Cat lion cut – do some cats really like it?

cat lion cut

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I am not sure about the cat lion cut. It is quite popular and on occasions is carried out by a veterinarian who may put the cat under a general anaesthetic. That for me is unacceptable because anaesthetics carry risks for cats – unless, of course, it is being done for health reasons such as bad matting. However, it made me wonder whether, on occasions, individual cats may feel more comfortable with a lion cut. Indeed, some individual cats may actively like receiving this haircut. It may feel as pleasurable as being groomed.

The cat lion cut may, in certain circumstances, be a good thing. Let’s look at the circumstances. Some of the summer conditions in the Midwest of America can be very hot indeed. The conditions can be quite demanding. Full-time indoor cats will probably benefit from the ubiquitous air-conditioning. However, there are still many indoor/outdoor cats in America and I presume there are still many homes where there is no air conditioning. A long haired cat living under these conditions could arguably benefit from a lion cut. As I said, though, it will depend upon the individual cat. Many cats will probably dislike the whole process. Indeed, they may be frightened of it. However a visitor made a comment on a page about the lion cut. This is what she said:

My longhaired indoor baby loves her summer lion cut. No hairballs, grooming in high humidity, or getting dusty when she reclines under the furniture to cool off. She get clipped, bathed and her nails done at the groomers every June and purrs happily the entire time (Sharon)

There are other potential benefits to this form of cat hair cut. The obvious one that comes to mind is that it will reduce the possibility of a flea infestation. It will help the cat caretaker to manage better a flea infestation. However, it should not be an easy way out of dealing with cat fleas. Dealing with fleas is far more complicated than simply giving your cat a haircut.

In some instances, a cat’s coat may be unnaturally long due to breeding for a long coat. I’m thinking of the contemporary Persian cat, for example. These cats seem to me to be unsuited to hot summer temperatures and to be outdoors.

cat lion cut cat on wooden floor looking cool
Cool and chilled out with his lion cut! Photo by moohaha

What about the Maine Coon cat? This cat is designed really for cooler climates. The Norwegian Forest Cat lives in Norway a country known to be rather cool. If this cat is transported into a very hot climate is he or she going to be uncomfortable unless the home has air conditioning? Might, on occasions, some people be putting cats designed for cold temperatures in places that are hot which may cause the cat a little bit of discomfort and which may go unnoticed?

I don’t know the answers. I am simply posing a question about how our cat feels when carrying a dense coat of fur designed to keep him warm when in fact the air temperature is already warm or hot. Is there, on occasions, a mismatch between the coat of the cat and the environment in which she lives because the cat is domesticated and being transported out of their natural environment? I’m just asking questions, questions that are rarely asked. The point is, cats hide their discomfort very well. We don’t know if our cat is feeling uncomfortable because her coat is too long for the climate in which she lives.

Photo credit top of page: Photo copyright Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

28 thoughts on “Cat lion cut – do some cats really like it?”

  1. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA

    I would never shave my long haired cat unless it was necessary. I have trimmed her fur a little, and use a de-shedding tool to cut down on the fur she ingests that causes constipation. Since she doesn’t cough up hair balls like many cats, the fur stays in the digestive track and is impacted in her feces.

    Switching to raw food has also helped a lot with the constipation issue.

    Since it’s summertime here in California, I cool my cat down two ways. One is with a wet towel, wrung out. I lay it over her, and wipe her down, including her tummy.
    She seems to appreciate it, more than spraying water directly on her.

    The other thing I’ve found that gives her a cool spot to lay on, is gel pad that stays cool without any refrigeration. I bought one for myself many years ago, and recently saw them advertised for pets. The prices are all over the map, but I was able to buy a large one for $20 on EBay. They come in a range of sizes. I saw the same one I got for $20 selling for $70, so it pays to search for best price. There are several brands to choose from, but basically the same material. The one I got is the “cool mat” from Comfort Ease.

  2. One of our cats regularly gets the lion-cut. she is an indoor cat, so no worries there about climate. The reason she is clipped is due to a skin allergy she has, and it is easier on her with little or no hair.

