Do Claw Caps for Cats Work? I LOVE them! They are easy to use, don’t take much time to apply, and they are absolutely stopping our cat from shredding our furniture.
Do Claw Caps for Cats Work?
We brought home a sweet little kitten this year who promptly started to scratch up and climb all of the furniture and curtains in our home. 🙂
We lost 2 Dining Room chairs in just about a month. They seemed to be her favorite scratching posts.
She was also accidentally scratching up our kids when she would jump off their laps or play fight with them.
So, before we lost anymore furniture I had to figure out a safe way to stop a kitty who’s scratching up furniture.
I tried just keeping her nails short by clipping them every week. That didn’t work. We also bought her a bunch of scratching posts and boards that she had ZERO interest in.
Then after tons of research and talking to our vet, I decided to give claw caps a try. AND, we love them!
Do claw caps for cats work? They do on our kitty. I know it can be hard to get some cats used to them though. I have some helpful tips for that below too.
And, after you’ve read this, be sure to check out 5 Ways to Hide a Kitty Litter Box in a Cabinet!
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Here’s how to put claw caps on a cat, how often you’ll need to & how to get cats used to them. With answers to a few common questions people have about claw caps for cats.
Are Nail Caps For Cats Cruel?
No, nail caps for cats are not cruel. In fact, they are one of the recommended ways to get your cat to stop scratching up furniture and to protect your kids from accidental cat scratches.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends claw caps, also known as nail caps, on the AVMA site.
The Humane Society of the United States also recommends using claw caps on a cats nails to protect skin and furniture.
You can read the ASPCA’s post on destructive scratching too. They also recommend soft nail caps as a safe way to save furniture and skin from scratches.
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats that we don’t want to stop. So, claw caps are a great way to let them still stretch and scratch without damaging furniture and skin.
Nail caps just wrap the end of the nail in soft vinyl that dulls the tip of the nail enough to protect everything from the nail.
BUT, your cat can still do all of the normal playing, paw stretching, and scratching on posts, rugs, scratch pads, and your lap she always did. It’s just that the nails won’t be sharp enough to damage anything. Win win.
Do Claw Caps for Cats Stop The Claw from Retracting?
Nope, a cat’s nails only partially retract. That makes it easy for them to walk around without their nails getting in the way.
The nail cap only covers the part of the cat’s claw that doesn’t retract.
Just be sure to buy the right size nail cap for your kitty. You don’t want a large nail cap on a kitten. In that case the cap might irritate the skin around the claw or drag on the ground while the kitty walks.
Your kitten would NOT like that.
Are Claw Caps on Cats Permanent?
No, claw caps on cats are temporary. A cat’s nails shed worn out outer layers every 4 to 6 weeks. So, you’ll typically need to replace 1 or 2 nail caps every week.
AND, if you are afraid that your cat will hate or be negatively effected by the nail caps. Then you can still try them out knowing that they’ll all fall off in about 6 weeks.
Should You Use Nail Caps on Outdoor Cats?
No, you should not use nail caps on outdoor cats. Outdoor cats need sharp claws to protect themselves and for climbing to escape predators.
How Often Do You Have to Put Nail Caps on a Cat?
Like I mentioned above, cats shed the outer part of their nails every 4 to 6 weeks. So, they will need maintenance every week or two.
I have to replace 1 or 2 nail caps a week on our cat. But, it’s not that big of a deal. It only takes me about 2 minutes to pop on a couple new nail caps.
I keep the soft claw nail caps, the glue, and her nail clippers ready to use in a Ziploc baggie. That makes replacing her claw caps a quick and easy job. 🙂
How Much Does it Cost to Put Caps on Cats Nails?
You can buy a pack of 40 nail caps online for around $10 or $11. I bet the pet stores sell them for a few dollars cheaper.
That pack of 40 lasts me about 2 months. BUT, I only put nail caps on our cat’s front paws.
AND, I skip the dewclaw on each paw. The dewclaw is the nail that’s higher up on the paw. I think of it as the cat’s version of a thumb.
I don’t put nail caps on the dewclaw for 2 reasons. First, it’s smaller and harder to clip and cap without feeling like I’m pulling on it too much. And, second, it’s so far up the paw, it’s not doing the damage that the front claws can do.
I also don’t put claw caps on her back paws at all. Only because she doesn’t use them to damage our furniture. And, she doesn’t seem to be scratching our skin up with those claws either.
In fact, I never even have to trim her back claws. She’s naturally keeping those worn down with her daily activites.
BUT, if your cat needs claw caps on the back paws too, go for it!
I know I used to have a kitty that constantly scratched things up with her back claws. They’re all different.
How To Put Claw Caps on a Cat
It’s a pretty quick and easy 3-step process.
- Trim the white ends of your cat’s claw with nail clippers. Be sure to avoid the pick part of the nails when you clip them.
- Partially fill the end of the soft nail cap with the glue that comes with it.
- Then quickly slide that nail cap over the cat’s claw. Hold it in place for a minute while the glue sets.
Watch This Easy to Follow VIDEO
Seeing something done can help explain things better. Watch this short video for a quick look at me putting claw caps on our cat.
Tips For Working on Cat Claws
So, I know some cats hate having their claws clipped or capped. It’s something you have to get them used to. Here’s a few tips to help you get your cat used to having her claws worked on.
Start the Habit When They’re Young!
Start working on a cat’s claws when it’s a kitten. They are typically easier to get into the habit of having their claws clipped or capped. But, no worries, even older cats can get used to claw work with the next tips.
Get Your Cat Used to Having It’s Claws Touched
Hold your cat in a comfortable position and gently press on the pad for each claw to make it extend. Then calmly move on to the next claw. This will only take a few minutes to do all 4 paws.
Do that every day for a few weeks and your cat will think of it as just a normal, stress-free activity.
Add Nail Clipping to the Routine
Once the cat is comfortable with having it’s claws extended, add clipping the claws to the daily or every other day routine. Be sure to only clip the white ends of the nails. If the pink part is clipped it will hurt the cat, possibly bleed, and can be an place for an infection to start.
If you’re unsure about how to clip a cat’s nails ask your vet. It’s actually really easy. Unlike dogs nails, which are really thick and take more effort to clip, cat’s nails are easy to clip.
You can even use human nail clippers on them. Just be sure to not share clippers with your kitty. They have germs and bacteria from their litter box that you don’t want under your nails.
Add Nail Caps to the Routine
Once the cat has had a few successful weeks of nail clipping, you can add gluing on nail caps to the routine. Again, be sure the cat is in a comfortable position. You can see how I like to hold my cat in the video above.
Some cats are easier to work on when they are swaddled it in a towel. Just make sure the cat is comfortable, can easily breathe and leave it’s head and front claws exposed.
Swaddling is just a safe and easy way to keep their back paws restricted.
If Your Cat Starts to Stress, Take a Break
You know your cat best. If it starts to get stressed and wiggle around too much, let it take a break. Try again after they’ve had time to stretch and relax for a while. 🙂
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That’s it for Do Claw Caps for Cats Work! Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.