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Summer Street Cat Clinic

Ouch! I'm not a scratching post!

Even the sweetest kitty will occasionally scratch a family member, often without even intending to. For most of us, this is no big deal, but for some, an innocent scratch can cause serious problems. A compromised immune system, diabetes, or the thinning of skin that comes with age can make you especially vulnerable to inflammation and infection. Bottom line, serious problems can occur! Fortunately, trimming the nails at home can minimize damage from all scratching behavior. Your cat's front claws may need trimming every few weeks to every few months. Back claws grow slower. Older cats, however, stop shedding the sheath of the nail and the nails will continue to grow, sometimes right into the paw pad. It is important to check your cat’s nails periodically.

Some tips:

  • Teach your cat early to use a scratching post.

  • Teach children the proper way to pick up a cat to minimize risk of injury.

  • Use a ‘cat nail clipper’ specially designed for the shape of the cat’s nail. Clippers designed for humans with flat nails are uncomfortable for cats.

  • In most cats, it is easy to see where the ‘quick’ or blood supply is. This should be avoided when trimming nails.

  • Keep nail trimming a positive experience, as much as possible. Associate it with treats or other things your cat enjoys.