    1. Ann, thank you for sharing. I am pleased that you have provided us with one very good reason why a lion cut is sometimes justified and is good for the cat.

      Your comment was moderated because it is the 1st time I believe that you have commented on this site but from now on any further comment that you make will be published immediately. Thanks again for visiting.

  3. Elisa like I said bath a cat if it is ridiculously dirty but not otherwise. They keep themselves clean. Unnecessary bathing is cruel as it causes stress.

  4. One more thing linking on from my previous comment about fur needing to lie flat; what do you think the impact of bathing a cat (unless it is hideously dirty) has on keeping the coat flat??? Not to mention removing all natural oils?? If you were supposed to bath a cat you would see cat shampoo yet I’ve never seen any here in the UK.

    Have you seen a cat frantically licking his coat down after a bath?? Well thats why he wants to get it back to how its was!!!

    Dont bath your cat you don’t need to; they aren’t dogs for Gods sake!!

    1. We had a housefire 2 years ago today. Trust me, cat shampoo doesn’t work to get soot off a cat. Dawn dish detergent in the original blue is great. We never bathe a cat for the fun of it. Furby was well known for getting into stick dirty complicated messes. He’s had around 6 baths in the past 5 years, not including the 2 it took after the fire.

  5. I worry more about the noise the clippers would make. It would be very traumatic for a timid cat. They’d likely never trust me again. I get banished for weeks for stepping on a tail. I can only imagine what the wwwwhhhhhhhirrrrrrr would cause.

    1. I agree, however, it is down to individual cats. For example, I have seen cats being hoovered and loving it. As you say, though, most cats don’t like these sorts of noises. There may be an argument for desensitising cats to human generated noise. As we know, cats are very sensitive to noise but some of the noises that people make cats find quite disturbing which is a negative to their quality of life.

      1. As a professional groomer, I use low-noise clippers and hairdryer. Our cats love our lion’s cuts. Their demeanor changes after their clip. If you know cat body language, one can tell they are very happy and more energetic afterward. We are so confident in our cuts and baths, we send videotapes our customers so they can see relaxed their cats are. It’s all about verbal and non-verbal communication with these cats!

      2. As a professional groomer, I use low-noise clippers and hairdryer. Our cats love our lion’s cuts! Their demeanor changes for the positive after their clip. If you can read cat body language, you can see how calm, happy, and more energetic cats are afterwards.
        We are so confident in our lion’s cuts and baths, we send videotapes to our customers so they too can see how relaxed cats are after their cut. It’s all about verbal and non-verbal communication with these cats! We love them so much! ❤️❤️❤️

  6. I’m not sure all I can say is if you keep your cat in good condition then their fur should take care of itself.

    If in good condition then the cats fur will lie flat which will insulate him in a cold climate and keep him cool in a warm one.

    With my MC Ozzie I keep him groomed and as Ruth says just trim off any badly matted bits.

  7. I actually use hair cutting scissors these days to give Bigfoot a trim on his skirt. A little at a time as he pemits! He isn’t grooming himself in his old age. He gets litter stuck on his fanny. His soft underfur tends to make natural dread-locks. Usually I can brush them out, but he protests. I think it hurts. If I feel a mat, I’ll sneak the scissors to cut it off when he is just enjoying the attention. He never knows it happened. And you cannot tell by looking at him. I’m sure it is helping him stay comfortable.

    I would never consider anesthesia for a haircut. That is completely unreasonable.

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Trimming a bit of fur that gets matted or dirty is a lot different to shaving the whole body, I think that is more for the ‘owner’ to be ‘in fashion’ than for the cat’s sake.
      I hope Bigfoot is doing OK Dorothy x

    2. Nicely done, DW. There are times when a cat’s fur should be trimmed. Some people will argue that the lion cut is simply an extension of what you have done although I would disagree with that. Personally, I am against the lion cut but there may be occasions as mentioned when it could be justified.

  8. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    So the cat is anaesthetised or sedated, put through an unnatural procedure to wake up shaved, possibly their skin nicked in places, the fur grows back in an average of around two months, they are put through it all again……
    Why not just ensure the cat has a cool place to be when it’s extremely hot weather?

