Bizarre: cat claw caps surgically removed under anaesthetic

Cat claw caps are vinyl sheaths which a cat owner glues to their cat’s claws to prevent their cat from scratching. In the UK, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home state that they are a cruel fashion statement. They released a photograph of a cat, Christina, being operated on by a veterinarian in order to remove claw caps. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home describe claw caps is extremely cruel and a craze. This is strong language from a very well respected rescue organisation.

Apparently, Christina was the first cat that they have seen with claw caps. That is interesting because they been around for a long time. They’re sold commercially. They are used by quite a lot of cat owners. They don’t need removing surgically unless there is some problem. And therefore I am bemused as to why a veterinarian had to operate on Christina to remove them. Claw caps normally fall off and then you have to replace them.

Lindsey Quinlan who is the Head of Catteries at Battersea said:

“This is the first time we’ve seen a cat come in with claw covers and we are 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 behaviour. 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.”

Well, there you have it from a well respected rescue: claw caps are a bad idea and even worse than that, they are cruel and a silly fashion statement. Some people will disagree.

Claw caps divide opinion. Perhaps they are seen as far worse in the UK because cats are not declawed in the UK. In America where many cats are declawed, claw caps are seen as a way to prevent declawing. Therefore there is some justification for their existence in America. I suspect that this is a reason why Lindsey Quinlan so vociferously argues against them and why she had never seen them on a cat entering Battersea before.

Note: Claw caps are made by Soft Paws. They call them “nail caps”.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

16 thoughts on “Bizarre: cat claw caps surgically removed under anaesthetic”

  1. I would never use claw caps, and have always just trimmed my indoor cat’s nails, about once a month. I would first trim the longest ones, because those were the ones I took note of when she was kneading me, and it hurt. I didn’t feel the need to trim all the claws at once, and I think she appreciated that.

    I had her 9 years, and she never destroyed any furniture in all that time. I provided several different kinds of scratching posts. There was one chair that she scratched, but because it was covered in a tight woven fabric, there was no damage. I read up on that, and found a reference to that being the best fabric to prevent cat clawing issues.

    I don’t understand how cats can “trim” their own claws, when what they’re doing is removing the “old claw” to uncover the new “sharper” one. Can anyone explain this for me? Susan Gort, can you answer this? Do you ever trim your cats claws? Are your cats indoor or outdoor?

  2. My oldest cat is almost 16 years old and has never had issues with his soft paws or any of my other 11 cats and aye I have several cat scratching post through out my home,upstairs and down stairs and alot time I dont need to take off the soft paws since they come off themselves whilst using the scratching post and also none of my cats are arthritic.

    1. Your comment does not surprise me. I don’t like claw caps but they are not as bad as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home state in my view.

      1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        Having done some more research into this, apparently some people use cheaper copy versions instead of the original ‘soft paws’ invented by a vet. If they are not the right size for the cat or not applied properly or too much glue is used or whatever they can cause the cat problems like Susan mentions in her post. The fact that poor Christine had to be anaesthetised to remove hers proves that. I don’t like them (in fact I HATE them) but as I already said, they are a million times better than declawing so a necessary evil to stop that when possible. I find it very sad that people who say they love cats, only love adapted cats. Also using them as fashion accessories on cats or dogs because they look ‘pretty’ or ‘cute’ and saying the animal ‘likes them’ is just ridiculous.

  3. Okay will probably get slammed for this but I dont care,I have used (Soft Claws)on my moggies for years and if applied correctly there are no issues and Susan Gort for ye to say I have no business having animals ye need to check ye attitude,I dont use them as a fashion accessory,they are to deter my moggies from scratching my walls and furniture and my moggies behavior dont change,tis all I’ll say on this subject.

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      May I just ask if you ever tried providing your cats with scratching posts and/or pads? It’s very easy to teach a cat how to use them and let them enjoy their claws as Nature intended. Cats need to dig their claws in to stretch their muscles, a lifetime of being unable to do this because of wearing ‘gloves’ may cause arthritis as they age, just as declawing does!

