Do outside cats need their nails trimmed?
How Often Should You Trim Your Cat’s Nails? (Vet Answer)
The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.
Whenever our cat starts scratching on the furniture or “making biscuits” on our laps, we might think about whether we should trim their nails. But when do cats need their nails trimmed? How often you should trim your cat’s nails depends on your cat’s lifestyle. Indoor cats may need their nails trimmed every 2–4 weeks, but an outdoor cat may be able to go months between manicures.
How to Decide When to Trim
Outdoor cats need long nails for traipsing across the great outdoors for grip and traction, for climbing, and for fighting. If their nails are too short, they can fall when they climb, or they can get beat up during a fight.
Indoor cats do not wear down their nails as fast as outdoor cats, and they do not need particularly sharp nails for climbing or defense. In fact, sharp nails can cause problems when cuddling with their human friends or crawling across soft bedding.
Cats’ Nails and Their Feet
Cat feet are difficult to visualize because of all the fur, plus their claws are retractable. Cat nails retract so they can control when their sharp claws grip a surface. The sharp nails are perfect for gripping the ground and for climbing trees but are not as useful when walking across hard or extra soft surfaces such as rock or carpeting.
When the sharp nails do not retract on a rock, the nails act as stilts and push the toes away from the rock, reducing the use of their paw pad, which is grippy and thick, perfect for walking across something slippery like a rock.
If their nails do not retract when they walk across a textured surface, such as carpet or grass, the nails get caught in the substrate. This can sometimes be seen in weak and/or older cats or cats with a neuromuscular abnormality that causes them to lose some control of their feet. The nails stay extended and get caught on carpets or bedding.
How Do Cats Keep Their Own Nails Short?
Cats keep their nails short and sharp in two ways: by wearing them down when they climb and by scratching and kneading them on surfaces that are perfect for polishing and filing, like trees, furniture, bedding, or fence posts.
Indoor cats, however, not only do not walk and run on hard surfaces as much as outdoor cats, they also do not climb as much. So they do not wear down their nails, and they get longer faster.
Providing indoor cats with scratching posts helps them keep their nails at a more comfortable length. And it can help stop them from scratching your furniture. But it might not be enough to keep everyone comfortable.
Trimming an indoor cat’s nails helps keep them more comfortably short and can protect both you and your furniture from getting scratched.
Why Are My Cat’s Nails Suddenly So Long?
Cats are famous for grooming themselves. And while that is mostly true, many suffer from this assumption when something prevents them from properly grooming themselves.
Many older cats suffer from arthritis or other degenerative conditions which make it difficult for them to groom. Or, sometimes a physical abnormality, an injury, or sickness can prevent a cat from being able to groom and sharpen their nails properly.
It is important to continually monitor your cat’s nails, especially if they are going through something. And this is why it is good to trim even the most independent outdoor cat’s nails every few months to make sure they are keeping up with the maintenance.
How to Trim Nails
The trick to clipping a cat’s nails is to remain calm and encouraging.
Is It Necessary To Trim A Cat’s Claws?
Claws are used by cats to hunt and climb trees. Scratching is often used to demarcate territory. The cat produces pheromones when honing his claws in order to leave a trail in his or her surroundings. Your furnishings may be harmed as a result of this approach. So, is it necessary to trim a cat’s claws? Yes, it is necessary to trim a cat’s claws every few weeks. A quick trim can save your sofa, drapes, and other furnishings, as well as safeguard you, your pet, and your family. Nail-trimming is also a quick and painless alternative to declawing, which entails surgical amputation and can result in behavioral and health problems. This article will talk about the reasons why you should trim your cat’s claws and their benefits.
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Do Cats Really Need Their Claws Trimmed?
Yes, cats really need their claws trimmed. The goal is to eliminate the sharp edges. There are a number of reasons why you should clip your cat’s nails, and one of them is to reduce your cat’s capacity to shred your furniture. However, experts wouldn’t put that at the top of the list, especially since redirecting your cat’s natural need to scratch isn’t difficult. Your furniture is unlikely to be your cat’s first choice with so many amazing options in cat trees, scratching pads, posts, trays, and more. So, what’s the big deal about nipping the tips? It improves the quality of life for both you and your cat. You know what I’m talking about if you have one of those cats who need to knead you and poke those pointy tips into your flesh. By removing the very tip of those claws, you’ll be able to enjoy rather than fear this caring touch. Clipping your cat’s tips can help prevent painful broken claws caused by a sharp tip getting trapped in the carpet. Yes, having less-lethal claws will lessen the damage if your fashion-conscious cat decides to give the corner of your sofa a hip new “distressed” look.
