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Should I Get a Long-haired Cat, Short-haired Cat, or Hairless Cat?

Long-haired, Short-haired, or Hairless? Cat Hair Length Questions to Consider

Dreaming of getting a new cat? One of the things to consider before you bring home a new feline friend is whether you should get a long-haired cat, a short-haired cat, or even a hairless cat. While some of this comes down to personal preference, there are a few important practical considerations when it comes to cat hair length—so choose wisely!

How to decide whether to get a long-haired cat, short-haired cat, or hairless cat

Ask yourself these 5 questions to help you decide whether a long-haired cat, short-haired cat, or hairless cat is for you:

1. How much time are you willing to spend grooming your cat?

Generally speaking, the longer the cat’s hair, the more often it will need to be brushed. Some very long-haired cat breeds require vigorous brushing 3-4 times a week to avoid becoming a tangled mess. Surprise: Hairless cat breeds actually require more grooming than most long-haired cats.

That’s because their naturally oily bodies need to be bathed at least once a week using special soap—and their ears and toenails need special attention, too! Short-haired cats are generally capable of grooming themselves, making them a good choice for people looking for a lower-maintenance pet.

2. Is anyone in the household prone to allergies?

If you or someone in your family has a pet allergy, keep in mind that long-haired cats accumulate more dander in their fur, making them more allergenic. People with mild allergies may be able to tolerate a short-haired cat. Even hairless cats can trigger allergies, but they’re probably the safest choice for pet-sensitive people who long for a cat.

3. Do you mind a mess? Fluffy cats leave their fluff … everywhere.

Long-haired cats can mean major hair — everywhere. If you’d rather skip the lint rollers and heavy-duty vacuum cleaning, a short-haired cat may be for you! Hairless cats don’t shed—but they do leave an oily residue on furniture and fabric, so keep that in mind when considering the mess factor.

4. Are you hot-blooded?

You’ll be happiest if your thermostat matches that of your new cat. Long-haired cats are most comfortable in cool environments; hairless cats require very warm rooms and/or heated sleeping surfaces.

Don’t just think about yourself—if you have other animals with specific temperature needs, make sure your new cat will fit in with the crowd. If you’re looking for a cat that’s not too picky about its thermostat settings, go with a short-haired cat.

5. Are you ready for a serious commitment?

Every pet is a commitment, and the decision to bring a new cat into your home should never be made lightly. However, some cats are more demanding of your time, attention, and money than others.

Besides needing special care for their skin, hairless cats are known for being very vocal and attention-hungry. Make sure you’re up for the challenge! Long-haired and short-haired exotic breeds vary widely in their need for special care, so do your homework before you settle on a particular breed.

There’s no such thing as a bad cat—just bad matches between cats and pet parents. Spend some time thinking about whether to get a long-haired cat, short-haired cat, or hairless cat, and you’ll be on your way to a feline match made in heaven. To learn more about caring for a new cat, check out our A-Z Guide to Cat Adoption.

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