This Group Is Dedicated To Posting Pics Of Cats’ “Murder Mittens” And Here Are Their 50 Best Pics (New Pics)
There’s just something about cats that humans can’t seem to get enough of. Whether it’s pics of them screaming, before and after photos of rescued cats or memes of cute kitties, we devour cat content like felines devour canned tuna. (Or salmon or live mice... Whatever cats like to eat!) We even find the most dangerous features of cats irresistible: their sharp claws.
We’ve gone through the “Murder Mittens” subreddit to find the most adorable, albeit slightly terrifying, photos of kitties showing off their handheld (paw-held?) weapons, so you too can appreciate the beauty and danger of these amazing creatures. If you have ever had a cat, you know how much damage these little paws can cause, but you also know how cute and cuddly these cats can be! So be sure to upvote all of your favorite photos, and then let us know in the comments if you have ever had a kitten with adorably murderous mittens. Keep reading to also find an interview with Lisa Stemcosky, a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and the owner of PawLitically Correct. Then if you still haven’t had enough of these cute pics, you can check out Bored Panda’s last article featuring the same subreddit right here.
To gain some insight from a cat expert, we reached out to Lisa Stemcosky, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and owner of PawLitically Correct. First, we asked Lisa about the importance of a cat's claws. "Claws are used for self preservation. They serve as a means of protection, to mark territory and to kill prey animals," Lisa explained. "Scratching is also a displacement behavior for excitement or stress. Have you ever noticed that when you come home, your cat starts to scratch an object?"
We also asked Lisa if it is important that cats keep their claws. "Declawing cats is inhumane," she told Bored Panda. "It's illegal in many countries around the world, some states and jurisdictions in the United States. Because declawing is the amputation of the cat's toes, it can lead to phantom pain. It can cause real pain, as well. Regrowth can happen, fragments and debris can be left behind and get infected. Because it alters a cat's gait, it can lead to arthritis in joints and in the spine."
We also asked Lisa if there were any misconceptions about cat claws that she wanted to dispel. "It's easy to teach a cat where to scratch," she said. "Make the unwanted scratching area less attractive by using double stick tape or foil. Set up a tall sturdy cat scratching post in the area that they are scratching, reward them when they use the scratching post. Where a cat is scratching has a significance to them. We have to ensure that they have an appropriate substrate in that area. In addition to training them to use the scratching post, you can desensitize your cat to having their nails trimmed."
"If your cat is scratching you, they aren't doing it out of spite. There is a reason. It may be predatory if cats are scratching feet or ankles when people pass by. Ensure that your cat is getting plenty of interactive play with a quality lure toy to drain that predatory energy."
Lastly, Lisa added, "When a cat is scratching hands, they may be over stimulated or over handled. It's important to learn your cat's body language. Chances are, they gave several cues before they scratched that they were over the interaction."
If you'd like to learn more from Lisa, be sure to check out PawLitically Correct right here.
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Anyone who has had a cat before has probably experienced having an arm (or two) full of scratches and claw marks at one point or another. As a parent who loves their children unconditionally, most cat owners just accept this as part of the deal. To have a feline fur baby, you might have to deal with their claws every now and then. But how much do you really know about your kitten’s murder mittens? We checked out Soft Paw’s article of “Fascinating Facts About Cat Claws” to get some insight on what it is really like to have these little weapons attached to your hands and feet.
The first thing to know is that, contrary to what you might have assumed, cat claws are not nails. Our nails rest on top of our fingers and toes and are flat, providing protection for those sensitive parts of our skin. But a cat’s claws come out in front of their toes and are tools, rather than just protective shields. They can be used to climb, catch and hold prey, rip meat off a bone and defend against predators (or anyone who tries to pick them up or give them a bath).
Most cats have five clawed toes on their front paws and four clawed toes on each of their rear paws. However, it is not extremely uncommon for cats to be polydactyl, or have more toes and claws. They even have one claw on the inside of their front paws that slightly resembles the human thumb, known as their dewclaws. These are particularly useful in keeping a firm grasp on their prey. Even if we have not seen this take place in real life, I think we are all familiar with the concept of a cartoon cat or lion catching a smaller creature this way.
When a cat retracts their claws, they don’t actually pull them all the way up inside of their paws. But rather they elevate them off the ground and keep them resting in the fur between their toes. Once a cat needs to, or decides to, use its claws, he or she will contract a tendon allowing them to extend down and out. Soft Paws compares this to the way we can point our toes and flex our ankles back.
