Do Soft Paws Really Work?

fandlilMarch 31, 2008

We haven't had a cat since our last one died about 8 years ago. We miss them and want to adopt one or two rescues. Our problem is that we recently bought some pricey oriental carpets and don't want to see them shredded.

There are two ways we can deal with that. We could select rescues that have been declawed, something we would never do to a cat, but we'd be willing to adopt one or two who have been declawed. The other alternative is to get these Soft Paws. Do they really work? How hard is it to put them on? Do cats mind or do they resist? How costly are they in the long run, in other words, in a year's time, about how much do they set you back? How often do you have to replace them?

Thanks a lot for your help.

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You didn't mention the other option that many owners forget: Offer as many types of scratching posts as possible. My Sofie loves her cat condos and uses them, with the cheap scatter rugs I offer her. If you offer these from the get-go (NOT as an after thought, after a destructive pattern has been established), you have a better chance of channeling the cats' natural need to scratch towards appropriate and fun places to do it.

My friend did all the above with a cat she raised from a kitten, and still it scratched the carpet! So she got Soft Paws, and they worked! However, you must check them weekly, as the claws grow back and the Soft Paws fall off after 4 - 6 weeks. One became imbedded and infected, and if she had only checked them, it would not have happened.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 7:54AM
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We are all about the soft paws at my house - couldn't live without them.

We do check our cats weekly, but hae never gotten any imbeded. The key is to not use too much glue. When you use too much glue, it gets on the fur, and the cat will try like crazy to clean it off. Once you get the full set on, you generally will need to replace a couple of them every week or so.
Practice makes perfect, and it shouldn't take too long to get the hang of it. I believe that most people who have been unhappy with them have just used too much glue. At the link is an article I wrote with instructions for them. Check out the ragdolls while you're there!

Here is a link that might be useful: soft paws info

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:26AM
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My friend's cat kept them on for 6 weeks! She said not to cut the claws too short.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 8:52AM
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And they are sooo stylish looking! I would put them on my cat even if they didn't need them! Just kidding- they are cute though AND cute kitties too!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:55PM
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If you take the declawed route, you might want to consider my experience: I would never declaw a cat either, but when I found myself catless several years back, I adopted 2 older declawed cats from a family who could no longer care for them. You read about behavioral traumas that declawed cats suffer, but Max and Otis were as sweet tempered and lovable as the other cats (with claws) in my life. Ironically, unlike my former cats who clawed their cat condo post but also carpet and sofas, Max and Otis confined their 'clawing' to the cat condo! During their lives, we bought a very expensive sofa that I probably would have passed on if they still had claws.

When these two wonderful fellows passed on, I decided to go the the ASPCA and ask if they had any declawed cats. They had two: the younger of the two was a beautiful longhair with hyper thyroid. I figured I could give her a good home because I was used to medicating animals. I think the resident vet knew that there was a problem with this poor creature because they suggested that I take her on as a 'foster' caregiver before permanently adopting her.
Well, this cat proved to be impossible for me to medicate...she would hiss when I patted her head more than a few seconds. Forget about medicating her with a pill gun. She would not eat the pill pocket treats after the first couple times. It turned out that she had one claw that had grown back. I found out that she had been returned by another adopter. Whatever her history, I'm sure it was the kind of sad story that makes declawing cats a moral issue because she had serious behavioral issues. I reluctantly her back to the shelter.

While I was there, I spent some time with the other, older declawed resident named Odessa. I ended up taking her home and she has proven to be as sweet as sugar.
The moral of the story is, I think it is a good thing if a responsible person can give a good home to a rescued declawed cat because they are more vulnerable than cats who have their defenses. But you should go to greater lengths to insure that their personalities have not been affected by the procedure. Ei: The first cat did not like being taken out of her cage and handled. I rationalized that she was just frightened. Then I noticed that her long hair was matted. The vet told me that was becaused she gave the groomer a hard time.Not good signs. On the other hand, Odessa was happy to be held in my arms from the gitgo, and had no issues when I patted her paws.

The soft paws sound like a terrific idea, but please do consider giving a declawed cat a safe (indoor) and loving environment as well.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Great idea! Thanks for the reminder.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 8:41PM
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There is a well organized Siamese rescue group with a very good, informative website. They have some declawed rescued. We are exploring several options. I appreciate knowing that SOFT PAWS works. That means we can seriously consider cats with claws, and be confident they won't shred us out of house and home.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 10:48PM
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I used to have them put on one of my cats by the vet (I think when they first came out only the vet could do it.) They are great as far as scratching is concerned. You have to be real careful not to leave them on too long, because then the claw grows real long, and bends down and looks like it is going to dig into the pad of the foot--which I think would really happen. I would be afraid to do them myself, and my cats for sure wouldn't let me!!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 11:34AM
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They both have their limatations- by adopting a de-clawed cat with a price on him/her you are giving them MONEY TO HELP MAKE MORE DE-CLAWED CATS, so if you are against de-clawing you probably don't want to go to that route, unless you can find a add in the paper for a free de-clawed cat or get one from a friend/ect.

