“Why Can’t You Lion-Cut My Cat?”

Howdy all! This post came pretty east to me, as I have to have this conversation at least once or twice a day. As a cat groomer, I do A LOT of shaving. I’d say it’s about 50/50 as whether the shaving is done out of want or necessity, but regardless- it’s something we do daily. For the people who love keeping their cats shaved for sanitary purposes, allergies, shedding, etc… your cat will eventually ‘Age Out” of being shaved. This is because older cats can’t regulate their body temperature as easy, and tend to get cold without fur. Geriatric felines also have extremely thin skin (like crepe paper!), and often have arthritis in their legs. This is just a bad combination of traits to combine with a sharp, running blade on their skin. Shaving cats is precarious enough as it is (because they rarely just sit there), so adding painful limbs and thin skin doesn’t help!

“So, as long as my cat isn’t old, you can still shave it? Uhh… not necessarily. Let’s start with cats that are noise reactive. I had one of these in the shop the other day. I always start on the belly to see what the cat will ‘allow’ me to do. As SOON as I turned on the clippers- it was ON! This cat, who 2 minutes ago had been absolutely fine, basically hit the ceiling when the clippers turned on. So yeah- that was over. I’m not going to give your cat a heart-attack so it sheds less. You’re just going to have to get it bathed more frequently to get rid of all that dead hair that builds up.

“My cat has to be sedated at the veterinarian, but he loves to be groomed so he’ll be fine.” No- he probably won’t, but I’m never scared to try! How your cat acts at the vet is a great predictor of how they will be at the groomer, but it isn’t ALWAYS the case. Just think about it… the vet handles your cat for approximately 10 minutes while examining and vaccinating every year. Your groomer will have to handle your cat for one-two HOURS. It’s possible that your cat isn’t patient enough to sit for a lion-cut, and that’s okay. We will come up with another plan together!

So to recap… Here are the top reasons why your cat may not be able to have a lion-cut

  • Age/health issues
  • Arthritis
  • Noise reactivity
  • Fractious/Needs sedation at Vet’s office

There are a a few alternatives to lion-cuts that also help control allergies and or shedding and hair-balls. Plush-cuts take the fur down to between 1/4-1/2″ and use a comb or guard over the blade to do so. This means the cut is more forgiving (not as precise), and of course leaves more fur. This is a great choice for older cats who might get cold easily, or cats that don’t like their legs stretched out for the precise lines required in a lion-cut.

If the problem is allergies or matting then regular baths (every 6 weeks or so) can help you get the problem under control. Allergies are caused by dander on the cat that comes from its saliva, so regularly washing that dander away will help. Force-blow drying will blow all that loose, dead coat out, and your cat will be MUCH happier! I often have people think that I did some sort of cutting or shaving on their cat after a bath and blowout, just because they have so much less hair when the process is over- it can really be pretty dramatic sometimes.

This is a great example of the Plush Cut option… This domestic long-hair’s coat was taken down to 1/2″, which the owner reported still helps with hairballs and shedding.

This sweet boy just got a bath and blowout but WOW , look how much less hair he has- his owners actually thought we trimmed him but all that hair was just dead, loose hair that easily came off during the grooming process.

What do you guys think? Anyone out there who gets their cats shaved on the reg? How about anyone who has one of their cats shaved, but another cat that can’t be due to age or personality? Some people are absolutely PASSIONATE about keeping their cats shaved, but just keep in mind- one day you might have to consider an alternative for them.

Shannon & Whitney


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