What is a lion cut?

The term “Lion Cut” is used by cat groomers to describe the haircut done on cats when they are completely shaved down. Professional cat groomers use a set of clippers to shave the cat’s hair very short on the body.

There are a number of reasons why a cat would be shaved into a lion cut. It is unsafe to try and cut out matting with scissors or without proper training.  If your cat is either matted or you are interested in getting a Lion Cut done, it is best to seek out a qualified professional cat groomer.

 

 

What does a Lion Cut look like?

This trim is shaved very close to the skin on the body, belly and chest, leaving long hair on the legs, around the cat’s head and leaving a “pom” on the tail. Professional groomers can tailor this look to the client’s preference, as long as high-risk areas are not trimmed. These high risk areas include, further down the legs and paws where skin, ligaments, and tendons are sensitive to nicking, any whiskers on the cat (including by the muzzle, above eyes and backside of front paws), and too high around the face and tail.

This Long-Haired cat is severely matted and shaving the cat into a Lion Cut is the only humane option

This Long-Haired cat is severely matted and shaving the cat into a Lion Cut is the only humane option

Who gets a Lion Cut and why?

Cats can get lion cuts whether they are long or short-haired. The most common reason for a lion cut is matting. If a cat is already matted, the best and most humane option is to shave the cat into a lion cut, then get the cat on a regular grooming schedule to prevent matting.

Regular lion cuts can also be a good way to prevent a cat from becoming matted. Matting is not the only time a cat gets a lion cut; shedding and allergies can be reasons as well.

Lion cuts are very rarely done for vanity purposes. However, many cats enjoy their new hair do's!

This cat had large mats on its back. Shaving them off relieves the cat of these painful mats. This photo is after having the matting shaved off into a Lion Cut. Severe matting can cause discoloration and scarring on the skin.

This cat had large mats on its back. Shaving them off relieves the cat of these painful mats. This photo is after having the matting shaved off into a Lion Cut. Severe matting can cause discoloration and scarring on the skin.

Who should NOT get a Lion Cut?

Not all cats are candidates for getting shaved. Cats that are elderly, or in poor health can be at a higher risk for becoming stressed or nicked during shaving.  Cats that are aggressive or combative during the grooming process can also become overly stressed by shaving which can increase the likelihood of injury to both cat and groomer. 

Prevention is key. The best recommendation is to get these cats on regular grooming  schedules so that matting can be avoided entirely. Bath and blow dry appointments can prevent not only painful matting, but also excessive shedding, dandruff, hairballs (and dangerous blockages caused by hairballs), and much more. 

Speak with your professional cat groomer to determine the best grooming schedule and services for your cat.

While a standard lion cut includes "boots" trimmed to the front elbow and back hock bone, with a moderate mane and "pom" tail. There are variations to this depending on preference. These include full tails, fuller manes, even a mohawk or a "bolero" jacket (leaving all hair in front of the shoulders). 

Are you in the Hamilton, NJ area? Find out more about our cat grooming services here, performed by Certified Feline Master Groomer and Certifier, Lynn Paolillo at Cat Naps Cattery.

Are you looking for a professional cat groomer in your area? Visit www.NationalCatGroomers.com to search for members and CFMGs.

Are you a groomer looking to learn how to do beautiful lion cuts? Check out NCGI's Lion Cut online course, we also recommend  Grooming the Aggressive Cat online courseHere Kitty Kitty DVD and Cat with a Mat DVD.

Want more hair left? Check out our article What is a…Comb Cut.