The claws are out over nail cov­ers for cats

The Star Late Edition - - NEWS -

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’

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