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3 Things To Consider Before Clipping Your CH Cat’s Claws

January 17, 2012

Photo courtesy minkuni

Most owners will tell you that their CH cat’s claws are vital to their mobility. The claws allow them to grip, keep their balance and climb. But, like any other cat’s claws, they can also cause destruction and pain. So what’s an owner to do?

If you ask ten different CH cat parents, you’ll receive ten different answers — but there’s nothing wrong with that. This is usually because everyone’s CH cat relies on his claws to a different degree.

Lizzie learned that first hand when it came to her CH kitties, Tardy and Ziggy. Even before Tardy had his claws accidentally trimmed by a vet, Lizzie knew how much he depended on them to get around. However, it was a different story with Ziggy.

“Ziggy’s aggression made it clear to me that I would have to try to trim his nails; we shouldn’t have to be afraid of our kitty,” Lizzie said. “Also, Ziggy doesn’t climb, so I didn’t think the nail trim would hinder his mobility at all.”

So, Lizzie pulled out the kitty nail trimmers and went to work. The result? They can now spend time with Ziggy without worrying about being scratched.

“It’s a very hard decision to make; if your kitty depends on his nails to accomplish things, try not to clip,” Lizzie said.

So should you clip? Carefully consider how much your cat uses his claws:

Does your kitty use his claws to get around?

Photo courtesy mari g.

If your cat holds on to your carpet to remain upright, climbs your furniture, carpeted stairs or a kitty condo, the claws may be essential. John’s Princess relies on her claws a good deal to get around, so he puts up with them.

However, you may still be able to clip just the tip of the nail for safety reasons.

If your kitty doesn’t climb much, and if you don’t think it would hurt his mobility, feel free to cut a tiny bit off. Elise says she clips her girls’ claws about once a month — by just cutting off the sharp tip — and it doesn’t impact their ability to climb furniture at all.

How would you rate your cat’s coordination?

If your kitty has trouble controlling muscle movements, a trim may help prevent accidents. Kristie’s Riley Dean has had his nails clipped since he was a kitten, and it helps prevent him from them getting snagged in the carpet.

Similarly, Selena’s found that clipping her Shinju’s nails helps prevent accidents. Once Shinju had to be taken to the emergency room after she accidentally pulled a nail out.

How is your cat’s temperament?

If he’s spastic, nervous or aggressive, a slight claw trim may make life easier for everyone, like it did for Lizzie and Ziggy. This is also the case for Selena’s Roxy, who tends to claw whenever she’s feeling uncomfortable.

In the end, consider all of the factors along with the severity of your cat’s CH. This will hopefully help you determine if you should pull out the clippers, or leave your cat’s claws alone.

Do you cut your cat’s claws? What has happened when you have? What advise do you have for other owners? Please share in the comments!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2012 6:06 am

    I’ve never had a CH cat, but I’d never consider clipping any cat’s claws unless they were prone to cause accidents like being ripped out. Cats can be trained not to climb their owners’ legs and the odd scratch and ripped up corner of the sofa is an occupational hazard for the cat owner. We took on a rescue Persian whose claws had been shaved and her claws clipped so far she was wincing to put her feet down. If anyone has a cat who will not learn not to be stingy with his claws I urge them to have it done properly and not risk hurting their pet.

    • Michelle permalink
      September 26, 2012 2:16 pm

      Sarah – That’s ridiculous. I trim my cats nails all the time, I NEVER too far down and it’s never been painful. CH cats can be particularly ‘aggressive’ because they are so vulnerable otherwise. My CH cat regularly bites and claws me, and as a result I give her less affection. Trimming her nails was the best thing for the both of us! Would you not trim or own nails cause you *might* go too far down, or would you just be really careful?

    • February 10, 2013 3:42 pm

      I strongly disagree. It isn’t at all difficult to safely trim a cat’s claws. I’ve been living with cats for almost 20 years, and every cat has had their claws trimmed every 2-3 weeks – except for one that already had his claws removed before he came to us.
      Claw removal – that is torture. But trimming? My cats like it! Especially Sascha, my CH kitty, who can get stuck to furniture otherwise. He has difficulty retracting his claws. He obviously can’t jump up on furniture, so he climbs up (and let me tell you, he has crazy upper body strength!) I don’t trim them that much at all, just 2-3 mm. He can still climb, but he doesn’t get snagged and stuck.
      There’s only been one time I trimmed a claw too close to the quick and a little spot of blood came out. A bit of rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and some cornstarch and she was fine. I checked the next day and there wasn’t even a scab.

  2. jill ashmore permalink
    May 9, 2012 12:53 pm

    our cats claws tend to get caught up on things and need trimming every so often .. i always put it down to her condition meaning they dont get worn by climbing and she cant use a scratching post as effectively due to her condition

  3. October 25, 2012 9:52 am

    I saw these plastic caps for cats claws (to prevent scratches and snags) at petsmart, do you think they would be an option or not? We got a very young kitten who suddenly went limp and comatose, we brought her to the vet, she was diagnosed with panleukopenia (feline distemper {parvo}). She had a 20% chance of survival…..she survived, we are still nursing her back to health, she has symptoms of CH (very mild from what I can tell). Just looking at your site to get as many pointers to improve her quality of life. Thanks for the info. 🙂

    • October 25, 2012 3:09 pm

      They certainly could help! I know kitten claws are like needles, so I don’t blame you for looking for options! If you’re up to it, I’d say give it a try (and let us know how it goes!), otherwise, clipping the tips of her nails should help prevent injuries, but the nails will also be long enough for her to use. Good luck!

  4. Stacy permalink
    August 31, 2017 6:11 pm

    Thanks for this article I have a cat with C h or should I say kitten he is very mobile and he depends on his claws a lot but his claws are so sharp I think because he doesn’t have the coordination to file them on his own but he hurts me bad I learned that it’s okay to file them to a degree that is safer for me and him


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