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How Long Does It Take for Cat Hair to Grow Back?

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ, Veterinarian

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Whether your kitten just had surgery, your long-haired cat has undergone regular grooming, or you’ve taken a rescue cat that needed shaving to clean up matted and unhealthy fur, you will be eager to see it grow back.

There is no steadfast rule regarding how long it takes cat hair to grow and the actual amount of time it takes will depend on the breed of cat, the length of their hair, and how short they had it cut. Generally, however, long-haired cats will have to wait between 3-6 months for their fur to fully grow back. Short-haired cats should take between 2-3 months.

Like people, every cat is different. Some will have fur that grows back quicker, while others will seem to have arrested hair growth.

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Reasons to Cut a Cat’s Hair

There are some good reasons why you might have cut or shaved your cat’s fur:

  • Operation – Whether spaying or neutering, your cat will have to undergo a haircut for the operation, and it will take time to grow back. The hair is shaved so that the surgeon can get to the cat’s skin, and also because stray hairs can cause infection. Following the operation, your vet will glue, staple, or stitch the operation site closed and the vet may have to shave your cat again before removing them.
  • Matted Fur – This is especially a problem with long-haired cats. If the fur isn’t regularly brushed and groomed, it can become matted and knotted. It becomes impossible to pass a comb or brush through, and the only option at this point may be to have your cat shaved. This should be treated as a last resort because a cat’s fur is important to its health and wellbeing. Obese cats, or those with certain physical disabilities, may not be able to properly groom themselves, and this can also lead to matting that requires cutting.
  • General Tidy – You shouldn’t be cutting a cat’s hair short as a general tidy. At the most, you should groom it with good quality combs and maybe give a trim. However, brushing and a decent diet should be enough to negate the need to cut or shave a cat’s coat.

Having a cat means spending a good chunk of your time grooming your fur baby, which you may not mind but they likely don’t particularly enjoy it!

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Image Credit: Akifyeva S, Shutterstock

It might be tempting to trim a cat’s fur for summer. After all, that hair must weigh him down and make him hot, right? Cats have a natural means of cooling down, and it is their fur. By shaving the fur off for summer, you are actually removing your cat’s own natural ability to cool down. What’s more, you’re exposing their sensitive skin to the hot sun and this could lead to sunburn and serious problems.

Can I Shave My Cat Myself?

Cat’s have very elastic, sensitive skin, and it is far easier to cut feline skin than human skin. Its elasticity means that when you pull their fur, it also pulls their skin with it, and essentially pulls it into harm’s way. This, combined with the fact that shaving should only be done as a matter of medical necessity or if your cat is suffering discomfort and there is no option, means that you should leave the shaving or cutting of your cat’s hair to an expert. They know how to move and manipulate the fur without risking cutting the skin or causing other damage.

If you do have to shave your cat yourself, a far safer and easier option to try is trimming with scissors. Use a comb to protect the cat skin, slide the comb between the matted area and the skin and use scissors to cut the fur on the outside of the comb. This means that that comb will act as a physical barrier to prevent you from injuring your cat’s delicate skin.

It is also worth noting that most cats dislike the experience of having their hair cut, and they will hate the noise of clippers being pressed against them. This makes the experience even more traumatic for your cat and difficult for you and is the primary reason that it should be left to professional groomers with experience.

You might also be interested in: 7 Cat Haircut Styles for Inspiration (With Pictures)

How Can I Make My Cat’s Hair Grow Back Faster?

If your cat has had its hair shaved, there are steps to ensure it grows back as quickly as possible:

  • Use an e-collar to prevent your cat from overgrooming the site.
  • Use oils and feline suitable creams to soothe the area for them.
  • Provide supplements, especially those containing omega fatty acids.
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Why Is My Cat’s Hair Not Growing Back?

There are several reasons that your cat’s fur is not growing back, including:

  • Hormonal imbalance – your vet will have to take blood tests to determine whether this is the case.
  • Bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection – your vet will investigate the site and may take skin scrapings and skin samples to determine the existence of ringworm or other infections.

There are some steps you can take to encourage the regrowth of hair.

  • Ensure that they have a good diet with plenty of protein and including all essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Supplement to make sure your cat has sources of omega fatty acids, which are readily available from fish oil or from foods that have salmon as a base ingredient.
  • Identify any allergies. Food allergies are normally caused by protein sources in the food. One of the possible manifestations of allergies is skin inflammation and itching that could develop into alopecic areas. These are usually presented in patches where the skin loses hair that does not grow back. Other allergens are found in the environment. Typically, dust, mold, and pollens cause runny noses but could also cause red and itchy skin. These environmental allergens tend to be volatile and sometimes accumulate in carpets and other surfaces. Your cat might also develop an allergy or plain sensitivity to chemicals in the environment, for example, the fabric conditioner you use on your own bedding, and even the surfaces that they sit on.
  • Consider other food sensitivities. Your cat may not be allergic to novel proteins but may have a sensitivity to certain ingredients like grains. Ask your vet and try an elimination diet – to identify these sensitivities and cut them from your cat’s diet. Look for limited ingredient cat food that is based on a protein different from what your cat normally consumes, however, when possible, make the change of food gradual to increase the success of your cat accepting the new recipe.
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Image Credit: Light Hound Pictures, Shutterstock

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How Long Does It Take for Cat Hair to Grow Back?

The amount of time it takes for cat hair to grow back is dependent on a great many factors. Primarily, it will depend on whether the hair was shaved off or it fell out because of a medical condition. It will depend on the natural length of your cat’s hair, as well as its condition. The health of your cat matters, and even its age, because older cats tend to lose some of their hair and can find it more difficult to grow hair back.

Generally, a shaved healthy cat should start to grow some fluff back after a couple of weeks. Short-haired cats will have their hair back within 2 months, while long-haired cats may have to wait as long as 6 months before their coat is fully regrown.

To encourage regrowth, ensure a decent diet, offer soothing creams, and avoid cutting or shaving your own cat’s hair in the future.

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Featured Image: Light Hound Pictures, Shutterstock

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