Talk to me about using soft paws for cats, please

George is a very good kitten, but he’s a kitten.

Hubs has paper thin skin and takes blood thinners so just a touch of anything sharp is enough to have him bleeding for a very long time. George has him bleeding after almost every interaction, even though we are working on the “hands are not toys” thing.

I check and clip George’s claws every day if needed. George is still scratching hubs. Today I tried to use a nail file to smooth George’s claws off, but even good kittens have their limits.

I’d like opinions about how well soft claws work, along with any other suggestions about how to raise a kitten around a man who managed to cut his finger on a taco.

Declawing is of course not an option, so please don’t even bother to bring it up. I will probably get more than a little rude.

I’ve hear pretty good things about nail covers, but haven’t tried them myself.

How short are you trimming? If you can get the wriggle worm maniac when he’s sleepy and reasonably still, you can trim them way down. Not to blood, of course, but short enough that they are pretty wide (relatively speaking) and blunt.

He’s also old enough to learn that obnoxious behavior gets him banned or dumped very unceremoniously on the floor.

The good news is he will outgrow this. The bad news is that it won’t be soon enough.

I would talk to your hubs doctor and discuss the risks of owning a cat.

I had a friend of mine get a nasty staph infection bc of a cat and his medical condition.

(Same cat scratched me countless times with no ill effects.)

We tried and tried to make those claw covers work out. First, they’re a bitch to put on. The kitty is probably not going to sit for his manicure. Second, my cats would get right to work removing the damn things, even at the expense of pulling off their own claws. < shudder >
I’m sure they do work for some cats, I just haven’t personally witnessed it.

Cats do learn, and pretty fast. They hate a squirt from a water spray mist bottle but it does them no harm.

Cat paws and claws are an inherent part of their being and covering them or cutting them is like blinding one of their senses. You are being kind to be cruel by interfering with their paws.

Ultimately the best and kindest thing is to ruthlessly teach your kitty that scratching is not acceptable and will be met with immediate and unpleasant repercussions.

Also kittens love to play. If play stops the instant the claws come out, that is very strong motivation for them not to come out.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this post was “Kitten Mittens” (or sometimes spelled “Mittons”!). Charlie’s invention on Always Sunny in Philadelphia :rofl:

Soft or hard?

When I first had a kitten 20 years ago I was flummoxed about getting him to not attack my hands. I’ve learned some things since then and learned the best best thing for me to do at times like that.

If a kitten is playing (biting and scratching) with my hands I just substitute a small stuffed toy for him/her to play with instead. When they jump at your hand just put the little (fist-sized) soft toy into their face/paws. Generally they’ll take right to it and learn to ignore your hands for the more interesting toys.

But you have to be consistent and avoid tempting the little guy/gal with your fingers.

OK, so no claw covers for George.

You folks are all suggesting things we are already doing so that reassures me that we are doing it right. George seems to be a pretty smart little guy, he’ll get it. He’s actually very gentle and has never so much as left a mark on me.

Because the cat really isn’t the issue, I am now demanding that hubs wear long sleeves for the next few months and I’ve ordered several large chew toys so we can have one handy at all times.

Thanks all, I appreciate your feedback!

I’ve had good luck firmly saying “no” and dropping the kitten the moment they stick their claws in me. They learn quickly, in my experience.

We used soft claws for one of our cats and it was a great success. The cat did not try to take off the covers, and they prevented her from destroying things. It did take two of us to put on the claw covers (one to hold her). So I encourage you to try it.

I don’t know about this idea of putting stuff on a kitten’s claws— TBH it sounds bizarre and possibly unpleasant for the kitten— but it is empirically tested that kittens love string, balls of yarn, foam+feather balls, etc. so there is no reason to get your hands involved in aggressive play.

I would say it’s worth a try, at least. They’re not permanent. They last about six weeks, so if your cat hates them, you’ve got that bit of knowledge.

I’ve put them on many, many, many times and they are kind of a bitch to put on. You have to trim the nails and then literally just glue them on. You can have it done at a vet’s office or groomer.

Pro hack, though- I would call local animal shelters or cat cafes. The smallish private no-kill type where the staff have more leeway than they might at animal controls. At my shelter, we do all nail trims for free and put nail caps on as well. You have to provide the caps, but we’ll do the dirty work. We do also sometimes do house calls, but that’s an off-the-books type service that we mostly do out of the goodness of our hearts on our personal time. If you know of any local shelters that have low-cost vet services or sponsor microchip clinics or the like, I would start with them.

