Maine coon lion cut

The Maine Coon Lion Cut – Pros and Cons

This is an issue that divides people. Like most things in life there is often not a right or a wrong answer.

Whether you should give your Maine Coon a lion cut is ultimately up to you but how it might affect your cat should be considered.

The Maine Coon is a large cat with a very gentle nature.

It also possesses the most luxurious coat if well treated, well groomed and heathy so is an excellent cat breed for those who want a cat with the specific intention of having a lion cut.

If you can own one in that light ginger ‘lion color’ and have it well groomed then there’s a good chance it will actually look like a mini lion as well.


Maine coon lion cut

What Is A Lion Cut?

A lion cut for your Maine Coon is a short shave of the fur in specific places with the obective of making the cat more ‘lionlike’.

A real lion has very short fur in comparison to the longer fur that makes up the mane.

Thus the body of a Maine Coon will be shaved close to the skin leaving a definite line around the newly produced mane.

Additionally you can short shave the legs and tail leaving a pom-pom look if you’d like.

Here is what it looks like

Variations Of The Lion Cut

If you don’t like a full lion cut or prefer a slight alteration then there are several different variations, all of which can be used under the term ‘lion cut’.

As the idea is to give your Maine Coon a mane, all the adaptations of the lion cut leave this essential look alone.

Thus the face and neck are mainly left alone.

You can however choose to;

  • Leave the tail fully furred or shave of all but the end to give a little bauble or pom-pom look
  • Either fully shave the leg or keep the fur longer nearer the paws to give a ‘bootlike’ look.
  • Leave the chest area alone to elongate the mane.
  • Not close shave but short shave leaving a less pronounced difference between the areas cut. This is a better choice for people who think the cat looks ‘silly’ and ‘unnatural’ with this cut.
Maine coon lion cut

Is A Lion Cut Common?

While there doesn’t seem to be readily available statistics on the number of Maine Coons with a lion cut as opposed to those without, the lion cut in nonetheless listed as a common cut to be given for cats with long hair to ease with matting.

Apparently around 50% of grooming services are for the lion Cut in some areas to give you an idea as to how popular it is.

As the Maine Coon is long haired cat it is reasonable to assume that it a common cut for the those who do professionally groom their cats.

There are also small variants, like the Comb cut which is similar.

Check out this for similar cuts to the lion cut.

The Need for Regular Grooming in General

There’s no denying it, the Maine Coon is a long haired cat.

While functionally keeping your cat warm it also provides a smooth silky fur should your cat keep itself healthy.

In theory then it should be easier to groom than other breeds,a dn the Maine Coon has a temprament suited to let you do the grooming for them.

Your Maine Coon should do a great job all by itself of keeping its coat healthy and groomed.

Occasionally though they may need a bit of help. A good balanced diet and regular brushing should solve most issues.

There’s also quite a lot of fur to shed, when the warm months come around.

a grey maine coon with a lion cut

Lion Cut Pros And Cons

So, the Lion Cut. You are trying to decide whether to give your cat the cut.

Like any responsible cat owner you are trying to figure out what the pros and cons are before making a final decision.

You may like the cut, but will your Maine Coon. Could you be doing damage? All good questions.

So when deciding, consider the following

The Pros Of The Lion Cut

a) It is excellent for Maine Coon’s who are prone to heavily matted fur.

Environments vary around the world and every cat is different so your Maine Coon may come back every evening looking like it has gone out to get deliberately knotted.

A lion cut will carefully remove many knots as painlessly as possible and will reduce the probability of it getting matted. Older cats that don’t groom as often might look a little better and healthier with this cut.

b) With long hair and a propensity for shedding the Maine Coon can become prone to hairballs.

It’s always worrying to watch, and hair removal around the midriff can dramatically cut the number of hairballs you cat will have to endure.

It’s a good choice for those whose cats particularly suffer from this.

c) Nature is nature. Whilst most cats have an inbuilt instinct to groom themselves on a daily basis, some, it has to be said, do not.

Older cats especially but the occasional Maine Coon will not seem to worry about its looks. As a result it may look like you mistreat your cat.

A professionally groomed Maine Coon with a lion cut to shorten the fur can reverse that.

d) It’s actually quite a simple and easy to cut to perform.

