Cat Claw Caps and Covers: All You Need to Know

Posted in: Cat Care, Cat Supplies - Last Updated: November 1, 2021 - Author: Andy Jones
Posted in Cat Care, Cat Supplies 
Last Updated: November 1, 2021  
Author:  Andy Jones
beautiful silver cat on bed

Should you be investing in cat claw caps and covers? 

Scratching is a natural and instinctive behavior for your cat. Our furry friends use scratching as a way of expressing their emotions (like stress or excitement), marking objects with their scent, or just removing dead parts of their nails. Our furry pets also scratch when they want a nice stretch.

The only problem? As healthy as scratching might be for your feline pals – it’s not the best for pieces of furniture, especially if it's a constant scratching. If your cat prefers to use your carpet, sofa, curtains, and other similar products for scratching, instead of a scratching post, you’re going to end up with a mess of a home.  

So, what can you do about it? There’s always the option of training your cat with catnip and other tools to attempt to draw them to a decent scratching post. However, if that doesn’t work, you might decide that cat claw caps are an ideal alternative.

What are Cat Claw Caps and Covers?

If you are a new cat owner you may not be familiar with Cat Claw Caps.

Cat claw caps and covers are simple, non-toxic solutions for reducing the destructive behaviors of your house. Although there is some controversy around the concept of using claw caps, the reality is the covers are often much safer than you think. The best brands are designed to coat your cat’s claws, without harming the nail or underlying skin. 

Claw caps are one of the best ways to protect your furniture and family from your cat’s claws. They also help to avoid extremely dangerous and painful procedures like declawing. 

Nail caps are essentially small plastic covers which you glue onto your cat’s claws using a safe adhesive. The products are usually easily accessible and cheap, and they can last for up to 6 weeks before they fall off as a result of the nails growing. 

Most of the time, cat claw caps and covers are available in a range of colors and sizes. The sizing ensures you get the best comfort level for your cat, while the color is purely for your entertainment.

How to Apply Cat Nail Caps and Covers

If you’re sick of dealing with ruined furniture, cat nail caps can save you a lot of time and money. However, it’s important to know how to apply them correctly. As you might imagine, this process requires some practice. It’s not always easy to get your cat to stay still while you apply something to his or her claws. 

To begin with, get your cat used to staying still. Work on sitting with your cat and pressing the pad of the paw carefully to extend the claws from time to time. Don’t apply anything straight away. Just get your cat used to the sensation. 

Next:

Prepare your nail caps:

Get the caps you want to use ready for application. It doesn’t matter which color you choose, or even if you have a matching set. The most important thing you can do is ensure the caps are the right size. Most average-sized felines usually need “medium” sized caps. If you have a larger breed, you might need to opt for bigger caps. 

While prepping your caps, make sure you also have the adhesive, applicator tip, and instruction manual handy. It’s a good idea to have some treats ready for after the application too.

Trim your cats’ claws:

You’ll need to trim your cat’s claws carefully before applying any new nail caps. Use a pair of reliable cat nail clippers, and make sure you never cut too far. If you’re close to the pink part in your cat’s nail, you could cause serious damage. Trimming the nails should ensure that your cat nail caps las a little longer.

Get some assistance:

We’d recommend not trimming your cat’s claws and applying the caps on the same day, as this can take a lot of time and lead to an agitated cat. If you are applying caps for the first time, ask for help. It’s worth having someone handy to help you. One person can carefully hold the cat while the other applies enough glue and caps. 

Remember, your cat can sense your mood, so it’s important to remain calm – no matter how frustrating applying the caps might be.

Apply the nail caps:

Follow the instructions provided for your cat claws and covers. Most of the time, this involves applying a small amount of adhesive into the claw cap and press the cover onto the cat’s claw. Gently squeeze the cap again to distribute the glue and remove any excess with a paper towel.

You’ll need to keep your cat’s claw extended when applying the caps, and be careful to get a snug fit, so the cap looks comfortable.

