Several animal welfare charities and the voice of vets in the UK have expressed concern over a bizarre new cat grooming trend called dino-paws.
Cat owners across the world have posted pictures online, particularly on Instagram, of their feline companions sporting a ‘dragoncut’ or ‘dinocut’.
The trend involves cutting fur to resemble the spikes of a dragon or dinosaur.
The Insta-cat @mr_cheeto_meowstache posted: Dragon or Dinosaur? 🐉🦖 Dinocat #dinocut #dragoncut #covidkindness #bored
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “It’s great that people want to spend quality time with their pets but important for owners to understand that some of the things they enjoy may be distressing for their cats who don’t understand what is happening to them or why.
“Our pets are living creatures and dyeing them and shaving their fur in this way sends out a worrying message that they could be viewed as novelty accessories rather than as intelligent, sentient animals.
“Even if a dye is marketed as ‘pet friendly’, we would strongly advise against it, as pets could potentially find being held and restrained whilst the dyeing/painting process is undertaken very stressful.
“If you want to spend some time with your cat, why not treat them to a new wand toy or activity feeder, spend some time together on the sofa or give them some nice treats to eat.”
Commenting on the apparent shaving and grooming trend, the British Veterinary Association president, Daniella Dos Santos, said: “A cat’s fur serves an essential purpose which is to provide insulation and protection.
“Any attempt to remove or shave a cat’s coat for aesthetics, or any other reason than advised or performed by your vet, can have damaging effects on their health and welfare as well as inhibiting their natural need to groom.
“We have a social responsibility to look after the health and welfare of the animals under our care and respect the five animal welfare needs, including that of protection from pain or suffering.
“It is paramount that influencers and advertisers promote responsible pet ownership and positive animal health and welfare outcomes in any content they choose to share in the wider media and online.”
From the Tiger King to Nadia, a four-year-old female Malayan Tiger at the Bronx Zoo that tested positive for the coronavirus, it seems cats are making all the headlines during lockdown.
However, recent news coverage of the dino-paws trend has faced backlash from Cats Protection.
In an open letter, the charity outlined its position following an article in the Daily Mail: “As the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, Cats Protection was very concerned to see the Dinopaws story, which featured photographs of cats with shaved, dyed fur to make them look like dinosaurs.
“Cats should never be used for human entertainment and it’s important to note that their fur has a specific purpose – to provide insulation and protection – and any manipulation is a potential welfare issue, not least because it will inhibit their natural need to groom.
“Cats face enough welfare issues without articles like this so we ask that you remove the story immediately to avoid promoting a foolish ‘trend’ at a time when people are staying at home, potentially with little to keep them occupied.”
Photo credit: @mr_cheeto_meowstache