Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years. They are the only species of the family Felidae that are domesticated. Their domestication by humans has been attributed to the fact that they are friendly and calm. Unfortunately, cats have very sharp claws, which means they can scratch for self-defense or because it is in their nature to scratch. As lovely as our kitties are, it is painful to be scratched or to have a tear on your favorite leather seats. One of the preventive measures against cat scratch is declawing. This is a method where the cat claws are removed using a unique tool. Over the years, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding declawing. Many of the opponents regard it as an inhumane act. However, to counter declawing you can use adhesive nail caps which are considered safe and non-toxic. This article will discuss everything you need to know about nail caps for cats, from the myths surrounding nail caps, how to fix nail caps, the pros and cons, and five of the best nail caps available in the market.
What exactly are Nail Caps?
Nail caps are tiny plastic or silicone covers that are glued on the cat’s claws to minimize the damage inflicted by coming into contact with sharp claws. The use of nail caps has become quite popular over the years, a solution that has made a vast majority of pet owners happy and comfortable. The caps are easy to fix, and depending on one’s preference, it can be done at home by the pet owner or a professional. They are pretty inexpensive and can be bought from any locally available pet store. On average, they can last anything between four to six weeks. As the nails grow, the caps will eventually fall off. If they do not fall off, the cat owner needs to be on the lookout and ensure that they are replaced at least by the eighth week. They are also available in different sizes and colors to suit individual tastes and preferences. One of the red flags that you are using the wrong cap is that the caps will still be intact by the end of the sixth week, which needs to be corrected.
Myths about Nail Caps
When using nail caps for the first time, many people wonder whether they are safe for cats. This has brought about many controversies and myths about nail caps. Some popular myths surrounding nail caps are:
- They are not safe to use. Nail caps are safe to use on cats because they do not inflict any pain on the claws if properly installed. They are also safe to use because they do not interfere with the natural growth of nails.
- They prohibit the nails from retracting. Nail caps do not affect the process of retracting the claws. The regular movement of a cat is to extend and retract its nails. When a cap is fixed correctly, a cat can comfortably do all the natural movements without interference. According to Mary Molly, nail caps do not prevent a cat from retracting its claw.
- They deter natural nail growth. Contrary to popular belief, nail caps do not prevent nail growth. As long as they are correctly installed, nails will continue to grow naturally, and a cat can stretch and retract the claws without feeling any pain.
- They are expensive and do not last long; this is just a myth. Nail caps are inexpensive. On average, it is estimated that nail caps can last from 4-6 weeks.
- Nail caps are permanent and cannot be removed. Nail caps are not a permanent solution because they do not interfere with the nail’s natural growth. The maximum amount of time that a cat can stay with nail caps is anything between six and eight weeks. After that, it is recommended that they are replaced with new ones.
Advantages of Nail Caps
They prevent accidental scratches. Cats love jumping and climbing on anything they find. They can be pretty destructive if you have nice leather seats and window drapes because some cats can hang on the drapes as they play—nail caps aid in preventing accidental scratches on the homeowners’ bodies and the leather seats They are inexpensive. Nail caps are pretty cheap and affordable if the cat owner learns to fix them. It is easy to apply nail caps since every pack has some set of procedures that needs to be followed. The procedures are easy to follow They do not interfere with the regular movements of expressing and retracting claws. They also allow the nails to grow naturally without any interference They reduce the risk of infection. Nail caps are safe to use compared to declawing which usually increases the risk of infection in the cat’s paws. Properly installed nail caps reduce the risk of infection They can be used in the short term or long term. Nail caps can be used temporarily. Once a cat owner feels like their cat has outgrown the use of nail caps, they can always discard them, and also, there is room to go back to using them when the need arises. Nail caps are a good option for people training their cats to use scratching posts because the caps do not cause any damage to the paws.