Whilst having to make sure you don’t hurt your Maine Coon whilst cutting nearer the skin if you want a very short shave on the body or legs it generally just involves a trim in the right areas.

With the shorter fur length then it becomes easier to maintain, for both you and your cat.

e) As alluded to earlier, it’s often a good choice for older cats.

It keeps the coat easier to maintain for the cat as signs of ageing come into play.

Any cat, including the Maine Coon will grow stiffer and less inclined to keep its fur well groomed as it ages.

As the Maine Coon is more prone to abnormalities like Hip Dysplasia it could become painful for your cat to maintain its luxurious coat.

The lion cut helps your cat out if it is painful for them follow their grooming instincts.

f) As an added bonus, your vacuum cleaner may thank you.

A Maine Coon with a full coat of fur during shedding can leave amounts of hair you could knit another cat out of.

For those with allergies to cat fur, there will be a whole lot less of it.

Maine coon lion cut

The Cons Of The Lion Cut

Whilst there are good reasons for the cut there also a handful of things that may make you think again about having it done to your Maine Coon.

They mainly fall into health and aesthetic reasons.

a) The fur actually performs a function.

If you remove the fur then that function stops and thus your cat may now experience a problem. This might be significant if you live in a very hot or very cold area.

Your Maine Coon could become more susceptible to either sunburn or hypothermia.

b) Additionally your cat is used to the presence of fur.

Thousands of years of Darwinian evolutionary biology have conditioned them to behave in a certain way.

They will likely have difficulty in trying to maintain a certain temperature.

c) The fur is an added level of protection for your cat.

Other animals teeth and claws have less of an impact because the fur cushions or deflects a blow. Your Maine Coon can sense what is nearby or around it because of its fur.

The absence of the fur can leave your cat prone to scratches from undergrowth and cuts in general.

If your cat is a bit of a scrapper and keeps the homestead free from rodents, a full lion cut might not be ideal.

d) Like you when you try on a new outfit or pair of shoes, you have a look at yourself and decide whether you like the new look.

Your Maine Coon just might not like the new way it looks. As simple as that. If this worries you, try less of a shave and more of a trim, and see how your cat reacts.

e) A lion cut is normally done with the mechanical sounding nail clippers, either professionally or by yourself.

Like the vacuum cleaner, your Maine Coon maymake a high speed dart for the exit when it hears sounds it doesn’t like.

Unless you want to sedate your Maine Coon while you do it, the whole procedure might be stressful for it.

Can You Perform A Lion Cut Yourself?

Of course. If you feel confident with nail clippers and your Maine Coon is reasonably docile by nature then by all means give it a go.

I’d recommend starting with a trim rather than a shave to give you a chance to both admire your handiwork.

If it’s the VERY first time it might be a good idea to trim rather than shave in order to get your cat used to the procedure. Sort of settling in if you will.

Also, if you don’t like it as much as you thought you might, or your Maine Coon is putting up a spirited resistance then the hair won’t take as long to grow back.

Take a look at the video below to give you some idea;

Do Maine Coons Like The Lion Cut?

Maine Coons are pretty relaxed cats about most things but from a breed prospective there is simply no way to tell.

As alluded to earlier, if your cat is experiencing a lion cut for the very first time, try more of a shave rather than a full trim and see how they react.

If they are simply not bothered then you can go a bit further next time.

Look out for signs your Maine Coon is resisting what is happening to him or her.

A panicked Maine Coon is a whole lot of trouble and it’s dangerous to shave a cat while it is actively fighting the procedure.

How Long Will The Lion Cut Last?

The Maine Coon cat is a long haired cat. As such, a fully shaved to the skin cat will take from 4 to 6 months to fully regrow its hair length.

Thus 3 or 4 grooming sessions per year should keep a lion cut optimal on your Maine Coon. More frequently if you like a very specific hair length look.

Important Considerations For A First Time Lion Cut

A full lion cut done to a fully grown, full head of hair Maine Coon is a very drastic change.

Both for you and your Maine Coon.

The initial reaction from the Maine Coons point of view may not be what you expect. You may have been planning and visualizing this for months.

Your Maine Coon hasn’t.

