Animals or Toys?
A couple of years ago there was some controversy when a UK animal charity spoke out about the use of dog and cat claw covers as a fashion statement by many pet owners. It was apparently an increasing fad which many felt unnecessary and detrimental to the animal, while others could see no wrong in it. Since then there has been little coverage of it but the internet and social media is still littered with images and adverts.
There are many sides to the argument with animal welfare advocates and some veterinarians against the practice while owners and the pet trade see no wrong. Veterinarians in the USA, where declawing cats is a common practice, feel their use is a valuable tool in persuading owners not to declaw their cat.
“Claw caps can be effective if applied correctly. Unfortunately, in the U.S. declawing is legal and common. For some this is the only way we, as veterinarians, can convince people not to declaw their cat. With proper application cats indeed can retract their claws with caps on, I have seen hundreds of them do it”Nicole Martell-Moran, Feline Medical Centre, Houston.
Claw caps are usually applied by owners super-gluing them onto the claws but this can lead to them being attached incorrectly. Both the glue and caps are easily available on the internet from Amazon and ebay. Covers are not always used as a fashion statement, but to stop the cat destroying or damaging the furniture and soft furnishings. Those against the practice allege that if attached incorrectly, they often cannot fully retract their claws.
Manufacturers and owners state that the caps stop cats from hurting themselves when washing and avoids their owners getting scratched arms and legs when playing. They also stop the cats damaging their furniture and they insist it doesn’t affect their natural behaviour.
Others point out that scratching is all part of owning a cat, is part of their natural behaviour, that claws are useful during self-grooming and that they help a cat to mark their territory.
For many owners, particularly the young, it is a purely selfish act and a fashion fad to satisfy the whim to display their pets on social media. Unfortunately with all such fads and crazes there is no way of convincing them of the wrongs as most just see it as a piece of fun. It is just another facet of our modern relationship and attitude towards our pets.