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Dear Christopher Cat

I am thinking about trying the Soft Paws nail caps for my cat’s front paws, instead of declawing her. Are they safe?

Christopher Responds

Yes. The glue that bonds the vinyl caps to the claws is quite safe, and the caps themselves are safe if inadvertently swallowed.

The most common problem is with long-haired cats like me.
My toe hair can get glued to the inside of the cap, and as the cap moves with my growing claw, it pulls the hair -– and that hurts.

Prevent this problem by pulling long toe hair back when you apply the nail cap.

The first step in applying Soft Paws is to clip your cat’s claws. Apply a bit of glue to the inside of each cap, and slide the cap onto the claw.

Cuddle your cat for several minutes while the glue dries.
Nail caps drop off after four to six weeks, as the claws grow.

Mom usually trims my claws to keep me from shredding the furniture, one of my life’s pleasures. Nail caps require an extra step, but they protect furniture at least twice as long as trimming alone -– a benefit if you forget to trim claws, like my mom.

And now, a bit of trivia about claws and nails. We cats have claws, the tips of which are shed as the claws grow.
Ligaments keep the claws retracted, except when we unsheathe them. The cheetah is the only cat that can’t retract its claws.

Dogs, on the other hand, have nails, which are not shed as they grow and therefore require periodic trimming. In addition, nails don’t retract like claws.

Just one more way dogs are inferior to cats.

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