Should you declaw your cat or sacrifice your furniture? This is a conundrum that has no doubt vexxed many a cat owner. It is not just a sign of a bad scratching habit either. The real problem is that some owners don’t always have the time to train cats against scratching nor do they always have enough money for a scratch post.
The good news is that there is a popular third way — Nail caps.
Also called soft claws or soft paws, these relatively new devices are snugly fit on your kitty’s claws with just a little bit of glue. This ensures the claws won’t cut into furniture without resorting to any drastic surgical procedure. (They give your cats a classy sense of style too!)
Knowing that though, there are still several things to keep in mind before you start shopping for this fabulous-looking alternative:
1. Check for any infection or similar ailment in the paws prior to applying.
This fairly self-explanatory as you are still applying a bit of chemical to ensure the caps stay on. Consult with your veterinarian for any possible pre-existing conditions about your cat’s claws before using them. They might even have a little additional insight on how to best apply it!
2. Nail caps can still fall off and are a bit tricky to reattach.
Ideally, these claws are meant to last about 4-6 weeks. However, it can be shorter than that for some digits. Expect for at least one or two to come off and get ready to re-apply new ones on occasion. It may be more comfortable for your cat compared to trimming but it still takes practice.
3. Take note of your cat’s claw sizes and make sure the caps match.
In case you haven’t realized it yet, they are indeed a lot like shoes. Your cat’s claws do have to fit in order to maximize their effectiveness (while also being comfortable enough for your cat to move around in). Using a proper size also reduces the chances of caps falling off. And in the long run, you are also expected to find bigger sizes as your feline grows.
4. Know that caps are meant as damage control and not behavior control.
These caps will not dissuade your cat from its habit. In fact, some might even argue that it is deeply embedded in a cat’s nature and it cannot be 100% helped. It is important remember tha the main purpose of these caps is to minimize the damage claws will do to furniture because of this habit.
5. It is still more affordable than straight out declawing.
Despite all the challenges to using nail caps, they are relatively minor if you give it enough time. The same can also be said for the price. The average cost of these caps can range anywhere between just $6.00 to $7.00 for a set of 20 pieces. In contrast, declawing is a surgical procedure that can cost hundreds. That is not even including the cost of permanently damaging a part of your cat’s body!
Overall, nail caps are indeed a nice alternative if you have not the energy to train cats against scratching but cannot afford to scratch-proof your entire household. Just make sure you know the basic facts about them before trying them on. That way, your cat will not only look fabulous but you will also feel fabulous about it!