Anyone who has ever been around a scared, angry, or just overstimulated cat can attest to how dangerous and sharp cat claws are. Given that cats have sharp reflexes and often move too quickly for us to respond in time, cat scratches are an unfortunate risk that comes along with sharing a home with these loveable furballs.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
This behavior is instinctual and normal, so you should provide your cat with a few different scratching options to keep him happy and spare your drapes. Commercial scratching posts and pads are available in a variety of forms and materials, but almost anything with a coarse, textured surface will work.
Do I Need to Trim My Cat's Claws?
How Do I Trim My Cat's Claws?
- Start slowly and make sure your cat is comfortable with you touching his paws long before you bring out the clippers. Spend time gently petting and rubbing his paws to help him get used to the sensation.
- Introduce the clippers without trying to trim anything yet. Squeeze the clippers a few times in the cat's line of sight to let him connect the noise with a visual.
- When it comes time to trim the claws, make sure your cat is completely calm, even groggy, and in a quiet room with no distractions. Let him get comfortable, gently massage the paws until a claw extends, and then snip the tip of a claw. It's better to take less than more, as going too far with the clippers can make you cut the nerve endings (known as the quick), causing pain and bleeding.
What If I Cut the Quick?
Can't I Just Declaw My Cat?
While technically an option, this should be avoided at all costs. Both the ASPCA and the Human Society are strongly opposed to the practice of declawing cats except as a measure of last resort when all other efforts have failed. And with good reason--declawing is the equivalent of a human's fingers being amputated at the last knuckle, and it can lead to infection, lameness, and litter box avoidance, as well as leave your cat without a vital defense mechanism if he should find himself outside and needing to fend off a predator or climb a tree to get away from a threat.