Re: Is it bad/mean to shave a cat?
I have shaved a few of my long hair cats; one (Squirrely-Jo) only required a "potty patch" (shaved around her potty area so it would stay cleaner) and she and the other (Shasta) has very fine and long fur that will get snarled and matted if we aren't careful about the direction we pet them in and/or don't brush them regularly.
Those are the only two reasons, well, besides for surgery, that I would shave a cat.
If you shave your cats, you have not eliminated the shedding, you've only made the shed hairs shorter in length. If you want to reduce the shedding...best bet is to feed them a better food. You can also brush them regularly to remove excess shedding hair and control it better, but feeding cats a better diet would be the best way to eliminate shedding, other than the spring and fall shed of winter/summer hair.
*I should also warn you, some cats are just 'shedders'. My BooBoo sheds constantly, no matter what we do; brushing, bathing (only tried that a few times!) and better food. Also of note, all of my other cats reduced their shedding with the better food.
I wouldn't shave your kitties, but I would look into researching better food options.
Anyhow, best of luck.