Cats are so adorable that we sometimes get lulled into a false sense of security and forget that they’re descendants of big cats like lions and panthers. Well, there’s a subreddit called ‘Murder Mittens’ where people post photos of their felines about to ‘kill’ them (with cuteness… maybe).
From smol cattos showing off their surprisingly big scratchies to well-groomed floofs spreading their panther-like claws (or even reaching for that knife in your kitchen), get ready for some shockingly adorable snaps that you could just die for.
So scroll down, upvote your fave pics, and post photos of your own cats’ ‘murder mittens’ in the comment section. (Just be careful to look through this list when your cat isn’t around—you wouldn’t want to give it any ideas!) If you’re a cat owner, then you’ll want to take good care of your pet’s claws. Read on for Bored Panda’s interview with the UK’s leading feline welfare charity Cats Protection about cat claw health! And be sure to visit r/murdermittens, too. They’ve already got 140k members but we’re sure that they’d love some cat-loving Pandas for company!
Bored Panda reached out to Cats Protection, a British charity founded way back in 1927 and which now helps around 200k cats and kittens each year. The charity has a network of over 230 volunteer-run branches and 36 centers.
According to the team at Cats Protection, declawing your cat isn’t the way to go. In fact, declawing was outlawed in the UK by the Animal Welfare Act of 2006. “Cat declawing is also illegal in many other European countries, as well as Brazil, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand.”
A representative from Cats Protection told us that people declaw cats to stop them from scratching furniture. “But this unethical and essentially an act of mutilation to modify the cat for our benefit,” they said, also outlining some other negatives which show that declawing is unethical.
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- “Some studies suggest cats who have been declawed have increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), which is often associated with pain.
- Another study that scanned declawed cat paws found that in many cases the procedure is not done correctly, leaving behind painful bone fragments.
- Cats can continue to feel pain after the declawing procedure as part of their body weight is borne on their toes. After the declawing process, their gait changes as they put their weight through their paws.”
They added that the most frequent type of declawing is called an onychectomy which involves “cutting the bones the claws grow from with a scalpel or laser.”
It’s completely normal for cats to scratch because it keeps their claws sharp. That way, they can grip when running, climbing, and hunting.
“The act of scratching also deposits pheromone scent markers. These pheromones mark the cat’s territory and make their surroundings feel familiar, which reduces stress. Outdoor cats will naturally find appropriate surfaces to scratch,” the Cats Protection team explained to Bored Panda.
When The Murder Mittens Aren’t Enough
They added that there are several things that you can do if your cat is scratching your furniture:
- “Protecting the item with thick, shiny plastic sheeting which is unappealing to scratch;
- Placing a scratching post next to the area where they've been scratching;
- Choosing a scratching post with a heavy, stable base so it doesn't wobble or topple during use. It should be tall enough for your cat to scratch at full stretch. A vertical weave helps your cat run their claws downwards
- Providing a scratching pad if your cat prefers to scratch horizontally (e.g. cats that scratch carpets and stairs).”
Once your beloved catto is used to the scratching post or mat, you can gradually (not to mention sneakily) move them to a more suitable location and remove the plastic sheeting.
“Cats often scratch and stretch when they wake up, so you can try placing their scratching post near their bed. Every cat should have their own scratching post, positioned in a different place to avoid conflict. Some scratch posts are infused with catnip. Alternatively, you can try rubbing quality catnip on the post to entice them or put a few pieces of cat food on the post. Playing with your cat a little and often throughout the day may help redirect their energy away from scratching.”
The Cats Protection team told us that there are some downsides to not taking proper care of your pet’s claws. “Mostly, owners are concerned about damage to furnishings due to scratching in the home. Older cats can suffer from joint aches and pains and are less active. This can mean that they scratch less often to maintain their claws. As a result, the claws can become long and thick in old age.”
They continued: “In some cases, the claws can get so long they affect the way the cat walks and this can be painful. They may also actually grow all the way around the toe and become painfully ingrown and infected. The owner or their vet may need to trim the claws of older cats to keep them in check. All older cats should be seen by their vet for a regular check-up every 6 months.”
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If your cat is scratching a lot, you should consider that it might be caused by stress or anxiety. For instance, your cat might feel threatened by another cat in your home or in the local area.
“In addition to trying the advice suggested above, you may need to consider what is worrying your cat in order to permanently stop your cat from scratching your furniture. Don't just provide another scratching surface without helping them feel more secure and less anxious. You may need help from a qualified behaviorist to uncover the cause of their anxiety,” the rep from Cats Protection told us to tackle the underlying root problems first. You can find more info about cats, feline behavior, and scratching right here.
Someone’s Ready For Dinner
The ‘Murder Mittens’ community has a few very simple rules. First and foremost, your cat’s claws must be showing in the photo (which sounds pretty much obvious). There also can’t be any cat harassment in the subreddit. Finally, the group’s members have to remember to be nice to other humans, too.
Keeping your cat’s paws and claws clean means that they can live a healthy life full of acrobatic jumps and somersaults. Fetch by WebMD suggests that you gently wipe your cat’s paws with a damp cloth once a day and check in between your pet’s toes and around the pads for any icky substances or ouchy wounds.
Cats need to scratch so that they can reveal the sharp claws (hidden, lying in wait, silently stalking their prey) underneath their outer nail sheaths.
Stretching The Mittens
Smol Floofy Murder Mitts
So if you see your cat scratching the ever-living heck out of your couch, you should: a) understand that it’s completely natural; b) refrain from thinking about declawing your cat; and c) get your catto a few different types of scratching posts to keep its attention away from your IKEA furniture. (You could even ‘cheat’ by scenting the posts with some catnip to diplomeowtically convince your cat to make the right choice.)
Meanwhile, when you’re about to trim your cat’s nails, you ought to massage its paws so that it gets used to having them touched. If your cat is feeling antsy, you can cut your cat’s nails one or two at a time. Remember to use high-quality scissors and to cut off the white tip of each nail, just before the place where it begins to curve (don’t cut the pink part!). There we go—now they’re perfect for their photo op for ‘Murder Mittens.’