  4. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    We almost came to blows over this news from Battersea Cats and Dogs home, on our facebook page ‘The International Coalition Against Declawing’ my sister and I co-founded in 2010 and which has members worldwide. Our UK members and even some Americans are totally against claw caps, but some members insist they are not cruel and that the cat can still retract his/her claws. I really can’t see how, because you can plainly see them in photos with their garish colours sticking out! Compare pictures of cats without them and you can’t see their claws at all, they are neatly tucked away in their sheaths when not in use. Also they stop a cat’s natural behaviour of digging in their claws to exercise their muscles. The claws have to be trimmed before putting them on and when changing them, so if anyone is so scared of a little scratch why not just do that regularly rather than hamper the poor cat with those things stuck on! They are a million times better than declawing, but why oh why can’t all Americans let cats be cats and accept they come with claws, which are simply another beautiful and essential part of a cat and loved by true cat lovers. I just hope and pray that claw caps don’t catch on here in the UK as ‘fashion accessories’

    1. I agree with you of course Ruth. Claw caps are a poor product because they pander to cat owners who don’t like claws and want to protect furniture etc.. Also as you say sticking them on claws is a horrible idea. It must feel awful for the cat and they prevent natural behavior. It seems that they are disliked more in the UK than the USA.

  5. Blood pressure hit the roof! I absolutely hate the nail caps. They are cruel and most of the people I have known to use them are selfish idiots who have no flippin’ business having ANY animal as a pet!!! I can’t tell you how many cats I’ve had to remove these damn things from their pads, apply antibiotic cream, give the cat an antibiotic pill, bandage and keep the poor creature in a cage and change bandages until the pads are healed. Or how many jerks have refused to accept treatment for the cat and take it home after the nail caps were removed. I have been retired 7 years now and just last week I was helping a fellow pet sitter with a client’s 2 cats and 2 dogs. When I saw the nail caps I went through the roof. My friend and I came back the next day and I brought my equipment and gauze and removed 1 nail cap from a pad and cut the rest of the nails from all claws, all the while heaping vile curses upon the heads of the owners. my friend contacted these owners who are in the process of being transferred to our state for their jobs. The dogs were theirs, but the cats were rescued from their grown children. I hope we got through to these morons!!!!! Okay, thank you for letting me blow off my anger at idiots.

    1. Wow, Susan, you hate claw caps 😉 Thanks for expressing your views on this product. I dislike them too. I didn’t realise how hated they were. I am surprised they are still on the market.

    2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Are you a vet Susan? You talk a lot of sense and sound as passionate as I am about letting cats be as Nature intended.

      1. No, just a vet tech for over 40 years and a former wildlife rehab worker for several years. I learned from some awesome vets how to observe the actions of all domestic pets and some farm animals, and to use common sense when dealing with pets and their people. I have also worked for a few vets that I would much rather have seen at the bottom of the ocean! For the last several years of my working life, I worked for an awesome cat specialist who used what the cat was trying to communicate rather than what the books said. I don’t think nail caps are of any use. Keep the cat’s nails trimmed or get several scratching posts, rugs, toys and let the cat keep his or her nails trimmed naturally. I haven’t trimmed my cats’ nails in over 7 years-they do a great job by themselves.

        1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

          I’m a retired vet tech too, vet nurse as we are known here. I learned most of all I know from a very wise old vet I worked for in the 1960s/70s, he was as horrified as I was when a client asked for her cat to be declawed. It was never done here even before it was banned. We rarely trimmed cats claws here either, not at work, nor our own cats over the 43 years we’ve had them, nor any cat rescues I’ve volunteered with over the years. It must be very difficult over there where so many people won’t allow cats to be cats, it’s bad enough hearing about it from here.

  6. The last time I saw claw caps be removed is due to using too much adhesive which binds it to the fur. It is supposed to be 1-2 drops but some people use more than that which can cause huge complications and can be relatively painful for the cat.

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