Reward your cat:

Remember, the application of cat nail caps and covers can be stressful for your cat. Once you’re finished adding the covers to each claw, give your cat plenty of treats and positive reinforcement. Talk to your kitty in a soothing voice, and even play with them if that helps. Using kitty treats to distract your cat while you apply the caps could be useful too.

picture of paws with long sharp cat claws sticking out

How to Remove Nail Caps

Once you’re comfortable applying your cat nail caps, you’ll need to learn how to remove them successfully. Most of the time, cat nail caps will come off naturally as your kitty’s claws continue to grow. Occasionally, however, there’s a chance the nail caps will stay on longer than intended. When this happens, hold your cat in place, with the help of a friend or family member.

Use your fingers to gently squeeze the pad of the cat’s paw to extend the claws and trim the nail caps like you would a cat’s claws. Breaking the seal of the nail cap will allow you to remove the nail cap by applying a slight amount of pressure to the base of the plastic.

If the cap doesn’t come off easily, don’t pull at it, just leave the glue to wear off for a few more days.

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After removing the caps, provide your kitty with plenty of treats and praise to let them know they’ve done a good job. Wait a couple of days before you apply a new set of nail caps.

Are Cat Claw Caps and Covers Safe?

As mentioned above, there is some controversy surrounding cat claw caps, as some people assume applying caps is dangerous or cruel. However, it’s important to remember that as long as you get the right size of nail cap, and do your research, you shouldn’t cause any damage to your cat’s claws.

Be careful not to use too much glue when applying the caps, as this can cause a little irritation. You shouldn’t have to worry about any issues if your cat accidentally eats part of a nail cap either. Most of these covers are non-toxic, so they should pass through your kitty’s system without an issue.

Always look for non-toxic cat nail caps with claw adhesive which will be safe for kitty ingestion. It’s also worth checking among the top nail cap brands to ensure you can find a cap that’s suitable for the size of your cat’s claws. Remember, cat claw caps are suitable for:

  • Elderly cat owners or people with sensitive skin, bleeding issues, and similar problems.
  • Families with small children and lots of regularly visiting youngsters or older relatives.
  • Households with expensive furniture, rugs, quilts, sofas, and similar products.
  • Cats and kittens who tend to play rough and use a lot of claws during play
  • Cats with chronic itching, skin issues, health problems, and similar concerns.
  • Hairless and sphynx cats with delicate skin
  • Cats who often get stuck when they scratch bedding, fabric, and carpet
tabby paw with sharp claws poking out

When to Use Cat Nail Caps

The most obvious reason to use cat claw caps and covers is to protect your furniture and reduce destructive scratching behavior from your cat. If you have an indoor cat, your kitty probably doesn’t need its claws to protect itself against predators, or go hunting, so you’re not going to be depriving them in any way. 

However, if you do apply claw caps, and your cat seems overly agitated by them, or tries to bite them off, this could be a sign that covers aren’t suitable for you. You can use nail caps when:

  • You want to protect your furniture: Cats can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time with nail caps. A set of caps could be a good way to protect your furnishings.
  • You’re still teaching them not to scratch: if your kitty has a bit of a mean streak when he or she is playing, cat claw caps can be an ideal purchase.
  • Your cat has sensitive skin: Kitties don’t just scratch furniture, they scratch themselves too. If your feline has sensitive skin, this can cause damage over time.
  • Your kitty has sensitive nails: If your feline friend has sensitive nails, applying caps can make it easier for them to go to the bathroom and dig through litter.

Myths about Cat Claw Caps

The main reason cat claw covers are met with such controversy, is the large number of myths surrounding these products. There’s a significant amount of misinformation out there. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the myths of using claw caps.

