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Can your cat remove its own nails when stuck?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have learned there is no cat question too odd to ask here.

Situation: Cat decides to exercise their paws and fingers on some common item like a pillow or carpet. They extend their nails and sink them in. Ahhh, feels great. Then they get stuck and you have to go rescue them by lifting their paw a little, pulling it forward, up and out.

Most cats know how to get themself out of this type of jam. Just isn't that difficult. Or is it? I don't know the answer, but I would have thought getting nails out of something is a behavior most cats could manage on their own, and be born with the knowledge to get themself unstuck. We have had many cats and all could manage this without our help. Cat 101, right?

So is our new 2-year old just plain stupid? We cut her nails every couple of weeks to minimize the occurances, but this is getting rediculous. I hate to see her squeel in frustration, but I also think she needs to learn the trick. We can't be with her 24/7.

Anyone have suggestions?
post #2 of 16
Radar got one of his well and truly jammed in the mesh on one of my loudspeakers a couple of months back and nearly pulled the speaker over on top of himself. Fortunately I was home and able to free him. It hasn't taught him not to use it as a scratching post (he knows he's not supposed to because he doesn't do it while I'm looking at him), but it has taught me to trim his claws regularly!

I don't think that what you describe is all that unusual, certain fabrics are worse than others. All you can do is keep her claws trimmed and provide scratching posts and mats so that she can keep them smooth.
post #3 of 16
I think I usually rescue them to save my carpet more than their nail. Most cats will eventually get themselves out, but it won't be a gentle procedure.

Stan got his nail stuck in the joint of a folding card table. Poor guy was pretty much hanging (he had to get on tip toes to stretch up there). I don't doubt he would have gotten himself out eventually, but he might have done some damage to himself and the table. There's also the real danger of something like that speaker coming down when they yank on it.

I haven't had this problem since I started trimming their nails. Now the "hook" is gone, they don't get caught on stuff.
post #4 of 16
Dakota and Sage came to me at 6 months - their foster mom used to trim their claws regularly. Since I chose scratch posts over clipping, I let their claws grow and both of them had this problem for about 2 years. They finally learned how to retract their claws and get themselves out of jams. My theory with them was that they had problems because they are the only 2 cats in my house that ever had their nails clipped on a regular basis.
post #5 of 16
My Nala gets herself stuck on occasion and sometimes she's figured out how to get loose by the time I come to the rescue, other times not, & Mommy gets to "un-hook" one very ticked-off cat from whatever it is she's attached herself to. I really think it all depends on the type of fabric or material they get themselves stuck in--some have more "give" than others.
post #6 of 16
My sweetie has ruined the corner of my clothes hampter. It is wicker. I had my daughter put white duct tape on it just so it didn't look so bad. The next morning Sweetie was clawing at the tape and really got stuck. I was there in the bathroom with her and we both fought to get her unstuck. I turned the hamper around and she can't claw the tape anymore. I have visions of her being stuck all day. This was a lesson for me. I have a sissal rope scratching post, a hanging sissal post, a floor scratcher and a turbo scratcher, Sweetie will not use any. My other cat loves the floor scratcher and the turbo scratcher. I think sweetie is just stubborn. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
post #7 of 16
Teddy gets stuck on the couch or the bed blanket. He twists himself all up, and somehow, his back claws (he doesn't have front ones) manage to get stuck. He usually needs some sort of assistance, unless he gets up really quickly and just pulls himself out. I think he was declawed younger (it was before we got him, anyway), and I wondered if because of his lack of front claws, he just didn't learn to get himself out of situations as well as other cats.
post #8 of 16
I would render aid too.

The owners of one of my kittens (now grown) told me she got her nail caught in the carpet of her condo as she was fall/jumping down. She pulled her nail out. The vet checked her and said it may or may not grow back in and it could come in deformed and to watch it.

I recommend trimming claws on a regular basis.
post #9 of 16
Usually, they can free themselves, but not always. I had to take Elvirah to the vet once because she had somehow got one claw twisted sideways and was limping around. The vet got some help, held her down, and cut the claw back all the way. She got some antibiotics and recovered easily, but i try to always keep up with the claw clipping now so that it doesn't happen again. It seems to be more of danger for Vi who has wicked, curving, scimitar claws, as opposed to Rajah, who's claws are more conventional.
post #10 of 16
Eh it depends. I noticed the other day that Reeses was laying on her side. I picked up her toy and tauned her with it and I noticed she would start to get up to go for the toy but just lay back down. After about the 5th time I realized she was stuck to the carpet *lol*
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by deljo View Post
Sweetie will not use any. My other cat loves the floor scratcher and the turbo scratcher. I think sweetie is just stubborn. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Catnip on the scratchers and keep redirecting her to them. Maybe even play with a toy against one of the posts so she'll accidentally scratch on it. Some people teach their cats by acting like they're scratching on it themselves however since your other cat does use them Sweetie must know what they're for.

Young kittens are bad about getting their claws stuck in things and at that age they don't know how to get loose.
I've noticed when older kittens and cats get stuck its generally cause they put their weight behind it so the claw won't pull out, such as something above them.
A few weeks ago a semi feral cat swatted at me and stuck a claw in my wrist, the cat then panicked and tried to pull the claw out instead of retracting. I had to pull the claw out of me while the cat freaked out.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Wow. Lots of claw stories. Now I really don't know what to do, since we clip her nails on a regular basis and she still gets them stuck. I wish I could just teach her the lift and release method.
post #13 of 16
buy her a hardwood scratching post or bring a tree limb into the house. she will scratch and blunt her claws on the wood.
post #14 of 16
Saki once got stuck on one of those hanging toys, it was tied to my kitchen drawer knob. Well it sounded like a feral cat fight in my kitchen I ran in expecting that somehow Snowflake or Patches got in the house but it was jsut Saki, stuck on this toy and by the time I got to him its like he had given up and was just hanging there with his paw up looking at me. I felt so bad for him. I never ever use those stupid hanging toys anymore. They can be pretty dangerous.
post #15 of 16
Karma has gotton stuck three times. We choose not to trim her nails, we let her use scratching post and mats. She still has quite a hook on those little things. The first time was on my weddong ring. I was waring it and we were playing, somehow she just got her claw stuck in one of the holes. It took my DH holding her and me lifting her paw and pulling it out. Needles to say I take my ring off now when we play together. the second time she was helping my DH build one of his computer towers. She stick her paw in the hole for the CD drive and got stuck on a screw hole. HE went right out and bought a tower with a door so all holes remain covered at all times. THe third time she was playing around the fridge and stuck her paw under it. Her claw got stuck on the hinge for the door. It took both of us to get her unhooked. We went out and bought some screen material and made a wall aroud the base of the fridge. No more paws or toys can get under it now.

We still spend most of our time watching her and making sure she does not put her paw into something that can be a kitty catcher. We constnatly tell her to stop because what ever it is she sticks her paw in will eat kitties. She now understands when we say stop it will eat you. Usually she stops and won't do again.
post #16 of 16
Beandip gets stuck on occasion. I think he would free himself, but I can't stand to watch him struggle. He gets mad when I try to free him, matter how careful I am. Last time I had to cut a small loop of carpet on the cat tree because he was getting upset at every other attempt I made to help.

Momma used to get herself stuck pretty often, when I first moved her inside. She used to get caught on the corner of the mattress. I would walk in and find her growling, at her paw!!

My cats have some wood posts to scratch on and that does help to wear their claws down a bit.
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