Now that we’ve entered the “dog days of summer” (ahem… who said dog?), many cat owners are wondering if shaving their cats will keep them cooler during these steamy months. It seems like a logical idea. Indeed, the Internet is overflowing with photos of kitties shaved to look like mini lions, and even dinosaurs (stegosauruses, to be exact). There are even YouTube videos that show you just how to do it. One thing I noticed as I was perusing these shaven cats — none of them looked happy. Not one.
So, does shaving your cat actually make them cooler? The answer, dear readers, is a resounding “No!” Don’t do it. Not only is it unnecessary, but it makes them uncomfortable, and dare I say it, it downright humiliates them. (I invite you to google image “shaved cats.”)
According to WebMD, veterinarians and other animal experts advise against it. They say cat hair is not like human hair. In fact, cat hair is actually designed by nature to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Cats are especially adept at keeping themselves cool. And shaving your cat actually interferes with this biological temperature regulation system. Not to mention their coat protects them from sunburn and skin cancer.
An alternative to shaving is brushing your cat regularly, especially in the summer. Her summer coat can become matted, even moreso if she’s an outdoor kitty.
Dr. Karen Becker of Healthy Pets explains that it is very stressful for most cats to be shaved. Unless there’s a medical reason for doing so (e.g. cat can no longer groom herself), she discourages shaving.
So, in a nutshell, instead of shaving your cats, make sure you do these things to keep them cool in the summer:
1.) Make sure they always have fresh, clean water to drink. Pop a few ice cubes in their bowl to keep the water cool.
2.) Make sure they have options for cool, shaded spots where there’s some air flow. Keep a fan going near their favorite nap spot. Keep them inside when it’s really hot, and make sure you turn on the air conditioning when temperatures reach 85 degrees and above.
3.) Brush your cat. Brushing your cat removes that dead undercoat which keeps air circulating near the skin, thus, keeping your kitty cooler.
4.) NEVER leave your cat in a parked car — EVER — even for a short length of time. It gets very hot, very fast and can be deadly.
And by golly, she’ll do the rest.