  • Myth 1: Claw caps stop the nail from retracting: Some people assume cat claw caps will stop the nail from retracting, but this isn’t the case. When a cat relaxes its nails wearing claw caps, it can still retract the same portion of the nail that would rear back naturally.
  • Myth 2: They damage the nail and nail bed: People assume that applying glue and caps to a kitty’s claws will eventually cause damage or discomfort to the cat’s paws. However, the correct application of a claw cover should avoid any damage. Make sure you choose a nail size that’s suitable for your cat and follow the instructions for application carefully. Trimming the nail slightly before you apply the cap will help to minimize discomfort too.
  • Myth 3: Scratching posts have the same effect: Ideally, you should definitely encourage your kitty to use his or her scratching post as often as possible. However, even if you do this successfully, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same protection for your furniture. A scratching post simply removes dead layers of a cat’s claws. Your post won’t “file” your cat’s nails for you. Though posts help to maintain healthy nails, they will still be sharp enough to do damage.
  • Myth 4: You’ll need to constantly re-apply the caps: While it’s true that nail caps and covers won’t last forever, they do stay firmly affixed to your kitty’s claws for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Applying the caps intermittently is usually a good idea. Give your cat a few days of break between removal and new applications. This maintains good health and nail length, preventing damage from sharp scratching, and allowing the cat to enjoy the urge to scratch, flex, and stretch.
  • Myth 5: They’re a permanent solution: Unfortunately, cat nail caps will only deliver results for a specific amount of time. A set of claw covers won’t last forever. The nails beneath the caps continue to grow naturally while your kitty is wearing the cap. This means that you will need to eventually remove the caps and trim the claws again. Even if the caps don’t fall off automatically, make sure you’re prepared to remove them by the time they’ve been on for a full 8 weeks.

The Pros and Cons of Cat Claw Caps

Cat claw caps and covers have their positives and negatives, just like many kitty accessories. On the one hand, they’re ideal for reducing damage to your furniture over short periods of time. On the other hand, cat claw caps and covers can also be very difficult to apply and not the most fun for your kitty (even if they are quite safe).

Pros:

  • Protect your home and furniture from regular kitty damage
  • Safer and much healthier alternative to declawing
  • Makes it easier for younger children and elderly people to play with cats
  • Helps to reduce damage from a potentially grumpy cat
  • Affordable and relatively easy-to-access solution for scratching
  • Application is painless and safe for your kitty
  • Claw covers come in a range of sizes and color options

Cons:

  • Can trap the sweat from a cat’s nail, so may not be ideal in hotter territories
  • Not ideal for outdoor cats who may need to protect themselves.
  • Not a permanent solution – only last for up to 8 weeks
  • Might be annoying to your cat – leading to picking and chewing
  • They look a little silly- particularly in bright colors
  • Not the easiest products to apply

Popular Claw Cap Brands

There are plenty of different kinds of claw caps and covers out there to choose from. Some of the most popular brands include:

Soft claws

Soft claws is the go-to brand for nail caps and covers. They often come in muted colors, so they’re less notable than their competitors. These products also feature durable, non-toxic vinyl, and a range of sizes to choose from.

VICTHY covers

Lesser-known but much cheaper than some of the leading brands, VICTHY cat nail covers come in a variety of bright colors. They’re non-toxic and tough for your cats to chew off.

Purdy Paws

Similar to Soft claws, these nail caps are designed for comfort and ease-of-use. The caps are fully safe and non-toxic, with four different sizes to choose from. You also get a handy set of instructions to guide you.

JOYJULY cat caps

JOYJULY offers the widest selection of colors and styles today, with around 140 different shades to choose from – there are even matte and glitter options. As usual, you can expect on-toxic and durable vinyl, which remains on your cat’s claws for up to 8 weeks.

Ninery Ave

A glamorous choice for people in search of cute claw caps, the Ninery Ave caps are pretty – but they’re not as durable as some alternatives. These products will usually last around 3 to 4 weeks, and they’re available in a range of sizes.

Brostown soft nail caps

One of the more cost-effective choices on the market, these soft nail caps are flexible and comfortable for your kitty. There are five colors to choose from, and a range of sizes. All of the vinyl is non-toxic, and the flexible material allows your kitty to move around naturally.

Kitty Caps

A little more expensive than some alternatives, Kitty Caps are well-designed and durable. Available in a range of colors, kitty caps can last up to 8 weeks before you need to reapply. These caps are entirely non-toxic, and suitable for a range of cats.

Final Thoughts on Using Cat Claw Caps and Covers

Cat claw caps and covers are a fun and safe alternative to some seriously dangerous strategies to reduce scratching throughout the home. While scratching is a natural behavior for cats, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of destroyed furniture. Make sure that if you do invest in claw caps, you do your research to find the safest options first. 

Learn how to apply the caps correctly and be patient – it can be a tricky process. Make sure you pay attention to your cat’s reaction to the caps too, so you can see how they feel about them. Remember to trim your kitty’s claws regularly, and ensure they have an top quality scratching post available for good nail health too.

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