What Happens If You Don’t Trim Your Cat’s Nails?
If you don’t trim your cat’s nails they can curl in on themselves and grow into the footpad, causing intense pain.
Regular nail trims are a necessary part of cat ownership, but they are despised by both cats and humans. Too often, nail trims result in a clawed and bloodied owner and a scared cat. In fact, according to Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, a veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist who is the author of Low-Stress Handling, Restraint, and Behavior Modification of Dogs and Cats, fewer than one in five of her clients feel comfortable trimming their cats’ nails unless they’ve been trained to do so. However, you must clip your cat’s nails. If a cat’s claws aren’t regularly trimmed, they can curl in on themselves and grow into the footpad, causing excruciating agony. People and furnishings can both be damaged by too-long claws if their nails aren’t cut properly. Overgrown nails become curled and do not fully retract. If your cat’s nails become stuck in carpets or other soft surfaces, or if she can no longer retract her nails, you’ll know they’ve gotten too long.
Nails that are severely overgrown and curled might grow into the footpad, causing severe pain and mobility issues. As a result, it’s critical to maintain your cat’s nails short. To avoid reaching this position, cats should get their nails cut every 10 days to 2 weeks.
Is It OK To Never Clip Cat Nails?
No, it is not OK to never clip cat nails as this can cause excruciating pain to your cat.
In the worst-case scenario, untrimmed claws may grow into the pad, causing irritation and even infection, especially in elderly cats. Younger and more active cats are less prone to have this problem because their claws wear down on their own, but they should still have their claws trimmed on a regular basis. Let’s start with the worst-case scenario: when an untrimmed nail grows so long that it penetrates the pad of the cat’s foot. This isn’t meant to scare you; rather, it’s meant to emphasize how critical it is to keep up with nail cutting, especially in elderly cats. In other cases, this resulted in infection, necessitating the administration of antibiotics to these cats! While ingrown cat claws aren’t uncommon, skipping nail trims is more likely to result in a slew of little holes in your furniture, clothing, or even yourself! Because if your cat’s claws grow too long, he or she will have difficulty retracting them. So, instead of safely tucking their sharp claws away while wandering around the home (or on your chest), they can’t help but have them out. Because their nails are too long to fully retract, they become hooked on any type of cloth or fabric! However, all your cat requires is a fast trim to correct this. Even then, there are many cat owners who have never clipped their cat’s nails and have no problems with ingrown nails or even sharp feline claws. So, what exactly is going on here? Do most cats do their own nail trimming? When it comes to young, healthy cats, you can count on them to maintain their claws sharp but trimmed. Especially if they have designated scratching places, which is an important aspect of their upkeep. However, as cats get older, they may become less active and have greater difficulty keeping up with their still-growing nails. But just because your cat is young doesn’t mean you can skip nail trims entirely. They may still require assistance, and you should check on them every few weeks at the very least.
How Do I Know If My Cat Needs His Nails Trimmed?
You can know if your cat needs his nails trimmed by checking his nails regularly and if they are long, curved, and razor-sharp, they’re ready for a trim.
When your furniture begins to resemble a worn-out scratching post, it’s time to start clipping your cat’s nails on a regular basis. Scratching is used by cats to peel off old claw sheaths and expose fresh claws because cat nails (also known as claws) grow in layers. While it’s safe to assume that your indoor cat doesn’t hunt with his claws, they nonetheless play an important role in his natural behavior. Your cat’s claws are instinctively used for playing, hunting, climbing, and defending themselves. They also use them to identify their territory, stretch stiff muscles, exercise, and reduce stress. So you can imagine how difficult it would be to go through the day without having healthy nails. If your cat’s claws are long, curled, and razor-sharp, it’s time to clip them. Catch them after they’ve finished playing so they’re weary and comfortable. The interval between cat nail trims varies based on your cat’s activity level and how much they scratch, but it’s usually 2–4 weeks. You should begin clipping your cat’s nails when they are young, as convincing an older cat to accept a “pedicure” can require a lot of patience. The nails of an adult cat may need to be clipped more frequently than those of a kitten.
