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Cat jumping on bed and causing injury due to sharp claws!

Cat jumping on bed and causing injury due to sharp claws!

by Clara

Michael (Admin) added this nice pic of two cats on a bed. one (the big one) on top of the other! Photo by ex.libris

My cat is nearly 18 and due to not seeing very well, when she jumps up on me in the night, she digs her claws firmly in to stop falling off, often getting them caught in my skin, like the back of my neck, legs etc.

I know she doesn't realise what she is doing, but having your cat land on your bare skin with their extremely sharp claws sinking in is not a pleasant way to be woken and it's only a matter of time before she lands on my face / eyes causing irreversible damage!

I am getting her claws clipped tomorrow at the vet as I think they are too long, but I just don't know what to do in the long term.. I don't want to stress her as she is a tortoiseshell rescue cat and gets upset easily and I adore her beyond all possible reason, but I don't want her to blind me with her claws or rip my face to pieces!

Can anyone help..? I would be extremely grateful if there are any suggestions! Thank you very much!


Hi Clara.... thanks for visiting and asking. I think it is quite a tricky question but a regular visitor might find it easy! This is a kind of "reverse cat health problem" as it concerns our health!

As I see it, the problem is that your cat jumps up at the point where you are. That is the root of the problem (not that she has claws).

My cat jumps up on my bed but it is quite a large bed so there are plenty of places to jump up to, to avoid me.

And, as I said, this is the key, I think. A nice flat area of bed is preferable as a landing place for a cat than you, as you present an uneven surface, which has to grabbed more firmly (by extended claws). This implies that there are few options for your cat to select a flat surface.

Is there a way of making room for a landing area on your bed; an area that you do not occupy? Or to make a little platform adjacent to the bed (a foot stool that is a bit lower than the bed for example) that your cat can jump onto first and then an easy jump onto your bed that would not require claws out?

If we look at an absolute answer (one that is not constrained by finance or space) we would suggest a king sized bed and you would occupy the centre position. Under those ideal circumstances there would be no possibility of being clawed by your cat as she jumped up, as you would not be near any point where she would land on the bed.

If you can find an answer like that but more realistic I think you will solve the problem.

Interestingly, it is the kind of problem that might easily lead to declawing in some households in the USA! That wouldn't happen here in the UK...

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Cat jumping on bed and causing injury due to sharp claws!

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Jan 03, 2010 Link
by: Michael

This is the post Finn is referring to:

Claw caps not really any better than declawing

Jan 02, 2010 Simple solutions usually the best
by: Finn Frode, Hansen

Hi Clara. I'll just add a little to all the good advice already offered.
Although both of our cats use their scratching posts on a daily basis, we clip their claws a little every two or three weeks. The main reason is that old Milly uses her claws all the time when cuddling - and my wife likes to have her sleep without that. 😉
It may take a little time for a cat to get used to the clipping, but if you are a bit determined about it and don't waste too much time, it's over in a couple of minutes. And a little treat afterwards helps making it a much better experience for the cat.
I don't like claw caps. I wrote a page about it called 'Claw Caps Not Really Any Better Than Declawing'. What's the benefit of using them if you have to change them almost as often as you would clip the nails?
But the advice about making steps for the cat is probably the best one after all. Simple solutions usually are. That is of course, if she will use them - you never know with a cat. 😉

Jan 02, 2010 To Michael
by: Dorothy

You said "As I see it, the problem is that your cat jumps up at the point where you are. That is the root of the problem (not that she has claws)."

I love it. Well said.

Good advice from everyone, though I don't like the idea of the claw covers. I can't imagine they would ever be comfortable to a cat. I can barely stand to do anything wearing gloves. And, have you ever watched a dog when you put snow booties on him? They walk like they are seizing! I think they were perhaps an 'innovative' idea someone had, but I can't imagine a cat would opt to wear them. Especially if they are glued on! Come just isn't natural.

Love this website.