Disadvantages of using Nail Caps
One of the main criticisms against nail caps is that it interferes with a cat’s instinct of self-defense, leaving a cat vulnerable to its attackers. This might be true to some extent, but in their defense, manufacturers argue that since cats are domesticated, they are less prone to attacks than cats in the wild. Nail caps are strictly for home use, protecting the owners and home furniture from constant scratches. Another disadvantage of nail caps is that they need regular replacement. Nail caps are a temporary remedy that falls off as the cat’s nail grows. After every four to six weeks, they will need a replacement. Cats cannot be allowed outside with nail caps on. Cats are amiable and social animals. The claws are the only available defense weapon for a cat. This means that if you take your cat outside for a walk to play, you will need to remove the caps, and then when you get back to the house, you need to fix them again. This is quite some work that many people may be unwilling to do. Nail caps can interfere with the cat’s behavior. Some cats may take time to adjust to having nail caps on. This might affect their walking style as they move around. Cats are generally playful animals. They enjoy climbing, running, and jumping around. The claws of a cat facilitate all the jumping and climbing. Once a cat has nail caps on, the cat’s mobility is limited. It takes time for a cat to adapt to the idea of nail caps. As they try to adjust, some cats may be uncomfortable, and they may remove the nail caps. This will initiate trying to fix the caps again, which is quite a daunting task. Other cats may consume the removed caps, which will necessitate a trip to the vet, which might be quite costly.
How fast do Cats Adapt to Nail Caps?
Cats have different personalities, just like human beings. The adaptability of a cat to the nail caps will all depend on the cat. Some cats adapt very quickly, and within no time, they will forget they have some ‘ching ching’ on their nails. Some cats may take a few days or weeks to adjust to the nail caps, while others may never adapt to the idea of caps. Experts recommend that cat owners be patient and consistent to allow the cat time to get used to the caps. Like any new idea, patience and consistency are vital. Eventually, if your cat is still fussy and uncomfortable, it’s best to retrieve the caps as forcing it will worsen the situation.
How to fix Nail Caps
There are many manufacturers of nail caps. They are affordable, but depending on the price, the more expensive it is, the higher the quality. There are several things that a cat owner needs to consider during the purchase. One of them is the cat’s size. For your cat to be comfortable, choose the proper size of the cap, depending on your cat’s weight. The heavier the cat, the bigger your cap and vice versa. Generally, there are three sizes available; small, medium, and large. After buying the appropriate cap, you must trim your cat’s nails. Trimming is quite a daunting task since cats are not like humans. It is unusual for your cat to be calm and allow you to trim or clip its nail. This calls for a lot of patience and evaluating the best time for the process. Experts recommend when the cat is on a nap or immediately after a rest since most cats tend to be calm after a nap. After trimming the nails, you need to fill the cap with adhesive glue and place it over the cat’s claw. One needs to take care so as not to use excess glue and avoid the glue coming into contact with the cat’s fur. The proper amount of adhesive does not spill over after the cap has been fit into the cat nail. If the glue oozes out, it is in excess, and you need to redo the whole process or pour out the excess adhesive. When engaging in the entire process, you will need an extra hand to ensure that your kitty is comfortable and gentle to avoid more damage that the glue may cause. After the first few hours, it is advisable to look for any caps that might fall off, maybe because they were not correctly installed.
Can I fix Nail Caps on the Hind Paws?
One of the frequently asked questions about nail caps is if you can use them on hind paws. Originally, nail caps are meant for the front claws because that is what the cat primarily uses. Cats mainly use their back paws for scratching themselves. In exceptional circumstances, you can use nail caps on the hind paws, one if the cat is fond of jumping on furniture and two if the cat is very aggressive in scratching itself, resulting in self-afflicted wounds.
Five Best Nail Caps
If you are considering purchasing nail caps, the following are five of the best nail caps in the market.
These are some of the best nail caps because they are safe and non-toxic. P Paws are specially designed for those individuals who are against declawing. It has over 40 colors available, meaning it caters to everyone’s tastes and preferences. It is available on Amazon.
VICHY Nail Caps
This nail cap is one of the top sellers in online stores. It comes in six different colors, and each set has 120 nail caps. This set gives you value for money. There are four sizes available; small, small-medium, medium, and large. It is also available on Amazon.
Scratch pause Nail Caps
These durable caps are made from a plastic blend. They are 100% non-toxic and are available in six different colors. It is also available on Amazon.
These come in two different colors, giving you the option of using the second color when replacing the caps. They are made from vinyl and are available on Amazon.
These are considered one of the best sellers of nails caps. It is available in different sizes and colors and can be purchased from online stores like Amazon.
Nail caps are a great invention. They are a genius way to protect yourself and your furniture from an aggressive cat scratch. It is highly recommended to start using nail caps while a cat is still a kitten which makes the induction process easier. As the cat grows, it will lose its urge to scratch.