Cat Claw Caps: Are Cat Nail Caps a Good Alternative to Declawing?

Updated on November 16, 2016
drpennypincher profile image

Dr. Penny Pincher has a Ph.D. in engineering and loves animals. He has raised peacocks, chickens, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and pigs.

Cat Claw Damage Control

Cats have a natural tendency to sharpen their claws on carpet and furniture, which can ruin it. How can you prevent damage from cat claws in your house?

There are three main ways to reduce or prevent damage from cat claws:

  • Declawing the cat
  • Use claw caps to cover the cat's claws with a plastic tip
  • Provide alternative scratching surfaces

Cat with Claw Caps and Scratching Post
Cat with Claw Caps and Scratching Post | Source

Declawing Your Cat


Advantages of declawing a cat:

  • Declawing will completely eliminate damage from cat claws
  • Once declawing is done, no additional work or maintenance is required


Disadvantages of declawing a cat:

  • Declawing surgery is expensive
  • Declawing causes injury to the cat- the tip of the bone that produces the claw must be removed
  • Declawing is permanent and the cat will not be able to protect itself without claws
  • Surgery has some risk since general anesthetic is used


The cost to declaw a cat is about $300. Laser surgery may be a bit more expensive, but causes less injury to the cat. Some people consider declawing as a fairly drastic measure- sort of like cutting someone's fingers off... Next we'll consider some alternatives to declawing.


Claw cap, glue bottle, and glue applicator
Claw cap, glue bottle, and glue applicator | Source

Claw Caps for Your Cat

You can buy claw caps that cover your cat's claws. When the claw cap applied, the cat's claws are no longer sharp and do not cause damage.


Advantages of claw caps:

  • The claw caps are not permanent- after a few weeks they will fall off and the cat will have fully functional claws again
  • Cost is much less than declawing
  • No injury to the cat


Disadvantages of claw caps:

  • Claw caps need to be replaced every few months- they fall off as the cat's claws grow
  • Application of the claw caps can be tricky. We have 2 people apply the soft claws- one holds the cat and extents the claw, the other fills the claw cap with glue and places it on the claw


The name brand Soft Paws® claw caps cost about $20 for a set of 40 claw caps and adhesive. This lasts about 6 months. Less expensive brands are available for about $15 for a set of 40 claw caps.

The glue used with claw caps is similar to superglue. Sometimes the glue gets on your fingers while you are applying claw caps. I have not gotten my fingers stuck together yet, but I have had a couple close calls. The glue applicator spouts that are provided get clogged up when the superglue dries. A glue dispenser with a snap-on lid like a standard superglue bottle would be better.

A concern with claw caps is ingrown nails. One of our cats had nails that curved back into the pad as they grew with the claw caps on. This required a trip to the vet since we did not notice it happening in time. We should have monitored the claw caps more closely so we could have trimmed the claws to prevent this problem. We discontinued claw caps for this cat. Our other cat has had no problems at all with claw caps.

Claw caps are hollow and fit over the cat's claws
Claw caps are hollow and fit over the cat's claws | Source

Star Rating for Cat Claw Caps

3 stars for Claw Caps for Cat Nails

Claw caps are effective at stopping cat claw damage, but require continuous monitoring and reapplication.

Provide Alternative Scratching Surfaces

Another option is to provide alternative scratching surfaces that you cat likes better than your furniture or carpet. This may require some trial and error to choose scratching surfaces that your cat will actually use. You can also rub catnip on the scratching posts to make it more attractive for your cat. Some popular options are scratching ramps made of cardboard, and scratching posts that are wrapped with rope.


Advantages of alternative scratching surfaces:

  • Inexpensive
  • Does not require maintenance, only occasional replacement


Disadvantages of alternative scratching surfaces:

  • Not 100% effective- your cat may stlll sharpen its claws on your furniture
  • Scratching posts take up floor space

Recommendations on Reducing Damage from Cat Claws

Since declawing is expensive and permanent, try other means first:

  • Scratching posts and ramps are inexpensive and may largely solve cat claw damage problems
  • Give claw caps a try if your cat is still causing damage
  • Consider declawing carefully. If your cat has already ruined your furniture and carpet, there may be little reason to get it declawed!

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Dr Penny Pincher

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      • profile image

        Jason Flowers 

        9 months ago

        Hi there,

        Full disclosure, I represent Purrdy Paws, the oldest and largest nail cap manufacturer.

        Our nail caps are a great solution to scratching, where you don't have to declaw your cat. It's used in conjunction to normal nail trimming. As others have written, declawing is basically like amputating your finger at the top knuckle :(

        - Cats can still retract their claws as Purrdy Paws are developed by a veterinarian specifically to cat’s claw profile.

        - Nail Caps are best for indoor cats, as they will stop cats ability to climb and scratch,

        - Nail Caps will fall off naturally as the cat sheds their nails

        - Nail Caps may fall off early, especially if they are to big, or if the cat chews on them. Most cats don't especially if you keep them distracted for 15 minutes or so after applying. Some companies offer designs they claim will lock the cap in. Don't believe this, to glue any 2 objects together requires maximum surface to surface area for glue to work, so having a grid or a cleat in the cap weakens the bond significantly.

        - Purrdy Paws offers two types of adhesives, including an exclusive gel adhesive. Both are safe and non-toxic

        - Plus they are fun, we have over 40 colors, many common combos, and you can customize any order by choosing specific colors in multiples of 10. Match your cat with your favorite nail polish or sports team!

        We have lots more info, fun pics, and we can be contacted anytime with additional questions - hope this helps !

