How to Safely Trim Long Hair Cats
Cats can be difficult animals to control and maintain owing to their complex and often temperamental personalities. If you have a cat, you’ll know for certain that this is the case and that your cat may love to be handled one minute but not the next. This temperamental behavior can make even basic cat care a challenging feat, especially when it comes to trimming their hair. While it might always be a challenge for some cat parents, others might have a simple, straightforward experience if their cat is particularly social and easy-going. If you relate to the first situation here, or if you’re looking to adopt a cat and want to be well prepared, or maybe if you’re just looking for some tips or ticks, we’ll have something for you!
Before we get started, it’s crucial to understand that some cats won’t need their hair trimmed at all. Short hair cats and indoor cats will almost never need their hair trimmed but long hair cats might need this grooming on a regular basis. For this reason, only attempt to trim your cat’s hair if you have a long hair cat or if you are advised to by the vet or a groomer. It’s also important to look at what you can do to make the overall grooming process easier for you and your cat. There are several things you should consider first, and smaller, basic grooming aspects you can carry out regularly which will help when it comes to trimming your cat’s hair. So, let’s have a look at how to safely trim long hair cats.
Things to Keep in Mind
Cats can be sensitive, emotional and sometimes aggressive creatures that can react negatively if they are startled or if they feel unsafe. This behavior is normal and to be expected when cats are growing up, put into new situations or if they are made to do something they don’t want to do. Trimming your cat’s hair can cover all 3 of these bases so it’s no surprise that they sometimes react negatively. Anxiousness, stress and aggression are some of the most common negative responses which cats exhibit while they are being groomed. While you are grooming your cat, you should also check their skin for any problems such as inflammation, slight color alterations or flakiness. If you notice any unusual symptoms like these or excessive shedding, you should inform your vet immediately as these could indicate further health problems. Before you learn how to trim your cat’s hair, it’s important to learn how to handle them and how to make them feel safe and comfortable. So, let’s get started!
- Start When They’re Young
One of the best ways to stop your cat showing these symptoms is to start grooming them regularly while they’re young. Although they might feel negative about the situation at first, in time they will grow out of these feelings and accept that this is a normal aspect of cat life. If they act aggressively, it’ll also be easier for you to control as small kittens won’t do as much harm as an older and larger cat. Grooming your cat regularly before they reach adulthood is definitely one of the best ways to prevent their negative feelings towards grooming but this isn’t always possible. If you’ve just adopted (or are going to adopt) an older cat, they might not have experienced this approach in their youth so they could still react negatively to grooming. Unfortunately, this situation will definitely be harder to deal with but there are other things you can do to help your freaked-out feline relax.
- Start Small
When you start grooming your cat (whether young or old) it’s best to start with small aspects of cat care. No professional groomer or vet would recommend starting with a full trim as this will almost definitely scare your cat as they don’t know what’s happening and haven’t become used to being handled in this way. Whether you’re starting small because of their age or shy personality, a good place to start is a simple brush. Using a special cat hairbrush, you can remove dead hair from their coat, release knots or tangles and get them used to the feeling of grooming. Brushing your cat’s hair can also prove to be beneficial for their mental health as lots of cats associate the sensation of a gentle brushing with feelings of relaxation. If you can familiarize your cat with the feeling of being handled and having their coat gently brushed, then over time they might even enjoy it! After this stage, you can then introduce more aspects of cat grooming like cleaning their eyes or ears, or trimming their claws then build up to a full trim.
- Reward Good Behavior
Just like any aspect of general cat care or training, you can use treats to reinforce good behavior while familiarizing your cat with grooming. If you’ve introduced your cat to a new aspect of grooming or if they’ve shown some good behavior (e.g. not struggling or trying to escape), then you could reward your courageous kitty with some tasty treats or a new toy. This method is all about training your cat not to react badly when it comes to grooming and making them learn that good behavior will earn them a reward.
How to Trim Your Cat’s Hair
So, if you’ve successfully managed to handle your cat regularly for grooming and you’ve trained them into feeling safe and comfortable in this situation then congratulations! Trimming their hair is likely to provoke the same negative reactions you’ve experienced with other aspects of grooming but with time and patience, your feline friend will adapt. If you’ve followed the previous steps, it’s now time to learn how to trim your cat’s hair.
- Don’t Reach for the Trimmer Right Away
When it comes to trimming a cat’s hair, some cat parents might think it’s best to start with the trimmer immediately but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Electric cat hair trimmers should be reserved for the final step of grooming. If your cat has any matted hair then it’s important to start by tackling this first by using a brush designed for this purpose. If you can’t remove matting or knots with a brush then scissors may need to be used. Be very careful to avoid injuries when using scissors around your cat as they will most likely be cautious around them. Slowly introducing your cat to hair trimming is the best approach as they will gradually learn that hair trimming is essential and doesn’t harm them. And as always, remember to reward their good behavior with treats or toys!
- Start at the Tail
When trimming your cat’s hair, it’s important to start at the tail and work your way up. Your cat is far less likely to be scared or skittish around scissors if they are out of sight and if they can’t see exactly what’s going on. When your cat is used to this feeling you should start working your way up slowly, although this might have to be at different times. You shouldn’t expect to trim your cat’s entire body in one sitting as, even if they’re familiar with the feeling, they will almost definitely become bored and restless. You should be especially careful with some areas like the bottom and belly. Your cat will probably be overly sensitive and wary in these places so you may need help keeping your cat calm and still when trimming these areas. It is essential however, to trim the hair around your cat’s bottom for hygiene reasons and to keep them safe and healthy. You should stop when you get to your cat’s neck as their head and face won’t typically need trimmed. If you think it does, then consult a specialist or professional groomer as this area is incredibly difficult to trim for obvious reasons and should only be done by a professional.
- Time for the Trimmer
Now that you’ve introduced your cat to hair trimming with scissors, you might be able to introduce them to an electric cat hair trimmer. While you might have to go through the entire process of familiarization again, you’ll be a pro at it by this point. You should follow the same rules as with scissors, starting at the tail and working your way up. In the beginning, you may need to introduce the trimmers slowly simply by switching them on for a minute or two around your cat so they adapt to the sound. You can increase the time and your vicinity to the cat until they become completely used to them. After this process, you’ll be ready to start grooming with the electric hair trimmer. Just keep the length to at least an inch for your cat’s comfort and to avoid any potential skin problems.
Not all cat’s will need their hair trimmed but those that do can be slowly introduced to it over time with regular grooming sessions. If you have a stubborn kitty that doesn’t like regular grooming, try using some of these tips to help with the process. Hopefully after not long, your cautious kitty will become used to the experience and won’t mind some pampering from their loving owner.