Nail Caps Can Redeem Your Cat from Hell

Skeezix wearing SoftPaws

Nail caps are commonly mentioned on Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell. If you watched Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist, the show last week, you were probably moved to tears (as Jackson was) watching the transformation of cat-from-hell Marco, who lashed out at anything and everything, claws extended. By the end of episode, Marco had been magically transformed into a sweet, well-behaved cat who sat on command. Nail caps were integral to the transformation.

Nail caps are plastic nail covers that you affix to your cat’s nails like slipping a glove onto a finger. Originally invented by veterinarian Christianne Schelling of Three Rivers, CA, they obviate the need for declawing your cat. Most importantly, they allow your cat to continue to engage in instinctual scratching and stretching behaviors without damage.

In the case of feline aggression, SoftPaws allow you to engage with your cat without fearing an ER visit. As you’ll see on My Cat from Hell, cat owners who fail to read the cat’s signals of overstimulation end up bloodied. You’ll still need to learn how to read your cat’s signals, but with SoftPaws, the occasional mistake in judgement won’t leave you looking like a chainsaw massacre victim. With your cat in nail caps, you can relax, and in turn, your cat will be more relaxed.

Even if your cat is well-behaved, nail caps save your furniture, clothing and skin from unintentional shredding.

Applying Nail Caps

In my experience, this is not a one-person job. You really need one person to hold the cat and the paw still while you apply the nail cap.

My vet recommended that you NOT trim the nails and put on the caps the same day. Trim the nails a few days ahead, then apply the caps.

Nail caps are affixed with super glue which can end up everywhere except where it’s not supposed to. I’ve found that it works best if you fill all the nail caps with glue before starting. I use rubber gloves or finger cots to keep my fingers from getting superglued to the cat.

Then, you simply slip each cap on.

Now the fun part.

Putting the caps on is usually a piece of cake. Keeping them on until the glue dries can be more challenging. You’ll need to keep your cat quiet and away from the caps for about ten minutes. Ten loooooong minutes. I recommend using an E-Collar, and keeping the cat in your lap. Often, we use the time to FURminate.

There’s a how-to video for applying SoftPaws here.

Alternatively, you can take the cat to a vet or groomer to have the nail caps applied.

Do all the nails get nail caps?

If your cat is indoor only, you can apply nail caps to all of her nails. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, it’s recommended that you leave the back nails free, so that your cat can still defend herself from attackers if necessary.

How long do nail caps stay on?

Each pawdicure will last six to eight weeks. In my experience, one or two nail caps get chewed off in the first couple of weeks. You simply stick a new one back on.

Allie Cat models her nail caps

Nail Caps are Fashionable

Nail caps come in a rainbow array of colors, including glitter versions. There are two main brands, SoftPaws (the original), and Soft Claws
(generally cheaper).

 
 
When your cat is wearing nail caps, you’ll find you are much more relaxed in your interactions with her because the fear of getting clawed to shreds disappears. In turn, your cat will be more relaxed, and you can focus more on reading her signals and training her than mopping up after a bloody interaction.

Watch My Cat from Hell tonight

My Cat from Hell airs Saturday nights on Animal Planet. Check your local listings — it’s usually on around 8 or 9pm.

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Category: Cat Products, Featured, Lifestyle

About the Author ()

Karen Nichols is a Pet Industry Influencer, Publisher and Multimedia Designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has over 15 years of experience in the Internet Industry as a User Experience Analyst and Interaction Design Consultant. She's blogged professionally for nine years, and is a respected expert in social media, web analytics, online branding and Wordpress design and development. She's a popular speaker at pet industry conferences. In 2013, she won the BlogPaws social media awards for Best Cat Blog and Best video. In 2012, Karen won the Best Blog Design award for SkeezixTheCat.com. She was one of seven finalists in the national Purina Cat Chow Correspondent search in 2010. She has been a spokesperson for Friskies and judge of the 2012 "The Friskies" video contest, and a juror for the Internet Cat Video Festival. Karen is a member of the Cat Writer's Association, Women in the Pet Industry, the IAABC, The Interactive Design Association and the North Bay Multimedia Association.

Comments (4)

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  1. Allie: oooh yours are pink too! *squeeee!* Don’t you just LOOOVE PINK! I simply *adore* my mani/pedi and if a SoftPaw comes off I’ve been known to get a teensy bit Out Of Sorts with mother until she gives me a fresh mani/pedi.

    SoftPaws are simply PAWESome!

  2. samba and pixel says:

    We are a nail cap family all because mom saw they on you. SO we get them. Mom does both backs and fronts. Also they do not fall off of pixel so often around the 2m mark she cuts off the caps and then a few days later re does them. Mom want to throw out another though. When she puts glue in the nail she squishes the nail ti get the glue on all parts, When done she doe try and pet us but we want to run away. She has cat baby wipes and gives us a bath after the nails. When we escape we are so wanting to clean the stink off that we forget about our nails.

  3. I wonder if Buddah would put up with having these put on him. He gets pretty bitey in the people hold him when he doesn’t want it, but his claws scratch a lot of things even when he doesn’t mean to. And I would totally make him wear the pink ones…

  4. Mom recommends these to people planning to adopt from our local shelter. She hasn’t needed to use them on us. Though she can’t imagine waiting 10 minutes for them to dry. Couldn’t they have found a faster drying glue? yikes….

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