How can I prevent my cat from extending his claws when being petted?

  • When I pet my cat, he often curls his toes, and extends / retracts his claws. I guess it's a sign that he enjoys getting petted, however this is not something I appreciate when he's lying on furniture and his claws scratch and pierce the surface. Normally, he doesn't cause damage to furniture; he likes his scratching post, but this is an exception.

    Is there any way to tell my cat to avoid extending his claws when he is being petted, or is the only way to avoid damage to always take him on my lap (not that I appreciate him clawing my clothes either)? Is there another way to prevent this?

    Does your cat do this only once, like a normal stretch which ends up in grabbing a hold with claws of whatever happens to be there? Or is it the repeated motion with paws (and claws) known as "kneading"? I don't see the word "repeat" in the question. The posted answers seem to fit anyway, I'm just curious about it.

    @EsaPaulasto It's repeated motion.

    I haven't seen this answer yet - you can trim cat nails cutting of the sharp end (do not cut into pink quick). It's painless procedure comparable to trimming nails in humans and it doesn't prevent cat from climbing and otherwise enjoying life (as oppose to declawing which is a painful procedure prohibited by animal cruelty laws in many countries)

  • Beofett

    Beofett Correct answer

    8 years ago

    This behavior is known as "kneading", and is an instinctive behavior that stems from feeding on its mother's milk. Kittens knead at their mother to stimulate milk production while feeding, and the behavior tends to reoccur whenever they are feeling extremely relaxed and contented.

    Not all cats maintain this behavior into adulthood, but many do.

    Since it is both instinctual, and reinforced during early kittenhood, it is unlikely you will ever train your cat to stop. However, a solution that may work is to get your cat his own blanket.

    One of our cats kneads pretty regularly, even when no one is petting her. She does so most often on a soft red throw blanket, that we keep on the back of the sofa (one of her preferred resting/kneading spots) for that very purpose. This avoids damage to the furniture, and when company comes over, we can just put the blanket away.

    One of my mother's cats (mistreated by a former owner) used to knead me for a while. It took forever for him to trust me before that, but when he did, it got a bit too ticklish. So I picked him up and put him off. He whined and never did it again, but he still liked me. I missed the kneading, though.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM