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Questions & Answers: Soft Paws for Cats

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Soft Paws®?

Soft Paws are an excellent alternative to declawing. They are easy to apply at home, and cats and their owners love them. They are completely safe and humane and can be used on cats of all ages. Soft Paws are vinyl nail caps that are glued on to your cat's existing nails. They look like a cat's nail, only hollow. They are easy to apply and cats tolerate them extremely well.

How are Soft Paws® applied?

Soft Paws® are easy to apply. Simply fill the nail cap with the adhesive provided, and slide it on over your cat's claw. The glue dries very fast. For more detailed instructions, read our application instructions for cats .

How long do they last, and how often do they need to be reapplied?

Once the nail caps are applied, they remain in place for approximately 4-6 weeks. They will fall off with the natural growth of your cat's nails. We recommend that you check your cat's nails periodically because usually just one or two fall off at a time, and these can easily be reapplied. Each kit contains 40 nail caps so one kit will last approximately 4-6 months per cat.

Note: While the vast majority of cats acclimate to the claw covers within minutes, some cats may require an adjustment period. Cats' fastidious natures sometimes cause them to groom the claw covers excessively at first. This may result in one or two of them falling off, but this is no problem. Just check your cat's claws daily, and if a nail cap is missing, simply replace it with another from the package. As a result, the first package may not last as long as subsequent packages. Your cat will become more used to wearing the nail caps over time and require reapplication less often. A good tip is to feed your cat his or her favorite food immediately after applying the Soft Paws®. This serves as a good reward and also diverts attention away from the new nail caps. Some people find it easier to apply the Soft Paws® when their cat is sleepy.

How much does a kit cost? What is contained in a kit?

Each kit costs $19.95 and contains everything needed for home application. Easy to follow application instructions, 40 nail caps, 2 tubes of glue and applicator tips.

Are Soft Paws® safe, and do they hurt the cat?

Soft Paws® are completely safe, painless, and non-toxic for cats. Even if they are swallowed, they will not cause a problem for your cat. They just pass on through the digestive system. Even the dried glue is entirely harmless because it becomes inert, or chemically inactive, as it dries in place.

Can cats still extend and retract their claws while wearing Soft Paws®?

Absolutely. Soft Paws® are designed so that they won't interfere with the normal extension and retraction of cats' claws.

Cats extend and retract their claws by flexing and extending a tendon, much like when you extend your ankle to point your toe. The nail does not retract into a sheath, even though that is how it might appear. Soft Paws® nail caps are thicker and blunter than your cat's nails, so they are more visible than the nails normally are. If a colored nail cap is used, it is even more visible. Cats' nails are thin at the ends, so they are difficult to see normally unless they are extended.

Will Soft Paws interfere with my cat's normal scratching and stretching behavior?

No. Your cat can still stretch and make scratching motions, however no damage will occur to your furniture because the claw is effectively covered and protected.

Can I apply Soft Paws® myself?

Absolutely. Most people apply the nail caps themselves. Some enlist the help of a friend or family member. This is a good idea at first if you are not used to handling your cat alone.

If you can trim your cat's claws, you can apply the nail caps.

Sometimes it helps to place your cat in your lap, facing away from you, so he or she can't back up. Some cats don't mind being wrapped in a towel so you can remove one paw at a time to apply the nail caps.

If you have any questions, you can contact us or call us at 1-800-989-2542.

How do I know what size Soft Paws® my cat needs?

Please visit our size chart. You can use this to determine what size your cat will use.

Soft Paws® come in the following sizes: kitten, small, medium, and large.

Most average-sized cats wear medium nail caps. If your cat is very small-boned, choose the small size. Very large-boned cats tend toward the large Soft Paws® size. Kittens are usually big enough to wear kitten-sized Soft Paws® by 12-16 weeks of age.

Note: If your cat is overweight, this does not necessarily mean that he or she is a large-boned cat. To determine claw size, examine your cat's paws.


Kitten Soft Paws® will fit most kittens by the time they reach the age of 16 weeks (4 months). Some kittens can wear them as early as 12 weeks (3 months) of age. To test, try a nail cap on your kitten first, without the adhesive. If it looks too big, don't glue it on. The nail cap should fit snugly, like a glove. You can trim the open end of the nail cap before applying to make it smaller. Or, if needed, you may exchange the entire kit for a new size. Return the complete contents of the kit, unused, in a padded package to preserve new condition.

Kittens up to about 5 pounds and 5 months of age generally fit the kitten size. Some kittens at 5 months may need the small size rather than the kitten size if they are growing fast or are large-breed cats.

Small In general, the small-sized Soft Paws® will fit cats that are approximately 6 months of age and about 6-8 pounds.

Small-boned adult cats may wear the small size. If your cat seems smaller than an average full-grown cat, choose small.