If you’d rather do it yourself, a second pro hack. It’s a two-person job. One to hold the cat and one to put the caps on. If you hold the cat firmly by their scruff and flip them over on your lap so that all four paws are up, they’re a lot easier to handle. They almost go into a trance and wiggle and fight a whole lot less than they do if you’re holding them right-side-up. Plus, the paws are accessible. You can also tap them firmly (much more so than a regular pat) and rhythmically on the head and it distracts them for a while. And? Just trim the nails with regular human toenail clippers. They’re easier to maneuver than the little nail scissors or guillotine-style clippers.

All in all, I think most people end up deciding that the soft paws are kind of a pain in the butt and quit using them. But they’re definitely preferable to either declawing or getting rid of the cat and are 100% worth it if you reach that point.

My guys wear nail caps.
(Poe had an IV, which is why his legs are shaved in the pic)

If you want to use nail caps on a kitten, you have to start right now while he’s still young enough to think it’s just a weird human thing to be endured. You don’t want to wait until he’s big enough that you’re paying a vet to do it, which I only learned mine does when they asked if they’d done if for me. Start the prep tonight, even.

For the first week or so, you’re just going to play with his paws. Do it several times a day, for a couple minutes at a time. If he tolerates that well, tell him he’s a good good boy and compliment his cute little toes (no, seriously) so he begins to associate feet touching with praise and sitting on your lap.

Because he’s still a little guy, you don’t need to trim his claws yet before you put on the caps because you need enough surface area for the caps to stick to, and very young kittens don’t have long claws. Once his claws are no longer the needle sharp of babies, you will trim them before putting the caps on: you’ll know it’s time when kitten size is too small and you need to move up to small.

As he gets bigger he might grumble more about it sometimes (at a year they’re probably cooperative/resigned 75% of the time and annoyed 25% of the time), but being firm but gentle as you hold them on your lap like you would a human toddler - their back to your belly - usually does the trick. If he’s extra grumpy, give both of you a break before he gets really upset and come back to do the rest later. It’s far better to let him run off with only one paw done for the night than teach him that you’re going to be mean and force him after he’s told you he’s had enough.

My favorite brand is zetpo. They’re a softer vinyl than soft claws which makes them easier to put on but still last 4-6 weeks, come in way more colors, and half the cost. I believe that they call the kitten size XS, but I didn’t discover them until they’d aged up to small. FTR, they run slightly large so we’re on medium still for both cats.

When you glue your fingers together, and you will, pull them apart quickly. It doesn’t hurt to glue them together, but it is a glue very close in strength to super glue so you don’t want to have to tug on your skin more than you need to.

I have helped my daughter trim her cat’s claws and glue caps on them a couple times. With someone to hold the cat by the scruff, it’s not too difficult to do. I would suggest it is worth trying at least once. Different strategies worm better for different cats.

I really hate this sort of thing. Perhaps I should hold you guys down and glue rubber tips over your fingers so you can’t feel things by touch or clip your toes off so they don’t dig in.

Yes I know it doesn’t hurt the cat physically. But body modifying your cat to suit yourselves in a way that diminishes it’s sensations and abilities isn’t something I would ever do.

Well, if you are going to do it, you should start when they are young. Young animals adapt to changes to their bodies.

I don’t get this attitude. We have never allowed our cats to have the sensation of going into heat or breeding. George will have surgical body modification when he is 6 months old because we don’t want to live with an intact cat. I think that people who feel that their pets should be able to enjoy living totally natural lives are slightly misguided.

We would never consider declawing, hubs is willing to wear shirts he finds uncomfortable because we are trying to find a good solution. Having a kitten run over him with dagger toes is not acceptable and I certainly don’t understand why you would have an issue with trimming a cat’s claws.

However, @Dung_Beetle telling me that her cats hated soft paws enough to rip out their own nails was enough to stop me from going down that path.

George is a Maine Coon, the breed is known to be smart and human friendly. George wants to be a VeryGoodKitty and is doing his best to figure out what a VGK is. The nail caps were only intended to be a temporary fix.

I do appreciate all the feedback, it did help us make our decision. George helped too, he has learned that he can’t get rowdy on the bed lest he get locked away from his people for a few hours. We’re going to fix this problem too.

Sounds like George has found himself some VGP.

*very good people

Just a quick comment based on posts here. Cats are different. It is hard to predict what a kitten will be doing in a year. I have two four-year old females from the same litter. One is very considerate about her claws and never scratches me no matter what (all bets are off if I ever have to bathe her). The other one is oblivious and does not seem to realize that when she pushes away from me she scratches me. I also take blood thinners and also have a cat allergy that manifests itself as welts if I get scratched. I just live with it.

Cats are also different in things like their tolerance of having their claws covered with little rubber tips. Some go nuts because they can’t interact with the world the way they expect to, and others take it in stride. You might try and find out how your kitten feels about it.

But make sure to be consistent in training her that you don’t like claws. You wouldn’t want to let her think claws are okay, and then give up on the “mitts” and have her not understand that she’s hurting you.