When you first bring home a new Maine Coon, you should learn everything you can about them, including everything you need to know about Maine Coon claws.
In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about caring for your Maine Coon’s claws, such as how to clip their nails and how to stop your cat scratching the door or sofa.
Maine Coons, depending on the breed, have between five and seven toes. Each toe is tipped with a curved nail or claw made out of keratin. These cats use their claws for hunting and self-defense. When you bring home a Maine Coon cat, you will have to take responsibility for keeping your cat’s nails under control and healthy.
Keep reading to find out how you can cut your Maine Coon cat’s claws to keep both you and your cat safe and comfortable.
Maine Coon Claws
Maine Coon cats are one of the most unique cat breeds there are for a variety of different reasons, such as their:
- Intelligence Levels
Additionally, no one is exactly sure how these cats came to be!
They are considered native to America, specifically to the New England area, because they have been there for so long, but their origins before that remain a mystery.
Some folktale stories say that Maine Coons are actually a mix of a raccoon and house cat, but that combination is genetically impossible. Read why this is the case, here.
Other people say Maine Coon cats are a mix of bobcat and house cat, and some people even trace their origins all the way back to Marie Antoinette’s long-haired cats.
Despite the Maine Coon cat breed’s elusive history, what we do know is that the Maine Coons sharp claws played a critical role in its survival in the wild.
One very important feature of Maine Coon cats is their claws.
On each paw, Maine Coon’s have five toes, and each toe has a pointed claw or nail at the end.
Keep in mind that some Maine Coons, such as Polydactyl Maine Coons have between 6 and 7 toes/claws in each paw.
Their claws are made out of keratin and are very sharp.
The main purpose of a Maine Coon cat’s claws is hunting and self-defense, but they also use their claws to climb trees, dig holes, and groom.
As far as Maine Coon claw length goes, their nails are constantly growing, so if you do not take care to cut them regularly, they will quickly get out of hand.
In the wild, climbing, hunting, and scratching against trees helped to keep their claws short, but when domesticated, each owner will have to take responsibility for their cat claw maintenance.
I recommend you purchase a large and heavy-duty scratching pole or post.
We purchased this extra-large post from Amazon, and I cannot recommend it highly enough since the product quality is phenomenal.
Our Maine Coon cat weighs 20lbs, so he’s quite a huge cat! However, despite Pippin’s large sizing he has not been able to knock the post over as he often did with previous smaller posts.
Ultimately, cat scratching posts are invaluable when it comes to keeping your Maine Coon cat’s claws healthy.
They also reduce the likelihood that your Maine Coon will scratch the sofa or door.
Best Nail Clippers For Maine Coon Cats
The best cat nail clippers for beginners are these professional pet nail clippers (view product on Amazon).
These pet nail clippers are a great option for beginners for several reasons:
- Very affordable at just ten dollars
- Super easy to use
All you need to do is put your cat’s nail against the blade and then lightly press down with the no-slip rubber handles.
The blades are sharp, so they do not take too much effort or struggle.
These are definitely the best pet nail clippers available online. They are also super safe because when you are not actively using them, you can simply lock the clippers.
Best Nail Clippers For Maine Coon Kittens
If you have recently adopted a Maine Coon kitten, you are going to want to buy clippers specifically for their tiny claws.
These are the best kitten nail clippers, and are sold by Pet Republique on Amazon.
These cat nail clippers are small, which makes them perfect for tiny claws on tiny kittens.
They are also nice and sharp, so you can go quickly and only make minimal noise to help reduce your kitten’s anxiety while getting his nails clipped.
How To Trim Maine Coon Claws
If your Maine Coon cat is an indoor cat and does not constantly use his scratching post, chances are you are going to need to trim your cat’s claws regularly.
This can be an intimidating process for some owners, but it does not have to be as long as you follow these tips.
- Recruit Help
If your Maine Coon is wiggly, you may want to recruit some help to hold down your cat and help soothe him.
- Handle Your Maine Coons Paw Carefully
Take your cat’s paw and gently squeeze with your thumb and index finger so that your cat’s claws extend.
- Trim Cat’s Claws
You can then trim your cat’s claws one nail at a time, quickly taking off the tip of each one.
Make sure you simply take the tip, so you do not accidentally cut the quick (the small pink portion on your cat’s nails).
- Nail Grinder
You can also carefully use a nail grinder if you do not want to use nail clippers.
Follow the same process of gently grabbing one of your cat’s paws and squeezing, so the nails extend.
Then, gently touch the grinder to each nail of your cat’s paws. You still need to be careful to avoid the quick.
Hitting the quick could lead to your cat’s nail starting to bleed, which might be painful for your beautiful Maine Coon cat.
Keep in mind that if you hurt your Maine Coon cat or kitten whilst trimming their nails, this could also cause your cat to associate pain with nail cutting.
This might lead to your cat putting up much more of a fight later on when you try to cut their nails again.
Do Maine Coons Have Sharp Claws?
Yes, Maine Coon cats have very sharp claws because they are meant to use them for self-defense and to hunt prey. But, are Maine Coon cats good hunters? Find out here.
A Maine Coons sharp claws can cause some painful accidents at home if your cat is not great at controlling his claws and scratches.
Maine Coon cats, especially kittens, can end up scratching people by accident when just trying to play or explore.
You can work to train your Maine Coon cat, not to scratch, this can be especially helpful if you start while your cat is young.
Alternatively, some owners opt for claw covers or caps.
