Why and When You Should Trim Cat Nails
Alright, what’s a blog with “cat” in the name without some good ol’ fashion animal advice? Well, today we’re going over the oddity that is trimming cat claws. Oddly enough, I didn’t stumble upon any of the “medical” benefits of it until very recently. Now, some of you not in the know might be asking the question, “Why not just get the cat declawed?”
Well, we’ll be answering that question today too!
First, let’s dive into the how. I would say a majority of the time, your cats claws aren’t going to need trimmed if you’re making sure they have adequate areas to stretch those razors out.
Scratching posts like the one elegantly being displayed on the left is a good example of what you should have laying around for your feline friends. These scratching posts help cats not just stretch out there paws, but it gives them something to take their frustrations out on, as well as keeping them from tearing up that fancy living room set.
There is a plethora of scratching post types out on the market from cardboard ones to rope ones that last an extremely long time. Just as a quick tip, a lot of larger cats won’t like scratchers like the one depicted to the left, instead, get them a flat one.
Below in the image of the claw, you’ll see a pink thing. This pink thing is called the “Quick” and “Quicks” are present in both dogs and cats and are why you should have corn starch or Kwik Stop on hand. What is the quick?
Comparatively to humans, it’s the cuticle. But the quick is filled with nerves and blood vessels. If you accidentally nick it while trimming your pet’s claws it’ll bleed and bleed and bleed until you apply corn starch or Kwik Stop, both of which will cause the blood to coagulate.
The hardest parts about trimming a cats nails are getting it to stay still and getting the claws out. If you have a second person, the first part becomes a none issue. If you don’t, wrap them in a towel, hold them securely, and pull one paw out at a time…or take them in to get it done professionally.
In regards to getting the claw out, hold the paw in your hand, and gently apply pressure to the bottom center of the paw with your thumb. This will force the claws to come out for you.
In the above image, you also get to see the angle at which you should be trimming your cat’s claws, and don’t worry. It’s okay if you don’t trim it that far back your first time around.
As I always say, better safe than sorry.
Why & When
Why should you trim your cats claws?
Cats “pad” or stretch out their claws often. They do it to show affection, they do it to get comfortable, they do it to destress, you name it. Occasionally though you might find that the scratching boards aren’t quite doing the trick, which results in them yanking that one string on your favorite button-up.
By trimming their nails for them, you’re preventing them from damaging stuff and that loving padding that they do on your chest at night won’t be so painful.
There are dangers associated with not trimming a cats claws too; bones breaking. As I have noticed with one of the 3 gremlins running around my place, their claws can get so long that when they walk the tips get stuck in the carpet, or on the bed they’re sleeping on. From my reading, in catastrophic cases entire claws get torn out. In the best of the bad cases, they break a toe.
This leads into when, when should you trim your cat’s claws? Well… are their razor tips stabbing you when they pad you? Are they constantly yanking their claws out of the carpet? Well… better to do it now than later.
Don’t Declaw Your Cat
In a lot of states and in many countries, it is now illegal to declaw your cats which is something I’m 100% behind. Why? It’s animal cruelty.
Benefits: You don’t have to get the cat’s claws trimmed and it won’t damage furniture.
- Nerve Damage. Declawing a cat is like doing amputations on a person, each claw removed is an amputation of it’s own. Nerve endings are exposed and the cat will experience the pain for months afterwards, if not for the rest of their life just as human amputees.
- Using the litterbox will start to hurt them. When they’re covering up their poo’, they aren’t using their toe-beans, they’re using their nails. That discomfort can lead to them going outside of the litterbox.
- You’re taking away their first line of defense and weapon of choice. Even indoor cats can make the great es-ca-pade and get out. Without their claws they don’t stand a chance against any of their predators…and beyond that they’ll probably start biting you.
- With this permanent dis-figuration of the cat, you’re altering it’s entire life. Cats use their claws for a great many things, one of which is exercising and stretching. By removing their claws you’ll see the cat gain weight as it won’t be able to stretch/play properly and later on in life you’re going to see it suffer from arthritis or other joint related diseases.
Trimming any animal’s nails can be nerve racking, especially for the first timer. With a little bit of practice and maybe a YouTube tutorial or two, you’ll be fine. Just don’t become too overzealous with how much of the nail you’re trimming off.
If you do, as I said before, make sure you have corn starch or Kwik Stop handy to end the bleeding as fast as possible. Corn starch will stop the bleeding, but if you want to fix any discomfort immediately you’ll want to get Kwik Stop. It has a drug called benzocaine (basically Oragel) that’s an anesthetic.
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