Unlike outdoor cats, who are able to keep their claws worn to a reasonable length naturally, cats that are kept indoors may need a bit of help to ensure their claws remain in good condition and do not get too long. It is easier to get kittens used to having their claws trimmed than it is to start the procedure with older cats. Ideally, claw-clipping, if necessary, should be carried out by an expert. If you do opt to do it yourself, however, ask a vet, an expert breeder or a professional cat groomer to show you how to do it – this is the best way of learning how to trim claws humanely to the correct length.
Trimming the ends of the claws does not hurt the cat, as long as the nail bed or quick the thin vein that runs down the nail, and which you can usually see is not nicked; if it is, great pain will ensue – as well as profuse bleeding. If you catch the quick, the cat is unlikely ever to put up with having his claws clipped again.
Providing your kitten with a good-quality wooden scratching post complete with bark if you can find one – perhaps even a tree branch from the garden will help avoid the need to trim claws.
In some countries it is legal for veterinary surgeons to completely declaw cats, although some vets will not carry out this procedure as they do not think it ethical. Some owners prefer this to be done so that the cat cannot scratch them or their furniture.Editor’s Note – Declawing is illegal in Australia, the UK, and most of Europe. Declawing leaves your cat almost defenseless against other cats and makes it harder for them to climb and balance. If you live in country where it is legal – please just don’t.