Questions 6 & 7:
Boots – leave the front legs higher than back or try to have them the same height or [vary on a] cat-to-cat basis?
Boots- blend into legs or just take off the long scraggly hair?
On the foreleg, it is very easy to set a straight line if the elbow joint is used as a guide. Working in the same fashion as on the neckline (back, front, sides), shave up and past the elbow approximately 1/2”. The foreleg must be raised to do this correctly, taking care not to hold it in such a way that the skin gets shifted out of place.
Next, set the line at the front of the foreleg, right at the bend of the elbow. Then connect the back and front lines at each side of the foreleg.
Reverse-shaved finish (with a #10 blade) should meet up to unclipped hair just below the elbow. This creates a very crisp, defined line. Check to be sure both foreleg lines are symmetrical.
For the rear legs, set the line just above the ankle. Going below the ankle makes it difficult to get a straight line because of the contours of the ankle/heel. Placing the line just inside the “dip” above the ankle makes it very easy to get both sides even and straight. Again, reverse-shaved finish should meet unclipped hair at a very distinct line.
There is no need to do any blending. Doing so will make it look cut and/or add a lot more time to the groom. Let the definition of the two finishes meeting up to one another speak for itself. I’ve seen a lot of blended-out leg lines on cats and, personally, I think it looks messy. My customers certainly prefer the crisp definition to a more obscured blended off leg line – they say it looks neater. I’ve listened to that feedback over the past 13 years and performed my grooms accordingly. It has certainly paid off! More than I could have ever dreamed!
(Both “Cat With a Mat” dvd and the Ultimate Cat Groomer Encyclopedia cover the lion cut techniques and line placements. Both can be found on the NCGIA website under “Products.”)