Soft paws- I've never tried them, but I hear they re good, still perhaps adopting an older cat and using protective furnature covers/combined with tree bark or tree limbs/young dead trees/made into posts would be best, this way you don't have to keep replacing the soft paws, save money on getting a scratching post- good one are $$!- plus you get a calmer more settled pet

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 4:54PM
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I used them on my dog. He was scratching up the door to his grandpa's room, opening the lever door handle. They stayed on pretty well, some came off early, some had to be peeled off when it was time to remove them. I got enough for maybe 6 months for only $20, so they were a good deal online. I am of two minds about using them, I did not like how long they stayed on (the ones that did not fall off early) and worried about him because I did not read the directions well and put them on without washing his feet real well. I kept imagining dirty nails causing problems. He tolerated them. He may have pulled off the ones that came off early, or it could have just been a beginner's error on gluing the on. The are superglued onto the nail, soon after the nail has been trimmed - but not too short. They did do a great job of keeping him from scratching the door.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 10:35PM
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They both have their limatations- by adopting a de-clawed cat with a price on him/her you are giving them MONEY TO HELP MAKE MORE DE-CLAWED CATS, so if you are against de-clawing you probably don't want to go to that route, unless you can find a add in the paper for a free de-clawed cat or get one from a friend/ect.

That makes no sense. I adopted my last cat from a shelter, she was 10 years old and already declawed. Both declawed and clawed cats get surrendered to shelters and rescues. Just because you adopt a declawed cat doesn't mean the shelter of rescue is going to declaw another one.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 11:19PM
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That 'MAY' be, but you don't really know that do you?, Vets give out packs of fix your cat-get a de claw to raise money for themselves, what's not to say a shelter would not do the same. Some shelters even hand out the dead PTS carcasses of their animals to pet food companies for crying out loud!

Plus little kids go into shelters and see de clawed cats along with clawed, that teaches them that its okay to do, further increasing the trouble. Most de-clawed cats in shelters are there because they did something, bit someone/used litter box wrong, THAT kind of cat is the least one suitable to go in a home with young children IMO- most cats in shelters that DO get homes and satistically 70% end up being PTS, go to homes with children..

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 3:44PM
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I am amazed at how smooth and soft my puppy's nails are now that I am using a Dremel to do her nails rather than clippers. I am not sure how cooperative a cat would be, but, because our puppy still jumps up on us sometimes, it is great that her nails aren't sharp. She is a terrier, and sometimes starts to do some "digging" in the carpet, but no snags so far.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:05AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

runswalken, where on earth do you get your facts? I think we'd appreciate some back-up with these allegations!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:25AM
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" Food Pets Die For" By Ann N Martin, Amazon it at their bookstore,ect. Also Goggle, "Truth about pets in pet food"

Also I have worked at a shelter, no pay job as a dog walker and I know kids love to go their to have Mommy and Daddy buy them a furry friend.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 10:09PM
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For one thing - runsnwalken - I have worked for and volunteered at MANY MANY MANY cat shelters, rescues, and organizations - NONE of them ever used the adoption fee to pay for declawing the cat! Especially since the adoption fee barely covers (usually it doesn't!) the care given to the cat. When adopting a cat from a legitimate rescue or shelter, the cat should have all its shots and vaccs up to date. Usually, rescues also neuter and spay the cats as well. For cats too young to get spayed or neutered, most rescues will either give you a voucher/rebate or schedule a time when you can bring your new pet to their vet and have it spayed neutered at no cost to you. Given that shots, vaccs, spaying, and neutering is so expensive why would a rescue or shelter take perfectly good cats and have them declawed when all that's going to do is cost them more money! And basically, you're scaring people away from adopting a cat and paying a reasonable fee for adopting. In my eyes, the rescues much deserve the adoption fees they charge - it costs a lot of money to care for a pet and 99.9% of the time, the adoption fees only cover the shots and maybe the spay/neuter. They don't cover all the food and medications and time spent caring for that pet. It's highly unlikely (nearly impossible) that a rescue would spend more of their money (when they have barely any money at all anyway) on declawing cats. And the whole thing about rescues and shelters giving dead bodies to food companies...maybe some hole-in-the-wall, small town shelters do that, but I seriously doubt that it's common. One book does not an expert make. Anyone can write a book about anything. Doesn't mean it's true.

Sorry for rambling. That whole thing just really ticked me off.

As for the soft paws, they do work but you need to know your cat first. Some cats really tolerate them well. Most cats get really irritated when you put them on, but once they are on they don't notice them. Other cats hate them and chew on them until they come off. I, personally, have never had problems. And actually, you don't always have to keep putting them on. My sister-in-law only had to put them on her cats for about 3 months. The whole time, whenever the cats would act like they were scratching at her furniture or carpets, she would scold them and place them at a scratching post. When the cats would scratch on the post, she would give them a treat. Now, her cats don't wear the soft paws anymore and they don't scratch at anything they're not supposed to. I've just started putting them on my kittens and they're doing fine with them. They never really scratched at furniture or anything, but they did use their claws to climb up furniture and after they tried to climb up my expensive leather ottoman, I went out and bough the soft claws. Now, they can't climb on stuff and I'm training them on where they can use their claws. I only have to replace 2 or 3 caps a week and that's mainly because they're kittens and their nails grow faster.