How Long Should Cat Nails Be?
Cat nails should be approximately 2 millimeters from the quick. Because cats’ claws are retractible, you must gently press the toe between your thumb and forefinger to expose the claw. Because most cats’ claws are pale in color, the blood vessels and nerves that supply the claw can be seen as a pink stripe at the base of the nail, known as a quick. You should trim the claw down to around 2 millimeters from the quick. The claw will bleed and the cat will be in discomfort if you cut into the quick.
The nail clipper should be parallel to the nail (cutting top to bottom). With one cut on each nail, light-colored claws can be trimmed. The nail gets crushed and may splinter if the trimmer is put parallel to the nail (cutting from side to side). The cleaner the cut, the sharper the trimmer. After clipping, smooth the end of the nail with a nail file.
Do Indoor Cats Need Nail Trims?
Yes, indoor cats need nail trims so that they will cause less damage to your furniture and you. Overall, trimming your cat’s claws isn’t necessary, although it depends on your pet’s lifestyle (outdoor or indoor). If we’re talking about an outdoor cat, claws are necessary for self-defense, hunting, and climbing. A scratching post allows an indoor cat to groom itself on a daily basis. If your cat’s claws are sharpening all over your house, you can shorten them so they don’t do as much damage. The use of an instructional and repellent spray could assist the pet in channeling his or her scratches toward a specific object, such as a scratching post. Cats become less active as they get older. In this instance, it’s critical to keep their claws trimmed because they might grow longer, curve, and enter the pad, causing infection. Finally, remember to inspect the front legs’ dewclaws. They do, in fact, wear out more slowly because they are less likely to come into contact with the ground.
Do Outdoor Cats Need Their Nails Trimmed?
Yes, outdoor cats need their nails trimmed. As outdoor cat ages, their nails may grow out due to a lack of activity. This raises the chance of their nails curving and driving into their footpads, causing pain, movement issues, and even infections in your cat. Indoor and outdoor cats both require their nails clipped since their claws can become snagged and entangled on soft surfaces, or the cat’s ability to retract their claws may be lost entirely. Arthritic cats, whether indoors or out, rarely scratch enough to maintain their nails short.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I maintain my cat’s nails between trimmings?
One approach to support your cat’s inherent desire to claw is to provide a sturdy scratching post or tower. It also prevents them from making your furnishings their latest obsession. The best defense against unwanted scratching is to teach your cat to scratch in suitable areas from a young age. When it comes to scratching surfaces, each cat has their own preferences. Allow your cat to try out a few different fabrics to see what they enjoy. Cardboard, carpet, and sisal are the most prevalent and popular scratch surfaces (a ropy fiber). Once you’ve determined your cat’s preferred material, invest in a solid post that they can dig into and pull without tipping over.
How to make my cat use nail trimming?
When it comes to cat nail clipping, it’s best to start when your pet is still a kitten or young. Concentrate on making your feline feel at ease during the first session. Begin by holding their paw and talking to them while touching their toes, fingers, and nails. Although it may appear to be a gradual start, the idea is to get your cat used to having its paws handled. Using clippers right away may terrify or make your cat feel threatened.
How to cut the nails of a polydactyly cat?
A cat with several additional toes is known as a polydactyl cat. While her extra toes make her seem silly, they also necessitate more nail care! That’s because her additional toes don’t always attach to the ground or the scratching post like a regular cat’s do. If you’re fortunate enough to adopt a polydactyly cat, take special notice of their fuzzy toes and the strange claws that grow from them.
You may only be able to cut a few nails at a time, but that’s fine. Be patient, and your cat will become used to the action of nail clipping in no time. If your cat refuses to have his nails trimmed, don’t punish him. This will not only harm him, but it may also cause him to become distant from you. If everything else fails and your cat stubbornly refuses to get his nails trimmed, you can take him to a professional pet groomer for the job. Alternatively, you can always take him back to your former veterinarian. If you have any unanswered questions, ask us in the comments section.