a cat or a dog but I use it on both. It doesn't have a straight edge, it is rounded. It works great.

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By NChilds (Guest Post) 05/23/2005

Thank you so much for the advice. Even when I take the time to get the mats out, I still wanted her to have a shorter haircut to keep her cool. I'll play it safe and take her to the groomers for that!

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By yashaevy (Guest Post) 06/02/2005

my cat has short hair but can i shave him alittle so the allergies won't be so bad not bold shave just a little like crew cut

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By ~randomperson~ (Guest Post) 07/18/2006

i give my cat haircuts all the time and she's scared of scissors! we just had to get her used to it by feeding her lots of treats when she is getting a cut!

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By Poofy cat - no more (Guest Post) 06/13/2007

KKG, I find it interesting that you'd take clippers/shears to a cat, but not scissors. Cats are always skittish and jumpy at noises, where the scissors make no noise.

I have a Siberian that just absolutely adores getting her hair trimmed for the summer season. She'll lay on her back and stay calmly as long as I stroke her paws every once in awhile (same thing as trimming her nails). She genuinely enjoys the trimming and seems to feel much cooler without all the hair.

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By Lynnette (Guest Post) 10/14/2007

I have a question actually. I just took my cat to the groomers for the first time. Is it normal for the cat to have clipper marks. As in...the haircut isn't smooth and uniform everywhere. When i questioned the groomer she said that cat's hair isn't like dogs hair and that it won't be smooth. is this true? or could the job been done any better?

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By bindu (Guest Post) 04/25/2008

I have a question about how long it takes cat's hair to grow. Recently, my long haired kitten soiled herself and got some feces on and around her tail. I gave her a wash but not all of it came off and so I trimmed the part of her fur that was soiled. I think I cut too much and it is very noticeable that I have cut her hair. I feel guilty every time she walks by me. I was wondering if it will ever grow back? Thanks.

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By kristyl g (Guest Post) 05/03/2008

My cat baby has very long hair and hates clippers so I thought I'd try scissors and she's not as scared but every now and than tries to bite me and the comb I am very far from the skin but for some reason she is still upset any ideas on what else I could use other than a groomer.

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By peggidee 1 03/18/2011

I have a himalayan/maine coon and when he sheds, the hair he loses is so fine it gets in our eyes.

We also thought he would appreciate a short hairdo for the summer. I bathe him 3 or 4 times a year, and i have been taking him to the groomer. i have her leave the legs, head, and tail fluffy, and basically, she just shaves the "barrel", just the back and tummy and chest and buns.

He just loves it. He keeps trying to roll over and be cute. He thinks he is done and starts walking off in the middle of his haircut, but he is not freaked out. I tried to do it myself, but he keeps rolling over and walking off, and i had trouble.

I do not feel guilty at all. He thinks his new haircut is the cats pajamas!

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