My name is Miranda Luck. I’m a cat lover, owner and a qualified veterinary nurse and animal welfare consultant with over 30 years of experience in the sector. I am a Fear Free Certified Professional and in 2022 I was honoured to be presented with the Royal College Veterinary Surgeons International Award.
I’ve provided animal handling training in the UK and internationally for the RSPCA and others. During this time I’ve seen all sorts of cat restraint techniques with both positive and disastrous results.
I’ve worked with manufacturers on specialist gloves and gauntlets but the same problem keeps arising – they provide great defense against claws, beaks, and teeth, but dexterity is a major issue, and being difficult to wash, they retain unwanted scents and excretions.
I’m a keen advocate of wrapping animals instead. Blankets and towels folded around wings and limbs does work and in the case of cats, the method has been coined a ‘Purrito’ or in a particularly upset cat a ‘Spicey Purrito’!
Although towels and blankets are freely available, wash well, and allow a lot of flexibility – their main purpose is for moisture absorption. They offer very little protection from our potentially scratchy bitey friends.
What if there was some sort of combination of the two? That was my lightbulb moment.
A blanket or bedding that was soft and comfy for the cat but had all the protection of gloves or gauntlets. Market research highlighted scenarios where my idea could be useful. One family explained their guerrilla tactics involved duvets and oven gloves to give their cat daily eye drops! A veterinary nurse told me of the serious injuries she sustained when the claws of a fractious cat slashed the towel she had wrapped it in lacerating her hand, wrist, and upper arms.
Since then …
I investigated the latest in high protection, lightweight washable fabrics. I contacted manufacturers of police and prison uniforms. I hadn’t thought the applications would be exact but I did find a lot of similarities. Weapons used against these professionals (alongside the obvious knives etc) included human teeth and toenails!
Having made up samples using this material as a base layer, I sent them out to Feline Friendly and Fear Free veterinary care. I’m a strong advocate of these practices. Feedback on backing materials, stitching, weight, size, shape, practicality, and comfort (and 18 months of testing) resulted in a model for cats and one each for reptiles, rabbits, and birds and in 2019, (with help from award-winning MDC Exports), we launched the Cat Wraps at London Vet Show.
Soon after, vets started to request a version suitable for cat owners to use at home and the gorgeous faux fur was developed. With regular requests for more products, suggestions from cat owners and vets, the third type for cats is now well underway.
It’s an exciting journey with improving cat welfare at the core. Watch this space!