A warning to pet owners about claw covers

11 JULY 2017

An alarming trend is gaining popularity on social media in which pet owners are giving their dogs and cats ‘manicures’ to match their own nails.

Image of Christina the cat undergoing surgery to remove her claw covers

Whereas painting your own talons might be a fun fashion statement, the same can’t be said for dogs or cats. We want to raise awareness of this dangerous rising trend for matching manicures that could potentially cause more harm than good to pets.

Last month, Christina, a five-year-old tabby and white domestic short-hair cat, was brought into the rescue centre in London with red claw covers. The staff at Battersea were unsure how long poor Christina had endured these.

Preventing claw retraction

Claw covers are directly glued on to each individual claw, meaning they’re firmly fixed. Christina would not have been able to fully retract her claws, stopping her from displaying natural behaviours.

Our vets immediately made the decision to have these removed but the procedure would have represented a very stressful experience for Christina to undergo while she was conscious, so our staff had no choice but to put her under anaesthetic to safely remove the covers.

Pets are not fashion items

Lindsey Quinlan, Head of Catteries at Battersea, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a cat come in with claw covers and we’re concerned that this craze is becoming increasingly popular with pet owners. It’s extremely cruel to inflict this sort of thing on your cat as it stops them from displaying their natural behaviours.

“It’s worrying that claw covers for both cats and dogs can be so easily sought from the internet. Pets are not fashion items. We want to spread the message that claw covers are unnatural for both cats and dogs.”

Some pet owners may be less concerned about having a colour co-ordinated pet and more interested in using claw covers to prevent their pet scratching their furniture. Lindsey adds:

“Anyone thinking about rehoming a cat needs to think carefully about what this means and realise that scratching is part and parcel of owning a cat.

"Scratching is a natural behaviour for a cat as it helps maintain their claws so they can effectively groom themselves by using their nails as a comb. Scratching also helps a cat leave its scent to mark its territory. There are alternative ways to keep your cat from scratching your household furniture – for example, providing a suitable scratching post which should be tall enough to allow your cat to fully stretch. Horizontal scratching surfaces are also available.”

A happy ending

After her claw covers were successfully removed, Christina eventually went on to find a home with her new family.

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