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Cats in danger from social media trend

Battersea is warning pet owners not to copy the worrying new trend for brightly coloured claw covers.

A worrying trend is gaining more popularity on social media where pet owners are giving their dogs and cats ‘manicures’ to match their own nails.

Whereas painting your own talons might be a fun fashion statement, the same can’t be said for dogs or cats.

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Battersea Dogs & Cats Home wants 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 Domestic Short-hair tabby and white 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 on her claws.

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

The vets at Battersea immediately made the decision to have these removed but it would’ve been a very stressful situation for Christina to go through while she was conscious, so staff had no choice but to put her under anaesthetic to safely remove the covers.

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 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.”

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.”

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

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