Cat Claw Control is a issue that most cat owners will be concerned about at one time or another. This page will give you a overview of what the problems are and how best to make sure your cats claws are kept trim as well as preventing furniture from being ruined.
So why are we concerned about our cats claws?
Well I get asked all the time questions such as:
My cat is scratching my furniture to shreds, help?
My cat gets stuck in the carpet when they walk, why?
I am worried about my cat scratching me or my children, what can I do?
All of these are common issues and I can understand why cat owners may be concerned about their cat's claws. However my first answer is always this.
Owning a cat means that you respect and understand your cat's needs and that you don't try and change the way the cat is both physically and behaviourally. cats are cats, they do not have the same living codes and standards as we do. They will naturally scratch trees and rough surfaces to help keep their claws in good condition, this is a natural instinct.
If you are not prepared to except these natural instincts and behaviours then perhaps owning a cat is not right for you. Be honest with yourself and make sure that you really do want to have a cat in your life, cat claws and all.
There are things you can do to reduce the negative effects on our own lives with a little sensible cat claw control.
First, Clipping: If your cat does not go outside much then their claws may become over long and sharp.
A little nail clipping every now and again will keep the claws clipped and tidy and less likely to snag in things. Also the cat may feel less inclined to scratch furniture etc to file them themselves.
A simple pair of cat nail clippers will help make cat claw control a snip, pardon the pun.
To find out how to clip a cats nails safely, please see my page on clipping claws.
Second, Alternatives: Buying your cat scratchers of various shapes and sizes will encourage your cat to use these rather than furniture. Cat scratching posts are designed to appeal to a cat, they have a great texture and cater to the cats natural need to scratch and stretch.
A cat will scratch to help keep their claws in good condition, so make sure you provide your cat with these alternatives to your furniture. I have lots of suggestions as to the sort of cat scratchers available on my cat scratch toys and cat tree pages.
Third, Deterrents: There are also cat training aids to teach your cat not to scratch furniture. These are often sticky patches will can be temporarily attached to the legs and sides of furniture which make it unpleasant for the cat when they try to scratch there. Eventually the cat learns that using his or her cat tree is a far nicer experience. Sprays are also available which smell nasty to your cat and deter them from your furniture.
Forth, don't teach your cats to bite and scratch: My last piece of advice is about how you play with your cat. Many people will play with their kittens and cats by teasing them with their hands. I have seen it many times and is great fun when they are small kittens, after all they don't bite or claw much at that age. But the problem is that you are teaching them that hands are toys and as they get other this will become learned behaviour.
This means that it is more likely that during a game or while petting your cat they can get over excited and will bite and claw you. They will not understand that this hurts and is not a game to us. Plus it does mean that there is a possibility of a stranger getting bitten or scratched when they pet the cat and this can cause you lots of problems sometimes.
It is far better to always play with your kittens and cat using toys rather than your hands. The sooner they learn that hands are not for biting and scratching the better your life with your cat will be. Your vet may thank you too.
If your cat has a habit of scratching and biting, try following my advice on how to change your cats bad habits on my cat discipline page.
I am very much against this option and I do not wish to go all preachy on you. So all I will do is give you the reasons why de-clawing your cat should not be considered.
Cat claw control is a relatively easy thing to keep on top of and doesn't require any drastic action. All of the above advice has been used on all of my cats at one time or another and I have never had any problems with my cat destroying my soft furnishings. My cat's tree is well used and is kept by the door, they like to have a quick go of it just before they go out.