How to Do a Sanitary Trim on a Cat


how to do a sanitary trim on a cat

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There are a few different methods of sanitary trimming on a cat, and each has its benefits. This article will discuss how to do a sanitary trim on a cat. We will also go over when necessary to perform a sanitary trim and how to keep your cat comfortable during the process.

Cats are great pets, but the hair they shed can be a significant source of stress for owners. It is essential to keep your cat’s litter box clean and free from feces to avoid an accumulation of bacteria. How often you need to do a sanitary trim on your cat will depend on how long its fur is and what breed it is. A regular schedule would include one month or five haircuts, whichever comes first.

What Is a Sanitary Trim?

The sanitary trim is the process of cutting off the fur around a cat’s anus and vulva to prevent fecal material from touching its genitals. It’s essential to protect both cats’ health, reduce smell in your home, and prevent infections. How often you do, it depends on how fast the hair grows back, but it can be minimally invasive when done regularly.

Suppose you are not comfortable doing this procedure yourself. In that case, some groomers will do it professionally, although you should probably ask if they’ve had experience in dealing with cats before considering using them. Remember that grooming costs add up over time!

Things You’ll Need:

  • Scissors (I like to use cat nail clippers and just cut the fur instead)
  • A comb
  • Petroleum jelly or other sanitary lubricants
  • A towel

A Stepwise Guide on How to Do a Sanitary Trim on a Cat

Step 1: Determine How Much Fur to Trim

When you do sanitary trim on a cat, it is best to determine how much fur to cut by examining the area. You must know where the edge of the hair follicle begins and ends for this method to work well. You can use your fingers or another tool like a comb to part the hair until you find the skin.

Use Your Fingers Or Another Tool

Then, please note how far down it goes into his coat. This will help you determine just how much fur needs shaving off. For instance, if your cat only has some slight fluffiness around his genitals, then most likely they won’t be too long, and getting rid of most of them will suffice. However, if he is furrier than your average bear down there, it would be best to take most of them off.

Step 2: Lubricate the Fur Around the Cat’s Genitals

If your cat is very furry around his nether regions, then you may want to use some lubricant to help get rid of the excess fur. I find that petroleum jelly works well for this, but other lubes can also do just fine.

How much you need is up to you, but make sure you are generous with it, so they don’t itch after their trim. Also, make sure that nobody eats before they have finished because my cats tried doing this once and got a bellyful of petroleum jelly! Finally, if it gets on your hands afterward, make sure to wash them before going anywhere important.

Step 3: Comb the Fur and Trim the Longest Hairs

It is now time to comb through your cat’s fur and cut the longest ones off. How long you want it to be will depend on how furry he is around there, as well as how comfortable you are with giving him a trim.

Most cats won’t like having this done, but if they don’t mind at all, then I wouldn’t worry about it – keep an eye out for tangled clumps of hair and snags so you can avoid them by cutting slower and more carefully where necessary.

Your Cat's Fur and Cut The Longest Ones Off

Also, please take note of whether they have long hairs or clumps that stick up because these may need extra attention when shaving down their coat.

If your kitty has a feline friend who needs a sanitary trim as well, then I suggest cutting the shorter hairs first and combing through for any others before doing a final tidy-up.

You can also try using a little bit of petroleum jelly on your kitty’s lips to entice him to lick it off if he starts protesting too much. Of course, how you do this will depend on how patient you are – some cats need a little time to get used to the process while others have either been desensitized or so traumatized by previous trims that they can’t stand anything touching their genitals anymore.

Step 4: Remove the Extra Fur

After getting rid of all those pesky long hairs, you might want to check if there is still more fluffiness around his backside. If there is, take a comb and see if you can run it through his fur without tugging too much.

Clean Up His Sanitary Area

If there are still some hair sticking out, feel free to pluck them out while the cat is distracted by eating or playing. How much hair should be left after this step depends on how well you did in the previous ones and whether the cat has any clumps sticking up yet. If he does, make sure not to get rid of the hairs near them because they will only look pointy afterward.

Step 5: Check for Any Hairs You May Have Missed

After combing through your cat’s fur one last time, inspect him for any hairs sticking out of his coat or left behind by the trimmer. If there are still some long bits here and there, feel free to cut them with scissors or leave them up to the next step instead. How much you trim off in this final part will depend on how well you did beforehand – if you didn’t get rid of all their longer bits, then go ahead and do so now.

Step 6: Clean Up His Sanitary Area

The last thing that needs to be done is to clean up your cat’s private parts before they start matting or itching because of leftover clumps. You can use a damp cloth for this, but make sure it is a warm washcloth because a cold one might make your cat shiver and ruin the final touches.

Clean Up His Sanitary Area

How much you clean will depend on how many clumps there were beforehand, as well as whether they still have those longer bits left over which can get tangled in their fur. How long you leave it up to this point also depends on how good you did with the previous steps – better safe than sorry so take your time if you aren’t sure. These steps will help in how to do a sanitary trim on a cat.

Tips and Warnings


  • Use one hand to hold the cat’s tail straight up in the air.  Use your other hand to clean all around the area with the cotton balls and water.  You want everything to be very wet to see what you are doing.
  • Put some antibiotic ointment on another cotton ball and place it over the tip of the tail, which will keep it from bleeding when you cut off that last bit of fur.  
  • You can also use styptic powder (like particular deodorant for cats) if you don’t have any antibiotic cream or ointment available.  You sprinkle the powder on the tip of their tail when you are done to stop any bleeding.
  • How much you trim off at the end depends on how well you did in all of the previous steps.  If your cat still has some hairs sticking up, then let this be the final step where you remove them with scissors or leave it up to the next one instead.
Use One Hand to  Hold the Cat's


  • Some cats are more difficult to shave in this area – make sure you have someone experienced to hold your cat’s tail before you start trimming.  It isn’t the most fun, but it beats having an angry cat when you are done.
  • Make sure to use sharp scissors for this job.  A dull scissor will only hurt your kitty and take longer than necessary – not something you want if your cat is impatient!
  • Avoid the bony part of your cat’s tail if you can.  This isn’t easy because it is round, but try to trim the fur in that area as evenly as possible, so you don’t have to do more later.
  • Although it is unlikely that anything will go wrong during a sanitary trim, there is always a possibility if their genitals severely mat them.
 Use Sharp Scissors for This Job


We hope you have learned how to do a sanitary trim on a cat. The best way to get your cat used to have her belly and legs touched is by spending time gently stroking these areas. It’s also a good idea to get your cat used to having food treats near the grooming area.

This will increase her comfort level while you’ve got scissors and clippers in your hand. On the other hand, suppose your cat is incredibly restless or easily frightened. In that case, you might want to consider sedating her for this procedure–a veterinarian can prescribe the proper dosage according to your pet’s weight and health condition.