Want to know how to care for you cat’s claws? Many people are hesitant to clip their pet’s claws because they’re worried about hurting their four-legged companion. While this is completely understandable, it’s important to realize that with the proper knowledge you can safely help keep your cat’s claws trimmed and healthy! Read on to learn more about one of the most important aspects of grooming your cat.
How to Best Take Care of Cat Claws
The cat’s claws, complex retractable appendages, are usually withdrawn within their sheaths above the toe pads. The cat may extend its claws when necessary in order to climb, grip, or defend itself.
The visible part of the claw is made up of two main parts:
- The center of the claw, called the “quick,” which contains the nerve endings and blood vessels nourishing the claw.
- The claw’s outer cover, which is made of layers of material called keratin.
The claw grows throughout the cat’s life. It is renewed continuously as the older outer layers wear down. To facilitate this process, cats need to scratch objects made of wood or other similar materials.
For cats living outdoors, there is additional natural wearing of the claws caused by digging or by walking on various rough surfaces.
Indoor cats experience less natural erosion.
They may try to further wear down their claws by scratching such things as doors, wooden or upholstered furniture, rugs, bookbindings, or other such objects.
Another problem occurs when claws grow too long, which may cause undesirable scratches on the cat’s human “family.”
And nobody likes cat scratches!
In such cases, the cat’s claws can be clipped once every few weeks.
Clipping the Claws
Cats’ claws are shortened using special clippers or sharp nail scissors. It is very important to clip only the tip of the claw and not to cut into the quick.
The claw should be examined before a light source to clearly differentiate between the pink part – the center or quick of the claw containing the blood vessels – and the whitish clear part.
Then you can carefully trim the white tip of the claw, keeping a safe distance from the quick.
Remember to take your time when you are trimming your cat’s claws. When you stay calm, it will help your cat stay calm and reduce injury — for both of you.
It is better to clip away a smaller part of the claw more often than risk hitting the sensitive center of the claw, which can cause the cat both great pain and bleeding.
If you have doubts about how to clip the claws properly, you should consult a veterinarian, asking her to demonstrate the process for you.
Wondering if you really need to groom your cat? Cats are self-grooming, after all, so many of us think there’s no reason to groom our cats ourselves. It turns out there are many benefits from grooming your cat — for the both of you! If you don’t groom your cat, but think you should, here are a few reasons that might help you decide.
7 Reasons Why You Really Should Groom Your Cat Regularly
Cats are famous for their self-grooming rituals. Cats use their paws to reach those places they can’t reach directly with their tongue.
They lick their paw, and immediately use the wet paw to groom their head and ears.
You may think that’s enough, that cats can just groom themselves and be done, but there are many reasons why taking steps to groom your cat can be helpful.
Here are a few reasons you should consider grooming your cat:
1. Getting the cat used to being touched and handled
Brushing or combing the coat is fairly similar to petting, yet clipping claws, brushing a cat’s teeth, or cleaning their ears, require a different kind of handling.
Getting your cat used to that kind of handling could help you in the future, should you need to medicate the cat or otherwise handle sensitive areas.
2. Checking your cat for changes and abnormalities
It allows you to notice early changes in coat condition, tooth and gum disease, dirt inside the ears, increased sensitivity in a paw or a limb, or a suspicious lump or swelling.
Many health issues can be easily solved with early prevention. Make sure you seek out your vet if you notice anything odd, or if your cat begins behaving differently.
3. Enhancing the feline-human bond
Cats often groom each other to show affection and reinforce social bonds. By the same token, when you groom your cat’s coat, you are creating a sense of closeness and trust.
4. Preventing excessive shedding in your home
Yes, cats can groom themselves, but you can minimize the amount of loose fur in your household by grooming the coat with a good cat brush or comb.
5. Special Needs cats need special grooming attention
Paralyzed cats, or those with motor problems, may rely on human grooming to keep them in the right condition. Arthritis can prevent a cat from properly stretching to groom those hard to reach places too.
6. Special breeds with special needs
While all longhair cats could use additional combing and brushing, some purebred cats have more specific grooming needs.
7. Claw and tooth care
Living indoors-only and feeding on processed foods indicates special claw and tooth care, which applies to most if not all pet cats. Claws don’t get as worn out as they would in a feral cat living outdoors, and thus may need trimming.
Teeth may accrue plaque unless cleaned, and we now know that feeding kibble does not solve that particular problem.
Do you groom your cat regularly? Do you feel like you have a closer relationship with your cat because of it?