Maine Coon Lion Cut: you have seen pictures circulating on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Maine Coon owners are divided on the issue. Some think that this cut is cute and quirky. Others are vocal about their disapproval, saying that this haircut is downright cruel and unnecessary.
But what exactly is a lion cut?
What is the Maine Coon lion cut?
A lion cut on cats is done by shaving all of the furs, save for the area around the head and the neck. Essentially, the cut mimics a lion’s mane where all but the neck has hair and the rest of its body parts are bare.
There are a few variations to this cut. In the most common version, the groomers shave off the fur on all the legs and paws. Another variation leaves the fur on the top half of the legs, giving the appearance that the cat is wearing boots.
One variation leaves the fur on the tail untouched while another leaves a small tuft of hair on the end.
To make the mane look larger, some groomers will leave the hair below the cat’s chin untouched, allowing the fur to reach the top of the front legs. Another variation leaves a Mohawk or a thin strip of fur along the cat’s back.
The function of Maine Coon fur
Before deciding whether you decide whether to give your Maine Coon a lion cut or not, it is necessary to understand the important roles that cat fur performs.
Apart from giving your Maine Coon its majestic appearance, his fur is vital for his protection, temperature regulation, sensory input, and communication.
Do not be fooled by the appearance and texture of your cat’s fur. It may be soft and seem like it is good for nothing except for aesthetics.
But the truth is that your Maine Coon’s fur is invaluable for his protection. For starters, fur protects against the sun’s harmful rays. Without fur, your cat can get sunburned faster. And conversely, fur can give your cat a measure of protection against rainfall.
Because of your cat’s innate curiosity, he might find himself in sticky situations like sharp objects and thorny plants. If he spends an inordinate amount of time outdoors, he can become susceptible to insect bites. His fur provides some protection against all of these.
Finally, your Maine Coon’s fur can protect his skin from bites and scratches during altercations with the neighborhood cats or even those inside your home.
When looking at a Maine Coon’s fur, many people think that this breed does well in the cold. Fur does that by limiting the amount of heat escaping from a cat’s body. Without fur, a Maine Coon can be subjected to dangerously cold temperatures.
But your Maine Coon’s fur is not only good for the cooler seasons. Although it may sound counterintuitive, his thick fur helps keep his body cooler during the warmer seasons, even during summer.
Your Maine Coon’s fur absorbs a large degree of heat from the environment, preventing his body from overheating. In fact, shaving his fur can be detrimental because his body can become hotter at a faster rate because of the lack of a barrier between his body and the environment.
Communication and sensory input
Maine Coons are one of the more vocal cat breeds. It is not uncommon for them to trill, meow, and chirrup.
But like most cats, Maine Coons can also communicate through their bodies. When confronted by a hostile cat, your pet may raise its body and tail to make himself appear bigger and prevent an outright fight.
Your cat’s fur is also incredibly sensitive, just like his whiskers. This is why cats can easily navigate seemingly difficult situations. Without his fur, your Maine Coon will have a difficult time navigating his surroundings.
Pros and cons of Maine Coon lion cut
Now that you have read about the critical functions of your Maine Coon’s fur, you might be wondering if there are valid reasons to give him a lion cut.
Legitimate reasons to shave off the fur
There are a few valid reasons to shave off a cat’s fur.
First, if his fur has become severely matted, there is no way that you can remove the mats without hurting him. Here, the only viable option is to use clippers to shave off the affected parts.
Your cat’s fur should also be shaved before undergoing surgery and before treatment of a skin condition.
As you will notice with these three reasons, there is no need to shave off your Maine Coon’s entire body.
Invalid reasons to shave off the fur
There are plenty of misconceptions about cat fur that lead owners to think that a lion cut may be beneficial.
One of the reasons why cat owners give their pets a lion cut is a mistaken belief that fur can cause overheating, especially during summer.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. As previously mentioned, fur plays a critical role in regulating a feline’s body temperature.
2. Self-grooming is not enough.
To a certain extent, your Maine Coon cannot self-groom to a point that it cannot prevent the formation of tangles and mats. A lot of that has to do with the volume of fur that he has.
However, a lion cut is an extreme solution. The better option would be to brush your Coon’s fur twice or thrice a week to prevent the matting and the formation of knots.
This habit should be formed as soon as you bring your cat home. This way, he will not make a fuss and bite you when you brush his fur or give him a bath.
3. It looks cool.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And sure, to some cat owners, the lion cut looks cool or even fashionable.
But such beauty should not come at the expense of your cat’s safety and wellbeing. Shaving off a cat’s fur completely can leave him to feel vulnerable and anxious because a vital part that protects him is gone.
Simply put, cats do not like to get shaved.
How long will a cat’s fur grow back to normal?
After getting completely shaved, the rate of growth of your cat’s hair can range anywhere between three to six months. However, it can take years before your Maine Coon’s lustrous locks are fully restored. That is a pretty long amount of time, considering the length of time it takes for the fur to grow back, the distress it can cause your cat and the price.
Although there are plenty of images circulating the Internet, the Maine Coon lion cut is not that common.
A lion cut hair cut can cost anywhere between $30 to $70. If you must insist on giving your Maine Coon a lion cut, do not do this procedure by yourself. Make sure that a professional does this cut for you and your cut. Most groomers will avoid shaving near the cat’s whiskers due to its sensitivity.
However, you should also tell the groomer to avoid shaving the areas near the paws and limbs. These areas have sensitive tendons.
Leave the lion cut to the lions
Part of the appeal of owning a Maine Coon is his thick, luxurious coat. But apart from being gorgeous, that coat serves multiple purposes vital for a cat’s wellbeing.
Before considering the lion cut for your pet, think of other alternatives before opting for a measure as drastic as this cut. Take note that you do not have to completely shave your cat’s fur before the summer months. Issues like tangles and mats can be easily avoided with regular grooming.
And if you are considering giving your cat a lion cat because you saw another feline on Instagram rocking the same cut, think twice. Cats do not like it and it is highly likely that you will cause unnecessary distress.
Image: istockphoto.com / Gelner Tivadar