by Finn Frode
Note: this article was written by a valued guest, Finn Frode. It is his opinion. People have different opinions about claw caps. Please see the more than 70 comments for their viewpoints. Note: this page has been re-dated to bring it forward.
The picture is snipped from a recent article in the periodical issued by the Danish cat shelter "Inges Kattehjem". I hope they don't mind me borrowing it for a good cause...
The story is that a young Canadian lady had temporarily placed her cat at the shelter. While housed there, the shelter staff noticed those little blue caps on it's claws and wondered what they were for.
When confronted the lady told them that the cat sometimes suffered from convulsions that might cause it to harm itself and therefore her vet had recommended declawing. Knowing that this practice is illegal in many countries, the lady asked for an alternative and the cat ended up with these so-called "claw caps".
The young lady only wished the best for her cat, so after talking things over with the shelter staff, she wisely decided to have the claw caps removed from the cat immediately and instead seek proper medical treatment for the convulsions.
The shelter sees this case as the classic example of how you can do your pet a disservice in good faith - even when advised by somebody, who should be an authority like the vet.
Here in Denmark claw caps would no doubt be illegal, as they "cause considerable inconvenience to the animal" - that's at least the point of view of the shelter, who noticed that the caps seemed to prevent the cat from retracting it's claws.
If you google "claw caps" and "cats", you'll find some companies that offer these things. It's claimed that the caps do not "interfere with the normal extension and retraction of claws". But I somehow doubt that, because all the pictures show cat paws with those little caps sticking far out instead of being properly retracted...
Using claw caps is not as cruel as declawing, but it still seems like mutilation to me. It prevents the cat from following it's natural instincts by scratching and maybe climbing the scratching pole - and also from protecting itself. And each cap must be renewed every 4 or 6 weeks in a procedure lasting up to 5 minutes per claw while the glue dries. I doubt my big old moggie would ever have the patience for that...
Instead spend two minutes every two weeks trimming the claws on the front paws - it's really that easy once the both of you have gotten used to the procedure. And of course get one or more scratching poles that allows your cat to really stretch out.
Did you find this article useful and interesting? Can it be improved? Please tell me in a comment. I am always keen to improve the site for animal welfare and reader enjoyment.