      • profile image

        Allie 

        10 months ago

        I have a cat who is generally good for the most part, but I live in an apartment where he’s technically not allowed but the landlord made an exception for me because moving in was a matter of emergency and I’ll only be here for 5 months. He started scratching the wall. I was terrified but found a nearly full bucket of their paint but I need a solution that’ll last the next 6 months or hopefully forever.

      • profile image

        TaTa 

        13 months ago

        Those who are against Declawing have NEVER had their eyes scratched by a cat with claws like it happened to me!

        So stop preaching that Declawing is bad! I want to get myself a cat but I can't now thanks to you preachy people! THANKS!

      • profile image

        Irma 

        13 months ago

        DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT. You are amputating them! Find a much better and safer solution like, oh I don't know, GETTING THEM TRIMMED. If you loved your fur baby, you wouldn't declaw them!

      • drpennypincher profile imageAUTHOR

        Dr Penny Pincher 

        4 years ago from Iowa, USA

        JakeFrost, thank you for your support. I was shocked to see my cat's paws on someone else's website!

      • JakeFrost profile image

        Jake Frost 

        4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

        Just checking out your hub, very good. Hopefully you can get it removed from that horrible pirating site - thieves!

        Good luck!

      • drpennypincher profile imageAUTHOR

        Dr Penny Pincher 

        5 years ago from Iowa, USA

        Thanks for your comments L. M. and McClintick. The initial application of claw caps is a bit of work, requiring some patience from both the pet owner and the cat to put caps on each claw. After that, it is a lot less work to replace a missing claw cap once in a while as they come off.

        Older declawing techniques did cut off the ends of the bone in the paws and this may still be done in some places. There are some less traumatic declawing methods available now including laser declawing.

      • L.M. Hosler profile image

        L.M. Hosler 

        5 years ago

        I got my from the Humane Society already declawed but I am personally not in favor of declawing. I had read where their toes are actually amputated and I am not sure if that is correct or not. But my son just got a cat about a year ago and has thought about declawing. In fact his cat has clawed me a time or two. I will have to mention to him about these claw caps although they sound difficult to apply.

        Great hub. Thanks for the information.

      • profile image

        McClintick 

        5 years ago

        Declawing cats is what it is, but to say injury is a huge overstatement. They are only sore, though rarely for a few days if even. It's like a minor surgery for most cats to recover from. I have had two cats both declawed and they both were back to running and jumping without any soreness whatsoever within less then a week. I'm disabled and have no choice but to declaw; for my safety. To say a cat can't defend itself without front claws, which is false.

        With my second cat "Ruffle" we had to wait three weeks before she could be declawed cause she was too young. A kitten has to be at least 10 or so pounds, and at least 2 months old before having the surgery. But in those weeks we had to wait she was clawing the hell out of my family and I. She wasn't being mean or anything, she just like to jump on people, climb up their legs for attention and petting. But her claws were so sharp she was drawing blood. Cat scratches hurt as I'm sure everyone knows. If you decide to or need to declaw it's best to do it young; older cats can have more trouble. Other options are nice if you can make it work, but in my situation I can't risk the alternatives. For the disabled it's often necessary to declaw your cat so you can enjoy them and give your cat the attention it needs safely.

      • kidscrafts profile image

        kidscrafts 

        5 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

        It takes me about 5 minutes per cat about once a month. I mainly do the front paws and maybe twice a year the back paws....with the help of my husband!

        And as you said....you don't invest in expensive furniture when you have cats :-)

      • drpennypincher profile imageAUTHOR

        Dr Penny Pincher 

        5 years ago from Iowa, USA

        I think having an excuse NOT to buy expensive furniture is a major benefit of owning cats! I have not tried trimming a cat's claws- I would imagine this is probably about the same amount of work as applying claw caps.

      • kidscrafts profile image

        kidscrafts 

        5 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

        It's so sad when people have their cat declawed. Like you mentioned in your article outside of the price, they are several disadventages. It's really painful for the cats and I heard that they have a hard time to walk for a while because it hurts so much.

        I am a cat person and I trim the claws of my cats....and yes, they scartch some of my furniture. I have places that they can scratch....but they prefer our sofas! Anyway, when you have cats...you know that they might destroy a few pieces of furniture. Dogs eat stuff too. I find that my cats bring me so much joy and fun that I can live with a few desavantages.

        It's the first time I ever heard of claw caps! Great idea!

        Great hub!

      • drpennypincher profile imageAUTHOR

        Dr Penny Pincher 

        5 years ago from Iowa, USA

        Yes, 6 cats amounts to a lot of claws! Furniture is going to wear out eventually anyway, cats just wear it out a bit faster...

      • Victoria Lynn profile image

        Victoria Lynn 

        5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

        HI! Great hub! I have always had cats, 6 currently, and I can't bring myself to get any of them declawed. I've had to cover a chair with a throw to cover some scratching! Right now, though, my 6 are doing pretty well. I have scratchers of different kinds all over the house. I yell "No" if they scratch the wrong thing and praise them when they use the right thing. It seems to help. I've never tried the caps. Too many cats, too much work--I couldn't keep up with it.

        Voted up and more! Nice job of looking at all the alternatives.

      • drpennypincher profile imageAUTHOR

        Dr Penny Pincher 

        5 years ago from Iowa, USA

        Thanks Ardot. The more I learn about declawing, the more I like the alternatives...

      • Ardot profile image

        Ardot 

        5 years ago from Canada

        Great hub! I'm very happy at all the alternatives to declawing you have presented. I have always believed that people who get their cats declawed should have bought a stuffed animal instead.

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