Make it easy on yourself?
Following on from the “inconvenient convenience” blog in October last year, I started thinking about products marketed to make our lives easier as carers of feline charges that may in fact be causing issues for them to coexist as happily as they could with us.
The first product I consider when I think of this subject is the Litter Kwitter. The Litter Kwitter is an invention created to train your cat to use the toilet. While I can see why this item holds appeal (noone actually enjoys cleaning litter trays, it’s just a necessity of cat care….)I also see a flaw with the use of it straight away.
Cats don’t just toilet for the obvious reason. They use their toileting as signals to each other too; even when they use litter trays. A cat covering or not covering their ablutions is indicative of their psychological state to some degree in a lot of cases. If your cat has always covered their waste and then suddenly doesn’t, it’s actually information for both you and any other feline residents that share the home.
With a Litter Kwitter, that function is eliminated; meaning a line of communication that’s part of their natural behaviour is taken away. It may sound quite a small thing to us, but it may not be to a cat.
The second thing people have been mentioning to me recently is Soft Paws. Soft Paws are in effect claw caps to lessen the risk of damage – to humans and homes – by a cats claws.
While I agree these are definitely a preferable option to declawing (if you reside in a country where that’s common practice), they are still far from ideal to me and I’d personally only consider use of them for medical purposes. The reason is this; Soft Paws are seemingly glued on, and while there’s a recommended time frame for the caps to be attached and removed I’m not sure it’s factored in that claws will grow at different rates. The claw sheaths under the caps would, I’d imagine, become uncomfortable if the cat is unable to scratch the appropriate surface to remove them for regrowth.
While these things were created to make our life easier, I’m starting to wonder if maybe we as cat carers are just making a whole new set of behavioural problems with some of the items designed to coexist with a tiny predator in our home. I’d be interested to hear people’s opinions, so feel free to contact me using the details provided on the contact page.
Image obtained from the testomonials section of the official Soft Paws site.