Shaving Ragdoll Cats: 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Do it

Whether or not to shave your ragdoll cat is a hot topic of debate among owners.

Many people think they’re doing the right thing by getting rid of their ragdoll’s thick, fluffy coat when the warmer months come around.

However, while this may seem a logical decision in principle, it’s usually completely unnecessary.

In this article, I’m going to explain why shaving your ragdoll cat is not needed and can even be detrimental to their health.

Should ragdoll cats be shaved?

No, ragdoll cats should not be shaved. Ragdolls are naturally a long-haired breed, which is part of their genetics and personality. They regulate their body temperature by growing a thicker coat in winter to stay warm, before shedding hair in summer to keep cool. Shaving your ragdoll interferes with this process.

Many owners will opt to shave their ragdolls to help ‘keep them cool in the warmer months’, however this is a complete falsehood and not rooted in any truth.

My wife and I live in Australia, which has some of the hottest summers in the world where temperatures have reached 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) on occasions.

Not once in the five years that we’ve owned our ragdoll cat Poppie have we shaved her, and not once has she suffered from any heat-related conditions during summer.

Instead, we all stay cool by cranking up the air conditioner and staying indoors – we certainly don’t let our ragdoll spent much time outdoors during these extreme heatwaves.

Do ragdoll cats need to be shaved?

No, ragdoll cats do not need to be shaved. Regular grooming and brushing should be enough to prevent their hair from matting together, which is one of the main reasons owners will cite for shaving their ragdoll. Matting should not be left to a point where it requires shaving.

Honestly, shaving your ragdoll cat is a lazy thing to do – what is says is that you likely don’t brush your cat regularly enough and would rather take the extreme option of shaving them instead.

Not only that, it can also be dangerous to your ragdoll’s health. According to National Cat Groomers:

The risk of nicking or cutting the cat is very high. Shaving the pelt off requires using a clipper blade very close to the cat’s skin… In addition, the cat’s temperament makes him very disagreeable to the shaving process under normal conditions.

If your ragdoll’s hair does get a little matted in parts and can’t be removed by brushing, the best thing to do is take some scissors and remove the portion of hair that is the problem.

That way you can extract the offending piece without getting too close to your cat’s skin, and without needing to shave their entire coat.

Yes, it can be time consuming brushing your ragdoll once every week – especially if you own a pair of ragdolls – but it’s better to be proactive, rather than being reactive by shaving your cat when their coat has gotten out of control.

Reasons why you should never shave your ragdoll cat

There are many reasons not to shave your ragdoll cat, but I’ve put together the five most important ones to help you make an informed decision if you’re contemplating whether or not to take the clippers to your kitty.

1. Ragdolls shed hair naturally

Ragdoll cats regulate their body temperature by growing thicker fur when it’s cold, and shedding excess hair when it’s warm – which is a big reason why you don’t need to shave them.

The concept of shaving your ragdoll during summer ‘because it helps keep them cool’ is a complete myth.

Thanks to the wonders of evolution and genetics, your ragdoll is able to keep itself perfectly cool enough during the warmer months without you needing to shave them.

If you’re worried about your ragdoll overheating, avoid letting them out into the elements; instead, keep them indoors and put the air conditioning on.

2. It will cause your ragdoll stress for no reason

If your ragdoll is anything like ours, there’s a fair chance they won’t like sitting still for very long.

It’s hard enough trying to brush our cat, or bath her when absolutely necessary, let alone trying to run some clippers over her.

As we’ve already established, there is no need to shave your ragdoll cat and doing so will cause your furry friend undue stress and angst.

Does this cat look like it’s having fun? No, it doesn’t.

3. Regular grooming/brushing should be enough

Another common reason people decide to shave their ragdoll cats is due to their fur being excessively matted together.

As ragdolls are a long-haired breed, it’s not surprising that their coat can get extremely knotted if not cared for.

However, this can be completely avoided by brushing your cat regularly – once a week should be enough – and getting them professionally groomed twice a year.

If you follow this maintenance schedule, which isn’t at all demanding, then it should prevent your ragdoll’s hair from matting and needing to be shaved.

If, for whatever reason, your ragdoll’s hair still gets tangled – and can’t be fixed with a brush – then it’s OK to use scissors to remove the small matted portion (being careful not to get too close to the skin), while still leaving the rest of their coat untouched.

4. It can risk your ragdoll’s health

As mentioned earlier, shaving your ragdoll cat runs the risk of nicking them with the clippers and causing sores/wounds that could get infected and cause illness.

Furthermore, shaving your ragdoll’s hair can leave the skin underneath more exposed to the elements, making it more sensitive (and even susceptible to sunburn if you’re someone who lets your ragdoll spend time outside during the day).

Avoiding shaving your ragdoll removes the risk of cutting them with clippers and eliminating the chance of them getting an infection.

5. It may turn your ragdoll’s hair dark

The last reason not to shave your ragdoll is purely aesthetic, but still remains important.

Many owners who have shaved their ragdolls have reported their hair growing back far darker than it was before they were shaved.

The colour of your ragdoll’s coat depends on the temperature of the skin from where the hair follicles develop. For this reason, colour point breeds usually have darker tones around their face, feet and tail as these parts of their body are cooler.

When you shave your cat, their skin temperature will cool down as it becomes exposed to the elements, meaning it is likely to grow back a darker colour.

While this may not be a big deal to casual ragdoll owners, it is important to note for breeders who use their ragdolls as show cats – as this discolouration of their coat may see them marked down during judging.

Is it cruel to shave your ragdoll cat?

While it may not be considered ‘cruel’, shaving your ragdoll cat will, in most cases, be an unpleasant experience for them. Not only is it likely to cause your ragdoll stress, you also run the risk of cutting them with the clippers if they squirm or try to escape during the shaving process.

As we’ve made clear in this article, there is no logical reason for shaving your ragdoll cat – it isn’t required for them to stay cool during warm weather, nor is it required to remove matted hair if you brush them regularly.

Imagine someone pinning you down and shaving off all your hair in order to ‘help you stay cool’. Do you think you’d be happy? Of course, you wouldn’t.

Your ragdoll cat is no different.

Do ragdolls behave differently after being shaved?

Yes, your ragdoll cat will likely behave differently in the hours and days after shaving them. They are used to having a thick, fluffy coat so removing this part of their identity will likely leave them confused and it may take time for your cat to adjust to this change.

If you’ve ever shaved your own head before, you’ll know the feeling – you’ll constantly be running your hand over your newly-shorn scalp simply because you’re not used to the sensation.

Your ragdoll cat will likely experience the same thing – having gone from a thick, bushy coat (which they love to groom with their own tongues), it will be a big shock to them to all of a sudden be without hair.

It’s not surprising, then, that ragdolls will act differently after being shaved (and likely avoid curling up next to you for a while), which is another good reason not to put them through it.

Final message

In short, there is almost no reason to shave your ragdoll cat – they can keep themselves cool just fine on their own, while regular brushing and grooming should prevent any significant mats from forming.

If your cat still gets matted despite your best efforts, it’s best to use scissors to remove the small offending portion of fur – taking create care not to get too close to the skin – and leave the rest of the coat untouched.

This is a great alternative to shaving your whole ragdoll cat and will leave them much healthier and happier as a result.