Cat Claw Covers: Is it Safe, Inhumane or Absurd?

Cat Scratching WallA cat claw cover is a simple solution that most pet parents do not realize they need until their cat starts scratching furniture, carpet, upholstery, and possibly anything they feel like scratching. If you have cats, then this is old news for you.

Cats love to scratch. That is their natural behavior. You may think that as a pet parent, there’s nothing you could do about it. We love our pets with all our hearts, but that doesn’t mean that we’re here to tolerate all the damages brought about by their destructive feline behaviors.

But why would you allow your feline friend to invariably destroy valuable items in your home like an expensive piece of furniture when products like cat claw covers are readily available?

In this article, we sum up everything you need to know about nail caps or covers for cats.

An Explanation: Why Do Cats Like to Scratch?

If you are a cat owner, one thing that probably bothers you the most is when your furry friend misbehaves. Do your feline friends like to scratch pieces of furniture in your home, destroy fabrics, scuff up wood and cardboards? Well, you are not alone since all these are considered healthy behaviors of a cat.

Cat Claw CoversOften referred to as one of a cat’s destructive behaviors, scratching is usually a lot more than your pet’s way of misbehaving. It is instead a desire to satisfy specific needs. Some kitties prefer scratching on wood furniture, carpets, cardboards, or ropes, among many others. Some kitties like scratching on vertical surfaces, while others prefer horizontal surfaces.

Still, the bottom line is this:

A cat may exhibit different scratching behavior from other furry friends, but it nonetheless scratches for many reasons. Reasons that we, as a pet owner, cannot be avoided.

One of these is to remove the translucent covering from its claws. Further, it does it to mark territory either by leaving a scent or a visual mark. Another one is to stretch its body, usually after a nap.

For the reason that scratching is a cat’s innate behavior, it can be hard to prevent. Some pet parents result in scratching posts for a cat to scratch on or other acceptable products for protection like a nail cap for the nails.

A Solution: Cat Claw Covers

A cat claw cover is also called cat claw caps, cat nail caps, kitty caps, or soft paws for cats. These products have gained popularity among pet parents as an alternative to declawing since the company Soft Paws popularized them in the market.

pink claws

Declawing, or also known as onychectomy, is a surgical procedure that removes parts of a cat’s claws. Not only is this procedure painful for our feline friends and requires a recovery period, but it can also cause permanent damage, either physically or emotionally, to them.

So for many pet parents, using cat nails caps is way much better than having their furry friends declawed.

But what exactly are nail caps, and how do they work?

Features of Cat Claw Caps

cute pawNail caps are an easy, non-toxic, and safe solution to the damaging effects of a cat’s constant scratching. They are designed not just to protect a cat’s paws, but also to reduce any damage that your cat can cause in furniture, carpets, and more items in your house with its paws and claw nails.

Nail caps are small plastic covers that are glued over each cat nail. Nail caps are easily accessible and inexpensive. They typically last for four to six weeks before they fall off on their own as the nails grow.

These caps for the nails of your kitty are available in many sizes (small, medium, and large) and color options (mostly neon colors). They are shaped to match the natural claw shape of our feline friends, so they will not feel any discomfort. Even though many companies manufacture nail caps, the SoftPaws brand is perhaps the most popular and readily available in the market.

Advantages of Cat Nail Caps

Nail caps or claw covers function primarily to make a cat’s nails dull. Hence, minimizing or eliminating damages and protecting both feline and humans from scratches. Here are the common reasons why many cat owners love using claw covers.

  • Claw covers for cats protect the furniture in your home from scratch damages.
  • These nail caps for a cat also help protect people, especially small children, from accidental scratching when playing with a grumpy cat.
  • Claw covers are safer and much less harmful alternative to declawing.
  • These products offer a wide range of color options.
  • Claws caps for nails have different sizes to make your cat feel comfortable.
  • Claw covers are affordable.
  • The application is safe and painless.

Vector pros and cons

Disadvantages of Cat Nail Caps

While nail caps have been making many pet parents happy with their functionality (and the protection they give to furniture and other stuff in the house), there are still a few complaints or disadvantages that could be worth noting.

  • Since nail caps are glued onto the cat’s nails, they tend to trap the sweat from a cat’s nail.
  • Some also report that these covers make it hard for some cats to walk.
  • For first-time applications, some cats may bite or pick at their new nail cap.
  • Claw covers for a cat are not a permanent solution. They only last for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • These nail caps are not suitable for cats who frequent the outdoors.
  • Many cat owners perceive claw caps as more of a fashion statement rather than a practical tool.
  • They can be tricky to apply.

Are Nail Caps Safe for Cats?

Yes! Nail caps for cats are entirely safe for use. They are non-toxic, and the application is painless. Cats can still move their paws comfortably since these caps for the cat’s claws do not cause any pain or damage to the claw bed. You have to make sure to apply these caps onto your cat’s claws properly, and you don’t have to fret about anything else anymore.

But what if they get swallowed accidentally?

Well, that’s another thing that you should worry less. Cat nail caps are still safe even when swallowed since they will just pass on through the cat’s digestive system.

how

How to Properly Apply Nail Covers: Do’s and Don’ts

Now that you’ve learned the basics about claw caps for your cat, you may be wondering how to apply these promising products.

