How to Shave a Cat With Clippers

Kitty grooming cannot take the place of professional care.
Kitty grooming cannot take the place of professional care. (Image: Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Cats tend to groom themselves, though self-grooming cannot entirely take the place of a professional or personal session with you. Because of cats' impetuous attitude and thin skin, grooming a cat takes special time, care, skill and patience. A cat not used to the process will often be uncooperative — so if possible, it's best to introduce grooming to your cat at a very young age.

Things You'll Need

  • Professional dog clippers
  • Slicker brush
  • #10 clipper blade
  • Cat nail clippers
  • Towel

Begin by cutting down the nails of your cat with special cat nail clippers — when a cat is angry or frightened, it will tend to scratch first in order to try and escape the grooming process.

Brush your cat as well as you can before beginning with clippers. To make things less stressful for your cat, you can try brushing while the cat is trying to crawl away from you. As it crawls or walks away, keep bringing it back to the table while brushing it. The cat will feel like it is in control of the situation even though you are actually brushing it.

Adapt a calm, non-hurried, non-forceful attitude with your cat. Cats are difficult to restrain and if they sense that you are angry or stressed with their grooming process, it will be more complicated shaving your cat.

Begin to shave just past the neck/collar area on your cat with clippers and the #10 blade. Stretch your cat’s skin taut — but not too tight — as you shave straight down the back up to the base of the tail.

Shave the sides in an arrow motion toward the hind area. Be careful when you get to the fold of skin just above the rear leg area, as this can be easily cut. To avoid cutting your cat, hold your cat up by the scruff of the neck while shaving, or have someone assist you in restraining it. Use straight smooth movements when clipping the cat. This is a very slow process and should be done in steps; if your cat is getting stressed, let it rest for a while before proceeding.

Limit each shaving session to 15 minutes. Test the shaver on your arm to be sure the clippers are not hot, lest you cause clipper burn on your cat. Cats have very thin, delicate skin that needs special care.

After a short rest, at your discretion, try to complete the grooming process with your cat. Shave the entire body except for the head, neck area and tail.

Trim around the neck/collar area in order to give it a more blended and finished look. Brush out the tail, trimming any unruly or uneven fur.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the temperature of your blade often to be sure it does not get hot during the shaving process.
  • Avoid shaving the groin and armpit areas, which are particularly susceptible to injury from the blades.
  • Do not shave the same areas over and over again; this can cause a razor burn on your cat's delicate skin.

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