Have you ever noticed that cats have longer and thicker fingernails than humans? Humans typically grow out of their baby fingernails during childhood, but felines retain theirs until old age. This is because feline claws serve different purposes from those of human hands.
We use our fingers to grasp objects, while cats use their claws for self-defense — or in this case, hunting prey. Cats also tend to scratch themselves more often than we do. This behavior has led scientists to believe that these appendages evolved to keep up with the demands placed on them by their owners.
But what happens when your cat gets too long or thickened its nails? If you’re like many pet lovers, you might try to trim them yourself using clippers. Unfortunately, as any animal lover can tell you, it’s not easy to get the hang of clipping even human fingernails. And if you’ve tried it before, you know that cats’ nails are especially stubborn.
The solution seems simple enough just put some kind of covering over the end of each finger so that you don’t cut off all the way through the nail bed. However, there are several types of nail covers available on the market. Some are meant to help protect your furniture, while others are made specifically for pets. Which type should you buy? Keep reading to find out.
What Are Cat Nail Caps?
The most common type of cat nail cover is called a “pet nail cap,” which comes in two varieties: the standard variety and an extended wear version. Standard caps consist of a thin plastic ring with a rubber gasket around one edge. Extended wear versions look similar except that they have Velcro fasteners instead of a rubber band.
Both styles fit over your fingertips snugly, and both provide protection against scratching posts or other surfaces. In addition to protecting your house from scratches and dents, pet nail caps can save you money on furniture polish and repair services.
Pet nail caps aren’t particularly comfortable. Because of their small size and tight fit, they’re hard to move around without dislodging the cap. Even worse, since they only cover part of your finger, wearing them makes typing painful. For this reason, people will usually switch between multiple keyboards depending upon whether they’re wearing their caps or not.
As a result, you may want to choose a keyboard layout that allows you to rest your hand naturally when you’re wearing your caps. However, if you need to take advantage of a laptop computer, you’ll simply have to adjust your position slightly.
While some people claim that pet nail caps feel better after repeated use, this isn’t always the case. Since these products are relatively inexpensive, though, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to give them a shot. To learn more about why pet nail caps hurt, read on the next page.
Does It Hurt When You Wear Them?
Wearing a pet nail cap is uncomfortable at best. At worst, it hurts. Most people who complain of discomfort report feeling hot air blowing up through the gap between the cap and their fingertips. This occurs because the cap prevents airflow, making it impossible for perspiration to escape. The heat buildup can become unbearable if you don’t remove the cap quickly.
Because of this problem, many experts recommend removing the cap when you go outdoors. If you’d rather avoid doing that, consider buying an extended wear pet nail cap instead. These products allow sweat and moisture to evaporate naturally but also come with an optional fan attachment. Just attach the fan to the side of the cap and leave it on while you sleep or exercise.
If you can tolerate the burning sensation, pet nail caps probably won’t bother you much. After all, it takes time for a burn to form. Still, if you’re worried about this possibility, remember that pet nail caps don’t cause real burns. Instead, the heat comes from friction caused by rubbing your skin against metal.
Your own fingernails create this same effect, so you shouldn’t worry. Finally, if you experience severe pain, stop using the product immediately. A sudden reaction such as this indicates that something went wrong during manufacturing.
One thing to note about pet nail caps is that they don’t fit children well. Although kids may enjoy playing with them, they don’t offer adequate protection unless they’re used very carefully. Children should never stick their whole fingers into the opening, nor should they pull down the sides of the cap. Instead, they should gently slide their fingers inside. Now that you understand how pet nail caps work, let’s talk about appearance. Read on to discover how they compare to regular fingernails.
How Do They Look?
Since pet nail covers are worn outside your clothing, the design of the device itself becomes important. If you’re looking for something fashionable, you may prefer a style with a rounded tip. However, if you’re concerned about durability, you may want to opt for a straight-edged model. Otherwise, the shape is largely determined by personal preference.
Most pet nail covers feature a raised portion on top, known as a guard. This protects your nail bed from injury. If you have short nails, you may notice that the guard extends past the length of your fingernail. This is normal — the guards on pet nail caps are intended to cover the entire nail bed.
Another issue related to appearance concerns color. Pet nail covers sometimes come in bright colors, including pink, purple, blue, green, and orange. If you dislike brightly colored accessories, you may wish to purchase a black model instead. Many manufacturers produce models designed to match existing furniture, while others include decals that you can apply yourself.
Some people question the effectiveness of pet nail caps. Is it true that cats actually benefit from having their nails covered? Find out next.
So Should I Try One On My Furry Friend?
This depends entirely on your cat. First, ask your veterinarian about his opinion. He or she will likely advise you based on your particular situation. Also, make sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations.
If he’s been exposed to certain diseases, you may want to wait until after treatment to start using pet nail caps. Next, decide whether you really need to protect your furniture or just your cat. If you live alone, then the answer will probably be obvious.
If you share your home with roommates, friends or family members, however, you may want to think twice before putting a pet nail cap on your cat. Remember that your furry friend likes to scratch things, and you’ll probably wind up scratching him back in retaliation.
Finally, if you decide to try a pet nail cap on your cat, take extra care when applying it. Don’t force the cap onto your finger too tightly. If you have trouble getting it on, try sliding a pencil underneath the bottom edge first. Then, slowly place the cap over the top of your fingertip.
Once the cap fits correctly, hold it in place by pressing the pad against your palm. Now you can begin moving your finger normally. In the event that your cat chews through the cap, you can easily replace it. Simply order another identical replacement online or from a local pet store.