The Shaved Maine Coon
Is The Lion Cut Ok for Coonies?
Many people wonder, is it ok to shave a Maine Coon? A shaved Maine Coon usually refers to giving them a 'lion cut.' With all that fur of varying lengths, it's no wonder Maine Coon owners are curious about the lion cut.
The Shaved Maine Coon Typically Refers to The Lion Cut
What is the Maine Coon Lion Cut?
While most folks are familiar with haircuts for dogs, you may be surprised to learn it's not that uncommon to shave a Maine Coon Cat. Even though that shaggy, beautiful coat is an integral part of a Maine Coon's appearance!
The lion cut refers to a particular grooming style, where the cat’s fur is shaved, leaving a 'lion’s mane' and furry head, feet and tail tip - leaving him or her looking like a little lion.
Why Shave a Maine Coon?
There are two reasons, or times, you may see a shaved Maine Coon. One is in the heat of the summer months. Some folks feel that their cat is too hot, and he'll be much more comfortable without all that long hair.
The other common reason for the lion cut is when it's used as a solution to severe matting, as in the case of a rescue, or to avoid matting in cats who resist regular brushing.
Should Maine Coons be Shaved?
This can be a bit of a hot topic! There are loving pet parents with the best intentions who have their beloved Coonie shaved from time to time, and report how much happier and more comfortable their freshly shaved Maine Coon is, strutting his or her stuff and showing off their sassy new look.
Then there are other cat lovers who reply by pointing out that there is no actual need to shave a Maine Coon Cat, and that it probably does more harm than good. So which is it?
Does a Maine Coon Need a Lion Cut For Hot Summers?
These cats certainly do have thick coats. The vast majority of Coonies are indoor cats.
This is highly encouraged by both veterinarians and breeders. (In fact, many breeders include this clause in the adoption agreement that new families sign.)
Since our homes are kept to a comfortable and livable temperature for us humans, it goes to reason that any home we can tolerate during the summer is suitable for our cats - long coats and shorter hair alike.
The best way to keep them comfy is to keep them inside. They don't need to be shaved for summer.
They are very good at finding cool spots to 'chill out' when temperatures rise. In a non-air-conditioned house this can mean basements, tile or cement floors, etc.
They will avoid sun-heated spots, and as long as they have fresh water, even cat breeds with a long, luxurious coat will be just fine indoors on hot summer days, even in warmer climates (where air conditioning is more likely in place).
For those with an outdoor cat, it's important to know how vital their thick fur really is! A Maine Coon's fur serves multiple purposes.
Their guard hair (that shorter, shinier outer top layer) helps keep them dry, provides sensory input, (think of a cat squeezing through a spot with sharp edges), and protects them from cuts and injury should they get too close to a hazard.
It also protects them from sunburn, which is a real and serious danger for certain types of cancer, not to mention sunburns are painful.
When temperatures get really high, the inner layers of fur closest to the skin act as a buffer - it holds cooler air closer to the skin and protects the skin from extreme heat.
Think of a fluffy cat who can lay for hours by a blazing fire, yet if a person tried to do the same thing their skin would be stinging within minutes!
A shaved Maine Coon is also exposed to getting insect bites, and actually can become hypothermic if he gets wet, or evening temperatures drop.
Health Concerns for a Shaved Maine Coon:
- Sunburns/Skin Cancer
- Cuts and Scratches
- Insect Bites
- Stress and anxiety from lack of sensory input, ability to communicate (think puffy tails and "mohawk" backs)
- Hypothermia, under certain conditions
To avoid these health issues, if you choose to go ahead with a Maine Coon lion cut, experts recommend keeping your fur-kid indoors after the shave.
Does a Maine Coon Need a Lion Cut to Keep Mats At Bay?
No, they don't. But there's no doubt about it, Coonies do mat. And, there are cats who simply will not be brushed - at all.
Sometimes, even the most conscientious pet owner will find that their cat has mats needing to be shaved off.
