Spring has arrived and those of us with the hairiest cats on the planet are enjoying shedding season! With the weather warming, our Persians, Himalayans, and Exotics no longer need their thick winter coats.
Before you know it, your cat starts to knot up over night and all of her favorite napping spots begin to have a thin layer of hair. This undoubtedly is one of the most frustrating times of year with your Persian.
The best way to survive the Spring shedding season is to be proactive.
1. Get into a consistent daily routine of combing your cat.
a. A simple 5-10 minutes a day is all that is needed to keep your cat knot free.
b. To keep the combing session fuss free, comb a section a day. Do the back and sides, then the head and ruff, then the underside, britches and tail.
2. Bathe your cat at least once a month or more frequently if shedding is bad.
a. Using a baby shampoo or diluted dish soap, massage your cat’s skin well while shampooing.
b. Rinse well and shampoo again.
c. Make sure you rinse very well when finished. Left in shampoo residue irritates the skin.
Another option some Persian owners chose is to shave their cats.
The lion cut is very popular and removes all of the body hair along with the troublesome fine hair under the armpits, on the tummy, and between the back legs. As an added bonus, the britches are cut so no poop gets stuck in the hair.
If shaving your cat completely isn’t appealing to you, shaving the cat’s underside from the front armpits to the britches is a good compromise. With this cut, all of the fine underbelly hair that matts is removed. Combing sessions are far simplified and less annoying to the cat.
Believe it or not, there are Exotic owners who shave down their cats at the beginning of shedding season. Most people believe that since grooming an Exotic is less hassle than grooming its longhair Persian or Himalayan counterpart, the Exotic doesn’t matt or shed much.
An Exotic’s thick undercoat can matt in small knots all over the body during shedding season. Whatever doesn’t tangle will end up all over the house. With longhairs, most of their dead hair gets caught up and tangles.
So what do you do if you don’t catch your cat’s shedding and you end up with huge knots?
Never, ever, ever, EVER use scissors to cut a knot out! Scissors should only be used by an experienced groomer, veterinarian or breeder.
Cat skin is very loose. Grabbing your cat’s ruff at the back of his neck is an example of how loose his skin is. When the coat matts and the knot gets tight, the hair pulls the skin up into the knot. Trying to cut a knot out could potentially cut the cat’s skin.
If your cat gets knotted badly, your only option is to take him to a groomer or veterinarian experienced in grooming cats, particularly in shaving cats. If your cat freaks out during grooming, especially when she hears the clippers, your veterinarian should be chosen to clip your cat’s coat. She can put your cat under mild anesthesia to more safely clip kitty.
If you chose to buy clippers so you can shave down your cat yourself, you need to have a breeder, groomer, or veterinarian show you how to do it. There are certain techniques in positioning and using the clippers that can mean the difference between a clean cut and razor burn and nicks.
Persians, Himalayans, and Exotics are high maintenance breeds of cat. They are also such sweet and precious companions that grooming shouldn’t become a nightmare. Enjoy your kitty during shedding season by choosing your favorite method of combating the hair war.