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i have an indoor/outdoor cat. her nails are very sharp, but i have not clipped them because i want her to have a good defense outside should she run into any trouble (which she never has before and she stays in the apartment complex, but just in case). however...during play her nails are like weapons (ive bled many a time) and when she stretches out and claws on the carpet she always tends to pull out a string or two. im afraid to cut them because i want her to have her defenses...but i really want to cut them so that she is not do destructive and painful. what should i do?
 

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I honestly thing most cats with nails can use them whether they are sharp or not. Skylar's never gotten exactly how to climb a tree, but I know if she put thought into it she could - she can still scramble halfway up and hold on really tight for a good while even when her claws are trimmed. I also think most cats that actually use their claws as defense don't do as much damage as you think. Usually, a couple of swats (with or without claws IME) is enough to say "back off!" and anything that is going to stay and fight will most likely end up requiring teeth anyways.

I don't see much harm in getting the sharp points off but still leaving a good bit of nail... if your kitty is getting stuck in the carpet she may be more comfortable with them trimmed.

(also try more "interactive" toys like wands and toys on long strings to keep your hands nice and far away!)
 

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I have to clip Tiger's nails every 2 weeks, the get too sharp, if I don't clip them, they get caught on everything and I can tell he is uncomfortable.
Their nails can split and that let me tell you is painful!
 

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If you're getting injured, they're too sharp. Honestly, I don't think you need to worry. A cat's best defense is its speed in running away.
 

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Yep, escape is the best route for a cat, and they have a myriad of ways to get away, so a little nail-clip really shouldn't be a problem.

In terms of fighting, the purpose of the front claws is to help the cat grab something and hold it near their chest while their powerful back feet/claws to a nasty rabbit punch on the thing's abdomen. Trimming shouldn't hurt that, and might even enhance. When you see a cat half-standing and swiping with front paws, that is mostly posturing to make the object of their fury back away. "Hey buddy, I've got claws, and I know how to use them!"

If the claws are getting caught, it means they are actually a little long, and could start causing problems for the cat. If not trimmed they could interfere with the cat's ability to grab/climb, and could also curl into the pad and become infected (like an ingrown toenail). Just don't trim too closely!
 
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