I am an Affilate!

I hope you enjoy any product or service that I recommend. :) Just so you understand, I may take a share of any sales or other compensation from the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks if you use my links, I really appreciate your support.

Why Does My Cat Dig His Claws Into Me? (Evil Trigger?)

If your cat is constantly clawing into you the chances are you are getting sick and tired of it and trying to understand why it’s happening and what you can do about it (Click here to see my best solution, on Amazon #Ad)

Why does my cat dig his claws into me?

Your cat will dig its claws into you because it wants to hold onto you especially when you are cuddling it. It loves the affection and does not want to let you go. Unfortunately, some cats are so focused on not letting you go they may cause you some slight pain as their claws dig into you.

Use these to stop your cat clawing into you

Description Image My Rating
01. Cat nail clipper (My Best)
Click here for the price on Amazon #Ad
5 stars
02. Cat Scratching Post
Click here for the price on Amazon #Ad
03. Temptations Cat Treats
Click here for the price on Amazon #Ad
4 stars

So, now you know. But, do cats do this on purpose? What can you do to stop this? Can you train your cat to retract its claws? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…

Other reasons cats dig their claws into you:

Cats might dig their claws into you because they are stressed or territorial. This kneading can be a form of stress release that cats turn to when they want to relieve tension in their claws.

Cats dig claws into you because they are:

  • Sharpening their claws
  • Applying their scent
  • Releasing stress

There are alternative ways to relieve stress, but cats may feel the most comfortable sitting on your lap because of their close bond with you. As they knead, cats will release their scent onto your body.

Releasing scent is an excellent way of marking territory while they form a close bond with you. The close bond your cat forms while kneading on your legs is one of the main reasons they will knead on your legs for comfort.

Do cats know when their claws hurt you?

Why does my cat dig his claws into me?

A cat rolled over with claws on its owner.

Some cats know they hurt you with their claws when they see a drastic reaction. But, when they claw into you while cuddling (click here if it’s not cuddling anymore) this is not intentional and if you slightly grimace and accept it the chances are it won’t notice it’s hurting you.

If this is happening to you regularly then you will need to look into some solutions to stop it from happening (more on this later). Most of these solutions are achievable for most people.

What can you do if your cat keeps clawing you?

If your cat keeps clawing you there are a few things you can try to stop it from happening. Some cats respond differently so you may need to try one and see how it reacts…

01. Clip its nails

Click here to see the price, on Amazon #Ad

Clipping your cat’s nails is a way to stop it from hurting and clawing you. Some cat owners do this regularly. While others want to but are worried about doing it. Like us humans their nails grow back and, when done properly, it should not hurt your cat.

02. Refuse to pick it up

Another, the more extreme, the method is to refuse to pick up your cat. For some people, this is not a possibility, and I get that. It is just another alternative if you are getting constantly scratched up by your cat.

Personally, clipping its claws, or getting them professionally done, is a better alternative. Why? Well, most cat owners love picking up their cats, right?

03. Train it to not use its claws

You can also attempt to train your cat not to use its claws (more on this later). But, be warned it will need some patience and effort to master this.

What does it mean when a cat opens and closes its paws?

When your cat opens and closes its paws when it’s on you this is commonly known as kneading (click here if it’s using its claws too). It is usually seen as a positive thing because cats are usually expressing their love and often do this while cuddling with you.

The issue occurs if it starts to cause pain with its claws while doing this. This is similar to the main pain point of this article topic.

How to teach a cat to retract claws

A ginger and white cat with its claws out.

A ginger and white cat with its claws out.

If your cat is constantly scratching you it can be beneficial to learn a way to train it to stop doing this and retract its claws off you. Here are the steps:

01. Offer an alternative

The reality is there is no one-click switch to make your cat retract its claws you stand a better chance if you offer an alternative to distract it away from you such as a scratching post (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad). But, this is just the first step.

02. Positively reward

Once your cat sees the scratching post and starts using it, instead of scratching you, simply reward it with some treats. This will make you feel motivated to repeat this positive behavior and, in turn, rid you of your problem. Many cat owners have found positive reinforcement, in this way, better than any form of negative action.

03. Move it calmly if needed

Some cats just don’t get it right away even with treats. So, for these cats, you will need to gently direct them away from your body and onto the scratching post.

