Is it safe to trim your cat’s claws?

Unlike dogs, cats have retractable claws. So is it safe to trim your cat's claws or should this be avoided at all cost?

In essence, many cats don’t need their claw’s clipped. Everyday climbing, scratching and rambling will keep the nails short enough and file off the sharpest edges.

Also, cats need comparatively long claws to help grip and, in some instances, for defence.

But as your cat ages and becomes less mobile, their claws may become overgrown and need clipping.

The International Cat Care Association has handy videos on how to train your cat to agree to having their claws trimmed. It might take some time to get them used to clippers.

The Association recommends using treats as a reward when you trim your cat’s claws. Then let them get used to the look and sound of the clippers before you commence.

Tips on how to trim your cat’s claws:

  • Choose a time when you and your cat are relaxed and have plenty of time for the job.
  • Ensure you have good lighting. It’s essential to only clip the top white part of the claw and not the pink part where the blood vessels are found. Clipping the pink part can be painful for your cat and create a negative association.
  • Position your cat away from you, ideally when it’s relaxing on your lap. Wrap your cat in a towel and have one leg free, ready for the task.
  • When you’re ready to begin, examine your cat’s paw and gently press the top of each toe so that the claws extend.
  • Using the clippers, snip off just the transparent tip.
  • If your cat becomes anxious, stop and try again later.
  • Depending on your kitty’s temperament, you may need to consult a vet to assist with the first clip.  

How can I stop my cat scratching the furniture?

Cats scratch literally to sharpen their claws. This is called stropping. The scratching helps strengthen their forelimbs keeping them in tip top hunting condition and also marks their territory.

But cats that live most of their lives indoors can be prone to scratching anything from doorposts to textured wallpaper to your new lounge suite.

Gimme that scratchin’ post

The first and most obvious solution is to provide a scratching post near where your cat is currently scratching.

Some commercial posts contain catnip, making them especially attractive. Be sure to put the post in an area that is convenient for your cat, not just you. Something close to your cat’s bedding should do the trick.

If you still need to keep your cat from scratching the furniture, double-sided sticky tape can work as a deterrent.

Alternatively, this DIY cat scratching post is a great project for the family that will also help you save a few dollars too!

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