One of my cats has always been very good about not using claws when playing when hands are involved but another one seems to make little to no effort in that regard.

I don't trim any of their claws and I don't think I should necessarily have to mediate that if it can be done another way. Personally I'd rather just take the hits as I've been doing as I like letting them have their claws and any associated pride/cat mojo.

That aside, it would be great if I could somehow let him know that those claws hurt fleshy humans. He is about 2 years old now.


Personally, I do trim my cats claws as part of a weekly (or thereabouts) physical exam/checkover to make sure there are no hidden injuries (cats will hide illness/injury so that they do not appear to be prey).

However, I do still train them not to use their claws on me. The most basic method is to yell "owie" (some people will try to make an approximation of a cat pain noise, but just be consistent with whatever you pick) and then immediately stop play and leave the room. If the cat follows you, keep walking away from the cat (sometimes I have to shut myself in the bathroom) for 10-15 minutes.

If you are consistent with this, he will eventually realize that using his claws on you deprives him of your attention, and he'll stop.

You DO need to give him outlets to use his claws and hunting reflex. You should play with him using toys that distance your hands from his claws (so you do not get injured) and do not approximate hands (padded gloves with teasers on the fingertips are a bad idea). Cats are natural hunters and if you do not give a young cat an outlet for that energy, he will hunt your hands/feet/body.

I tend to adopt cats at about 2 years old, and they have terrible manners (which is probably why they were dumped at the shelter). At that age, we try to do a 20-30 minute play session each evening with lots of high jumps (Romeo, our current youngster, has jumped to my eye level!). Once they're worn out, we feed the gang dinner, and then they go right to sleep for the evening.

It will take a few months for your cat to stop using his claws on you. I recommend trimming his claws or using nail caps in the meantime if you're worried about injuries, but your "owie" yell will be more authentic if you don't ;-)

  • 2
    agree, it's very important to trim claws, especially if humans are anywhere nearby. Note trimming claws has nothing to do with "declawing"! – tedder42 Oct 6 '14 at 22:43
  • My thoughts are that the cat ought to learn how to maintain their own claws as they would naturally. Typically they do a great job and we have many scratch posts for them to use. – Enigma Aug 17 '15 at 13:54
  • I have never trimmed the claws of my cats. In the first year I had a lot of marks on my hands (I adopted them at 8 month old), but I always did yell 'owe' and stopped giving them attention and now if something happens, which is less often than once a year, they come to apologize afterwards. I don't see any reason to trim their claws. I think other than that this post says everything that it important, including to play only with your hands out of reach. – Meera May 30 '19 at 5:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.