Here are my tips to you:

1) Have a partner with you who can help you! If one isn't available, or if you ever need to replace a cap by yourself, wear long and thick rubber gloves. Wrap the cat tightly in an old towel with just the foot out and do it fast!
2) Make sure to reward the kitties after you cap their claws. After a few times, they won't resist and they will actually enjoy having their nails capped. Of course, some cats have different temperaments and they may never like it at all.
3) Make sure to clip the nails but only just the sharp, pointy part. Definitely don't clip too close to the quick!
4) Before gluing the caps on, try them on the claw without the glue first, just in case. Some cats don't fit in the sizing guidelines. This way, you might be able to exchange them for a different size.
5) If you have a long haired cat, you might consider trimming the hair on the feet back a bit. Sometimes if you get the hair stuck in the glue or in the cap, it really irritates them and they will chew the cap off. I have to trim the hair back on my kitties feet a little. It helps!
6) If you're still having troubles, you might consider finding a vet or groomer (groomer would be cheaper!) who would help you put the claws on. Some will do it for a pretty reasonable fee and after you watch them do it, you can usually figure it out on your own.

Oh - and they also sell soft paws at Target and they're cheaper than pet stores. At Target sells them in store where I live. Just an FYI.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 4:38PM
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I was a big fan of SoftPaws too! I used SoftPaws for years on all three of my cats (now deceased). I find that you can gauge how well they will manage the application by how easy the cat is with nail trimming. Two out of three of my cats were a breeze....then, there was 'the other cat'. ;-)

Eventually, they can/will grow out of the need to scratch and thus, the need to use the SoftPaws will stop. My new cat family has different behaviors and none scratch furniture, just their scratching posts.

Also, China Cat84 is correct. I do some volunteer work at a cat shelter. The cats that are declawed come INTO the shelter that way. I'm not aware of any shelters that would ever spend money on declawing - especially when most animals shelters are vehemently against the practice. Shelters' budgets barely cover the necessities of food, medical care and sterilization to waste precious financial resources the expense of declawing.

There are lots and lots of abandoned cats who were declawed and then, abandoned by negligent owners and tossed outside to 'fend' for themselves. Declawed cats know they are vulnerable and 'different'. It's a horrible and cruel practice that should not be allowed to continue.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Most de-clawed cats in shelters are there because they did something, bit someone/used litter box wrong...

runsnwalkin -- though I am generally against declawing, I have to ask -- where in the world you got your data to back up this claim??

I think adopting an already declawed cat (if that is what you want) is a great idea.

Another thing that helps is regularly (every two weeks) trimming the nails -- my cat is long-haired and I suggest a short haired cat because it is much, much easier to see the claws.

Lastly, give a clawed cat plenty of things that they CAN claw on. It won't take long for them to learn that those items belong to them, and they don't get yelled at by their owners when they use them.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 2:31PM
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I have a situation that is slightly different from the standard, "My cat is clawing up my furniture."

I'm moving in with my girlfriend at the end of the month. I have 2 clawed cats. She has 1 declawed cats. I REALLY don't want to declaw my cats, but putting 2 clawed cats against 1 declawed cat is just cruel. My cats are sweethearts, but even if they're just playing, they could really cut up my gf's cat. And G-d forbid they actually fight, my gf's cat won't stand a chance.

Does anyone have any experience with clawed cats wearing soft paws dealing with a declawed cat? Like I said, I really don't want to declaw them, but I'm absolutely not giving them up. As much as I hate declawing, I think its more humane than just getting rid of them. Any help/suggestions people have would be extremely welcome.

Thanks ahead of time.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:24PM
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Not sure why you're so worried about them getting at each other. Most cats when they play fight just bite a little, roll around, swat, etc. There's no reason why they should be using their claws on each other unless they are actually fighting.

I think you're jumping the gun here. Wait and see how the cats get along. There's no reason why two clawed cats and one de-clawed cat won't and can't coexist normally.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 2:39PM
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Cedman, don't worry about it. We have five cats, and the declawed one rules the roost (although he is a huge Maine Coon). It's really rare for any of them to draw blood, especially with their claws, and two of them (both with claws) basically hate each other.

Just make sure you keep their nails clipped.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 1:14AM
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I volunteer at an animal shelter and there are (and have been in the past) cats there with claws and some without claws. They don't behave any differently than each other in general, or towards each other.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:35PM
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hit submit too fast--I also meant that the ones with claws don't scratch or harm the declawed cats any more or less than they do any other cat. I think your girlfriend's cat will do just as well with your cats as it would if it had claws.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:37PM
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Interesting. Thanks for the feedback. I was nervous because at the animal hospital I used to work at, I saw the effects of a fight between a declawed cat vs. a clawed cat. I guess being nervous because of one incident is kind of silly. Its good to hear that other homes have declawed and clawed cats living peacefully. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 4:50PM
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