Tip of the Month

10/15/2012 Solutions For Sharp Cat Claws

Most people who have cats do not think about clipping their cat’s claws, but in some cases, it is a good idea. This is especially true for house cats that use furniture or the carpet to sharpen their nails!

Cat claws are made of keratin, which is a protein. The outer layer of the nail consists of dead keratin, which is known as the sheath. The quick, which is a blood vessel, runs through the center of each claw. This quick contains nerves and the blood vessel, which causes the nail to grow. When a cat scratches on the furniture or carpet, many people believe that their cat is sharpening their nails. This is not the case. As the nails grow, the cat instinctively scratches on a rough surface to shed the old sheath.

If your cat is aged or ill, she may not sharpen her nails as she should. She could end up with a nail growing into the paw pad or the having a nail form into an ever-growing circle. If a nail grows into the delicate paw pad, you will have to take your cat to the veterinarian to have them cut and cauterized. In some cases, just like a dog, overgrown nails can cause the cat to walk differently or not be able to retract their nails. These overgrown nails can become caught in carpets or even cause your cat to develop back problems.

To avoid this you should clip your cat’s nails. Begin by investing in a small pet nail clipper. Do not use human nail clippers. Pet nail clippers are available in three styles. The first type is Guillotine, in which the cat’s nail is slipped through the hole and cut. The second type is like a small scissor. Then there is the “pliers style”, which is more popular because most people feel they are easier to use. It is also a good idea to have either a styptic pencil or styptic powder on hand in case you cut into the quick. Styptic powder (or a styptic pencil) can be used to blot on your cat’s nail in case the quick is cut and the nail begins to bleed. This helps the blood clot and cease.

With cats, you will need to be ready when they feel the most comfortable. For instance, if your cat likes to lie on your lap while you sit on the couch or chair, have your nail clippers nearby so you can grab them and snip a couple while your cat is relaxed. If your cat is food motivated, then always offer a special treat.

To begin conditioning a nervous kitty, start by massaging the cats paw pads. Once the kitty’s trust has been achieved, then gently press the paw to reveal the nails. Do this for all nails. If your cat already likes this, then proceed to clip off some of the white portion of the nail. Do not cut into the pink part, as this will cause the nail to bleed and hurt your cat. If you do cause the nail to bleed, you should use a styptic powder or stick to stop the bleeding.

Learn to become familiar to your cat’s attitude as you work with her and if she seems to be annoyed stop. After every session with your kitty, give her a special treat.

Another solution for cat claws is “nail caps”. Several different manufacturers make nail caps. Nail caps come in all sorts of different colors and decor, as well as different sizes. To apply nail caps you will have to follow the same procedures as above to condition your cat to become accustomed to the application process.

Once again, when trust has been gained, while your cat is in your lap, apply some adhesive, and place the cap on each nail. Remember to gauge your cat’s demeanor and give your cat a special treat when you are finished. Nail caps will last between 4 to 6 weeks.

If you are unable to perform any of the above tasks, you can always try your veterinarian’s office or your local groomer for assistance.

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