Should I give my Maine Coon or Persian a lion cut?

Should I give my Maine Coon cat a lion cut? In order to answer the question accurately you have to ask and answer some questions.

MC with lion cut
MC with lion cut. Image in public domain.

What is it for?

Is the lion cut for the benefit of the owner i.e. for their convenience because they like the look of it, or is it for the benefit of the cat i.e. a feline health benefit. It is hard to see genuine health benefits unless your vet recommends it. If it’s the former then you should not give your cat a lion cut. The reason why that would be wrong is because there is a risk element to giving a cat lion cut because a veterinarian needs to provide a general anaesthetic to a cat before they can administer the cut accurately.


And in providing a general anaesthetic in order to perform the lion cat, they take a risk because when I last checked, the risk of a cat suffering injury or even death under general anaesthetic was about 1:400. I’ve seen different numbers but that number sticks in my mind. Please correct me in a comment if you are sure that you are right and I am wrong!

What the number means is that in every 400 general anaesthetics of domestic cats, one will perhaps cause brain damage or the cat will not survive the general anaesthetic. So, you have to set that risk against the benefit.

Weighing up risk and benefit

If the benefit is simply the appearance of the cat to please the owner the risk of anesthesia outweighs the benefit. But if the benefit is the cat’s health and welfare then it may be justified in putting a cat under a general anaesthetic in order to take advantage of that health benefit.

You can see that it is weighing up the odds. But the key point is that general anaesthetics are potentially dangerous. Giving a Maine Coon cat lion cut is not like giving them a haircut as you would receive in the hairdressers. You have to sedate the cat and more. And I wouldn’t try and do it yourself unless you are very skilled and know exactly what you are doing.

I do not think that you will see clear-cut advice on whether a cat needs to be generally anaesthetised i.e. knocked out in order to give them a proper lion cut. You will see different answers on the Internet from different veterinarians. And it may depend upon the individual cat.

Professional groomers

You will see professional cat groomers operating out of grooming parlours delivering lion cuts without a general anaesthetic as I understand it. But a veterinarian will probably say that you have to anaesthetize a domestic cat.

Hot climates

The Maine Coon has long fur and there is an argument that if for example a Maine Coon is living in the state of Texas in America and they are living in a home which is not air-conditioned (very unlikely) then you could easily argue that the cat should be given a lion cut because it’s just too hot. But as most homes in Texas are air-conditioned, I don’t think that problem exists. Wrong again? Please correct me in a comment.

The lion cut: no, it’s not cruel


It is probably unwise to try and unpick the matted fur of a Maine Coon cat unless the matting is not too bad and you are skilled. Never trim fur with the scissors parallel to the skin. They should be vertical at 90 degrees.

It may be too painful or traumatic for the cat. And I don’t think we can 100% trust professional cat and dog groomers because as I recall they are unregulated in America and the UK. Therefore, you take a risk if you ask a professional groomer to provide a lion cut.

General anesthetic needed

The veterinarian site that I visited said that you have to give them a general anaesthetic – knock them out – before you can do it properly. As you can see the answer isn’t black and white. There are various factors to consider.

If I owned a Maine Coon and I wanted to ask my veterinarian to give my cat a lion cut I would ask them about the risk of anaesthetic and then check that answer against other professionals. It’s a big deal and requires some care and caution because in the worst-case scenario you’ll lose your gorgeous Maine Coon cat because they haven’t come around from the general anaesthetic. Or they’ve been left blinded.

I have an appalling story on my website about female cat being severely injured by a general anaesthetic. There will be many other similar stories. Great caution is required. If you can avoid a lion cut, I would avoid it. I don’t think a cat owner should put their cat under any sort of risk if there are alternatives.

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Post Category: Cats