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Cat Claws: Know About Cutting Cat Nails, Scratching & More

Your kitten's sharp little claws are amazing. They help her to balance on smooth and slippery surfaces, and give her a good, strong grip when she’s climbing and holding on to things. So it’s important that your kitten’s claws stay in good condition.

Cats have been our most adorable friends over the last 12,000 years. And their popularity has never dipped ever since they clawed into our hearts with their undeniable awesomeness and charm. And speaking of cat claws, no cat parent, covered with scratch marks, has ever been spared the vicious love of their fluffy munchkins. Although cats have a long history of scratching their human parents, it would be rather unfair to assume that cats are unfriendly in nature. Cats are incredibly loving and playful and often tend to scratch their favourite human as a sign of social play and affection. However, not all cat parents particularly enjoy the idea of getting scratched by their feline friend's sharp claws, so here's a quick guide on how to treat your kitty and avoid getting roughed up.

What happens if my cat’s nail gets too long?

One of the common questions faced by cat parents is how to cut cat nails. Furry felines have retractable claws on their cat paw, which are usually safely housed within their cute little paws. The ability to pull their claws back into their cat paws allows cats to walk almost noiselessly and avoid accidentally hurting themselves. However, their claws keep growing throughout their lifespan and grow in layers. If their nails grow too long, they often tend to curve inwards, hurting their paw pads. So, it is vital to get their claws trimmed at least once every two months. Furthermore, the claws of cat are made of dead keratin cells, which often attract bacterial infestation if left to grow for too long.

How to cut your cat’s nails?

Since the claws are usually housed within the paws, it is crucial to exercise proper caution and nail-trimming methods while cutting cat nails. Given below are some tips on how to cut cat nails:

  • It is easier to trim a cat’s nails when it is comfortable in your presence. While getting their nails trimmed might not be a pleasant experience for most fur kiddos, they will be more relaxed and tolerant when they are being treated by a person they love.
  • It is also important to be aware of their personal boundaries. So, if you are planning to cut their nails, you can get started by holding their paws in your hand and gently massaging the paws to help them get accustomed to the process.
  • Once your kitty feels relaxed, it is considerably easy to gently squeeze the tips of the paws to let their claws out without hurting them. Remember to put very little pressure on their paw pads to avoid stressing them out or hurting them.
  • Cat’s claws have two major sections, the thick part of the nail is usually white or grey, and composed of dead keratin cells. Toward the base of their toes, the nail goes pink where it attaches to the claw. This region, known as the quick, contains live blood vessels and nerve endings. So, if you are wondering how to cut cat nails, pay extra attention to avoid cutting into the quick as it can be quite painful for your kitty. It is also important to use cat nail clippers designed for cats to trim their nails, as nail clippers for humans have a wider edge and can easily cut into their delicate paws.

How often should you cut your cat’s nails?

In addition to knowing how to cut nails for cats, it is also important to be aware of how frequently must you cut the cat’s nails. Cat claws are naturally sharp as they are used to hunting for food and are their primary weapons against attacks from other predatory creatures, so declawing them takes away their ability to defend themselves. So, trim their nails only when they have grown considerably long, and pose a risk of hurting your kitty or bacterial growth. The claws of a cat grow throughout its life but should only be trimmed every two to three months.

Other things to consider for a healthy cat claw

In addition to knowing when to cut the cat’s nails, you should make sure their claws stay healthy and functional by providing the following:

  1. Scratching post

    Cats, other than having to hunt their food, are often preyed upon by larger animals like dogs and coyotes. So, cat clawing helps cats to keep them sharpened for use in times of need. In addition, cat clawing also helps felines to get rid of dead skin cells under their paws which might otherwise accumulate, resulting in bacterial infections. Scratching also helps cats to mark their territories by depositing their scent. Commercially available cat scratching posts for cat claws are great additions to houses with cats as they help kitties keep their claws sharp without having to sharpen them on doors and furniture. Scratching posts are also beneficial in keeping felines stimulated for hours.

  2. Soft paws

    As a cat parent, it is also okay if you are not confident about how to cut cat nails. Soft paws, also known as cat nail caps, are available in a range of appealing colours and designs. Easy and painless to apply, soft paws nail caps serve as sheathes to your furry buddy’s claws, preventing accidental scratches. Soft paws can be conveniently used if you are unable to give your kitty a regular nail trim or are unsure about clipping cat nails.

Types of cat nail cutter

Mentioned below are some of the common types of cat nail cutters that make it easier for new cat parents to learn cutting cat nails:

  1. Scissors

    Scissors have an angled blade to help trim your furry little munchkin’s claws without harming their delicate skin, making it easier for you to learn clipping cat nails.

  2. Grinders

    Grinders are electrically charged devices that can help smoothen out sharp claws with ease. Grinders are better to be used by experienced cat parents who are confident about their skills in how to get cat nails cut.

  3. Pliers

    Pliers are popular cat nail clippers scissors with small, sharp blades. They are easy to use and available in most pet shops.

  4. Guillotine

    Guillotine cat nail clippers are more popularly used by professional pet groomers and stylists, familiar with the process of cutting cat nails.

FAQ on Understanding your cat

Do cats realise their claws hurt?

As kittens, felines are used to rough play which often includes playfully scratching and biting their loved ones. However, they do not always realise that their claws can hurt their favourite humans, however innocent and loving their intentions may be.

Is it necessary to trim a cat’s claws?

No, it is not always necessary to cut cat nails unless they have grown too long. Cats rely on their claws for multiple purposes like climbing and marking their territories, making it a significant limitation of cut cat’s nails.

What happens if you don’t trim your cat’s nails?

Once it grows too long, your fur baby’s nails can curve and grow into their soft paw pads, causing immense discomfort and pain. Failing to make sure to cut the cat’s nails also significantly raises the risks of bacterial infection.

Do cats get mad when you cut their nails?

Trimming nails can make cats uncomfortable and fussy. So, avoid cutting cat nails when they are playing or stressed. It is important to give your kitty a nail trim once it is relaxed and comfy, like right after their mealtimes.

How do I calm my cat to cut its nails?

While most cats are tolerant of having their nails cut by someone they love, it is always a good idea to reward them with cat treats or shower them with affection, helping them calm down while you trim their nails. 

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