  9. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    So first people take a cat from his natural climate and then shave his fur off to make him suitable to live wherever they choose he should!
    People make me sick! It’s all about what they want, not about the cat at all 🙁

  10. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    It is not acceptable to shave cats fur, they were born with fur because they need fur, just like they were born with claws because they need claws. Cats fur and their tongue and claw grooming of it help regulate their body temperature.
    Putting a cat under anaesthetic for a fancy cut is cruel!
    Imagine how the poor cat feels as it grows back, it must be itchy! Then what, shave it off again?
    I HATE HATE HATE it when people mess with Nature, cats are born perfect and apart from neutering which is for the cats own sake, they should be left as they are naturally.
    The only time shaving is acceptable is if the poor cat is too badly matted to groom.

    1. Ruth, I agree with you when you say that you hate it when people mess with nature. The problem is, as I see it, people have messed with nature when they transport a cat designed for a cool climate like the Norwegian Forest cat to a warm climate as is the case in the middle of America in the summer.

      Under those conditions I wonder if it is ethically acceptable to give a cat a lion cut. I know that you will say it is not and I completely accept that but creating cat breeds is already messing with nature and it may require another intervention to make the cat comfortable. I’m just speculating, that is all.

    2. The trouble is, Ruth, that humankind or a least some people within humankind believe that they are above nature and better than nature. They believe that they can improve on nature and control nature and one-day nature will tell humankind that they are wrong.

  11. I hate it, except for medical reasons I don’t see why cats coats should be interfered with at all and that includes bathing, surely regular brushing and combing prevents flea infestations, I have a feeling that lion cuts are another form of opting out of grooming the cat, shave the fur off, there goes the grooming duties. 🙁

  12. Our cats are already losing their winter mane, which naturally will thin out their fur. No lion cut for them, but our cat-dog Cujo will be getting his first shave over the weekend. He must feel better afterwards because he sure does sleep better. He has dry skin and the shampoo works much better to help that when he’s short haired.

  13. Michael, its better giving your cat a “Lion or Tiger Cut” than actually keeping a real tiger or a lion as a pet.Pet owners who have the money to splurge on their pets, especially in a country like U.S.A should refrain from owning the real big cats. I will be going on a long “Solo Tour(8 to 23-3-2014)” of Bhutan, Darjeeling and Gangtok and to p-ass my time on the monotonous train journey from Mumbai to the the North East got some books. Just glanced through the photographs of the autobiography of Mike.Tyson titled “Undisputed Truth” in which in one photo he is shown walking his pet white tiger “Kenya” !Remember President George.W.Bush had a pet cat named “India” which caused lots of controversy although the cats name “India” had no connection to the country “India”, being named after a prominent U.S sportsman.The World knows that Mike.Tyson barring boxing and controversial theatrics is a intellectual dud and this book is a collaboration written with the help of Mr Larry.Sloman.I will be reading this thick book on my train journey as i was and still a fan of “Boxing” with Mike.Tyson and Manny Pacquiáo being my heroes of the present era.What is Mikle.Tyson trying to prove by keeping a white tiger as a pet and naming it “KENYA” ? Didn’t the dud know that there are no tigers in the continent of Africa ? In the photo he is shown walking the young white tiger “Kenya” dressed in a sports T-shirt and shorts. More like a pet dog on a leash! Wonder if he still has “Kenya” as a pet and if not what has happened to this once priceless and expensive maintenance cat ? Thanks to google have got the information that Mike.Tyson lost his gold tooth when “Kenya” head butted him !Its very sad that most of us humans associate the ownership of big “Wild Cats” with “Macho Image” as is the case with Tyson.Have to read the book as nothing sells like controversy and Mike.Tyson’s life was Controversy personified.
    Below is a photo of Mike.Tyson playing with “Kenya”. I presume that it is a “DE-CLAWED TIGRESS”.

  14. This is fine – if it makes the cat more comfy then good. However my one worry would be sun. With short short hair they shouldn’t lie in direct sun too much I guess because it will affect their skin.

      1. The lion cut is quite popular, actually. And it just occurred to me that it is not always, necessarily a bad thing although to a cat lover one’s 1st reaction is to denigrate it.

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