04. Place a blanket between you and your cat

Place a thick blanket on your lap between you and your cat to prevent them from clawing you. A thick, soft blanket is perfect for preventing your cat from clawing your legs because it relieves any pressure on your cat’s claws and keeps the nails from piercing your skin.

Plus, a soft blanket will likely attract your cat because it will resemble the softness of their mother’s fur, reminding them of the time when they used to nurse. Be careful about the blanket’s thickness because a thin blanket can leave your skin vulnerable to your cat’s nails. Thick blankets ensure they cannot pierce through to your skin.

05. Get a scratching post

MECOOL Cat Scratching Post Premium Basics Kitten Scratcher Sisal Scratch Posts with Hanging Ball 22in for Kittens or Smaller Cats (22 inches for Kitten, Beige)

Click here for the price, on Amazon #Ad

If your cat is clawing your legs because they want to sharpen their claws, purchase a scratching post for your cat and let them safely sharpen their claws.

Allowing your cat to sharpen their claws on something else can help alleviate tension, so your cat does not resort to clawing your skin.

Is it normal for a cat to dig its claws in on your lap?

It is common for a cat to dig its claws in on your lap. But, it does not mean you have to accept it. If it’s not acceptable for you then feel free to train it from doing this or clipping its nails so it’s not so painful for you.

Hopefully, it’s not happening too often and you can just let it be. But, if it’s a recurring problem you will need to look into a long-term solution.

Can you hurt a cat while trimming its nails?

Unfortunately, you can hurt a cat while trimming its nails. So, this is why some people refuse to do it. However, if you do it right it should not be too challenging. If you are not confident, rather than leaving it, you can get a professional groomer to do it for you.

Also, if you feel this is too expensive to get a professional groomer all the time. You could try it once, watch what they do, and then give it a try yourself next time when they give you some advice.

Could my cat be kneading rather than digging its claws?

It is possible that your cat claws you but is intending to knead you. It is, unfortunately, an instance they have. And, it may not understand it’s hurting you until it’s too late.

If this keeps happening it’s worth clipping its nails (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) to make sure that they are manageable and less likely to harm you.

Be mindful, like us humans, nail clipping is an ongoing task. So, doing it once or twice will not cut it (excuse the pun!). It is a long-term commitment.

Is it difficult to clip your cat’s nails?

Some people say ist difficult to clip your cat’s nails. To begin with, the reality is, it probably will seem that way. Another alternative is to check in with your vet. They may be able to give you some simple guidance on the best way to do it.

The likelihood is this, once you do it the first time, following your vet’s advice, you should gain some confidence to continue doing it on your own. Like most things, like putting a cat’s collar on, in time, you will learn how to do it.

Should you discipline your cat for digging its claws into you?

Disciplining your cat negatively for digging its claws into you is not a good idea. You may get this urge to do so, to teach it a lesson, but rarely is a lesson learned this way. This means, your cat will likely look at you confused. Or worse, retaliate negatively.

Why does my cat extend and put her paws on my leg?

If your cat extends their leg onto yours, take it as a sign of respect. It means your cat is comfortable in the household. A cat might extend its paws onto your legs because they want to show affection toward you. Extending a paw onto your leg is a clear sign of trust from your cat because it allows them to be vulnerable with you. It indicates that your cat feels safe and trusts you in its most vulnerable state.

Paw extension usually occurs when a cat has closely bonded with its owner. However, it can also happen with new kittens or a trusting feral cat. The more social interaction a cat has, the more likely it will trust its owner. If your cat kneads and extends its paw over your legs, it is a sign that they fully trust you.

How can I tell if my cat is clawing at me for fun or aggression?

Observe your cat’s body language to notice any signs of aggression when they knead, like swatting, biting, or scratching. Your cat might knead on your legs aggressively if they become overstimulated by too much petting. Overstimulation can occur when you pet them too much, touch areas of the body they prefer left alone, or play with them too long. You can avoid overstimulating your cat by respecting their personal space.

If your cat claws or swats at you playfully, you can use toys to help expel some of their excess energy. Using veterinarian-approved cat toys with your cat will help ensure they do not use their claws on your bare skin. Instead, they will get all their energy out by playing with fake mice, laser pointers, and other cat toys.

Lindsey Browlingdon