First, you don’t have to think about getting a vet or professional groomer involved, as the application of claw caps is as easy as pie! Note, however, that you can do it at home, but you must still be careful. The key to making nail caps comfortable for your cat is the proper application.

Here’s how to apply cat claw caps and some notes on what to avoid:

  1. Select the proper size of caps for your cat’s nails. Generally, nail caps are available in small, medium, or large sizes. So pick one depending on the weight of your cat.
  2. Before applying the nail caps, trim the nails of your cat. The nails should be cut slightly longer than the usual nail trim to allow space between the claw caps and the cat’s nail bed. If your cat isn’t much fond of nail trimming, you can opt to clip the nails a few at a time.
  3. Use glue or adhesive on the nail caps and place them over the nails of your cat. Note, however, to avoid using too much glue. One or two drops are enough. Otherwise, it may overflow. Also, be extra cautious not to get any glue on your cat’s fur or claws. You can as well use a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from the adhesives.
  4. Allow the caps to dry for 1 to 2 minutes before letting your cat run around.
  5. Some cats may not be like the idea of applying covers on their claws. And if that’s the case, you should make your cat feel at ease first before nail trimming and cap application.
  6. Watch out for some caps that may fall off during and after application. Don’t worry, though, since this is a common dilemma for first-timers. Immediately replace a cat claw cover that falls off. If the caps continually falls off, you’re probably not using the right size for your cat’s nails.

Back Paws Application of a Nail Cap

Although nail caps for a cat is commonly applied only to front paws, some cat owners still prefer to use these covers to hind paws as well to maximize their functionality and benefits.

Why? Because these caps for a cat’s claws offer protection from self-inflicted wounds for cats that scratch uncontrollably, especially those with sensitive skin. Also, a cat loves to jump on and off the furniture. So, using covers for claws somehow minimize damages.

kitty clawsIs a Nail Cap for my Cat?

Product reviews from users more often than not give you the idea of how good nail caps are for a cat. Yes, these cat products are definitely beneficial, but we have got to admit that they are not for everyone. If you find any of these reasons too familiar, then you probably should pass on using a nail cap for your beloved cat.

  • Your cat loves and frequents the outdoors. These products should only be used on indoor cats since they weaken a cat’s defenses, which are essential for cats that are outdoors.
  • After several attempts, the use of a nail cap flusters your cat. If your cat dislikes using a nail cover, then you just have to let it not use one.
  • You do not have much time maintaining the nails and claw covers of your cat. Using these covers require extra time. They must be replaced after 6 to 8 weeks.

Alternatives to Claw Covers for Cats

If you think that nail covers are not for you and your cat, then feel free to explore options that would help you address your cat’s scratching dilemmas.

Training. While a cat’s destructive behavior can be challenging, most cats respond well to proper training and behavior modification. If your cat is not fond of getting its nail covered with soft plastic and keep on scratching your furniture, then training it to scratch only on appropriate surfaces may work such that claw covers are unnecessary.

scratching post

Scratching posts. Perhaps the most straightforward solution other than using a claw cover is the use of multiple scratching posts in your home. Cats love scratching, so why not give them a particular item or items that they can freely scratch, right? Providing them accessible scratching posts would help turn their attention away from scratching your furniture or other items in your house.

Alternative scratching surfaces. The idea here is much like the use of scratching posts. You can provide your cat with an alternative surface that it likes to scratch better than a piece of furniture, carpet, or sofa. Using a catnip on these scratching surfaces, such as cardboards or ramps, would help attract your cat better.

Final Verdict

Loving a cat means embracing everything about it, even though our feline friend exhibits the most annoying behavior. For most cat owners, it is the constant scratching – which is, admit it or not, unavoidable. Unfortunately, this innate behavior often becomes destructive within the house and even unsafe, not just for cats but for their owners and small children as well.

child and kitty

Cat owners often settle on scratching posts or regular nail trimming, but one of the easiest and non-complicated solutions that address this behavior is the use of nail caps. Although not a permanent solution to cat scratching dilemmas, these products offer a comfortable, humane, and quick alternative to the controversial cat declawing. Nope, they will not prevent your cat from scratching stuff, but claw covers help avoid damages to every piece of valuable furniture in your home.

Is it really cruel to declaw a cat?

Declawing is a painful, risk-filled procedure that is done only for the convenience of humans. There are only extremely rare instances, when claws are affected by a medical condition, that declawing cats can be considered anything but inhumane.

Are claw covers bad for cats?

They are completely safe and humane and can be used on cats of all ages. Soft Paws are vinyl nail caps that are glued on to your cat's existing nails.

How do you get a claw cap off?

If your cat or dog's nail caps do not fall off by 8 weeks you will want to manually remove them by simply trimming the tip of the nail cap, being careful not to cut into the quick, and then applying slight pressure to the base of the nail cap as if massaging it.

What do nail caps do for cats?

Nail caps provide a safe alternative to declawing to stop all snags and scratches. Covers the nail completely while allowing normal extension and retraction of claws. Applied with included adhesive and will shed as your cat's nails grow; generally in 4 - 8 weeks.

 

  • Updated March 26, 2020
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You're in! Take 30% Off your next purchase at Chewy.com.