While it might sound frivolous, professional cat grooming can cut down on mats and shedding, jump start healthy hair growth and provide respite from summertime heat. Cat haircuts can lend your cat a splash of style and help her stand out from a run-of-the-mill tabby.
The comb cut is one of the most basic cuts for cats. A licensed groomer trims the coat down to between 1/2 and 1 inch, which allows your cat to stay relatively warm in colder weather while cutting down on shedding, matting and hairballs. Besides increasing overall hygiene, the comb cut makes the cat's skin more easily inspected and can thus alert you or your vet to any skin-related health issues more quickly.
Often given to longhair breeds such as Persians and Maine Coons, the lion cut entails trimming or shaving the cat’s fur except for on her head, neck, feet and tail. The results can look theatrical, but the lion cut can remove extreme matting and keep your cat cool.
The belly shave means just what it sounds like. A licensed groomer carefully shaves the hair covering the cat's belly area, including between the cat's rear legs, as well as beneath the tail and around the anus. The belly shave is often given to long-haired cats to remove and prevent mats, and increase hygiene. Because a cat's skin is incredibly sensitive and shaving a cat's fur requires professional training, a belly shave should always be conducted by a groomer.
Primarily designed to keep your cat clean, the hygiene cut is about function not style. Also called a “sanitary cut” or “sanitary clip,” a hygiene cut refers to when a groomer trims the hair near the cat’s anus to get rid of feces or litter clumps that might get stuck in the fur on the way out of the litter box. The hygiene cut is a practical choice for longhair breeds as well as senior or overweight cats that have trouble cleaning themselves.
Don’t Try This at Home
For health and safety reasons, take your cat to a certified groomer rather than attempting to cut or shave your cat’s hair yourself. Besides having the proper expertise needed to trim and shave safely, a good groomer can help you assess the best cut or grooming option for your cat based on her specific breed, age, habits, medical history and other factors.
Elizabeth Suman is a New York City journalist with more than 10 years of experience in book and magazine publishing. She regularly contributes to "Vanity Fair" and has written for the Discovery Channel, TIME Inc. and the Daily Beast. She holds a B.A. in writing and urban studies from NYU and completed her graduate work at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.