If you and your long-haired cat are tired of all the brushing that’s required to keep your feline furball from matting, a lion clip (also known as a “lion cut”) may be just what you and your kitty are looking for.
Lion Cut – The Look
Love it or hate it, the lion clip is a unique look, and it’s a dream to take care of, compared to keeping your cat mat-free while in full coat. There are a few variations on the look, but what they all have in common is that the fur on the torso is shaved down velvety short, while the cat’s scruff is left full length, giving the appearance of a lion’s mane. Scruffs may be extended down onto the shoulders – this usually looks best on cats that have shorter rather than longer coats. Tails are usually shaved short, with a tassel at the end. Or tails can be left long and full if you prefer. The legs are another area of variation. Depending on your preference, the condition of your cat’s coat, and how well your cat cooperates, the fur on your cat’s legs may be shaved short, leaving darling little “booties” on the feet, or the legs may be left in full coat. Whatever variation you and your groomer settle on, a lion cut takes your feline friend and transforms them into a miniature lion.
Why Should My Cat Get a Lion Cut?
There are several reasons you might elect to have a professional groomer give your long-haired cat a lion clip:
- Your lifestyle (or your cat’s) means there isn’t enough time for all the brushing needed to keep a long haired cat’s coat free of mats; a lion clip is a much lower maintenance solution
- The cat is having problems with hairballs. By clipping off most of the cat’s body hair, there is much less fur for your kitty to ingest while self-grooming, thus reducing the hairball problem
- The cat’s coat has to be shaved off due to severe matting; when mats are down to the skin, shaving them off is the only humane thing to do.
- Or maybe you just like the look!
What Else Should I Know?
How Often: If you decide you like the lion clip, plan to have it redone about every three months. If you prefer to go back to full coat, just be sure to schedule more frequent grooming to keep the fur in good condition and prevent the buildup of mats.
Color Changes: Be aware that with some types of coats, a color change will be revealed when the long coat is shaved away. The most dramatic differences are typically seen on tabby-type coats. Shaving doesn’t change the color of the coat, it just reveals the color low on the shaft, which is normally hidden from view.
Age & Health Issues: Not all kitties are great candidates for shavedowns or lion clips. Some cats have very thin, stretchy skin, and this makes them more prone to nicks when shaving. As cats age, their skin gets thinner and more fragile. We don’t recommend shaving cats over 10 yrs old. There are other ways to reduce the amount of hair your cat is carrying around! Your groomer can with help with recommendations.
Less Dramatic Options
If you’d like to get some of the hair off your cat, but your kitty has thin or fragile skin, or if you feel the lion clip is too extreme a look, there are two other options.
Keep the Length: Carding and Tummy Shave
A cat’s coat can be carded using a FURminator tool or equivalent. This thins out the coat, but keeps the length. A FURMinator treatment can be combined with a tummy shave to get quite a lot of hair off, but still keep a more natural appearance.
Turn Long Hair into Short: The Chenille Clip
You might want to ask your groomer to give your long-haired bombshell a “Chenille Clip.” This simply means clipping down the hair all over the body to about the same length as a short haired cat. A chenille clip leaves the cat looking much more natural – no mane, often no tassel or booties – it just looks like a short haired cat. One word of caution – special equipment is required to do this cut safely. Don’t try this at home using just regular clippers and blades. Chenille clips are a great option for kitties who are extra squirmy, or who can only tolerate grooming for a very limited amount of time. A chenille clip is faster and safer than the close-to-the-skin shaving associated with a lion clip.
Keep It All In Perspective
Haircuts on cats, and lion clips in particular, will leave your cat looking very different than normal. But keep in mind that hair grows back, so don’t be afraid to give this special look a try!
No matter why your cat needs a lion cut, this is one kitty haircut that has many benefits. From addressing hairball and shedding problems to taming the most unruly hair, a lion cut is a unique and functional kitty styling option.