The internet is infatuated with kitty paws.
I mean, really, what’s not to love.
They are usually pink and usually always soft.
They hold our hands when we are lonely.
They knead our backs and our beds. Draco from Holladay Veterinary always gave me the best back massages when I was stressed.
And yet we don’t really see them for the dangerous weapons that they are. The paws are soft, yes, but not for your comfort. The fur and the pads make this animal a silent stalker. They watch they wait, with patience only hunters have, and then POUNCE!
Hooked claws grab and hold their prey.
A lot of cats find themselves homeless because of their claws. Some even have their claws surgically removed in a procedure called declaw. Veterinarians hate to do declaws. Technicians hate to recover cats after the surgery because it HURTS. Imagine someone chopping off your finger tips and then forcing you to walk on them and worse, dig in kitty litter to poop! Yeowch!
Talk is cheep though. So here is the help you need.
- Get scratching posts, pads, trees… anything to let them stretch out and be a cat without destroying your stuff. Add catnip. Give rewards for use. Still scratching your stuff? Put the scratcher there and move the cat, every time, to a scratch friendly zone and then praise them.
- Trim their nails. For you and them. Old Man River frequently gets stuck to blankets and floors if I don’t trim his nails.
- Offer toys and play with them to keep them from getting bored.
- Soft Paws. If you clip their nails and then glue caps over the edge, their claws will stay nice and dull until their nail grows out and pushes them off. They are a bit tricky the first few times, which is why Holladay offered to do it for free. Anything to get out of declaw surgery!