Indoor cat- how do we/they keep their claws not too long?

(11 Posts)
Moltobene Fri 20-Dec-13 19:04:11

Newbie indoor-only cat owners here and would love any advice about nail care for indoor cats. Recently we have rehomed a friend's indoor only adult cat- she is lovely and has never used her claws in anger. However her claws seem too long to me- I am used to cats who go outside and they are definitely longer than I remember their claws being.
if she gets up on your knee and affectionately kneads they are like scythes. She had a massive scratching post climbing frame thing in her old place but never went on it apparently so they didn't bother bringing it when she arrived.

Any tips or is this something that I should be asking the vet
about..? she's already been flexing her nails cheerfully into the sofa upholstery trying to wear her claws down (presumably) but despite loud cloth ripping noises that's not going to be enough is it? Plus making me a bit sad for the sofa. Any advice very gratefully received!

cozietoesie Fri 20-Dec-13 19:15:11

I nominate a 'sacrificial' piece of furniture/carpet as an authorized scratching place - but that's simply because none of my indoor cats have ever taken to any sort of scratching post and they've got to have somewhere to scratch. (Otherwise they'll scratch anything or everything.) Other posters may be able to advise you on more successful attempts with posts even though it doesn't appear to be her thing.

I also nip off the tips of front claws regularly. Not their favourite thing but they've always allowed me to do it. (It's important to get a proper claw clipping tool rather than eg a pair of scissors so that their claws don't splinter; and to avoid the pink bit in the claws which is the like a human quick.)

I trust the sofa isn't too valuable? I'd see if you can steer her to an old chair myself. (Smaller and easier to live with than a shredded sofa.)

You can clip cats' claws. A nail clipper (human type) works best. You have to be careful not to cut into the quick (which you can see if the claws are light coloured but not if they're dark) - but basically not too short to avoid that.

It's best not to cut the claws of outdoor cats (unless they have trouble with ingrowing claws for example) as they need them to climb trees to escape danger or whatever, but it's OK for indoor cats. You generally never need to cut the back claws.

Some cats let you do it without a problem. Others will take yours eyes out ...

And just checking - even though she's an indoor cat she is spayed?

Also most cats, even those that don't use scratching posts, seem to love the scratch boxes you can buy (eg the Pets at Home Willows scratch box), that are basically corrugated card in a box. Those are worth a try.

issey6cats Fri 20-Dec-13 20:40:28

my cats have one of the cardboard ones that catneuterer has just mentioned and they love it i buy loose catnip sprinkle it between the cardboard to attract them towards it

VenusDeWillendorf Fri 20-Dec-13 21:28:11

Another yes to the corrugated paper scratching box.

It comes with cat nip as well, so you get a little bit for all the toys.

Lightly spray the sofa with grapefruit oil mixed with water in a fine mist, or leave a cloth with lemon oil on the sofa for a while to deter.

Clipping a cat's claws is easiest if you wait till they're asleep!
When awake, hold your cats paw when they're in your lap a few times without clipping so that they're used to you being around their paws, holding them. I massaged my last cats paws and she loved it.

Yes, Use a special clipper, or a human nail clipper, not a scissors. Clip them only a tiny bit, but if they're going out leave them and they'll be able to climb a tree to get away from a threat without falling, and the tree will wear the claw down perfectly.

timtam23 Fri 20-Dec-13 23:20:50

We clip my old cat's claws with normal nail clippers, he used to go outside to sharpen them but he's old & blind now & doesn't manage any more than a short potter outside. We can tell his claws are too long when we hear then clicking on the hard floors, he also started getting pinned to the sofa by his claws when he was trying to jump on and off. He doesn't particularly like having it done but one person holds him and the other clips. As others have said just avoid clipping down to the quick or else there will be blood everywhere!

cozietoesie Fri 20-Dec-13 23:29:25

I think what I was getting at is - no scissors. Cat claws are prone to splintering and that's the last thing you need.

Also Moltobene - they can adapt to having claws done. Seniorboy came to me at 13 as an indoor cat never having had his claws clipped at home, never being groomed, never being prevented from going on surfaces etc etc etc. Claw clipping is still not his favourite thing (although he loves being groomed now) but he puts up with it pretty well.

sashh Sat 21-Dec-13 11:00:24

You can clip cats' claws. A nail clipper (human type) works best

No get one from the vet, they are only £2-3 and my vet showed me how to use it for free.

WhoKnowsWhereTheMistletoes Sat 21-Dec-13 15:17:51

I had to do my two cats recently as they were indoors for a month when they arrived with us and got very long and sharp, they were snagging as they walked on the carpet. I used a scissor type clipper from a pet shop for most of them, but one cat ran off, then I found her dozing by the drawer with my nail clippers in so I finished them with those, just took the tiniest bit off the ends. The back claws definitely didn't need doing. Hoping they will just look after themselves now they are going out.

cozietoesie Sat 21-Dec-13 16:35:37

I'm not sure back claws look after themselves as such. There would be some wearing down of course - but over the years, I've seen my boys sucking and chewing their back claws and have found many lateral segments of back claw lying around. I think the cats do it themselves.

(Although Seniorboy is not only a stiffy nowadays but has hardly any teeth left so I give his back claws an occasional little attention as well as his front.)

Moltobene Sun 22-Dec-13 00:14:14

Thank you so much for your very helpful replies everyone- will get some cat clippers- and that scratch box sounds ideal before she gets too attached to tearing up the sofa arm.
Hoping that shorter cat nails will = less impulse to scratch, but we shall see! fhmm
She is spayed, yes.

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