I have just written an article about catnip and whether it is ethical for cat guardians to give it to their cat and then laugh at them as they become high on it. It is a philosophical question. I believe that you can extend the same sort of philosophical points and discussion to giving cats lion cuts or other weird haircuts as shown on this page.
The only reason why people do this to their cats is to amuse themselves. It is self-indulgent. There is no medical or health benefit to the cat unless (and this would be highly unusual) a veterinarian prescribed it for some particular reason. If people do it they do it for themselves without the consent of their companion cat. They wouldn’t cut all the hair off their child’s head to make him look like Yul Brynner and then get some fun out of it.
So, once again, we are in the realms of how we relate to our companion animals. We are discussing whether we treat them as we treat family members or do we downgrade our ethics and our morals in our interactions with our animal companions? Because this is what it’s about. It is a downgrading of ethics. We are applying a lower standard of ethics in our relationship with our companion cats in this instance.
Many people would find this argument too serious because they see it as fun to give their cat a weird haircut. And why shouldn’t they have fun if their cat doesn’t mind. Well we don’t know whether cats mind or not. That’s the first point. Secondly these owners are depriving their cat of what nature gave them, which is a wonderful coat to keep them warm and which they naturally wish to groom. If you remove a cat’s coat from you’re likely to confuse her because she can no longer groom herself in the usual way. Further, she will feel the cold and we know that cats like to feel warm. You are also changing the way the cat feels generally.
When people do this they don’t know how it affects their cat psychologically. It might not be a problem to their cat but it might be and we should respect the cat and not do it for that reason alone.
P.S. You can only give cats these haircuts when sedated. Potentially this carries a health risk; another ethical issue.