Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Behavioural Solutions: Clawing, and Product Preview
I was raised, for the majority of my childhood, as a single child, in a 2 story condominium. My family shared 3 walls with other tenants, and called an 8' x 6' slab of concrete it's yard and patio. While neighbors certainly had dogs of varying sizes, my mother found it best to keep pets specific to the feline variety. She has a big heart, and was constantly rescuing cats with low chances of adoption. Often this meant adult cats, or even sick cats, who simply needed a home to live out the rest of their lives with comfort and love. However, there was one common practice, she exercised with each cat, that I have always been staunchly against; de-clawing.
You see, much like the argument which rages on regarding various breeds of canine, and their aggressive capabilities, I feel a great portion of any pet's behavior is due, widely in part, to the owners actions. While not all cats are adopted as kittens (when they are arguably easiest to mold and train), or even come from an indoor lifestyle that is primarily domesticated, clawing is a behavior that can be addressed through training and non drastic responses. Oftentimes, when a cat is exhibiting excessive clawing it is due to an increased amount of stress at home, or (most common) the lack of proper grooming attention on the part of the owner. While it can be just as traumatic, clipping a cat's nails, regular reinforcement, and a regimen can help your cat view the occasion as less of a punishment, and even a bonding time.
When our household recently grew by one feline (Frankie), I began researching harm-free methods of temporarily disarming Truffles. I was unsure of how she would interact after introduction to Frankie, and wanted to ensure any wayward swats would not draw blood (thankfully we never ended up having any cat fights!) What I discovered was an interesting concept known as Cat Nail Caps, which serve multiple purposes, from cosmetic accent to claw behavioral training, and animal safety. Available in several sizes (generally determined by the weight of your cat), cat nail caps temporarily glue on top of your cats existing nails. They act as a rounded, soft plastic nail extension. Not only do they look adorable on Ms Truffles, but I've noticed that she seems to enjoy this much more than having her nails trimmed short. She can still swat and grasp, but there are no sharp or slick edges to cut or tear (fabric or flesh). Want to know more about cat claw caps? Check back soon for our ManiPeti review!