This is one of the questions that torments the cat owner: should I cut the cat’s nails? Although scratching is one of the favorite activities of these felines, in some cases yes, human intervention is needed.
After sleep, scratching and clawing is a favorite activity of cats. Often these cats are autonomous and take care of the nails themselves, but it is important to regularly check the nails of cats to make sure they do not grow too large. Human intervention helps prevent pain and infections caused by their growth inwards.
Cutting the cat’s nails: yes or no, how and when
Most cats don’t need to trim their nails regularly as their innate urge to scratch leads them to file them on their own. In nature, cats are used to getting their nails done on rough surfaces such as a tree trunk. In the case of an apartment cat it is essential to have a scratching post to prevent them from feeling pain when walking or scratching everything they find around, especially curtains and furniture.
What is the scratching post? It is a fundamental object for the well-being of the cat because scratching is one of its strongest instincts. The cat scratches for various reasons: keeping the claws in good condition, relieving stress, delimiting its territory. Teach your cat to use the scratching post exactly as you did when you taught him to use the litter box or to play without scratching you. If you have a large house or the cat is particularly active, place several scratching posts around the house.
It is not always necessary to cut your cat’s nails, but if he does not have the necessary items to file them and remade them, if he is elderly or if he stops making them for some reason, then you will have to take care of them. But don’t worry, cutting your cat’s nails is a viable undertaking.
Cutting your cat’s nails: how to do it and tips
First of all, keep in mind that if you do not feel able to do it or you do not feel prepared and prepared, take your cat to the grooming or contact the veterinarian. The latter should also be consulted if the cat’s nail has grown to penetrate the cushion. During a check-up you can ask your vet for advice on the correct way to cut your cat’s nails without the risk of trimming them too deep and do not hesitate to ask him to show you the correct procedure.
When you are ready press the cat’s paw between your index finger and thumb to pop the nail out, you will see the white nail and a darker or reddish section in the center. Cut only the white part, otherwise you risk mutilating the nerve and the paw will start to bleed (in dark-haired cats the nail is coffee-colored and the center of the nerve is a little darker).
Here are also some practical tips:
- accustom the cat from an early age to having its nails cut so that it perceives it as a normal and habitual activity;
- check all of the cat’s nails once a week, including the spurs;
- never use nail clippers for people, but buy one for cats;
- keep some silver nitrate on hand to stop any bleeding;
- if you cut the nerve by mistake apply silver nitrate immediately and do not be frightened because a lot of blood can come out;
- always proceed with patience and delicacy, never use force;
- talk to the cat in a calm tone and do not scream, it could be frightened;
- if he lets his nails cut, he rewards the cat with his favorite food;
- never amputate your cat’s nails, it’s really painful.
How often should the cat’s nails be trimmed?
The answer is “it depends on the cat”. Let’s say that in general it is necessary to cut the nails of the front paws of the cat twice a month, once a month the rear ones
But, as we said, it depends: if it tends to scratch the sofa, furniture and curtains and does not use the scratching post, you will need to cut your nails more often. If, on the other hand, the cat uses the scratching post, it is possible to cut them less often.
Also, regardless of the timing, if you hear the sound of nails on the floor as the cat runs, it means that they are long and need to be trimmed.
Frequent trimming is often necessary, as mentioned, in elderly cats and in those who are affected by polydactyly, that is, who have an extra finger that does not touch the floor and therefore the nail is not naturally filed.
Other cats have spurs. It is a nail located in the area of the carpal region that does not touch the ground and therefore grows excessively which therefore requires more attention.