Because cats can retract their claws, they do not usually touch the ground when a cat is walking. This keeps them sharp and ready for action when they need to be used. This also allows cats to walk almost silently, making it much easier to sneak up on prey. Cats also walk primarily on their toes, contrary to how humans walk with most of our weight on the soles of our feet. This means that when a cat has been declawed, they might have trouble keeping their balance.
As we can all see from the photos on this list, cat claws also curl downward. This feature is great for climbing and catching prey, but it can also make cats more prone to getting their claws caught on things like rugs and carpets. Similarly to human nails, cat claws are constantly growing and need to be trimmed so they don’t become too long. “If a cat’s claws are not trimmed on a regular basis, they can curl in on themselves and grow into the foot pad, causing intense pain,” explains Mikkel Becker in a blog post for VetStreet. “Untrimmed nails can also pose a hazard to people and furniture, both of which can be injured by too-long claws.”
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While it might seem scary to allow your cats to keep their claws, if you are concerned about the wellbeing of your furniture or your arms, it's important to know that declawing can cause more harm than good. Pages like Murder Mittens are great because they celebrate cats’ sharp claws rather than promoting the idea that felines need to lose them to be domesticated. They are animals, after all! According to Fear Free Happy Homes, removing a cat’s claws can increase the likelihood of chronic neuropathic pain, biting and house-soiling. It can be an extremely distressing experience for a cat. “Declawing is also known as onychectomy or partial digital amputation,” says Margie Scherk, a veterinarian specializing in feline care. “The surgery is actually amputation of the cat’s third toe or finger bone. Cats’ nails are different than those of humans in that they are actually part of the bone. A comparison in human terms would be cutting off a person’s finger at the last joint of each finger.” Ouch.
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Regardless of the method chosen for declawing a cat, the procedure comes with a host of risks and complications, Dr. Scherk says. Cats are often left with chronic pain after undergoing declawing, and that pain can lead them to have a reduced quality of life, develop back pain from being unable to walk or balance properly, increased likelihood to over groom and chew their fur, become more aggressive and become reluctant to play or move. 63% of declawed cats also end up with residual bone fragments, and those cats became 10 times more likely to do their business outside of their litter boxes. Declawing is never worth the psychological stress it puts cats through and should only be deployed when medically necessary.
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Scratching is also a natural part of being a cat that should not be taken away from them. “Cats naturally scratch to promote nail health to shed the outer nail husk, stretching for isotonic exercise which leaves spine and joints supple, and to mark territory by leaving visual and scent marks (pheromones deposited from scent glands in the paws),” Fear Free Happy Homes explains. “Scratching may also act as a pressure valve, allowing cats to release pent-up stress.” Dr. Scherk notes that it’s important that cats have a designated place to do their scratching or they might end up tearing up furniture or becoming stressed. “We have to learn to see the world from the cat’s point of view, regardless of how comfy we think we have made it for them,” she says.
Thankfully, some countries and cities have taken action to ensure that their feline residents’ murder mittens are protected and won’t be removed unless medically necessary. While the United States is behind the curve on outlawing cat declawing (at least 42 countries currently have legislation in place banning the practice), times are beginning to change. New York and Maryland have become the first states to ban the procedure, while various other cities including Austin, Denver, St. Louis, Los Angeles and San Francisco have done the same. Justice for these little murder mittens!
If you are having trouble handling you kitten’s murder mittens, there are ways to go about it without resorting to inhumane solutions like declawing. There are products that can be purchased like nail caps and scratching posts to help keep the claws under control. As The Spruce Pets recommends, “Your cat should have at least one post that's tall enough for a full vertical scratch, sturdy enough to stand when they put their full weight on it, and covered with a nice rough material like sisal. Play with your cat near the post and put a little catnip on the post to make it more appealing. Pretend you're a cat and scratch the post yourself; before you know it, kitty might join you.”
If you think nail caps might be the solution for your fur baby, you can look into products like Soft Paws. These plastic tips can be glued over your pet’s nails to create a more dull tip, and they last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. You can ask your veterinarian to apply them for you, and they allow your pet to maintain their freedom and natural instincts when it comes to their claws while minimizing the damage their little weapons can cause.
We hope you are enjoying this list of photos of the cutest little murder weapons on the planet. Keep upvoting the pics you find most adorable, or most terrifying, and then let us know in the comments how you have managed your fur baby's murder mittens. If you're interested in seeing even more of these cute cat claw pics after finishing this list, don't forget to check out Bored Panda's previous pieces on the same subreddit right here and here.