The claws are out over nail covers for cats
LONDON: They are the latest trend for cats and dogs – stick-on nails that make it look as if they have had their claws painted.
But the growing popularity of the plastic covers has triggered something of a cat-fight.
Pictures of cat owners posing with nails matching those of their pet have become commonplace on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
However, a leading animal welfare charity claims that the claw covers are cruel and suggests they are being used to turn pets into fashion accessories.
It says they stop cats carrying out their natural behaviour, like scratching.
Vets have also criticised the trend.
But one of the firms that sells the claw covers rejected the accusations – as did several pet owners.
They say that far from being cruel, the plastic covers stop a cat shredding furniture and scratching their owners’ arms and legs.
They also stop cats harming themselves by scratching excessively, manufacturers say.
The row began when Battersea Cats and Dogs Home in South London rescued a five-year-old black and white tabby, Christina, who was brought in with red claw covers.
It said the trend was alarming, adding: “Whereas painting your own talons might be a fun fashion statement, the same can’t be said for dogs or cats.
“This could potentially cause more harm than good to pets.” Vets removed them under anaesthetic and Christina has a new home.
Lindsey Quinlan, head of catteries at Battersea, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a cat come in with claw covers.
“It’s extremely cruel to inflict this sort of thing on your cat as it stops them from displaying their natural behaviours.”
British Veterinary Association senior vice-president Sean Wensley said pets were not fashion accessories.
“Not only can nail varnishes, and the adhesives used for sticking claw covers, potentially be toxic for cats and dogs, but claw covers prevent cats from retracting their claws, which can be distressing and painful.
“Scratching is a normal and necessary part of a cat’s behaviour. Pet owners worried about their cat scratching household furniture should provide alternatives, like scratching posts. If you’re struggling with your cat’s behaviour, speak to your vet.”
Most cats have five claws on their front paws and four or five on their rear paws. The fifth front claw is the thumb-like dewclaw, which helps provide better grip while climbing.
Cats scratch hard surfaces to sharpen their claws and to leave a scent.
The RSPCA said: “While we often enjoy painting our nails and wearing jewels, dogs and cats don’t understand what is happening and may find this distressing.”
Because her last cat was run over, Hilary Leighter has decided to keep twoyear-old Bertie indoors.
She fitted Soft Claws to the British short hair to stop him scratching.
“He was destroying everything in the house and I was in despair,” said Leighter, 60. “I didn’t do it as a fashion thing, but an ‘I don’t want the cat to destroy the house’ thing.
“He’s quite happy when we put them on. If he didn’t like them, he’d resist.”
Julie Azharian, 43, has used Soft Claws on her British blue Charlie, seven, since he was ten months old.
She said he used to hurt himself when he tried to clean his face.
“I have quite expensive furniture and when we were playing he could scratch you.”
Azharian said she didn’t believe Soft Claws were cruel.
“He loves it, I totally love it. My cat can withdraw his claws back, he can jump easily, he can climb easily, he doesn’t display any signs of discomfort.”
‘This could potentially cause more harm than good to pets’