Luckily groomers say that most cats adjust to their new look within a few days at most, often with some benefits, like being cooler that were mentioned in the pros and cons section.

I’d just be prepared for some sulking initially. If it doesn’t happen then great, you’ve just proved the Maine Coons personality.

Also, do you have more than one cat? Remember, it will look different to not just you. Check this out.

Is it Cruel To Give A Maine Coon A Lion Cut?

There are many instances where it might be, and also many where it isn’t. The best advice to would be to get feedback from your cat.

Personally I am inclined to think about the function of a cats coat which is to keep them warm.

Thus giving a very short haired lion cut to your Maine Coon in a very cold climate might give your cat a very discomforting experience.

On the other hand, there are many instances where a lion cut effectively cools the cat naturally and is perhaps more suitable for the very warm climates.

The natural temperature and your cat’s propensity to have its hair shaved should be utmost in your mind with a lion cut.

Additionally, it is not unknown for a Maine Coon to chew or bite its tail causing injury with a very short tail cut to the skin.

Also, a lion cut can be good or bad for older cats.

It may help them with grooming themselves but the skin is more fragile in an aged cat so it’s probably a good idea to consult professional advice if your Maine Coon is no longer in their prime.

a ginger maine coon with a lion cut

How Much Would A Professional Groomer Cost?

A professional groomer can charge anywhere from $50 to $80 to perform a lion cut. Obviously that is a range and can vary but that should be a good average.

There are mobile groomers which may charge a little more as they have to come to you.

If you are taking your Maine Coon to a professional groomer for lion cut it’s a good idea to make sure they are bathed and as relaxed as possible. Unless you are getting out severe mats then making the whole process as sress free as possible should be a laudable aim.

To find a specialised groomer for your Maine Coon, you can either google search for reviews or ask your local vets. I am sure they have people they will recommend.

Alternatively you can try out The Professional Cat Groomers Association of America.


Ultimately the decision to give your Maine Coon a lion cut is up to you, but at the forefront of your mind should be the safety of the animal.

Don’t perform a full lion cut if you live in freezing areas of the world and consider a short trim to give a similar look rather than a shave. The comb cut as a variation.

Thus choose the less is more approach and emphasize the mane without dehairing your cat.

However if you like the look and the your Maine Coon struts there stuff without any ill effects then by all means go for the full cut.

Any advice given here should of course be deferred to what your vet gives you.

Ultimately there’s a lot of questions here. Both vets an owners can get very conflicted on the issue.

Many vets prefer to use the lion cut to get rid of very badly matted fur on a neglected Maine Coon. Others will not.

Opinions are also divided on the new look of a lion cut. Some like it and can see the benefits, while others think it looks unnatural.

All I’d ask is you put your Maine Coons welfare first. Do right by your companion.

About the Author


My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

5 thoughts on “The Maine Coon Lion Cut – Pros and Cons

    • Author gravatar

      The whole thing seems pointless. Why not just buy a short haired cat, of which there are THOUSANDS needing good homes. ? And allow the Maine Coon cats to live in MAINE where it is a cooler environment and don’t import that breed to warm climates.

      • Author gravatar

        Short hairs are better for Chinese foods as well, otherwise you all that long hair in your stir fry! ‍

      • Author gravatar

        Don’t want to blow your mind here, but there are these things called seasons. And they have this weird effect on cold climates, where, for half of the year, they stop being cold. I know, I know, it’s a lot to take in.

      • Author gravatar

        Not all are full blooded. Our Maine coon is half breed and his coat is not silky. It is three coats and not easily brushed. He also doesn’t maintain it well or allow us to brush him. He is a rescue. In his case he is much happier and more playful when he has a lion cut than when he doesn’t. His coat is so thick and gets matted easily. To the point it makes him walk differently and stiffly. It is not shaved off just to be convenient and short hair for the parent. But in some cases, such as ours, it is to help the cat be more comfortable.

    • Author gravatar

      I have a Maine coon and I only take him to the groomer once a year. I do get him the lion cut because he is matted and older and doesn’t groom himself like he use to. He refuses to let me brush him long enough to get out most of the tangles out. He gets stressed easily. The grooming place is in a vet office and he has to sleep to be groomed to lessen his stress.

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