How to Safely Trim Long Hair Cats

How to Safely Trim Long Hair Cats

Let’s be honest, trimming a cat’s hair is a daunting prospect given their claws, teeth and ability to bite. However, it can be done without incurring any injuries to your hands and arms as well as being a task that is not stressful for your cat to endure either. When their anxiety is kept to a minimum they are far more likely to sit still, which keeps them safer in the long run too. Especially when you are brandishing a pair of scissors or a cat hair trimmer.

In this guide to how to safely trim long haired cats, we answer the questions that so many cat owners will be asking so that your cat remains well groomed at all times.

Grooming Long Haired Cats

Before starting to trim your long haired cat, there are a number of things you should do as a regular activity that will make the whole process that bit easier.

  • Bathe your cat

Cats in general are pretty good at cleaning themselves. We will have all seen how a cat uses its tongue and teeth to clean their fur, skin and paws. However, even the most pristine of cats can sometimes get themselves into a bit of bother so that he or she becomes far dirtier than usually tolerable. Bathing your cat will therefore help with this no end, but it is a good idea to do it regularly as it will get them used to you handling them so that trimming their fur is not as onerous as it otherwise could be.

  • Brush your cat

Without doubt, this is one of the best ways that will ultimately help you trim your cat’s fur in the long run. Not all cats love to be brushed, let alone have their fur trimmed, so this is another fantastic way for them to get used to their owners manhandling them (however lovingly!)

Related Post: Best Brush For Cats

In addition to getting used to your hands being on their bodies, brushing cats also helps to remove any dirt or grease from their coats that can jam up cat trimmers. It also gets rid of any dead fur from their coats and gets rid of dry skin that has flaked off. One of its final benefits is that brushing your cat actually helps to stimulate their blood circulation. This helps any cat’s skin health.

You only need to brush a cat’s fur once or twice a week to reap the rewards.

  • Identify skin problems

When brushing your cat or giving your cat a bath, you’ll be able to inspect more closely how their underlying skin is doing. In doing so, you can identify any larger skin problems that need to be addressed before starting to trim long hair. Skin problems can also exhibit themselves (other than the physical, visual sores) when a cat scratches excessively or licks the same spot over and over.

Skin conditions can be caused for a variety of reasons that range from having an allergic reaction to food or the change in seasonal climate to a cat having parasites like fleas. Work with your vet to ascertain the root cause.

  • Be aware of shedding

Shedding is a perfectly normal thing and all cats do. Indoor cats will do it all year round owing to the consistency in temperature of their homes. If you brush your cat regularly, you will minimize the amount of hair that is left around the house when they malt.

However, just because it is natural, it does not mean you should not keep an eye on it. Shedding can occur if there is a bigger problem at large and these problems can manifest themselves in bald spots on your cat’s fur. Keep an eye out for this. By hoovering up after your cat’s malting, you will also keep a handle on when their shedding may have spiraled out of normal control, alerting you to a problem that needs solving.

Plus, cutting a healthy, well maintained long haired cat coat is far easier than cutting an unhealthy one.

Cat grooming

How To Cut Cat Hair

Cutting cat hair can be difficult, there is no denying that, but by following these tips in the method below, it will become easier over time. Grooming long haired cats definitely takes a little bit of patience, but it is important to stick at regularly cutting your cat’s hair as a long haired cat can look fabulous as long as their fur is well maintained. Without regular trims, your cat’s coat can quickly be covered with matted cat hair so that grooming them becomes even more difficult.

  • Starting grooming long haired cats when they’re kittens

One of the best ways to avoid matted cat hair is to start grooming long haired cats when they are just kittens. Not only does this mean that they will be better at sitting still for longer, for the majority of their lives, it makes it a less onerous task for you. Start small by trying to get your kitten to stay still when you try to cut his or her claws. Or perhaps give him or her a bath regularly. This will help get your kitten ready for their first trim. Hopefully, by starting early, it won’t be necessary to use tranquilizers that only vets can prescribe!

