There’s nothing unnatural in a dog wearing a muzzle – it’s normal that if your dog is misbehaving, you put it on him in order to calm him down and make sure that he doesn’t bite anyone. But about cats? Did you ever see a cat muzzle? If you think that such a thing doesn’t exist – you couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at sites like AliExpress where you can find hundreds, if not thousands of those. You can even choose its color and style.
People say that a muzzle is a perfect way to prevent your cat from biting anyone. But is it really? And most importantly – is it safe to use a muzzle on a cat? Keep reading to find out.
What is a cat’s muzzle?
As you can read on the Pet Place website, a cat muzzle is ‘a device that goes around a cat’s face used to prevent them from biting.’ It is usually used during the vet’s visits and in veterinary hospitals when the cat is behaving aggressively or is in pain. Groomers also tend to use it.
You can also use it at home, but it can be difficult since they don’t like having anything on their face and will try to take it off as soon as you put it on. The best one, if you choose to buy it is the one that covers both the eyes and the mouth, as the fact that he can’t see might help in calming him down.
To use or not to use – that’s the question
The reason why people even use a muzzle is to stop the cat from biting. Sometimes, using one is inevitable, especially in situations where the veterinary treatment is not optional, but necessary. Your cat might be used to a lot of things, but at one point there will be one examination or procedure that will be too much for him and that he will not be able to cope with.
A muzzle can also come in handy if you encounter an injured cat, as in that way you can help him without the risk of being bitten and catching rabies or another dangerous illness. It’s good to keep it in a first aid kit for cats, or in your car with a towel and a cat carrier.
When the cats are stressed, they tend to breathe through their mouth. However, they cannot do that when a standard muzzle is on their face. If it moves slightly, the muzzle can cover the nostrils, and it will be impossible for the cat to breathe at all, as there is only one hole at the end of it. There is a particular type of muzzle called air muzzle that, even though it is bigger than a standard one, allows the cat to breathe, see and miaow normally.
The problem with muzzles is that anyone can make, sell and use one – the vets have no control over it. People whose cat has issues with biting will be tempted to use – and if the muzzle is not appropriately used, it can cause more damage than it can benefit. A misused muzzle can result in the cat having problems with breathing or vomiting.
If not a muzzle, then what?
Always keep in mind that there are always other methods that you can use, instead of reaching for a muzzle. One of them is clicker training. How does it work? In a nutshell, a sound tells the animals that their behavior is correct, and they will soon receive a treat. This method is even used with animals like chimpanzees or elephants so that they would accept treatment and examination. And cats are much easier to clicker train than an elephant.
The best approach would be to start getting the kitten used to a vet from a very young age. The easiest way to do it is by, for example, visiting the vet’s office every now and then, even without purpose just so that the kitten can get used to the people there. You can try to pet him very often, in different places so that he can get used to being touched.
A cat is not the same as a dog. When it comes to the dogs, a muzzle is definitely beneficial, but a cat is not a dog. Even the shape of the cat’s mouth is against using a muzzle.
In a nutshell, a cat muzzle should be a last resort, as it has more cons than pros. If you misuse it, it might be not only traumatizing for your cat but also very dangerous for his life (especially if he’ll start to vomit or have difficulties with breathing). Proper training will be more effective than a muzzle.
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