How to Care for Your Cat’s Claws

Cat Claws
Caring for your cat’s claws can be viewed from 2 distinct angles. First as part of the grooming process, it is important to trim your cat’s claws. But also, managing your cat’s claws is an important process as far as it relates to your cat’s behavior. Cat owners are well aware of the consequences of cat claws. Cats can destroy furniture and draperies and as such it is important to care for their claws. While some owners will consider declawing their cat, to make their own lives easier, this is strongly discouraged. A cat’s claws are actually important tools and especially important defense mechanisms. Not to mention the danger your declawed cat would encounter if it got out of your house, there is some evidence to show that cats can develop biting behavior when they have been declawed.

As such, it is best to learn how to properly groom your cat’s nails as well as some behavioral techniques to prevent clawing at furniture and other objects around the house.

Trimming your Cat’s Claws

As with any grooming behavior, it is best to begin trimming your cat’s claws when they are kittens. This is because your kitten will become familiar with the behavior and will be less likely to struggle in the future. If you attempt nail trimming on an fully grown cat, they will probably try to fight the process and you’ll end up with a scratch or two.

Nonetheless, here are some easy tips to follow that will make nail trimming much easier.

  • Start with a relaxed or sleepy cat. Your cat will be less likely to struggle when they are tired.
  • The first few times you clip your cat’s nails it may be easier to work with a partner. One person should hold the cat while the other trims the claws.
  • Do not proceed with trimming if your cat becomes overly anxious.
  • Make sure you have the clippers handy when you begin trimming.
  • Purchase high-quality, sharp nail clippers.

As far as the process of clipping is concerned, it is relatively straightforward.

  • Clutch your cat firmly with one arm while holding his front paw with the same hand. Some owners will find wrapping their cat in a towel can help prevent struggle and possible scratching.
  • Gently press the pad of your cat’s paw causing the claws to lengthen.
  • Look closely at the claw and you will notice the quick which is light pink region in the center of the claw. The quick is actually a blood vessel and there are nerve endings in this region as well meaning if you cut it you will cause pain to your cat and she will bleed.
  • Quickly clip the tip of the nail being sure not to cut the quick.
  • Cutting all your cat’s claws should take no longer than 5 or 10 minutes once you get the hang of it. Be sure to reward your cat with a treat as he will learn to associate nail trimming with a reward and will eventually learn to be more relaxed during the process.

Behavioral Techniques

While nail trimming goes a long way to prevent your cat from scratching and destroying furniture, you can also work to train your cat to avoid this behavior all together. First of all, it is advisable to purchase a scratching post. Whenever your cat scratches the post rather than valuable furniture, give her a reward. Either praise or a treat should be sufficient.

Also, you’ll want to discourage undesired behavior. You can spray areas where your cat tends to scratch with a citrus-scented deodorizer as cats do not like the smell. Alternatively, covering a scratching area with aluminum foil will also deter your cat.

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