Pound for pound, your cute and cuddly cat packs a punch way above her weight. In addition to sharp teeth and fast reflexes, cats are quite agile. Unfortunately, cat scratches come with the territory. They aren’t cute – especially when those scratches are on your arm, your face, the drapes, and expensive furniture! Have your cat nails trimmed.
Scratching or “sharpening” is normal feline behavior. It’s so ingrained in their brains that even declawed cats will go through scratching motions. In the past, the solution to a scratchy cat was simple – declaw them, an amputation process that involves removing part of the bone that holds the claw. But today, cat parents and vets see this as a last resort. The complications arising from declawing (pain, increased tendency to bite, and behavioral changes) strongly outweigh the benefits. And since cats walk on the tips of their toes, declawing changes the way a cat’s body moves. Their leg and back muscles weaken over time which can lead to back and joint pain when they’re older. Other complications include nerve damage and improper healing.
Since scratching is a feline impulse, the best way to keep you and your furniture scratch-free is to have your cat nails trimmed.
Abrasions from a cat’s scratch can prove fatal as the risk of infection is high. Cats dig their litter boxes with the same paws. If your cat is flea-infested, she can also pose a health hazard (known as cat scratch disease) where bacteria are easily introduced into the bloodstream with nails that have flea poop on them.
But my cat has her own scratching post!
Scratching posts won’t wear out or dull your cat’s nails. This is because cats’ nails grow in layers. And cats, cunning as they are, aren’t very adept when it comes to removing these layers. Left on their own, they are at risk of developing painful, infected, ingrown cat nails!
The only solution is a regular trim. Trimmed cat nails inflict less damage than sharp ones. The benefits are significant. Most importantly, a cat with neatly trimmed nails is likely to enjoy a better relationship with its humans since they won’t be given the boot when cuddling or playing.
Doing it right
If you aren’t comfortable trimming your cat’s nails, you aren’t alone. Most cat parents are. Cats can get anxious at the sight and sound of clippers. And if both of you are ill at ease during your trimming session, you risk cutting the quick, the part of the nail that contains nerves and blood vessels. (Ouch.) But nail grooming is a must. In addition to scratches that could infect, some cat’s nails grow round and back into the pad. (Double ouch!).
So trim those nails. Protect yourself, your property, and your feline from complications that scratches bring.
To keep your cat in optimum health:
- Always consult with your veterinarian; and
- Get into the habit of nail trimming as part of your visit to the vet. Get this done along with your cat’s annual exam, dental cleaning, or regular grooming.