On the occasion that regular grooming hasn't done the trick, or isn't even an option, there's nothing wrong with shaving or clipping off a cat's mats.
For owners of that 'special kitty,' no amount of advice such as "get in a good brushing on a weekly basis!" or "have a grooming session on a regular basis" or "brush a little at a time" means anything.
I can suggest a mat splitter, bribing with treats, avoiding sensitive areas, grooming tips and various brushes, but there are cats who simply will not accept or tolerate even a little grooming.
Often this is a rescue kitty who fully and vehemently resists any brushing. These families opt to go to a professional groomer every so often for a lion cut. And of course, there's nothing wrong with that!
When my cats were older, especially Alice, I was surprised how quickly mats showed up on her underside. She was stiff, sleepy, and not grooming herself like she used to. We used electric clippers, and tag-teamed her to make it quick.
We gave her lots of pets and reassurances and shaved those chunks right off. Oh my goodness how happy she obviously was after! She would roll around on the floor, stretching her full length and showing her belly.
There were other times we'd shave off a mat here or there, usually on the neck, 'armpit,' or bum.
We never did the lion cut, but I can attest to the physical relief a cat has when mats are removed. Mats are painful. They pull on a cat's skin and make them miserable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) About a Shaved Maine Coon:
Are Lion Cuts Good For Cats?
Not particularly. If a cat Is heavily matted, shaving is good for them - and in many cases, the only way to remove the mats. A full lion cut is cute but unnecessary. It's ok to do, but not particularly "good" for them, specially if they are going outside.
How Long Does it Take For Shaved Maine Coon Fur to Grow Back?
It will really seem like a long time, and have you wondering if they'll ever grow it back! In around 3 months, your Coonie may have the length of short-haired cats.
Actually, this is the only time you'll ever see a 'short-haired Maine Coon!' It could take a year, or even years, though, for them to fully regain that glorious multi-length healthy coat that this breed is celebrated for.
Do Cats Get Depressed When Shaved?
Your cats reaction to being shaved will depend on his temperament. Many cat owners report that their newly shaved Maine Coon is very happy, and shows off the new look.
They may simply feel relief, if they had mats! This encourages the family to do it regularly. Others do report their kitty hiding and acting embarrassed.
Cats don't feel human emotions of embarrassment or depression the same way we do, but they can be traumatized by the experience and feel insecure and unsafe without mother nature's layer that they are so accustomed to.
How Often Should a Cat Get a Lion Cut?
If you've opted for the lion cut, it depends on your goals. To maintain the look, you may need to take your long-haired cat to a professional cat groomer every 8-12 weeks.
This keeps the cut, and keeps your cat familiar with the groomer so it's a less scary experience (hopefully). If the goal is to get the mats off, just once.
If it's to use the lion cut in place of brushing, some owners have success getting it done every 4-6 months. For folks who do it to help their kitty cool off, they usually do it seasonally.
Are Cats Cold After Being Shaved?
They can be. It completely depends on the environment they are in. Even in hot climates, nights can be surprisingly cool.
Cats use their coat to thermoregulate, or regulate their internal temperature. If they lose their fur, they lose this ability. For those who have a shaved Maine Coon for summertime, it may sound counterintuitive, but they can more easily become overheated, and likewise, too cold.
How Do You Give a Cat a Lion Cut?
Unless you are skilled with clipping animals, especially cats, I recommend always going to a professional cat groomer. A cat's skin is very thin and delicate. It's easy to nick or cut them.
They will be squirmy and uncooperative, and groomer have the experience and equipment to get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Is Shaving a Cat Cruel?
There are those who consider it inhumane, because it's ultimately unnecessary (except in cases of severe matting), can result in skin problems, nicks or cuts, and traumatize a kitty.
Much like other augmentation that's done to animals and children, there are folks who think it's ok, and those who are staunchly against it. It's really a matter of opinion.
I'd like to think that when I see a shaved Maine Coon, his or her family knows what's best in their situation and for their cat's personality. We love our Coonies!
What do you think? Share your experiences with the lion cut in the comments!