The condition of your scratched-up couch or chairs may prompt you to wonder whether you can have nice things with a cat or two in the house. It is not uncommon for Bengal cats, having a wild temperament, to snag their nails on furniture as they zoom around your home, trying to overcome every obstacle in sight.
If your Bengal kitty is scratching you or your household items as they play or exercise, you may be wondering: can Bengals retract their claws? Yes, like any domestic cat breed, Bengal cats can retract their claws. Bengal cats selectively expose their claws during more rigorous movement or marking territory.
When your Bengal jumps from the floor to your leather chair, they need to use their claws to grip it for a steady landing and controlled take off to their next destination. In their mind, they have no intention of ruining your valuables; instead, their wild instinct is driving them to do precisely what they would do jumping from tree to tree in the wilderness. Of course, you don’t have to ride with this behavior and let them ruin your furniture. With proper guidance from a young age, nail trimmers/caps, and cat-specific structures, Bengals are capable of not doing much damage to your home.
When Do Bengals Retract Their Claws?
If you’ve ever owned a cat, you probably know that no matter how hard you may try, cats will always scratch up something in your house. With this certainty comes the question of ridding your home of valuable furniture if you wish to keep your cat and sanity.
Before you move your favorite couch, it’s important to consider when Bengals retract their claws, and when they don’t. From there, understanding exactly why they scratch up your household items is imperative to making an informed choice about how to prevent further damage.
Bengals, while it may not seem like it, keep their claws retracted during times of rest. When lounging, there’s no need to use their claws to protect themselves or grasp onto something.
When walking, Bengals keep their claws sheathed as well as to protect them from becoming dull from continually hitting the ground. This instinct arises from the need to keep their claws sharp for catching prey and hanging onto trees.
Being incredibly friendly by nature, Bengal cats and kittens usually never have their claws exposed during play with humans. While it seems like they are being especially careful about preventing their playmates from getting hurt, they trust their humans and have no need for aggression.
Why Do Bengal Cats Scratch Everything?
Bengals almost exclusively expose their claws when running, climbing, and marking territory. As they have scent glands in their paws, Bengals scratch objects, they want to mark as their own.
To prevent your Bengal from climbing up and leaving holes in your furniture or blankets, place designated cat furniture in areas where they run around the most.
Cat trees and cat shelving are low-cost items that don’t show any signs of wear and tear. You can even purchase ones that sport a neutral color and modern design to complement your home. If your Bengal has furniture of its own to rip up, chances are it won’t do as much damage to yours.
When Bengals scratch excessively without moving around, they likely won’t feel comfortable in the space they inhabit. Cats that aggressively mark their territory are desperately trying to make it their own.
Supplying your Bengal cat with vertical space for climbing will allow them personal areas to feel safe and more ways to meet their physical activity needs. Sometimes, Bengals climb human furniture as a way to gain access to higher and safer surfaces.
Being bred from a tree-dwelling wildcat, Bengals feel most comfortable when they can get up high and watch what’s going on below them. Placing scratching posts near your Bengal’s favorite human furniture—especially the ones they like to climb up, will decrease the likelihood that they will continue to ruin your possessions.
As scratching posts are designed to feel pleasant on cat’s claws, almost like scratching tree bark, Bengals will instinctually designate their new posts as objects to scratch when marking.
Clipping Your Bengal’s Claws
Although placing cat-specific furniture around your home may lessen the damage your Bengal does, it’s always necessary to keep your kitty’s claws clipped.
With clipped claws, Bengals can still gain traction when running and jumping, but they won’t be able to snag your couch, chairs, or carpets as easily. Make sure to trim properly; only cut the claw to just before “the quick,” which is where your kitty’s blood vessels and nerve endings are.
Regularly clipping your cat’s claws is also vital for their health. If your Bengals claws are too long—and honestly, they don’t need to be full length when living comfortably indoors—they could get caught and torn. Torn claws can easily become infected if left untreated.
Trimming claws may be just another chore on your to-do list, but it is monumentally more humane than getting your Bengal declawed.
While declawing may seem like the ultimate solution to saving your furniture, it can have an appalling impact on your cat’s wellbeing. Bengals are tethered to their wild side; when their claws are removed, a vital part of their being is ripped from them.
Even house cats who have been declawed will experience pain and possible infection, and they may stop using their litterbox. Many cats become aggressive and lose their loving personality completely.
Declawing your Bengal is comparable to someone cutting your fingers off at the first knuckle. It is a devastating surgery that no cat should have to undergo.
Can Bengal Cats Wear Claw Covers?
Claw covers are a creative alternative to constantly cutting your kitty’s claws, which may be even more effective.
Tiny plastic caps you glue to your cat’s claws, catclaw caps prevent your Bengal from damaging anything while they zoom around. Many cat parents advocate for their usage, as they are especially suitable for cats that harm themselves from excessive itching, and hairless cats with thin skin.
Claw covers last about six weeks and falls off on their own. Made of soft plastic, they protect small children from accidentally getting scratched by an annoyed kitty.
It is up to you to decide if claw covers are the right fit for your Bengal. The thick caps prevent cats from retracting their claws; with their wild temperament, Bengals may be more inclined to become uncomfortable from having limited access to their claws.
Being soft and non-toxic, claw covers are never painful to cats when applied correctly.
A Claw Recap
Bengals, while able to retract their claws, do so selectively. If they must use their claws to climb, grip, or mark, they will! Any cat household should adapt to accommodate their feline friend; your Bengal will thank you for the comfort it acquires from added vertical space, scratching posts, and cat trees.
If you find, even after consistently trimming their claws, that your Bengal is still scratching you or your furniture, try the claw caps. If your kitty finds them uncomfortable, focus on ways to exercise your Bengal that don’t put your possessions, yourself, or any other humans in harm’s way.
Put your Bengal in a harness and take them outside to scratch grass, soil, and trees. Aim a laser pointer around the yard for them to chase until they’re too tired to run! When you bring them back inside, their claws will be sheathed, and they’ll be ready to rest.