Why clip a cats nails?

love2gardenncMarch 19, 2005

I recently took my 11 yr. old son (feline) to the vet to have his teeth cleaned and they offered to clip his nails at a reduced rate. Please understand that both myself and the cat were traumatized by the trip and I said no without even asking why they would offer this service. I have never heard of clipping a cats nails, should I do it, they do seem rather long, definitely sticking out past his soft paw fur. Thanks to all those who respond, Les

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Clipping a cat's claws really isn't necessary under most circumstances, but it will help with a few things:

1) Clipped claws won't get stuck in furniture and carpeting

2) Clipped claws won't cause injury during play

3) Claws can occasionally grow long enough to curl back into the toe pads and cause injury and/or pain

Clipping doesn't hurt the cat at all, though the cat may object to the procedure if (s)he is not used to it. You can clip your cat's claws yourself by buying a cat claw clipper and clipping just one or two at a time while your cat's sleeping. Be careful to just clip the hook off the tip of each claw. If you accidentally clip the nail back too far and clip the quick (where it'll start bleeding), it'll cause some brief discomfort for the cat and may make him/her a lot less cooperative for future clippings.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 7:05PM
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Thanks Laurie,
He has never had any problems with the above mentioned things. He does though scratch posts outside and attempts sometimes to do it to antiques indoors, would it help to clip or would he just claw more to resharpen, Les

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 7:46PM
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Clipping will help diminish the damage he would do to your antiques, and it won't cause him to claw more. Cats don't claw to sharpen their claws. They do it to remove the old claw sheaths.

You'll need to clip his claws every few weeks if you want to keep the sharp hooks trimmed off. Also, keep an eye on his claw growth. I have an older cat whose claws were always perfectly normal ... until a year ago. Now his claws have started to grow abnormally for some reason. They have become very thickened, and they grow in circles back into themselves if I don't keep them trimmed. They also seem to grow much more quickly than they did before. Very odd. I've never seen a cat's claws do this before. It has made me pay closer attention to ALL the cats' claws, though, in case I've just been missing this same sort of abnormal growth in my other older cats.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 8:53PM
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Funny you ask!

I was just playing with my little Sofie. She repeatedly got "hooked" on her ribbon. Then she stretched on my blanket, got snared and just lay there with her leg stretched out, waiting for me to unhook her. I did, got out the clippers and cut her claws.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 10:15PM
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No reason to that I've seen. We have 2 indoor cats and many, many pieces of cat furniture for them to scratch on (and our cats have never made a mistake). However, I usually clip my cats' claws prior to their yearly teeth-cleaning visits, because if I don't, I notice they always have clipped claws when I go to pick them up. I have always assumed that they clip the cats' claws at the vet's simply for the protection of the vet and staff who have to handle them - though how they protect themselves from "the wrath of Flossie" to do that, I don't know, LOL!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 11:35PM
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Clipping does help the furniture, and my older cat did get an ingrown nail (ouch!) when I failed to do it. My vet does it and lists it as a no-charge "kitten manicure" on the bill - a cute little lagniappe, as we call it in New Orleans!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 7:52AM
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I don't clip my cat's claws. She uses one of my rugs ( a good one *sigh*) as a scratching post. The couple of times that the vet clipped her claws (without having asked me), my cat destroyed my rug much worse than with the long, sharp claws. She would try extra hard to dig into the rug and pull out huge clumps. She was very frustrated with her short claws.

Clipping claws is a mixed blessing for me. I get scratched less, but, my rug gets completely destroyed.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 2:15PM
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My cat has a scratching board...it's beat to death! LOL
...but she STILL insists on using the bottom carpeted step!
I just had these steps (and the second floor) all carpeted.
Now it appears I'll have to have the bottom step re-carpeted. Ugh!

I clip Scooter's nails...not because she scrathes the step, but because she 'taps' me on the face each morning before the sun's up!...to get me outta bed to feed her! LOL
Long nails hurt! âº

She doesn't seem to mind...I just keep the mood light and chatter to her...keeps her mind off what's really going on. LOL

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 9:26AM
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That's the mixed blessing I was talking about :)

My cat does the same exact thing to me with her velociraptor claws.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 1:48PM
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We had an 18-year old Maine Coon cat who was known as the cat from hell--no chance of my clipping her nails or cutting the mats, which got very bad. Took her in to have a new vet deal with the mats, only to discover almost all of her nails were ingrown into the pads--we had skipped a year of the vet because it was so traumatic for her and us. They managed to shave her mats, cut all of her nails (with vet, two technicians and me holding her, growling the whole time..)and clean the wounds in her paws. I was almost in tears---felt like a terrible owner not to have noticed the problem (the only hint something was not right was the clicking noise she would make going across the floor). Just a cautionary tale...

