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(207) 846-6515 H
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(207) 846-6515

DERMATOLOGY: GROOMING FOR CATS - FUR MATS AND THE LION CUT

YVCipedia DERMATOLOGY
GROOMING CATS - FUR MATS AND THE LION CUT

A cat clip, commonly called a lion cut, is a very common procedure at YVC. It is popular among cat owners, many of whom now bring their cats in on a regular basis for this grooming. It also seems to be much-appreciated by cats; their owners often report that their pet feels happier and more energetic after a clip.

MATTED FUR
Sometimes we clip cats that have no matted fur as a preventive measure. This is a good reason for a lion cut. Usually, though,  we clip a cat because it has matted fur. 

Fur mats are at least uncomfortable and sometimes very painful; the same can be said for combing and clipping them out - it is a procedure that is at least uncomfortable and sometimes very painful. This is the major reason why general anesthesia is required.  

A KEY POINT ABOUT MATS: The mat that you can see or feel is just "the tip of the iceberg" - the fur is actually matted over a large area all around the obvious clump. This means it is usually not possible to comb or clip a small spot or two; most or all of the body has to be clipped. 

THE CAT CLIPPING PROCEDURE
Clipping a cat is a medical procedure, not a cosmetic one. It requires general anesthesia in order to be done safely, effectively, and efficiently. We have over 30 years of experience clipping cats, and it is a very commonly requested and performed procedure at YVC. 

THE BODY  From the beginning of the neck to the beginning of the tail, and down to approximately the elbows in front and the knees in back, the body is clipped to one length. A standard length is used for every cat; it is not possible to clip the body to a different specified length. The finished body clip is typically very smooth, but sometimes there are irregularities such as patches shaved to the skin and tufts of fur. 

THE HEAD  There are usually, but not always, two options: with the "lion cut" the mane fur is combed out and left full length; with the "domestic short hair (dsh) cut" the grooming technician blends the margins of the mane fur with the cut of the body. The finished clip is typically very smooth and even, but it is impossible to make it completely smooth and even. 

THE TAIL   With a lion cut we clip most of the tail the same length as the body, and we leave a combed-out pom-pom on the end of the tail. In most, but not all, cases you can opt to have the entire tail left at full length and combed out.

THE LEGS   It is impossible to clip the legs the same length as the body smoothly down to the feet. The grooming technician clips the legs from the body down as far as is reasonable to do so for each patient, and blends the margins as well as possible. The rest of the fur on the legs is combed out. 

A CAT GROOMING REALITY CHECK:
IT IS A PROCEDURE WITH MEDICAL, NOT COSMETIC, GOALS
At YVC the reasons we clip cats are to prevent or relieve matting, and to relieve the discomfort that a long, dense coat of fur sometimes causes. We are very good at producing a cosmetically appealing result, but that is not our primary goal. 

Our finished cat clips are typically very smooth, with even margins, but occasionally there are noticable irregularities. When irregulaties occur they are not due to a lack of skill or effort on the part of the grooming technician. They are due to:
 the basic nature of the procedure - it requires general anesthesia, and it  is unreasonable to keep a cat anesthetized for an extended time in order to attempt to create a perfect cosmetic result
 the condition and quality of the patient's fur
 the patient's general health status. 

The vast majority of our clients think that their clipped cat looks handsome, cute or interesting. Occasionally a clip looks odd or unappealing to an owner. In those very rare cases there is still very  good news: it is fur, it will grow back!

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