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First Kitty with Claws

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

As I've recently shared around the forums, Cosmo has just come into my family's life and is wonderfully affectionate and sweet. He is also my first cat to have all his claws still intact.

I've already weighed in on the declawing thread -- I'm not anti-declawing, but I don't want to do it to him when at this point I think it's unneccessary. So here are my questions...

Any links on how to cut a cats claws properly?

How often will I have to cut his claws (generally)?

He has a scratching post his LOVES and we're going to buy him a taller one this weekend -- any recommendations?

If I find him scratching things he shouldn't (like my couch) how do I kindly discourage him?

Petco had one of those cut little scratching carpets? Anyone find they work or does that actually teach mr. kitty that the carpet is perfectly okay to scratch on?

Any other tips/advice?

post #2 of 15
It's seems like we're always on here at the same time.

Here's a link with an illustration:
It's not really hard, and if in doubt, don't cut too much. I found that my kitties claws grow at different rates, even on the same cat! I try to get a few nails every week. The kittens have full nails in about two weeks, and Merlin in probably about four. By doing a few nails on each cat at a time, I can keep up with it and don't have to fight them to cut them all.

Mine never use the scratching post. I have an old wingbacked chair that I use for my computer chair, and I let the cats scratch that. They've left the rest of the furniture alone. On the rare occasion they do seem to forget themselves if I'm sitting on the couch or in the chair, and if I put my hand where they were scratching, they look at me with this shocked expression, like "I can't believe I did that! I'm so sorry!" And it doesn't happen again for a few weeks. I don't know if that's because they respect my position of Alpha, or if I just lucked out and got four great cats.

They do make cardboard scratchers, and L.S. goes nutsy over it. So does Hans, though he's declawed. The downside is that L.S. likes tearing off the sides and spitting them all over the room.
post #3 of 15
Okay, I am still working on Nano and her claws so I can't answer #1 or #2. (In the past few days, however, she does trust me to hold her paw without scratching me.)

Nano uses a Turboscratcher for some scratching, but the horizontal scratching post she uses most is an old car floormat. (I came up with that idea after noticing her textural preferences.) She digs her claws in and leans back to stretch out, or if she wants to start "ripping" on something, she tears clumps off of this floor mat. (This is close in texture to the thing Petco sells.)

For vertical scratching, she uses an old couch I got from Salvation Army for $30. Good enough for now!

When Nano eventually lives with Prissy (my girlfriend's cat), we will introduce a new cat tree that has scratchy-carpet and those rope surfaces for vertical scratching. But we are saving that for later.
post #4 of 15
When mine started using the rugs to scratch I bought some sisal doormats and scattered them through the house, sometimes on top of the rugs they had been scratching. They love them and very rarely go for anything else now. At the beginning I sprayed the rugs with citronella as a repellant, but I htink it was probably unnecessary - they just like the mats' texture more.
post #5 of 15
For the scratching behavior, three words: Turbo Scratcher + Catnip!!!!!

Unlike the cardboard scratcher boxes, it's surrounded by plastic, so the only thing they tear off are little bits that the vac eats. And the ball in the track keeps em fascinated too.

I have one for my two and they demolish it in abt 4wks. You can buy a 2pk of replacement pads at WalMart for $2.50

Sprinkle the new pads with catnip, shake it through the cardboard and watch em go

I also turn it over once they've made a dent in one side, which makes 'em last longer.
post #6 of 15
My cats LOVE the Turbo Scratcher. Best thing I ever bought for the cats. I would also add the alpine scratcher which is at an incline. I jam it between the dresser and the wall so it stays put. My cats love both of these cardboard scratchers. Also, I have a piece of sisal carpet attached to the wall....great for those stretches. We have an old chair I bought at garage sale for 5.00 that Lewis uses once in awhile. All my cats have claws and although they are not perfect in the scratching department, they use their scratchers quite faithfully. I very seldom have to redirect them. I cut my cats claws when they are sleeping and they seem to grow back about, give or take, every two weeks.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone... your info really has helped a lot! We've had Cosmo almost a week now and he's settling in just fine. He does seem to like his scratching post so I will definitely try to find a taller one for him. Next time I'm in Petco I'll also look for a Turbo Scratcher and Sisal carpets.

Thanks for the link on clipping his claws. I'll be honest and say I'm nervous about trying to cut them the first time! I'll definitely educate myself on it, but I'm so afraid I'll hurt him!
post #8 of 15
My vet and Petsmart offer nail trimmings for 8 dollars per trip. If you're not comfortable, it would be the thing to do. It took me four months to get up the nerve to trim my cats nails by myself.
post #9 of 15
Cats have strange preferences sometimes when it comes to scratching. Mine seem to have very little interest in sisal in any form, but they LOVE the cardboard scratchers. Ophelia gets her vertical scratching on the cat tree, which is carpeted, but has never gone at it on the carpet on the floor. Trent has a corrugated box that he stretches on (he's declawed) and "scratches" on from our Christmas Village set. Ophelia has no interest in that at all for her vertical scratching. Neither of them have ever shown much if any interest in scratching on the furniture.

About trimming claws, if you are unsure, ask your vet to show you how when you bring Cosmo in. Or just trim just the sharp tip off the claw and steer clear entirely of trying to judge where the quick is.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to thank everyone and let you all know that I cut Cosmo's claws today for the first time. He was such a good boy! He just sat and looked at me through the first three claws... then he moved off the couch onto the floor where I clipped the rest of them. I used the type of cat-claw-clippers that look like a mini pair of scissors and they worked great.

I gave him lots of lovin and a couple of treats afterwards -- he was such a good boy!! He didn't fight me at all, just looked, well sort of ambivalent
post #11 of 15
I've never clipped my cats' claws, we just live with them being sharp. As far as training them not to scratch the furniture, you have to be vigilant, and at the first sign of scratching (usually a stretch with front paws attached to the sofa) say 'NO' quite firmly and disengage the front claws. At this point the cat will usually run off. You just have to keep repeating it until all it takes is a quiet 'no' from you and they will stop. When you see the cat scratching in a 'good' place like their scratching post give lots and lots of praise & cuddles (that's the fun part!). It might take a while but this is how I train my cats and it's worth persisting with.

post #12 of 15
Check out this site
post #13 of 15
amy, i'd say about once in two weeks, once a week if you dare

I trim Marsh's whenever i 'feel' his are sharp, which is about once in 1 to 2 weeks. He uses all his posts, and so they become sharp very quickly.
post #14 of 15
bwt, do you know that in the system you're 'comeres mom', not 'amy-dhh'? look at the title of the thread and threadstarter.
post #15 of 15
We have 2, 7' trees and a 4' tree. All our cats use them and love them. I would price shop around and get ones with platforms and such. one has sisel rope scratcher and I have no trouble with the cats using the furniture. As far as clipping, we clip ours about every 2-3 weeks. I like the scissor style clippers more than the normal grip ones.
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