Maine Coon claw covers and caps can be gently slid over each one of your cat’s nails so that when he explores or playfully scratches at you, it does not hurt.
Many people prefer this over declawing their cats because it allows their cat to still keep their defense system whilst protecting people and furniture in the home.
Maine Coon Scratching Post
What keeps Maine Coon’s nails under control in the wild is when they scratch their claws against things like:
- Rough Surfaces
Rough surfaces tend not to exist in the home.
If you provide rough surfaces for your cat to scratch against, this will help them maintain their nails themself.
It will also encourage your Maine Coon not to scratch against your doors, sofa, walls, or furniture.
If you decide you want to use a scratching post, it should not be too hard to encourage your cat to use it.
Oftentimes, cats and kittens will naturally go to use their scratching post, and you can use positive reinforcement like treats whenever your kitten scratches against their post rather than furniture.
If your cat does not naturally use the scratching post, you can use little tricks to encourage them, like catnip around the base and top.
You could also play with your kitten near the scratching post, and lay next to the post so that your cat notices the post.
How To Train A Kitten Not To Scratch And Bite
Below are the best ways to train a kitten not to scratch and bite:
If you are playing and your kitten goes to bite or scratch your hands, one of the best things that you can do is simply redirect them.
Distract your kitten by replacing the hand that they are biting with a toy.
If your kitten is scratching at you a lot, you should also redirect them to their scratching post.
The good thing about kittens is while they can be destructive, they are also easily distracted.
If you move around a lot or make a big deal of the biting and scratching, this can actually sometimes encourage the behavior!
When your kitten will not stop biting you or scratching you, simply loudly exclaim ‘Ow’ or ‘Ouch’ and then get up and walk away. This is effective as your kitten will learn to associate you saying ‘ow’ or ‘ouch’ with the end of playtime.
Your cat will also learn that scratching and biting leads to you walking away.
3. Spray Bottle
Many cat specialists do not feel that this is a suitable or kind deterrent, so the method is best avoided.
However, if all else fails, give your cat a quick squirt with a water spray bottle when they scratch or bite you. This will help discourage the biting or scratching behavior because most cats (and animals in general) do not like being sprayed with water.
It is important to avoid spraying your cat’s eyes, and nose.
Can You Declaw A Maine Coon Cat?
As you will appreciate, declawing is an emotive subject that many owners and cat professionals feel very strongly about.
Whilst it is legal to declaw your Maine Coon cat, it is generally not considered the right thing to do unless your veterinarian has recommended declawing due to health reasons.
Cat declawing is a surgical process that involves removing the cat’s claw from its paws. Whilst removing a cat’s claws may save your walls or sofa, it tends to be regarded as an unnecessary surgical procedure to put a cat through.
The process is done by amputating your cat’s toes at their first knuckles.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and the exact technique, time, and cost depend on the clinic/vet that you use.
As long as everything goes well and the surgery is done at a young age, the recovery time should be between 10 and 14 days.
It is possible to declaw your Maine Coon cat, however, if your cat is an outside cat or is let outside at all through the day or night, it is not advisable to do this as your cat’s claws are their main source of protection.
Removing the claws will make your cat vulnerable.
Pros And Cons Of Declawing Cats
Declawing cats is a very controversial topic.
Many people swear by the practice, but other people believe that it is cruel to remove a cat’s natural defense system.
Let’s go over the pros and cons of declawing a cat, and then you can decide for yourself:
- No More Ruined Furniture: If a cat does not have claws, it cannot scratch your furniture, walls, sofa, or curtains any longer.
- No More Scratches: Your cat cannot scratch you or other people.
- Leaves Your Cat Vulnerable: If your cat lives outside or gets let outside accidentally, their only form of protection against predators are their claws. A Maine Coon is significantly more likely to get injured or even killed outside if they have been declawed.
- Pain: After your cat is declawed, it will be painful for them to walk around or move at all until the wounds are completely healed, which can take up to 14 days if the procedure goes right. If the procedure goes wrong, it can take even longer. Doctors equate this surgery with removing a human’s fingers or toes at the first joint.
- Mental Well-Being: Removing your cat’s nails can cause your animal to feel sad or anxious because not being able to use its claws will go completely against your cat’s instinct.
If you are set on declawing your cat, you need to make sure it is done as early as possible, so your cat does not get used to having claws.
Declawing your cat early on will also help increase the success rate of the procedure.
Finally, if you declaw your Maine Coon cat you will need to make sure that your cat never accidentally gets out.
Is Declawing Cats Permanent?
Declawing cats is a permanent operation.
This is because the operation cuts off the tip of your cat’s toes, therefore the nails are not going to ever grow back.
This means that if you decide to declaw your cat, you have to be willing to commit to having an indoor cat for the duration of your cat’s life.
If you are wondering how long Maine Coon cats live, make sure you read this guide.
Declawed Maine Coon Cats For Adoption
If you want to find a declawed Maine Coon cat up for adoption, you are going to want to look for local breeders who declaw their kittens.
To find these breeders you can use Google to search for reputable breeders near you, but please make sure you check that these Maine Coon cat breeders come with great references.
You can also look on sites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for owners who may be putting their adult, declawed Maine Coon cats up for adoption.
The Maine Coon claw is a very important part of the Maine Coon. It is how they survive in the wild by enabling them to hunt, defend themselves, and maneuver easily.
However, they can also be a source of a lot of behavioral problems, such as scratching up sofas or walls, so you will need to pick a method to help manage said problems, whether that be by claw caps, or training, or declawing surgery.