Short-Haired Cat De-Shed Bath & Groom - Groomer to Groomer

Short-Haired Cat De-Shed Bath & Groom

While long–haired cats tend to be a large percentage of a cat groomer’s clientele, owners of short–haired cats will be beating down the door once they realize that grooming can help with shedding. 

In many cases, shedding in short–haired cats will be much more noticeable than in long–haired cats. Excessive shedding can also lead to the cat having hairballs, which can even cause an emergency medical situation with a blockage. Once an owner has had a cat go through surgery for a hairball obstruction, they will be desperate to prevent future issues. 

A popular service to help these cats is a de–shed bath and groom. With cats on a regular schedule of an average of four– to eight–week frequency, owners will see the most noticeable difference in cat hair at home. 

Cat skin is very delicate, so it is important to choose tools that will be efficient in removing dead hair, but won’t be harsh on their skin. 


Fig. 1) My favorites for short–haired cats are a rubber or silicone curry brush, a metal comb with staggered teeth, de–shedding tools that attach to a vacuum system and a soft, natural bristle brush. 

When a cat first arrives in my salon, I always want to assess their temperament and condition. This will help me determine what handling techniques and grooming services I should use throughout the groom. 

Fig. 2) After trimming nails, I will use a rubber or silicone curry brush on my short–haired cats to help rustle up dead hair before moving to the tub.

During the bath, I do two lathers of cat–safe shampoo. The first being a degreasing shampoo as cats are notoriously oily, the second being a clarifying or finishing shampoo to make sure they are squeaky clean.

Fig. 3) While they are soaped up, use the rubber or silicone curry brush again to gently brush through the coat, going with the growth of the hair. This serves a dual purpose: collecting more dead hair while also providing a massaging, gentle scrub which cats can enjoy. 

Fig. 4) While rinsing, follow the direction the cat’s coat is growing to help push more dead hair out with the water pressure. Keep rinsing the entire body and around the head until the water runs clear and there is no soap left in the coat. 

Fig. 5) After the bath, lay the cat on a large, fluffy towel to begin drying. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the coat. Then, wrap them snugly in the towel and wipe their eyes and ears with appropriate products. Do the eyes first so that there is no ear cleaner residue on your fingers when wiping around the eyes. 

Next unwrap the damp towel and re–wrap the cat in a second dry towel. Some cats may benefit from sitting in a kennel with a non–heated cage dryer for a bit to become acclimated to the louder noises of the blow dryer. Others can go straight from the bath and towel–drying to the HV drying station.

Always keep a hand on the cat to keep them calm and prevent them from jumping off the table while drying. An HV dryer with a variable speed knob can control the air flow to start low and increase with the cat’s tolerance. 

Fig. 6) Once the cat is comfortable with the sound and feel of the dryer, a water peeler–style nozzle can be used to help get the bulk of the water and more dead hair out of the coat. This is especially useful on the cat’s legs and underbelly. 

Keep the nozzle away from the cat’s face, or use a Happy Hoodie and/or Air Muzzle to prevent the air from rushing past or into the cat’s eyes, ears, nose or mouth.

 Fig. 7) Once the coat is mostly dry, take off any nozzle attachments and continue drying with the hose close to the cat’s skin. Move in small circles to dry the coat thoroughly and help to push out more dead hair. 

After the cat’s coat is completely dry all over, there are several additional de–shedding tools that can be used to remove any lingering dead hair. Each tool should be used until it “glides” through the coat, this way the dead hair is removed but the skin isn’t agitated by excessive brushing or pulling. 

Fig. 8) A metal comb with staggered teeth can be used all over the cat’s body, legs, tail, underside and head. Comb with the direction the hair is laying in short strokes as you hit any resistance. The comb should be able to glide smoothly along the coat before moving on to the next step. 

Fig. 9) The de–shedding attachments for the vacuum systems should be used on the large, flat surfaces of the cat’s body including the back, sides, thighs and chest. Move the tool with the direction the coat is growing with a light hand. The tool should do all the work and doesn’t need to be pulled vigorously. 

After finishing with the vacuum tool, comb out the cat’s entire body again to check for any loose hairs.

Fig. 10) Lastly, use the natural bristle brush all over the cat’s body, going with the growth of the hair, for any last touches of hair or dandruff, and to bring a shine to the cat’s coat. 

Add a spritz of a scented or unscented finishing spray and the groom is done! ✂️


Lynn Paolillo, CFMG & Certifier

As one of only a few hundred Certified Feline Master Groomers worldwide, Lynn Paolillo does a lot more than just groom for the kitty population of central New Jersey. With more than 13 years of grooming experience, she’s obsessed with improving the lives of both cats and their owners by creating a positive relationship through grooming. Based in Hamilton, NJ, her cat-only business, Cat Naps Cattery, provides a quiet, calm (and bark-free) environment for cats of all ages and breeds. Lynn also travels and teaches cat grooming around the U.S. at trade show events, private workshops and seminars as a Certifier and Instructor for the National Cat Groomers Institute.

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