Do cats become self-conscious when shaved?

The answer is no because cats aren’t self-conscious (self-aware), period. I could leave it there because anything else is strictly unnecessary.

Persian cat with lion cut

Persian cat with lion cut. Photo: De Gustafson

However, the question is really on the topic of whether cats feel embarrassed by a lion cut. And once again the answer is no. Embarrassment relies on the ability to be self-aware. You have to know that you exist and be able to observe yourself and comment on yourself.


It is pretty well universally agreed that cats can’t do this. I have read a lot about this from excellent cat ‘experts’ with backgrounds in zoology and other sciences. Currently the evidence is not there to allow us to say that cats are self-aware and therefore able to feel embarrassed when given a lion cut.

De Gustafson gave her Persian cat, Bob, a lion cut because she lives in Florida and it is very hot. That is fair enough.

After the cut the other family cat understandably no longer recognised him and hissed at him. I think this hostile reaction from a formerly friendly cat was mainly because Bob smelled of perfume for some reason. Perhaps the groomer has dusted him with talcum powder or something.

Cat shaved because he is old

This is Midge whose human guardian had him shaved because he is old and does not groom himself that well. He is an indoor cat. Photo: Karin Cozzolino

When friendly cats can no longer recognise their buddies because their body scent has changed significantly they treat them as strangers and hiss at them. It is about scent not sight (visual appearance).

But this would not make Bob embarrassed and self-conscious. Although De Gustafson believed that Bob was made self-conscious by the attentions of his feline mate and the family dog who licked Bob. I am afraid she is wrong.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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1 Response

  1. R M says:

    I don’t understand. Cars have survived in hot climates without being shaved. Look at the Sphinx. It must indicate cats were in Egypt…often reputed to be hotter than Florida. Costs protect cats….and then the stubble. Lots of cool water and shade….and AC (doesn’t everyone in Florida have that?). I’m opposed and I have a Sphynx.

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