Cat's Claws - Sharp, often extremely sharp. Cats have them and know how to use them, they have to . . .
. . . their claws are their main tools for survival.
Domestic house cats do not need to hunt but will still do so given the opportunity, their claws are their main hunting weapon.
Claws are also invaluable for climbing and defense against rival cats and other animals.
Nature has provided our feline friends with the ability to retract their claws so that they are out of the way when not needed.
Most of the time the ability of the cat to hide her claws works well, but as everyone who shares their home with a cat knows, accidents can and do happen.
At some point you are likely to receive a scratch from your cat, usually an accidental contact of a claw with your skin.
Most cats are sweet tempered and do not use their claws maliciously, but if unwell, stressed or frightened may swipe out with those claws.
Never attempt to play with or pet your cat if she clearly wants to be left alone.
Mostly, small scratches from your cat are not serious, however there are times when medical attention is required. - Cat Scratch Fever.
Then there are the times that your cat will use those claws on your furniture. Not nice. However cats do not scratch furniture just to be naughty.
Cats need to scratch for a variety of reasons, to dislodge and remove the outer layer of their claws and thereby keep them sharp, to exercise their back muscles and to mark out their territory.
A good cat scratching post gives your cat somewhere to indulge their instinctive scratching, if they are trained to use it.
If your cat has never had his or her claws trimmed before, a few dummy runs (practice sessions,) will be a good idea for both you and your cat.
Pick a time when your cat is relaxed, perhaps just after a catnap. No other cats, or other pets, should be in the room, the fewer distractions the better.
Some tasks are so much easier when you have help, many hands make light work, and trimming your feline's claws is no exception!
Recruit a responsible friend to be your assistant, preferably someone that your cat is comfortable with.
Start by gently massaging your cat's paws, separating his or her toes.
Apply soft pressure so the claws are coaxed out and so are easy to see and work on. It may be that your cat will be quite laid back and allow you to do this while being gently held by you or your helper.
Often though, it helps to wrap your cat in a towel with just the paw that you are working on sticking out.
If all goes well with that paw then adjust the towel and work on another one.
Remember that you are not trimming your cat's claws at this session, you are just getting everyone, cat and humans, comfortable with the procedure.
At the end of the practice session reward your cat for her patience and tolerance with a healthy treat.
So you have enjoyed a couple of dummy runs and now feel comfortable about clipping your pet's claws.
Now on to the real thing, you are going to trim your cat's claws.
In addition to the towel you will also need something to clip your cat's nails with.
Some people prefer to use clippers designed for human nails but you will likely find the job easier using clippers designed for cats, they are not expensive.
Whatever you use to trim your cat's claws it should be sharp. Blunted clippers will tend to shatter or even split the claws.
Coax out a claw. Clip just a little from the end.
If that goes well you can try clipping just a little more, but . . . trim too little rather than too much! Do not cut down to the Quick (the sensitive flesh under the claw.) You will hurt your cat. Think of trimming your own nails, how far down would you want to clip?
If you don't seem to have trimmed much off the claw don't worry, it is better to trim your cat's claws more frequently, rather than clip too much off at once and risk hurting your pet.
Keep a styptic pencil handy in case you do accidentally cut to the quick.
Touch the pencil to the end of the claw to staunch the bleeding.
There is no need to get all the claws trimmed in one session.
If your cat starts protesting after a while then end the session, reward your cat with praise and a healthy treat. Only got one paw done? Or perhaps just two claws? No matter, there is always time for another session tomorrow.
Cat nail covers, vinyl or rubber caps that are glued over your kitty's claws. Do they work?
Most cat carers that have tried them report great success. They say the covers are easy to apply and their cats tolerate them well. Cats will still scratch when wearing them but will not cause damage.
The caps do come off after a time as the claws grow but they are inexpensive so replacement is not a problem.
Claws are very much part of your cat. Yes they can be a small hassle on the odd occasion, but with a little management your cat's claws should not be a big problem.
Can You Read Your Cat's Body Language.
If you share your life with a cat you probably know more about cat body language than you think you do. Do you know when your cat is feeling angry, fearful, contented or at ease?