The cat we have now is used to having her nails clipped--the breeder did it, the vet did it, and I started doing it--and I try to do it every few weeks so she stays relaxed about it.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 3:54PM
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I clip our cats' claws every two weeks, just cutting off the sharp tips. I've been doing this since they were kittens. They don't like it much, but I brush their fur and give treats afterward, which they do like.

They are indoors, and if I didn't clip them their nails would snag on many things they could injure each other when they play.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 10:48PM
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LOL bbaird! âº

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 10:41PM
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I've always clipped my cats' nails, just a little nick off the tip. It makes their instinctive scratching less destructive, and prevents them from accidentally scratching me when they climb up into my lap or use me as a staircase on the way to the windowsill.

Till a few months ago, we had a cat with a toe twisted sideways. I miss Merlin very much. He'd use the sideways claw as a tool to hook things, very cool. But it also snagged on the carpet as he walked, since ordinary scratching didn't wear it down. So we had to manicure it for him.

I tell you, my shoulders and thighs would be riddled with scar tissue if I didn't trim my kitties' toenails.

If the cats are used to being handled, as ours all are, trimming shouldn't be a big ordeal. If it is, you can always try the towel-wrap trick, which requires two players.

The alternative? My mom's cat, Tabitha, has a toenail that's so overgrown it looks like she's got a button caught between her toes.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 1:09AM
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Well, I don't think it's accurate to give the impression that the "alternative" to clipping a cat's claws is "overgrown" claws. It simply isn't true. Needless to say though, if one's cat has a claw abnormality like the one described, it should be treated by clipping or by whatever means are necessary.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 1:05AM
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i have never heard of a cat having overgrown claws before, and i have never clipped my cats claws. i am thinking about clipping one of my cats claws b/c he also loves to wake me in the morning by grabbing my face and nuzzling me. i am just afraid that if i start to clip his claws it's something i will have to do forever, which i am unsure about. i don't want to start clipping if it means if i don't clip there will be problems...any thoughts?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 3:18PM
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Clipping the claws won't make them grow differently.

This thread is very old, but I noticed that some posters wondered how the vet could possibly manage to trim their cat's claws without injury. They just do it while the cat is sedated for another procedure such as teeth cleaning.

We've always trimmed all our cats. The ones with more docile personalities are much more compliant during pedicures, too. We also have several scratching surfaces for the cats. The most popular one looks like a couch. ;)

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 5:39PM
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I have to clip my cat's nails once a week or else they are so sharp they look like fish hooks.No,my cat doesnt really scratch anyone on purpose,but I like to trim them just incase (I have an 8 year old daughter)
It doesnt hurt my cat,he is actually so used to it he just lays in my arms like a baby while I do it.They sell special clippers that make it easy and painless.But if you dont want it,then dont get it done.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 1:48AM
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Susan, I loved your last sentence. My friend tells me of her friend who was adopted by a cat that insists all the furniture and carpets in the house are scratching posts and she doesn't know what to do. She's never had a cat before and assumes they just train themselves.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 1:34AM
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considering that my cat likes to play rough w/ my hand (I know, I'm not supposed to encourage it, and I don't, but she does anyway),

or gets p.o.'d at people (including me) if they pet her when she doesn't want it and will occasionally swipe,

or flexes all her toes when she jumps off my lap

or spreads out her claws, pokes them into my cheek or scalp, and PULLS, in order to get me to turn my face over to her side of the bed

or kneads on my arm or cheek when she's snuggling in bed

I clip her claws regularly. They can be like little swords sometimes!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 3:40PM
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We have 4 cats. One is elderly and is indoors 90% of the time. The other 3 are in/out at their pleasure (our presence, lol) during the daylight hours.

I now trim the claws of the elderly cat because she isn't wearing them down naturally as effectively as she once did. The other 3? two I never clip, but the third has "double" paws up front and sometimes the one "in between" the regular claws and the big one gets long and curves toward the pad. I check it every month/so and give it a clip if it looks too long.

How are the philanges of cats numbered? Do you start with the "thumb" and work toward the "pinkie"?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 3:59PM
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