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We live in a warm climate and have two cats.

One of the cats is local and seems fine with the heat but the other one comes from the Northern region and has a lot more fur.

In Summer, the heat is quite high and I used to shave her to help with the temperature. The shaving would still leave about 0.5 to 1.0cm of hair vs. the 2.5cm she normally has depending on the body area.

The cats are living indoor, but have access to the terrace if they wish; Although in Summer they are rarely there, they are usually found where the AC and shade is.

I was told that we shouldn't shave a cat because fur helps not only with heating, but it also helps with cooling and shaving it interferes with the cat's ability to cool down its temperature.

I have two questions:

1) is that true?

2) if it is the case, how does the fur help with the cooling since I always understood that the fur just creates an isolation layer to avoid loosing temperature, but in this case body temperature is still higher than outside temperature, so I don't understand how isolation can help.

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  • The question may seem different, but the accepted answer there discusses why you shouldn't shave your long-haired cat's coat. – Allison C Jun 27 '19 at 18:03
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Cats' fur has evolved not only to keep the cat warm in the cold nights in the desert but to keep the heat out during the day in the baking desert temperature.

But the insulating fur cannot keep the cat cool, so cats seek shade and lie belly down on the hard ground to transfer heat away from the body. This is why cats often prefers to lie on the concrete or stone floor.

So the fur of a cat does reduce how fast it gets heated by the outside temperature. If you shave the fur, you remove the insulating layer of air that the fur provides.

To learn more about cats, please take a look at learnonline.cats.org.uk. A lot of information about cats can be found there.

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Animal fur is an insulator. People commonly have the misconception that insulators keep in heat. The truth is that all insulators inhibit the transfer of heat, and this works in BOTH directions. Meaning, when it's cold out, the insulator will keep heat in, and when it's hot out, the insulator will keep the heat out.

Adding to the misconception is the fact that insulators like fur or clothes have the additional effect of preventing air circulation. Humans have evolved to naturally sweat over our entire bodies. Heat is used up when liquids evaporate, and air circulation helps to make liquids evaporate more quickly. This is why a breeze on a hot day feels cooler to us even though the air temperature hasn't changed. Cats, however, do not sweat over most of their bodies. It is theorized that one of the purposes of grooming is to act as a replacement for sweating, but the cat gets that benefit whether or not it is shaved.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there will always be some amount of heat exchange between the animal and its environment, and therefore many animals, including the cat, have evolved expecting some amount of heat loss. In other words, they start feeling too hot at a lower outside temperature than their own body temperature. Therefore, there may be some temperature at which shaving the cat, allowing for its body heat to transfer faster to the environment which is still cooler than its body temperature, would make the cat more comfortable. But if the temperature gets even higher than that, it's better again to have fur.

Lastly, if you do actually shave the cat, now you also run the risk of it getting sunburned just like a human would. Furthermore, since you say the cats are indoor cats, and your home is air conditioned, you really shouldn't have a need to shave them.

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