Jan 02, 2010 Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for all your replies! I have had her claws trimmed today and am going to try and do it myself in future.. Also that is a great suggestion about the steps up to the bed, although I don't know about training her to go to the foot end as she prefers to jump on to my head, and she would flatly refuse to be trained, having the strongest mind of her own that any cat could have! I don't think I will use the claw covers as I think she woul be furious to have her claws restricted- she may be nearly 18 but still acts like a young cat and is full of energy when it comes to sharpening her claws on the garden shed and running up the stairs and needs to be able to grip! Hopefully keeping her claws shorter and a few steps leading up to the bed will help! Thanks again!

Jan 02, 2010 Elderly Cats and Lifestyle Changes
by: Helmi Flick

There is a series of steps you can buy for your older cat to reach the top of the bed without having to jump. As our cats age, we need to find these things to ease their life (just as we do for our own parents). The steps I've seen are carpeted which will add to your older cat's stability. It will also take up less room in your bedroom than a king-sized bed!

I've heard (not done any research on it) that the claw tips that are glued onto the claw ARE an alternative, but why put your senior cat through that when providing steps could solve the problem? Plus, I don't know how the cat feels about having something glued onto his/her claws. Does it inhibit scratching? The nail is a living thing, does it need air or will it atrophy if something is glued onto it? Does the claw itch? I wouldn't try the claw tips unless it were a last resort.

Senior cats require a different mindset: be on the lookout to see if she will need you to help bathe her where she can't reach; groom her regularly yourself; allow access to windows (another use for those steps); institute a period of exercise with you and her; and finally, provide a warm place for her to sleep in the cold months. They are just like us. Put yourself in her place. Good luck!

Jan 02, 2010 Midnight Romps
by: Jan Plant

Ouch! Yes this can be quite painful.And alarming to be woke up that way.
Placing a stool or large cushioned chair by the foot of your bed sounds like a good plan.clipping the tips of her claws may also help some.Just the very tips.
The others here are more schooled with inside cats then I am and their answers all sound good.
Good luck.

Jan 02, 2010 Old cats need living aids!
by: Everycat

When cats become elderly their joints, ligaments and tendons often don't work so well. Joints are painful from arthritis, tendons and ligaments become slack and less able to retract claws so instantly. Eyesight too can cause an elderly cat to have problems getting around. If she's gripping hard when she lands, that hints that she does have difficulty jumping up and holding on.

It's easy to help your elderly cat out here:- set up boxes, ramps, steps wherever your dear old cat needs to jump up and down. Next to her favourite chairs, your bed, higher up places where she likes to be. You can show her how to use them with treats. She will be very grateful for these living aids I can tell you. Elderly cats often lose confidence when they can't jump or land accurately, her eyesight will be adding to this problem. It might be an idea to have her checked at the vet for hgh blood pressure and also arthritis, both are enemies of elder cats and both can be managed with inexpensive and easily administered medicines.

Don't be tempted to have her claws cut very short. She needs those claws very much, especially for balance (often with older cats there is an ossification process that happens in the ear which can cause deafness and sometimes balance issues) Claws are essential for balance in cats.

If you have tall scratching posts around the home for her, consider that at her great age, she may prefer the option of having some horizontal scratching surfaces to use instead. Arthritis could be affecting her ability to maintain her claws well, hence them becoming long and unwieldy.

You can also lessen the risk of her landing on you, if you dedicate one particular area of the bed for her, put her blankets there, a toy maybe and perhaps a little catnip. Put a ramp or box there and spend a little time enticing her up and down from the floor to the bed via that step.

Jan 02, 2010 Claws
by: Mary H

I've heard of nail tips for cats... I've never used them, but I know they exist -glue on soft rubber covers, sort of thing. They are an alternative to declawing which, contrary to popular opinion, most of us in the USA are decent human beings and cringe at the thought of!
The other thing you could do is offer her some sort of ramp off of the surface, an alternative to jumping on top of you 🙂

Jan 02, 2010 CIipping nails
by: Anonymous

You can learn to clip her claws yourself. Clipping a cat's nails is easirt than a dog's, because cats have white nails and you can easily the vein in the middle.

You do not need to clip them close to the vein or quick, just clip off the sharp curved points. You can use a simple human nail clipper. Hold the cat in your lap, take a foot and push on the toe so the nail comes out of the sheath, then clip just the tip of the nail.

OR you can use an emery board and dull the tip.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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