If you have ever encountered a frightened or scared cat, you have probably felt the wrath of a cat's razor sharp claws. They can be extremely sharp and painful. However, when you have an indoor cat as a pet, there are many alternatives to help make scratches less common.
Cats do have 'body language' just as dogs do. Some breeds of cats are more sociable than others, just like dogs. Reading a cat's body language will help prevent scratches, and also help make the cat trust you. When ears are fully erect, or towards you, they are interested in you. When ears are turned back or flat, they are frightened, scared or agitated. If a cat seems agitated, leave it be, give it time to trust you, with play and food. Using toys that they can chase help bring a cat out, without grabbing them. Never use your hands to play as they can learn to associate your hands are ok to scratch or bite.
All cats like to stretch and scratch. Be sure to have cat scratching poles in multiple locations to help prevent destruction of furniture. Scratching posts that are both erect in the air, at least the height of the cat, and one that lies flat on the ground are both good to have. Use catnip spray to 'freshen' them up to encourage your cat to use them. If you cat is using your furniture, every time they start to claw, bring out the scratching post with some catnip on it instead. They will start to prefer the scratching post over the furniture.
There are also caps that can go over a cat's nail, called Soft Paws or Purrdy Paws. They are glued onto the nail, after the nails have been clipped, and will last 3-5 weeks. They will fall off as the cats' nails grow out. New ones need to be applied as they fall off. They can be applied at home, at the veterinary clinic, and some groomers offer the service too.
By trimming a cats' nails every 3-4 weeks will also help prevent scratches. The nail, when trimmed, is blunt on the end. As the cat scratches on the scratching posts, and the nails grow, they do become sharp again. But, by trimming the nails on a regular basis it can help keep them nice and short, with being razor sharp. Be careful not to cut the quick, as it is very painful and can bleed a lot. Groomers and Veterinary Clinics can help by doing the service for you for a small fee.
Work on making your cat friendly. When they are young, keep them close to you, interact with them and shower them with love. Once a bond is created with your cat, show affection. Cats are aloof and independent by nature, but by practicing a “cuddle and scoop” method with them can do wonders. When it’s affection time carefully pick them up and pull them in close to you, stroking their fur and treating them like you would a baby. It will help them to develop trust and will also work to create a strong bond between you and your cat.
Submitted by Selena Willard