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Pet Care with Hansel

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Vet Hansel answers your questions about pet care in this weekly advice column, created in partnership with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). It will also highlight each week some of the animals in the BSPCA sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them in a loving home.

Question: My cat, Mr Jinks, keeps on scratching up our furniture and poking holes into the leather couch. Is it okay to clip his claws to prevent this and can I do it myself?

Answer: It is important to keep cats’ nails in check as they can catch and cause injuries.

It is advisable to take your cat to the vet or a groomer to have his claws clipped on a regular basis. Overgrowth can cause the claws to be torn off right down to the cuticle, which is very painful.

If this happens take him to the vet as soon as you can, even if the bleeding has stopped.

Vets and groomers can also teach you how to clip claws, and give you a demonstration.

There are some general guidelines that you will need to follow.

Every cat is different and there is no set time when their claws should be trimmed. Approach the task calmly and understand that you may not trim all of his claws at one time and may need a second or even third sitting.

Do not trim the claws when your cat is agitated.

Ideally, a cat should be introduced to clipping as a kitten so they become familiar with the procedure. If you have never clipped a cat’s claws before you may need to wrap him in a towel to hold him still, but if he becomes very restless do not continue and arrange for your vet or groomer to clip the claws.

A cat’s nail is composed of a hard outer surface with a pink interior. The pink part of the cat’s nail, the quick, is where the nerves and blood vessels are and can usually be seen.

Do not cut this sensitive area; only snip the white part of the claw.

It is better to be cautious and snip carefully rather than risk cutting the quick which will cause pain and bleeding.

If you do accidentally cut the quick, apply pressure and use styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Good clippers can be found in any reputable vet supply shop.

Please do not declaw your cat. This causes excruciating pain and possibly irreversible nerve damage, as the entire bone of the last digit of each toe is amputated (10 separate amputations).

This procedure is outlawed in many countries and we strongly discourage the practice in Bahrain. If your cat’s claws are trimmed when necessary and you provide a scratching post, there is no need for declawing.

- Dr Hansel is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA and Charis vets. Please send questions to bspca@batelco.com.bh

BSPCA’S DOG OF THE WEEK IS GANDELL

Breed: German Shepherd

Sex: Female

Age: Six and a half months

Neutered: Yes

Gandell is a very enjoyable pure breed and long-haired German Shepherd pup who absolutely adores people. She learns commands very easily and is very obedient. Although, she currently looks like a scrawny teenager, she is going to fill out and become an even prettier girl when she is older. Gandell is the perfect dog to have around and admire as she showers you with love and affection. She is waiting to be rescued by a loving family and taken to her forever home. Gandell is neutered, tick treated and fully vaccinated.

BSPCA’S CAT OF THE WEEK IS HARLEN

Breed: DLH

Sex: Male

Age: One year and four months

Neutered: Yes

Harlen is a cool and slick cat who has lovely, long and very soft silver fur. He is very easy-going and has a quiet personality that makes him the perfect buddy to relax with or the best mama’s boy, with a temperament that simply makes him irresistible. Harlen loves to lie on your lap while you read or watch television and enjoys spending his days with the company of people. This playful little guy also has a curious nature to him where he loves to explore his environment in search of new toys or snacks to eat. Harlen is neutered and fully vaccinated.

- If you are interested in adopting Gandell, Harlen or any of our other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar. From the Alba roundabout take the road sign posted Askar and Durrat Al Bahrain and at the third signal, take a right on to the truck road and after approximately 800m you will see the shelter on the right side, just before the flyover. Or, log onto the website www.bspca.org for directions. The shelter is open from 9am to 5pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 9am to 1pm on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays. The shelter accepts animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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