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How to encourage nervous cat to retract his claws?

(10 Posts)
Sunshine49 Sun 15-Apr-18 14:35:57

Hello everyone!

My two very nervous rescue cats were living stray (feral?) in a derelict back garden in Clapham from 0-6 months, then spent the next 5 to 6 months in a busy rescue centre before we adopted them.

It's almost three months since they arrived at our place and they've made great progress, with both cats even sitting on my lap for a few very short stints. The rescue centre said that due to their nervous natures this might never happen, so I'm pretty chuffed - although I think they only hopped up in the hope of Dreamies!

However, I have noticed that when the male cat sits on my lap he's always somewhat tense, and will often have his claws semi-out and grip onto my jeans.

He did this the other day and because the pain got too much, sadly I had to move him off my lap - a shame as obviously I want him to feel confident and to come up for a fuss as much as possible!

I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to encourage him to retract his claws when sitting on my lap? I'm thinking it could be a nervous thing and could also be down to the fact that he hasn't really had a lot of close interaction with humans.

I'm not sure if this is something that's even fixable to be honest, but thought I'd ask just in case!

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Sun 15-Apr-18 19:11:24

Put a fleece on your lap, they love fleece.

It makes it easier to move them off when it gets too hot because you can just slide them off.

Sunshine49 Sun 15-Apr-18 19:26:42

Thanks Fluffycloud - good tip! I wonder why he does it? Do you think it could be nerves - or just the fact that he had no human contact aged 0-6 months?

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Sun 15-Apr-18 19:31:00

Probably both. He’s ready to defend himself just incase you turn out to be a cat murderer after all.

They can likely tell we’re a predator species by our eyes being forward facing and not at the side.

Dodie66 Sun 15-Apr-18 19:42:25

My cat used to sit and put his claws in my legs. He used to be kneading as well and it was painful. Are his claws very long? They might need clipping. The vet cuts our cats claws for us

Allergictoironing Mon 16-Apr-18 08:38:47

Someone told me years ago to gently tap the top of the foot if the claws are out a bit much, and it does seem to work on many cats. No idea whether it works like a signal to them, or if it causes the tendons to relax & that makes the claws go in, but it has definitely worked on a number of cats over the years.

Toddlerteaplease Mon 16-Apr-18 09:54:43

I stroke my twos paws if they are gripping. And I also get them clipped by the vet.

Want2beme Mon 16-Apr-18 09:57:45

My little nervous girl's been doing this and biting, for years. Hopefully, yours will grow out of it. Their paws are very sensitive and they don't like them being touched, so maybe that's why tapping them works?

Sunshine49 Mon 16-Apr-18 14:25:37

Thanks for the tips everyone - I will try tapping his paws and using a fleece! I'm not sure if his claws are too long - I've noticed they are fully retracted when he jumps up on the sofa, so he can definitely retract them if he wants to. I will double-check when I take him to the vet's!

OP’s posts: |
Ski37 Mon 16-Apr-18 15:52:38

My cat is a ‘kneader’ and is constantly flexing/ retracting his claws when sat on me - he only stops when he falls asleep. I’ve found wearing jeans and having a blanket on my legs helps a lot. He once decided to sit on me whilst I was wearing shorts- it wasn’t long before he was chucked off (poor cat!)
He’s not a big fan of having his paws touched so next time he gets a bit over enthusiastic I will try a gentle tap.
Luckily for me he doesn’t seem to realise he could actually use his claws in anger and I’ve never been deliberately scratched but I agree it isn’t very comfortable at all!

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