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Shoulder Raccoon

Coatimundis, Kinkajous, Raccoons, Ringtails, Cacomistles, Olingos

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Shoulder Raccoon

Postby Sparttan117 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:38 pm

So I was browsing Reddit and I found the subreddit of r/shouldercats (pretty self explainatory). It seems like a fun behavior cats do (as long as they don't have dagger feet) and I was wondering if this is a common behavior among pet raccoons. I've been working at a wildlife rehab center since around mid summer and so far a few of the raccoons seem to like doing that, but I was often trying not to interact too much because all of the raccoons were being prepared for return to the wild, so I was mostly either shaking/pulling them off or just ignoring them until they got bored and climbed off. Is this a common behavior among raccoons that are raised with a lot of interaction or is it probably them looking at the new thing in their enclosure? Is there a best way to do this so that they only do it when you let them? Can raccoons climb well and hold on if their claws have been filed down or if they have cat claw caps so that I wouldn't have to wear extra layers of clothes to protect my shoulder?

Someone I saw posting on Reddit (u/maggydawn on reddit) uses cat claw caps on their raccoon's paws and they say it works pretty well, so that might be a way to avoid dagger feet if they can still be stable while wearing them.

I do plan on getting a raccoon of spring to train as an experimental service animal and I believe that it would be useful to be able to put the raccoon on my shoulder if I need to for easy transport.

Also, picture of one of the raccoons that I especially enjoyed working with at http://imgur.com/iAGlysy
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Re: Shoulder Raccoon

Postby Kagney » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:41 pm

Only going on personal experience here, but the shoulder antics tapered off with my little girl as she aged. When she was just a tiny little thing she spent a good bit of time on my shoulder, but I think you'll find (as I did) that as they get bigger it becomes less and less practical because they are heavy, bulky, and constantly moving.

The nails are always a consideration in of themselves... frankly, I am astounded that anyone managed to make nail caps work for their coon. I tried them years ago on my cat, and found that they really only fitted correctly if you kept the nails trimmed between replacements (hence negating their overall purpose)

Take a look at the shape. An untrimmed adult raccoon nail will be twice the length of the cover, meaning even if you got it on, it would only cover half, and would be snatched off in seconds. So instead, just focus on getting them used to trimming.
Start working with them when they are really young, as in about when they start litter box training. Only take the very tip of the nail. You never want to risk making them bleed... make sure its always a calm, no-big-deal kind of experience, and ALWAYS treat afterwards. Also, touch and massage their feet when they are completely calm and just lazing around with you. Try to get them to a point where you can put them to sleep rubbing their toes... I know it sounds crazy, but if they associate something pleasant with having their feet touched, they are way more likely to let you do what you need to do when the clippers come out.
Again, starting early is the key.

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