Cat owners warned against grotesque ‘peticures’

Cat owners warned against grotesque ‘peticures’

Trend for artificial feline plastic claw caps a worrying new trend says The Vet

THE UK’S 8 million cat owners are being warned against a ‘worrying’ new trend for feline ‘peticures’.

The so-called ‘cat claw caps’ can be purchased from online stores for as little as £8 and appear to be spreading in popularity, with owners sharing pictures of their furry-friends with brightly-coloured false nails on Instagram and Twitter.

Cat claw caps, also known as Triple Cs in the US, are tiny plastic nail caps that are glued onto cat’s claws to create a nail-polished manicure effect.

They typically come in neon colours and according to instructions, cat owners can apply the caps on their cats themselves. There are versions for dogs too but cats claws are the more popular.

Owners are advised to file down cats’ natural claws to improve fit and glue life.

Packs also advise that each claw cap should stay on the nail for about six weeks and then fall off with the natural growth of the nail. A pack of forty caps should last a cat about four to six months.

Susie Nee, head nurse at nationwide chain The Vet, warned the trend could lead to health and behavioural problems for cats.

She said: “It is completely unnatural for cats to be unable to use their nails and potentially, it could lead to other medical issues.

“Male cats in general can get quite stressed if they are not able to express their natural behaviour.”

Research published in the Journal of Feline Surgery and Medicine earlier this year suggested declawing can lead to significant health problems for cats, including persistent pain and aggression. And this is probably the only time these cat claw clips are recommended alternative as long as the procedure of putting the clips on is done by a vet professional

Researchers said cats who felt they could not defend themselves with their claws would resort to biting instead.

While the false nails do not require a cat to be declawed, Ms Nee says the practice could still lead to problems.

She said: “Cats really like to grip onto scratching posts or a tree, to extend their legs and feet.

“I imagine wearing these claw covers might to them feel a little like walking on stilts. If it means they are not walking properly, it could even lead to mobility issues.”

Ms Nee says there are many ways to stop a cat from scratching and clawing at your carpets and furniture, without resorting to claw covers.

She said: “We do get a lot of phone calls asking how people can stop their cats climbing up curtains and scratching carpets.

“We always advise people to make sure they get scratching posts, and ensure there are lots of things for their cat to play with.

“Scratching can often be from frustration, or from boredom, so it’s important to make sure they have distractions.”

Ms Nee also advises people to be clear on boundaries within their house where they are comfortable for their cat to roam – and to stick to them.

She said: “If you let a cat into a room they will always think it’s their room, and will always want to come in.

“If you let them in and then decide you don’t want them in there at certain times of the day, perhaps at bedtime, then they can start scratching at the carpets and door, because they view it as their territory.

“Know where you want them. If you don’t want them in a certain place, then don’t ever let them in there.

“For someone who is thinking about getting a kitten, this is a really important point to understand. Try to get them into good habits from the get-go.”

She added: “The bottom line is cats are loving, intelligent animals and should be treated as such.

“Accessorising them to make them appear more visually attractive is unnecessary.

“There are other options so it’s important owners make sure they come and speak to someone who is a specialist in feline care, who can help.”

Grooming is offered at The Vet clinics up and down the country, with nail clipping available for just £4.99. To find your nearest clinic, visit

Guide to tackling problem scratching in cats – top 5 tips

Susie Nee of The Vet, who has a specific interest in felines, advises owners struggling with difficult cats who have problem scratching habits to do the following:

  1. Invest in some scratching posts around the house – the appeal of scratching your French polished coffee table soon becomes less appealing
  2. If your feline is obsessed with a certain piece of furniture, cover it in a piece of tough fabric or tin foil – they dislike the texture and will often walk away, unimpressed
  3. Be clear on boundaries within your house and stick to them – which will avoid your furry friend clawing at the carpet and doors trying to get in
  4. There is wisdom in taking care of your cat’s claws but get your vet or a professional to do it
  5. Finally, always treat and care for your cat as an animal and not a human – they are fiercely independent and will soon let you know if they dislike your interfering
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45 thoughts on “Cat owners warned against grotesque ‘peticures’

  1. Linda Szymoniak says:

    Actually, these have been a godsend for my cat, Moko. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism about a year ago. She’s been having issues with the medicines, and one of the outcomes was that she had an allergic reaction and ended up scratching her face and neck raw. Since she was only using her back nails for this, I put these on her back claws (after trimming them, as I always do). As they fall off, I replace them. I did NOT put them on her front paws because they weren’t an issue – and this way she can still get up on her cat tree, which is where she likes to spend the majority of her day. I did not get these to make her look “pretty” or to keep her from scratching on furniture. She was physically hurting herself, and within days of me putting these on her back paws, the injuries to her face and neck started healing up. She is now totally healed and can still itch herself without it doing damage to herself. So, there are definitely two sides to this issue.

    • Marc-André says:

      Hi Linda. Yours is a good example of when it is necessary for medical reasons and a useful tool. Unfortunately in this country most are using it as a fashion accessory. 🙁

    • sevenroses says:

      oh that sounds very very reasonable. I meant that if it is only to make a cat look ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’ it is horrible. there are too many people who like doing silly things like dressing up their cats which cats don’t really need!

      • Marc-André says:

        Indeed. Btw there are a few exceptions to the dressing up bit as well. There are certain breeds that suffer in the winter without appropriate clothing. I.e sphinx cats so you may find that those owners trained their cats to wear special cat jumpers out of necessity. The world just isn’t as black and white as we want it to be at times haha.

        • sevenroses says:

          yes that is true! but misuse always happens with such fads at least in India! declawing is a horrible reality here while in the UK I think vets are much more angelic!

