Cats are usually calm and docile felines, and they are rarely aggressive until they are being washed, groomed, or taken to the vet. They are animals, and sometimes they behave aggressively because they feel like these situations are life-threatening to them, and these make them scratch or bite, and the experience can be unpleasant to their owners.
The remedy for this is using cat muzzles to keep their owners and the vets safe. Muzzles are not a favorite to cats, and they are not recommended for frequent home use. They will try to remove them as soon as they are put on because they do not like things sitting on their faces. The best type of cat muzzle is the one that covers the eyes and the mouth, too, to keep them from hurting someone. Whenever a cat has a muzzle on, a close watch must be kept on it if it starts vomiting or experiencing difficulty breathing.
Since cat muzzles are not regulated by veterinary control, they can cause potential hurt and cause suffering because of misuse by anyone who designs, sells, or buys them.
What is a Cat Muzzle?
A cat muzzle is a pet product used on a cat’s face to calm or keep them from biting and clawing their vets or groomers. They are also used at home for shorter periods to calm them down when they get upset. The ones that cover the eyes and face are better for this exercise. Cats do no sweat as people do, and they release excess heat from their bodies by panting. A muzzle might prevent a cat's ability to release the heat and cool itself down, and this might be dangerous if it stays with the muzzle for a prolonged period.
When buying or making a cat muzzle, one that covers the eyes is best as this tends to calm the cat because they cannot see. The fabric is best when it is nylon and machine washable with a Velcro closure and can be adjusted to avoid choking or breathing problems. Ones with a sizeable opening by the snout area allow normal breathing, unlike those that cover it all up.
Below are the different types of muzzles that are available in the market:
- Nylon Muzzles: They are made of entirely nylon fabric. These muzzles are generally meant to be worn for a very short time, mostly during grooming. If a nylon cat muzzle covers the whole face, it may make it difficult for the cat to breathe properly. The remedy for this is to cut a small hole around the snout area.
- Mesh Muzzles: They offer good ventilation, and they work well in containing cats of all ages, sizes, and breeds from chewing and biting.
- Leather Muzzles: These muzzles are made of high-quality thick-grained leather, making them more popular than canvas and gauze muzzles. They are durable and have adjustable straps which secure the cat while keeping it. Comfortable.
How to Choose
Whether you are making a DIY cat muzzle from scratch or buying one, always consider the cats' safety and comfort. Other equally important factors are:
- Fabric - The fabric used on the muzzle should allow the cat to breathe easily without struggling and have adjustable straps around the neck. It should also be soft not to irritate the eyes and strong enough to withstand bites from the cats’ sharp teeth.
- Size - A muzzle that fits properly will be safer for the cat. Snug but not tight fit will be hard for the cat to remove it or suffocate. Most cat muzzles have varied dimensions of the neck and head measurements. To get the right size, use a tape measure of the head, nose, and neck.
- Design - Pay close attention to the design and type of closures of the muzzles. To get the job done much easier and faster, pick a closure design that you won't fumble with and will keep the clawing and biting away. A more secure type is best for cats that tend to rip muzzles off. A high-quality muzzle may be pricier, but it gives protection and breathability plus it will withstand the teeth and claws, thus last longer.
What to Consider When Buying a Cat Muzzle
To get the best value for money, price and quality are key. There are many types of cat muzzles to choose from in the market with varying colors and materials. The most important factors to consider before settling for a muzzle are:
- Comfort: The feline’s safety should always come first. A muzzle is a product that goes around the neck and sometimes over the snout too. Care should be taken when purchasing one because it might cause the cat distress and pain if it’s not comfortable. A cat muzzle with adjustable straps will work better as it will be difficult for the cat to remove while still offering comfort.
- The Fit and Size: There is no one size of a muzzle that can fit all cats. Get the correct fit for the size of your cat to keep it comfortable. Adjustability can come into play here to keep up with the cat's growth and size increase. The general sizes of muzzles are 6lbs for the small ones, 6lbs – 12lbs for the medium-sized kitties, and above 12lbs for much bigger ones.
- Material: The most common material for a cat muzzle is nylon. Others made of rubber, leather, canvas, mesh, and plastic can also be found. A nylon cat muzzle is the most preferred because of comfort and durability. It is machine-washable too, to clean it whenever it gets dirty. A breathable mesh fabric can be used to make a muzzle, and it offers comfort too, but the downside to it is it does not limit the cats' vision, which is not good if you want to keep the cat calm. Leather cat muzzle and plastic cat muzzles are more durable than the others. However, they do not give much comfort, and they have poor breathability because of the thickness.
- Full Face Coverage: During grooming and vet visits, the less vision the cat has, the calmer it’s going to be. The best cat muzzle covers the eyes and the mouth. It keeps it calm and reduces the biting and clawing. If the purpose of the muzzle is to regulate the eating process of the cat, one with an open snout will be best suited.
- Ease of Use: For first-time users of cat muzzles, the process of putting them on can be a little daunting, and the cat might hurt them. It is thus important to pick a muzzle that is easy to put on. The ones that are have Velcro attachments are the fastest and easiest to put on, aided by their adjustable straps. It is advisable to introduce the muzzle slowly at first before it gets used to it, then extend the time it stays on by a few minutes each time. Reward the cat afterward with a treat so that it does not protest each time it is put on.
- Price: Muzzles are mostly affordable, but it is a factor worth considering. Some companies manufacture muzzles on the pricier side mainly because of brand name, features, and the fabric used, though that does not mean that functional muzzles cannot be found in the market. They have to check the important points in terms of quality and comfort.
Other valuable pointers for using a cat muzzle properly are:
- Do not leave the muzzle on for extended periods. Intervals of 20 minutes or less are advisable as leaving it on for longer may affect the breathing and comfort of the cat.
- Always be attentive, especially when the cat is wearing the muzzle.
- If the cat shows signs of restlessness or is about to vomit, remove the muzzle immediately.
- Do not use other animal muzzles like a dog muzzle in place of a cat muzzle.
Cat muzzles are safe when used properly, and they keep not only the cat safe but humans too. They help in controlling the biting, keeping the pet calm when grooming, or visiting the vet and they are a great tool for correcting bad behavior. The latter should be under the directives of a professional, though, to not hurt it unintentionally. The first aid kit of a cat should contain a muzzle in case of an injury or emergency when the cat is in pain and needs urgent medical attention. Veterinarians recommend cat muzzles, mostly during visits when they are hostile.
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