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How important is claw trimming?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm a first-time cat owner and got Junior, an 8-month old tabby, about a month ago. I've done quite a bit of reading on how to trim his claws but am wondering how important it is to do. I have a 32" sisal scratching post which he uses just about every time he walks by. I also have a flat cardboard-type scratching toy which he also uses regularly. He has never tried scratching any furniture or myself, although he does occasionally rub his paws on the rough edge of my older couch. Also, he's very skittish and I'm not sure I could trim his claws even if I tried.

So, just how important is trimming a cat's claws?

Mez
post #2 of 23
When your kitty scratches his posts, he's actually sharpening those little needles in his toes! I would suggest starting to clip your kitty's nails now while he's young so he gets used to it cuz they don't really file themselves down unless he spends a lot of time on concrete (even then it doesn't do a whole lot)... even if he's good about not scratching furniture, there's always possibility of accidental scratching of humans, so occasionally trimming off those tips is a good idea... also, if nails are left to grow long enough, they can and have grown to curl around under the cat's foot and into the paw pad which is very painful and could end up requiring your vet's services to fix

Like I mentioned, get him used to it now (even if he is skittish, he'll get used to it) while he's a kitten cuz it's much easier than trying to deal with an adult cat that must have his feet touched and is not used to it
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
they don't really file themselves down unless he spends a lot of time on concrete (even then it doesn't do a whole lot)
I'm not trying to be argumentative or whatever, but if that's the case then how do cats maintain their claws naturally? They haven't always had humans around to trim their claws for them.

Mez
post #4 of 23
A cat living outside isn't walking on a soft carpet and furniture. They are doing things like climbing trees to escape predators and hunting. Those things would keep their claws trimmed down or even breaking them off. Both of my cats love to knead on me and when that starts to hurt I know its time to trim the tips off of their claws. They don't like having it done but they tolerate it and it just takes a few minutes to get both of them done.
post #5 of 23
i would get him used to it now as a youngster, I have oldies, and one of mine who didn't use a scratch post, barely went out and basically didn't do a lot ended up with 2 growing so long they grew into her paw pads (this was before I discovered cat forums). As a result, it is something that I check on a weekly basis, and the first thing I do with all cats that come here is clip their claws.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezlo View Post
I'm not trying to be argumentative or whatever, but if that's the case then how do cats maintain their claws naturally? They haven't always had humans around to trim their claws for them.

Mez
A cat living outside likes his claws nice and sharp. Indoors, for the sake of the furniture, rugs, and our skin, we like to clip 'em.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the information. As a new owner I really hate doing anything Junior doesn't like, but I'll just have to get used to it.

Mez
post #8 of 23
I start my kittens on nail trimming at 3-4 weeks old and continue once a week (at least check and clip as needed). By the time they are grown, I have little problems with them and nail clipping.

Scratching posts don't keep the nails worn down - its more of an excersize thing as well as "marking".

Untrimmed nails can get caught and ripped out from loose carpet, blankets, curtains, etc.

One of my Russian Blue kittens almost lost his eyesight due to unclipped nails. The kittens were playing and one swiped at the other and caught the sharp tip on the edge of the other's eye. The kitten had to have his eye stitch shut for a few weeks to heal. After that I got paranoid about kittens, so I started nipping their nails at 3-4 weeks old.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezlo View Post
As a new owner I really hate doing anything Junior doesn't like, but I'll just have to get used to it.
You'll have to offend the cat sometime. Claw trimming is the least of it, wait till your little one gets into something and you have to bathe him -also why it's good to trim claws.
post #10 of 23
I clip weekly, it isn't a big deal to her. She has a lot of posts and toys to help file down her claws.

I do this since she lives indoors. She plays really rough and tumble with dogs and I don't want them hurt. I don't want her accidently getting claws hung into our things, like a hang nail on the rugs, couches, etc.
And when she kneads things (often) or messes with things or climbs around the house I know the chance for damage is less. I am unwilling to declaw as I think it is not very humane so keeping them short is the next best thing to avoid injuries.
post #11 of 23
Hi, I would clip Junior's nails, as scratching posts do not truly file the nails down. I clip Ares front paws weekly and his hind paws every 2-4 weeks. I find if I don't clip them I get lots of scratches! If you're truly nervous about it, you could always get then clipped by a groomer.
post #12 of 23
Yeah, you don't *have* to do it, but it definitely makes for happier people. My cat came from a breeder who trimmed his claws a few days before we got him, and she said that while he's a kitten we should do it every 2 weeks so he stays used to it.

It's a good idea simply so that accidents don't occur. If you pick up your cat and he's not too into the idea, the claws will come out. That could get him snagged on carpet, or your leg, or whatever, and I find snagged cats more uncomfortable than trimmed cats.

