So you want to give your cat a haircut for summer. Maybe you want to keep her cool on the hottest days — or you just love a particular cut and want to see your sweetie looking as fly as other cats with fancy haircuts. Either way, there are a few things to consider first. Then we’ll go over some of the most popular cat haircuts out there.

Does My Cat Need a Haircut?

The short answer is, probably not. Unless your cat has a matted coat, haircuts are usually unnecessary. It is a good idea, however, to groom your cat regularly as recommended by your veterinarian for your specific breed. Not only will it help remove shedding fur that would otherwise end up — well, everywhere — but it’s a great way to bond with your cat and get her used to being handled in case you need to give her a bath or take care of her after an injury.

People give their cats haircuts for various reasons: to reduce the flying fur of shedding, to reduce hairballs, and for sanitary reasons. If you do decide to give your cat a haircut, leave it to the professionals. Cats can easily become frightened of clippers, scissors, and other tools, and it’s easy to accidentally hurt your cat if you haven’t been well trained in the grooming arts.

With all that in mind, let’s move on to the haircuts!

Cat Haircuts

The lion cut is among the most popular haircuts around. It involves trimming all of your cat’s fur except for what’s on her head, neck, feet, and tail. Not only will she look more lion-esque, but it can keep her cooler if you live in a hot climate as well.

The comb cut is a simple haircut that removes all but ½ to 1 inch of your cat’s fur. It’s great for cutting down on shedding and hairballs, and makes it easier to inspect your cat’s body should she have any skin-related issues that need monitoring

A belly shave removes most of the fur underneath your cat, and is generally given to longer-haired cats to prevent matting where it occurs most. It also helps these cats with hygiene, as it makes it easier for them to clean themselves.

A sanitary or hygiene cut is a purely functional style. A groomer trims the cat’s fur around the anus to help keep the fur clear of waste that can stick to the cat after using the litter box. This cut is generally only given to long-haired and overweight cats.

There are other haircuts for cats specific to certain breeds — like the Persian shave-down — but most are variations on the cuts above. If your cat doesn’t have a specific need for a haircut, it may be best to let her natural coat do its part to prevent sunburn and skin cancer.

Regular Care & Grooming

Whether you choose to get your cat a haircut this summer, regular grooming should be an essential part of your cat's life. Ask your veterinarian about what kind of brush to use, as well as how to use it, and how frequently.

It’s best to begin when your cat is a kitten so she won’t be too resistant as she matures. It may help to use food tidbits and keep initial sessions short. Regularly check the condition of her eyes, ears, teeth, skin, paws, and nails. Do so gently when she is calm and quiet, perhaps right after a nap.

Whether you choose to get your cat a haircut or simply establish a regular grooming routine, we wish you and your cat a cool and comfortable summer!