    • K.S. says:

      This article mentions [or shames] those cat owners who use this purely for aesthetic reasons -as if the cat is not pretty enough without fake nails 😉
      I hope your cat is doing well now.

  2. Mollie Hunt says:

    We use these quite widely in my area of the US as a short term fix for a cat scratching in unwanted places. For new adopters especially, one round of caps gives them time to work out a better solution such as those suggested in the article. The claw caps do come in colors, but no one thinks of them as accessorizing for show. We are working so hard to enlighten people about the barbarism of declawing, but unfortunately it is not yet illegal. For someone who plans to declaw, caps are much better, and we suggest consulting a cat behaviorist as well. (for the human, not the cat.) We hope that by the time those caps come off, the humane will have grown more humane.

    • Marc-André says:

      Hey Mollie. Thanks for the extra input on this from a US point. The problem in the U.K. Is that most people just use these as a fashion statement. If used correctly and applied by a cat professional that knows how to put these on for short term fixes they are certainly a handy tool.

      If you’d like you’d be welcome to add some Ressource on using these appropriately ? 🙂

      • Mollie Hunt says:

        I’ve never used them but the shelter where I volunteer offers them as a quick-fix alternative to declawing. (Not that it comes up often, thank goodness) I think advertising has a lot to do with how people view them: as a useful resource or an (unnecessary, bordering of cruel) accessory.

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    • Marc-André says:

      The only time these are justifiable are for short term under veterinary order. The problem is that people use them as fashion statement now. :s

      • Léa says:

        Alas, we live in a world where too many will spend energy “justifying” things that are not justifiable. As for this family, the divas would not be amused and if they are not happy, this human is not happy. There’s an end of it. They won’t even wear a collar but they are chipped as are all rescue cats in France.

        • Marc-André says:

          There are some countries there collars are mandatory to show that a cat has a home. The idea behind a collar and bell preventing them from killing birds doesn’t seem to really work. 😉

          • Léa says:

            The divas never leave the house and are chipped so when they turn tail to collars, there wishes are respected. 🙂

          • Marc-André says:

            🙂 yeah same for us. We only have them for a short moment to show those with outdoor cats what’s out there.

  4. Rebecca Hislop says:

    I cannot believe that any real cat lover would want to do this to their cat. It’s cruel. It’s not pretty at all.

  5. Rachel Rose says:

    It’s interesting to hear both sides of the issue. I think humans need to remember that, no matter how much of a character their beloved furry is, they’re still an animal. If the caps are used purely for vanity then that’s irresponsibility on behalf of the owner. In Moko’s case the caps were used responsibly in aid of her health. What it always boils down to is responsible usage by the human owner. If you’re cat scratches the furniture, it’s the owner’s responsibility to train it to use a scratching post!

  6. angela1313 says:

    I rarely even trim my cats claws. They have multiple appropriate scratching places and use the exclusively. But I have recommended the caps, almost always as an alternative to declawing. Someday I hope this practice will be outlawed in the United States and only those willing to take the time to train their cats and accept their need to scratch will adopt them. All my cats were rescues from outdoors and took very little time to train. In the meantime the caps can save a cat from even more horrible mutilation.

  7. chrisscatmeow says:

    I just couldn’t believe it poor cats THEY’RE REAL ANIMALS WITH FEELINGS.First it was the bread thing then the new look shaved cat IT’S ALL DISGUSTING TO US REAL ANIMAL LOVERS.They should be prosecuted and not allowed animals at all they can just go and buy a toy and paint nails on.TOTALLY DISGUSTING.

    • Marc-André says:

      When used as a fashion accessory totally agree with you. There have been a few point outs that sometimes vets and behaviourists use it for very difficult cases for short periods of time. And in those it’s helped cats and owners but as fashion statement it has to stop. 🙁

  8. sofania says:

    At least it’s kinder than declawing, and there are legitimate health and medical reasons for using them. I could see them being helpful after a surgery, too, for instance. A kitty in my complex had been declawed and then allowed to run around outside. Poor thing was terrified of everything and would sit in the fork of a bush (he couldn’t climb any higher) and just hiss and growl at people if they approached him.

    • Marc-André says:

      Yep. In those circumstances I totally agree with that. It’s more of the “beauty” use aspect that’s horrible. 🙁

      • Zooey says:

        Whilst I agree with the article, we have had cause to use these in the past. Our Purdy had brain surgery for a tumour and they removed a large portion of her skull. She developed some kind of allergy over the area and wouldn’t stop scratching – the risk was high for her getting a devastating infection underneath. The claws were fitted initially by a nurse and we replaced them until the itchiness passed. In that case they did the job perfectly 🙂

        • Marc-André says:

          And in this kind of circumstance their use is perfectly acceptable. Especially if put on by a professional initially to show you how to use them.

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  10. Susan Nee says:

    Hello all,
    Lovely to read all your comments ?
    I totally agree that they do have their place fi r medical reasons but Its so upsetting when an animal is not allowed to express their normal behaviour. We need to allow them as much freedom of expression as possible.
    Thanks Marc ?
    Susie New

  11. Dizzy Fish (@TribeOfMa) says:

    Question: why oh why did you choose photos to accompany this article that are like
    adverts for these horrible caps? Oh, lovely fluffy paws on that lovely inbred pedigree cat…and look, the colours match my purse…. Do your editors understand how a majority of internet users ‘read’ articles?

    • Marc-André says:

      Hey Dizzy Fish,

      The images were actually chosen by the veterinary we worked with for this article and the idea was to draw people in to read the whole article…


  12. K.S. says:

    I saw a woman on instagram who said she put these on her cat’s claws to prevent the cat from climbing the sofa. yes, you read that right. i think that trying to prevent the cat from climbing the sofa is stupid.

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