Medium Medium Soft Paws® fit cats that are approximately 9-13 pounds. Most adult, average-sized cats wear medium Soft Paws®.

Large Cats that are approximately 14 pounds and up usually wear large Soft Paws®. Very large-boned and large-breed cats wear large. Maine Coons, for example, are very large cats and generally wear large nail caps.

If you have any questions, please contact us or call us 24/7 at 1-800-989-2542.

What if I select the wrong size?

No problem. When you receive your package, first take one of the nail caps out and try it on your cat's Paws without the glue. It should fit like a glove. If the nail cap is slightly too large, you may trim the open end of the nail cap until it fits snugly. Or, you may send it back and we will exchange it for another size. Do not open the glue and make sure all components are present, in new condition, for return. Be sure to send it in a padded mailer so it remains in new condition.

What about the different colors?

Soft Paws come in a variety of colors. After choosing the appropriate size for purchase, you may select from the available colors.

Can cats get infections from Soft Paws® like humans can from acrylic nails?

No. Cats' claws are completely different from humans' nails. Cats shed the outer sheaths of their claws periodically. You have probably seen these remnants around your cat's scratching post (or your couch). The same thing happens when they are wearing Soft Paws®. The nail cap comes off with the normal shedding of the outer nail sheath. This prevents the possibility of infection.

What is CLS?

The new CLS (Cleat Lock System) Soft Paws are an improved design from the manufacturer. CLS nail caps have "cleats" that help the nail cap adhere to the nail. The result is a better fitting nail cap and longer lasting application.

Can Soft Paws® be used on a cat's rear claws?

Yes. Because cats often keep their rear nails short on their own by biting them and they do most of the damage to furniture by actively scratching it with their front claws, you may not need to apply Soft Paws® to your cat's rear claws. However, the nail caps can be used on the back claws if desired, and there are a couple of situations when it might be a good idea.

Applying Soft Paws® to the hind claws will help prevent damage from cats jumping on and off furniture. Also, many people have used Soft Paws® on the hind claws of cats that have skin problems and scratch themselves excessively. The nail caps help decrease or prevent self-inflicted damage in these instances.

My cat has Soft Paws on its hindlegs for a week now, not because he destroys my furniture, but because he has been scratching himself in the neck for a couple of years now. In the Netherlands, declawing is absolutely not-done, so, to prevent him from scratching himself (and he scratches himself really bad due to an undefined allergy!) he has been wearing a plastic cap around his neck (you know, the funnel-shaped ones) for over two years.

When I visited the vet a couple of weeks ago, she had just been to the US, and heard of Soft Paws there. She immediately ordered them and applied them to my cat. Even though he's got them for just a week now, I am very happy with it, he can't make a bloody mess of his neck anymore (literally). So Soft Paws can do more than save furniture, they can improve the quality of life for cats with skin problems as well!.

Kind regards Ingrid K. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Should Soft Paws® only be used on indoor cats?

Yes. Soft Paws® should only be used on indoor cats because a cat's defenses will be blunted while wearing them. Cats that go outdoors should not wear Soft Paws®.

What should I do if the Soft Paws stay on longer than six weeks?

Normally the nail caps will fall off with the natural growth of the cat's nails. But, some cats (actually very few) don't shed their nails as rapidly as other cats and the nail caps don't fall off on their own. If this occurs, all that needs to be done is to trim the very tip of the nail cap. This will help break the adhesive seal and the nail caps should fall off. If they don’t fall off, contact us for more info on how to remove them.

Please Note: It is important to periodically check your cat's nails, i.e., once weekly, to ensure none of the nails have grown too long. Since cats' nails grow in a curved manner, if they grow too long, they will start to curl under the paw pad. If you notice the nail is too long, just trim the tip of the nail cap to remove. If you have any questions, always feel free to contact us.

Can Soft Paws be used on ferrets, rabbits and iguanas?

Yes. Soft Paws work great on ferrets, rabbits and iguanas. Use the following guidelines for sizing:

Ferrets: Use kitten size. Rabbits: Use Soft Paws for dogs, size small. Iguanas: One foot and less (not including tail) will probably wear kitten. Over a foot will probably use Soft Paws for dogs, size small. These caps may need to be trimmed at the base so they are shorter to provide a better fit. The best accepted color for iguanas is black.

How can I order Soft Paws?

You can order online securely with your credit card.

Or feel free to call us at 1-800-989-2542 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We'd be happy to take your order or answer any questions you may have about Soft Paws.

Most importantly, do these really work?

YES! To read some comments from people using Soft Paws, please visit our testimonials page.

What if the FAQs above don't answer my question?

Just ask us!

Contact us online or call 1-800-989-2542.

We are happy to answer your questions regarding Soft Paws.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.