  • Don’t go straight for the cat hair trimmer

If a cat owner sees that their pet has a great deal of matted cat hair, it can be tempting to get the cat hair trimmer out straight away. However, it is best to use scissors to give your long haired cat a quick trim first. For starters, the benefits of using a pair of scissors first is that you can trim the areas that even cat clippers for matted fur can’t get to. Plus, they are far better for trimming around your cat’s ears. It is important to cut as closely as possible to the inside opening of the ear only. Then, use the scissors to tidy up any long hair around your cat’s bottom and where he or she goes to the loo. This means that your cat will find it far easier to remain clean and hygienic.

From there, if you have a female, remember to trim around her nipples, and even her vulva if she is due to have kittens herself soon. The reason being for this is that it will help a kitten find their milk that much quicker as well as reducing the chances of an infection building as there is less hair for dirt and bacteria to cling to.

If your cat is suffering from matted cat hair, use some cat clippers for matted fur to get out those mats, or else use scissors to remove them safely.

  • Now use a cat hair trimmer

Now that you have trimmed your long haired cat with scissors, it is a good idea to use a cat hair trimmer only at this point. If your cat has not seen or heard them before, start them up so they can get used to the noise and be mindful for their initial reaction. If they are immediately skittish, you may have to work up to using your cat hair trimmer on their coat. To do so, simply turn the equipment on and off again, leaving the amount of time it is on for longer and longer, while in the vicinity of your cat. This will give your cat time to settle down a little.

When you are finally able to use the trimmers on your cat, remember to use the trimmers for the body and go from the tail to the neck. Do not use your cat hair trimmer on their face or head.

  • Use a towel

When using a cat hair trimmer, remember to lay down a towel so that you reduce any clear up later. Also, if you use a towel that is a contrasting color to your cat’s fur, you will be able to see more easily how much fur you have managed to cut off from the body. This will hopefully prohibit you from cutting too much off in one go. Long hair cats do need to have their coats, even in the height of the Summer as their skin is so much thinner than ours so they need their fur to keep the body temperature at a healthy level.

Obviously, try to avoid nicking your cat’s skin as much as possible. Having the towel there will help reduce mess if this should happen, but go slowly in the first few instances you use your cat hair trimmer. For novices, it can be difficult to gauge where a cat’s fur is simply thick and matted versus the cat’s actual skin.

  • Start at the tail and go up towards the head

It’s important to start at a cat’s tail and work towards the head, and to stop at the neck when using cat clippers for matted fur or when simply using a cat hair trimmer to shorten your cat’s fur. It is recommended to only use scissors around the face and head. Plus owners need to remember that the fur on a cat’s face or head actually only needs a small trim. Their fur can stay longer here than on other parts of the body.

After you have finished using a trimmer or scissors, give your cat a thorough comb to remove any excess fur or skin that has not dropped to the floor yet. This will give you a better idea of any spots you have missed, which is very easy to do when trimming a long haired cat’s fur. Then, give your cat a good cuddle for being so good throughout and to relieve any anxiety that he or she may be feeling.

How To Safely Trim Long Haired Cats – The Bottom Line

There is no escaping the fact that grooming long haired cats while grooming long haired cats is essential, it is also difficult too. Learning how to cut cat hair can take time, but it is possible to do and does not always require a trip to the groomers. It’s a good idea to learn how to do it yourself too so that you can keep your cat free of matted cat hair. Matted cat hair, if not identified and dealt with quickly enough can actually cause painful and itchy skin infections

Having the right equipment does help, so make sure you have the best cat clippers for matted fur that you can afford and that your scissors are sharp. Remember that not all cat hair trimmers were created equal. They are definitely the type of item that if you buy cheap, you buy twice. Take the time to research so that you invest in the best cat clippers for matted fur or if you need a cat hair trimmer simply to keep on top of your fluff ball. What you buy depends on what type of cat you have (both in terms of breed but also character) and what caused you to cut your cat’s fur in the first place.

Finally, remember not to force the issue if having a coat groomed is causing your cat a great deal of anxiety. If you approach how to cut cat hair with the little and often method, you may find that you are far more successful than if you dive into grooming long hair cats with a cat hair trimmer right from the outset.


  1. Cat-Care Tips, HowStuffWorks
  2. Tammy Hunter, DVM, Grooming and Coat Care for Your Cat, VCA Hospitals

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