The first time we trimmed our guy's claws, we weren't sure what to expect. But we made him into a cat burrito and he just meowed. I actually even messed up a few times, cutting his claws from the wrong direction and giving him a mild split claw, but no blood or anything and he was surprisingly well behaved. We also did it in the early afternoon before he became psychocat.
post #13 of 23
You don't have to do it. If the claws aren't bothering you and the cat is a good scratching-post user, there's no reason to.

Generally owners clip the claws because of issues like furniture damage or getting scratched. Since you're not having those, there's no medical or health reason. Most people don't clip a cat's back claws, for instance.
post #14 of 23
I hate to disagree with the above posters, but IMO it is a must to keep indoor only cats' claws trimmed.
I've witnessed first hand the damage a cat can do to themselves when overly long claws get caught on something and the cat panics.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
You don't have to do it. If the claws aren't bothering you and the cat is a good scratching-post user, there's no reason to.

Generally owners clip the claws because of issues like furniture damage or getting scratched. Since you're not having those, there's no medical or health reason. Most people don't clip a cat's back claws, for instance.
I disagree. Bijou has gotten his claws caught on my husband's amp and could not get the claw free without help. If we had not been there at that precise moment I have no doubt that he would have panicked and pulled hard enough to damage his claw very badly. Our cats do not scratch our furniture and never had, do have and use scratching posts, but do STILL need to have their claws clipped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
I hate to disagree with the above posters, but IMO it is a must to keep indoor only cats' claws trimmed.
I've witnessed first hand the damage a cat can do to themselves when overly long claws get caught on something and the cat panics.
As I said above, Bijou got his claw stuck and it was scary for both of us. One time he had both dew claws bleeding so we assumed he got them stuck somewhere and had pulled really hard to get free.

Last week during my voluntary work at the shelter, one of the caged cats kept getting her claws caught in the blanket on the bottom of her cage. I took her out and clipped her claws for her and it made a huge difference for her.

There is also the issue of the claws possibly growing into their paw pads.

IMHO, it is one of the things we can do for our cats that will make their lives easier. It also makes it nicer for me when Bijou stands up on my leg for loving and his claws don't sink into my thigh.
post #16 of 23
Indoor cats should definately have their claws trimmed. I agree with anyone else who said that.

Trout has TALONS for claws and if I didn't clip them, my legs would be raw with wounds all the time. She gets spooked very easily and when she does, I am her springboard and she digs right in.

Also, her nails get stuck..and it is not pleasant because she freaks out..and even moreso when I try to help her.

I could be wrong here..but I think most cats will sharpen their claws on anything sufficient even if there are cat trees and sisal around. Trout uses the floor, my bed, and even my computer chair AS WELL AS her two giant cat trees.
post #17 of 23
In a lifetime of having cats, I've never seen one get a claw stuck to anything. Even if it does happen, it could happen with a trimmed claw also.

A cat who's using a scratching post regularly is not going to have claws that get overlong or grow into his paw pad.
post #18 of 23
As I said in my previous post, I have had a cat whos claws grew so long they dug into her pawpads - it has never happened since as I learnt the importance of it then. I do think it is especially important with mine, as they are oldies, and dont scratch that much. i have also had the misfortune of having unclipped claws stuck in my skin (so one of the first things that happens to all fosters now is claw clipping!!)
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
A cat who's using a scratching post regularly is not going to have claws that get overlong or grow into his paw pad.
Also not true.
My 14 year old and my 3 year old girls are nuts for scratching posts and use them religiously.
The 14 year old needs claws trimmed every 2 weeks as she starts sticking to everything.
The 3 year old's claws start growing into her pads if I don't trim hers every three weeks.
Scratching posts, etc DO NOT do anything for claw trimming, it simply removes shedding claw sheaths and is a marking behavior.
post #20 of 23
Claws that are growing around into the pad after three weeks... it sounds like there's something aberrant about the growth rate or the paw shape. I've never seen that.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
Scratching posts, etc DO NOT do anything for claw trimming, it simply removes shedding claw sheaths and is a marking behavior.
If anything it helps sharpen them up.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by missymotus View Post
If anything it helps sharpen them up.
Exactly right.

Why not just trim your cats claws? Its not bad for the cat, and its outlined here why it is necessary. Its not hard either.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou View Post
In a lifetime of having cats, I've never seen one get a claw stuck to anything. Even if it does happen, it could happen with a trimmed claw also.

A cat who's using a scratching post regularly is not going to have claws that get overlong or grow into his paw pad.
It's possible my lifetime may be a bit longer than yours and I have to say I've seen a number of cats get their claws stuck. It's not pleasant to see the little bleeding claws as I saw Bijou's.

Scratching posts sharpen claws but do nothing to shorten them. As the others said, the scratching posts get rid of the shedding sheaths.
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