Shaving Your Maine Coon: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

Should I Shave my Maine Coon cat? Pros and Cons of Shaving

Maine Coons are known for their luscious locks. Shaving a cat is sometimes necessary during certain surgical procedures or perhaps to remove a very badly matted place that is beyond the scope of combing out. Shaving the hygiene area is another place that can require shaving to keep unwanted traces of fecal material and cat litter from clinging to the fur. Considering these factors, many Maine Coon cat owners often wonder, Should I shave my Maine Coon cat? This decision should be carefully considered based on your cat’s specific needs and circumstances.

To Shave or Not to Shave?

Shaving a cat can be a controversial issue when the reason is not related to a medical condition or hygienic.  In hot climates, some long-haired cat breeds, such as Maine Coons, may experience overheating.  Shaving can be a way to eliminate some of the excess hair that traps heat and may help them to be more comfortable.

Pros:

  • Better Hygiene, especially for those who are overweight or geriatric and are no longer able to self-groom properly. 
  • Increased comfort for cats in warmer climates during the summer months.
  • Fewer Hairballs: reducing the amount of fur will reduce the amount of ingested hair, so fewer hairballs will accumulate.
  • Easier access to apply certain topical medications for cats with skin conditions.

Cons:

  • Discomfort and Anxiety:  During the regrowth period new hair growth can increase discomfort and annoyance.  Cats may also experience an increase in anxiety when their appearance changes.  Anxiety may lead to unwanted behaviors and nervousness.  Hair provides natural insulation, but removing it takes away their protection when temperatures vary. 
  • Sunburn: Hair is a natural barrier to the sun. When the fur is removed, the skin is exposed and may become sunburnt.  Even if your cat is inside-only, he or she may have a favorite spot to nap in the sun coming through a window or door.  When the skin is exposed, it is more prone to becoming burned from the sun’s rays. 
  • Parasites: Hair protects from topical parasites. Fleas and ticks may become infested in cats that have been shorn. It is important to always check your cat for any signs of discomfort.
  • Skin Irritation and Injury: Shaving can exasperate certain skin conditions and there’s always a risk of getting nicked by the clippers.  Using a professional groomer can minimize skin injuries, but there is always a risk.  Talking with your veterinarian before making any big changes is always a good idea. 

Most Popular Maine Coon Cuts

Lion Cut

This is hands-down the most popular cut for Maine Coon cats.  This cut typically shaves the torso of the body while leaving a tuft of fur on the tail, boots on the legs (optional), and a full mane around the head.  This stylish cut can be beneficial to those who may experience heat stress during the summer months.  Another bonus is that the hygiene area is completely free of unwanted hair and a reduction in hairballs is an added benefit.

Teddy Bear Cut

The Teddy Bear cut trims the hair all over the body to the same length.  While giving your Maine Coon a teddy-bear look it can also reduce shedding and offers some protection from the sun and topical parasites.

Comb Cut

The Comb Cut is a milder alternative to the Lion Cut, as a clipper guard remains on the blade.  Less shedding and having a natural barrier to the sun, parasites, and temperature fluctuations are all positive considerations for this alternative to the full Lion Cut.  

Before you make any radical changes to your cat’s hair coat always consider the pros and cons.  If your cat has an adverse reaction such as a sunburn, parasites, skin irritation, or behavioral changes following a haircut consult with your veterinarian.  Be sure to use a professional groomer if you decide to go with a specialty cut.  Check to make sure the groomer is experienced with long-haired cat breeds.

Should I Shave My Maine Coon Cats in the Summer?

As summer approaches, many Maine Coon cat owners wonder if shaving their fluffy feline friend is a good idea to help them stay cool. However, shaving a Maine Coon is generally not recommended and can even be harmful. Here’s why:

  1. Insulation: The thick, double-layered fur of Maine Coons serves as insulation, helping them stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Shaving removes this natural insulation, which can make them more susceptible to temperature extremes.
  2. Sun Protection: The fur acts as a barrier against the sun’s harmful rays, protecting the skin from sunburn and reducing the risk of skin cancer. Shaving exposes their skin to direct sunlight, increasing the risk of sunburn, especially for cats with light-colored or thin fur.
  3. Regulation of Body Temperature: Cats regulate their body temperature through their fur. Shaving interferes with this natural process, making it harder for them to stay cool in hot weather and potentially leading to heatstroke.
  4. Regrowth Issues: Maine Coons have a unique coat that grows in layers, and shaving can disrupt this growth pattern. The fur may not grow back properly, leading to patches of uneven or coarse fur.

Instead of shaving, here are some tips to help your Maine Coon stay comfortable in the summer:

  1. Regular Brushing: Brush your cat regularly to remove loose fur and prevent matting. This helps air circulate through their coat, keeping them cooler.
  2. Cool, Shaded Areas: Provide your cat with access to cool, shaded areas where they can relax away from direct sunlight.
  3. Hydration: Ensure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated in the heat.
  4. Grooming Services: If your Maine Coon’s fur becomes too much to handle, consider professional grooming services that can help manage their coat without the need for shaving.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Shaving Your Maine Coon Cat

  • Shaving Too Close: Using clippers or scissors to shave too close to the skin can cause irritation, cuts, and ingrown hairs. Leave a thin layer of fur to protect the skin.
  • Using the Wrong Tools: Use clippers specifically designed for pet grooming. Avoid using human clippers or scissors, as they can be too harsh or difficult to control.
  • Not preparing the cat: Brush and bathe your cat before shaving to remove tangles and dirt.
  • Shaving in Hot Weather: While it may seem logical to shave your cat in hot weather, their fur helps regulate their body temperature. Shaving them can make them more susceptible to heatstroke.
  • Stressing Your Cat: Shaving can be a stressful experience for cats. Take your time, be gentle, and monitor your cat’s behavior for signs of distress.

FAQs

Can I shave my Maine Coon cat myself?

It is recommended to have a professional groomer shave your Maine Coon cat to avoid potential injuries and ensure the proper technique is used.

Will shaving my Maine Coon cat reduce shedding?

Shaving can reduce shedding to some extent, but regular grooming and brushing are more effective ways to manage shedding in Maine Coons.

How can I keep my Maine Coon cat’s fur clean and mat-free without shaving?

Regular brushing and grooming are key to keeping your Maine Coon’s fur clean and free of mats. Using a high-quality cat shampoo and conditioner can also help maintain their coat.

Are there any risks associated with shaving my Maine Coon cat?

Shaving can potentially lead to skin irritation, regrowth issues, and discomfort for your cat. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits before deciding to shave your Maine Coon.

What should I do if my Maine Coon cat experiences skin irritation or discomfort after shaving?

If your cat experiences any skin issues or discomfort after shaving, consult with your veterinarian for advice. They can recommend appropriate treatment and care for your cat’s skin.

Enrichment tips for Thriving Cats - Maine Coon Kittens | Maine Coon Breeders | Maine Coon Cat

Margaret Ritzler is an Animal Scientist, holding an MAL in Agricultural Leadership and a BS in Animal and Dairy Science. She taught Veterinary Science for several years through Career Technical and Agricultural Education. She has also worked for the University of Florida & Navajo Technical University. Her diversified background and wealth of knowledge in the animal industry make her a true asset to the Savvy Cats team.

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