cat with nail caps

Nail caps are tiny sheath covers placed on your cat’s nails to minimize scratch damage. Putting nail caps on your cat is like giving your cat a manicure with the added benefit of protecting your furniture.

Admittingly, they look a little silly. But nail caps provide peace of mind for cat owners and are 100% safe to use on cats.

Still, there’s quite a bit of controversy over using nail caps. Much of this controversy stems from a few myths we’re discussing today. Let’s crack some of these myths and discuss the pros and cons of using nail caps. We’re even listing three trusted nail cap brands at the end for you to try.

Common Myths of Nail Caps

Cats Can’t Retract Their Nails

While this is a genuine concern, it is not true. Cats can easily retract their nails like they would without the caps. The key is to properly apply the caps using the right size and right amount of glue.

If you don’t apply the caps correctly, you still have some grace. The caps eventually fall off as your cat’s nails grow.

You Can Use a Scratching Post Instead

The harsh truth to owning a cat is that they scratch whatever they want, whenever they want. Scratching posts certainly help, and every cat owner should have a few. However, they don’t permanently alleviate the need to scratch things.

Nail Caps Replace Nail Care

Nail caps will never replace nail care—quite the opposite, actually. Nail caps require consistent nail care since you have to trim your cat’s nails to keep the caps on.

Nail Caps Cause Nail Damage

Nail caps don’t break the nail bed and won’t cause any damage to the nail itself. You want to look for a nail kit with non-toxic adhesive and vinyl, just in case your cat decides to chew them off. Overall, your cat’s nails will be fine.

Nail Caps Interfere With Walking

Cats should be able to walk, run, and play normally as long as the nail caps are correctly applied. Cats retract their claws naturally when they walk. So, as long as they can retract their claws, walking and running shouldn’t be a problem.

cat with blue nail caps
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Pros and Cons of Using Nail Caps

So now that we’ve gotten the myths out of the way, let’s talk about the pros and cons of using nail caps.

Pros

  • Keeps your furniture free from scratches
  • Safe to use
  • Prevents declawing
  • Caps are temporary

Cons

  • Could affect the relationship with your cat
  • Could be a choking hazard
  • You need to reapply them every month or so
  • Cats lose the ability to climb
  • Cats lose the ability to defend themselves

The biggest reason why cat owners hesitate to use nail caps? The caps inhibit a cat’s ability to defend itself. We certainly don’t want to put our furniture ahead of our cat’s life. That’s why it’s crucial to only use nail caps on indoor cats. 

How to Put Nail Caps on Cats

If you’ve ever trimmed your cat’s nails—or attempted to—you know how challenging the task is. Cats don’t particularly care for their paws to be touched, so putting nail caps on them isn’t easy.

There is a bit of a learning curve with kitty nail caps. It takes some practice, but it gets easier the more you do it. The following video walks you through the step-by-step process of placing nail caps on your cat.

You can also check with your veterinarian if you’re shy about doing it yourself. Just remember that the nail caps will eventually fall off as their nails grow, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice!

Top 3 Reliable Nail Cap Brands

Soft Claws Cat Nail Caps

Soft Claws Cat Nail Caps is an easy starter kit with over 13 different colors per package. These nail caps should last about 4–6 weeks, assuming your cat doesn’t chew them off.

You only get 40 caps with this product in small, medium, and large sizes. If you’re new to capping your cat’s nails, starting small is better.

The biggest downside to this product is that many cat owners report trouble with the glue applicator. That can be tricky when nail capping a wiggly cat!

Purrdy Paws Soft Cat Nail Caps

If you’re looking for some fun, funky colors for your cat’s nails, then try Purrdy Paws. This brand uses soft vinyl caps that are non-toxic and glow in the dark. If you don’t care for glow in the dark, you can choose other fun colors, like rainbow and purple glitter.

Cat owners didn’t have issues with the glue but noticed that their cats could chew the caps off easily.

VICTHY Cat Nail Caps

VICTHY Cat Nail Caps are the best option for the money. You get 140 caps in extra small, small, medium, and large sizes, all in various colors. VICTHY nail caps are also made from a natural vinyl resin and are non-toxic.

Cat owners like these nail caps because they’re easy to apply, soft, and stay on for about 3–4 weeks before needing to change them again. The only downside is that cats can easily chew these off.

Final Thoughts

Cats like to scratch. It’s part of their normal feline behavior. If you decide to get a cat, know that scratch damage is something you’re signing up for.

Thankfully, nail caps give cat owners an option for feline companionship and intact furniture. Some kitties won’t have a problem wearing nail caps. Other cats may take some time to come around. Even then, some cats will never adjust to them, so you’ll need to make peace with that fact.

Be patient with your cat and yourself and give it a few tries before deciding if the nail caps work for your cat and home situation.


Featured Photo Courtesy: Pixabay