How To Deal With Your Cat's Claws

March 16, 2023

A cat's claws are a vital part of their anatomy. They're more than simply the equivalent of a human's nails; they're tools cats use for protection, climbing, balancing, and more. It's imperative that owners make sure their cat's claws are healthy by inspecting them regularly and keeping them trimmed. They should also provide a safe place for the cat to sharpen their claws. Doing so makes it less likely that the cat will turn to destructive behavior like scratching the furniture. If a cat does display unwanted scratching, there are many options for correcting that behavior.

Invest In A Scratching Post

Cats need something to scratch, as it's one of their most basic, primal instincts. In the wild, they scratch trees and logs to mark their territory. Your indoor kitty feels the same need to claim their space. The act of scratching helps shed the outer layer of their claws, keeping their claws healthy. If you don't offer something for your cat to scratch, they'll use the next best thing, which could be your furniture, carpet, and maybe even you! To solve this problem, invest in a scratching post. If your cat likes to scratch a particular piece of furniture, put a scratching post near it and encourage them to use that instead. They come in a variety of styles. Traditional ones are vertical and covered with carpeting. There are also horizontal posts, boards, and more. If your cat doesn't take to one type of scratching post, try getting a different type.

Trim Claws Regularly

Keeping your cat's claws trimmed is important for their health. You should trim their claws approximately once every two weeks. If your cat's claws grow faster, aim for every ten days instead. It's best to begin trimming claws when your cat is a kitten. Otherwise, it might take some time to get them used to the process. Make sure the environment is calm, as a stressed cat is more difficult to deal with. Begin by getting your cat used to the clippers. Set them down nearby. Let your cat sniff them and grow comfortable around them. You can also try holding the clippers and rub them against your cat's fur. Once your cat is ready, hold them in your lap. They should face away from you. Hold a paw and gently massage the pad until their claws extend. Clip the tip only, as there are nerves farther down. Continue if your cat doesn't seem to mind. If they seem unsettled, give them a treat. You might need to do one or two claws at a time and finish the rest later.

Train Your Cat Well

If you want to keep your cat from unwanted clawing, train them well. One method is to make objects undesirable. For instance, try adding something to make them smell like citrus, which cat's don't like. You can also put tape, sticky side out, in locations where your cat is scratching. Felines don't like the feeling of tape against their paws, and after a while, they'll avoid it. If these deterrents don't work, you can squirt them with a bit of water. Alternately, put a penny in an aluminum can and shake it. Make sure your cat doesn't notice these things are coming from you. If your cat does notice, they can begin to associate these deterrents with you rather than with unwanted scratching. Remember not to raise your voice or strike your pet. Cats are sensitive creatures. Saying 'no' in a firm voice is fine, but yelling it is not. To train your cat well, you also need to offer positive reinforcement. When your cat uses a scratching post, offer them treats and praise. With some time, they'll learn to scratch where they're supposed to.

Try Cat Claw Covers

Claw covers, vinyl caps that fit onto their claws, are a humane and safe way to prevent your cat from destroying the furniture or scratching up your arms and legs. The tips are blunter than a cat's nails, which prevents them from damaging items they scratch. You glue them on, and one application lasts around six weeks. You need to make sure to apply them correctly -- choose the right size for your cat's claws, trim and clean the nail, and use the correct amount of glue. The claw cover should never overlap the nail bed. When applied properly, claw covers do not prevent cats from retracting and flexing their claws. It does not prevent clawing behavior. As the claws grow and shed, the nail cap comes off. If a cat's claws grow slower than typical, you can simply trim the tip of the cap to remove it. A veterinarian or groomer can show you the best way to apply these if you're hesitant to try it yourself.


Declawing should be the last resort of a responsible pet owner. Depending on where you live, it might be illegal. Throughout Europe, lawmakers have banned the practice. The State of New York passed a law making declawing illegal, and several other states have legislation on the books to enact similar measures. It's already illegal in Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco. Why is this procedure so controversial? It involves more than simply removing the cat's claws. It actually requires amputating the bones of the cat's toes. The human equivalent would be removing your fingertips from the last knuckle. Declawing can cause chronic pain in the back and paws. It alters the way a cat's paws strike the ground when they walk, which can create sores and bone spurs. Declawing often leads to litter box issues since litter can irritate the cat's declawed paws. It leaves cats defenseless if they're outdoors; if an indoor cat accidentally gets out, it's even worse for them. They can't climb to escape predators, and they don't have claws to defend themselves.

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