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Practice Name

The Family Pet

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Primary Location
6005 15th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
Phone: 206.784.3810
Fax: 206.892.9696

Office Hours

Main Content
What are Nail Caps
The Safe, Painless, Humane Alternative to Declawing
(Read about declawing HERE)
Call 206-784-3810 to make an appointment to have
Soft Paws® applied to your indoor cat's feet.

Note: Nail caps 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 them.

The Family Pet recommends the Soft Paws® brand which are lightweight vinyl nail shields that are safe, painless, non-toxic caps adhered to your cat's natural nails. The majority of cats need sedation for the application, however once applied, they tolerate Soft Paws extremely well and don't even realize they are wearing them.

Soft Paws® don't "trap" a cat's nail in an extended position. They are designed so that they won't interfere with the natural extension and retraction of cats' claws. 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. Because the nail cap is thicker than a cat's claw and usually has a color, they are seen more clearly when a cat is resting than the thin end-portion of their claw.

After a month or so, the caps are shed with the natural growth of the cat's nails. Items like Soft Paws® and scratching mats will protect your possessions and provide the necessary outlet for your cat to scratch. Remember, the time you invest in training your cat will be rewarded over a long and happy lifetime together.

Cat Claws
A cat's claws are different from a human's nails. Our nails are flat and lie on top of the tips of our fingers and toes, providing protection for our digits. Cats' claws, by contrast, come out of the front of their toes and act as tools that are used to catch and hold prey, tear meat from bones, defend their bearer, and climb.

Cats usually have five clawed digits on each of their front paws and four on each of their rear paws. However, some cats, known as being polydactyl, may have more. The innermost, shorter claws on the front paws that would be reminiscent of human thumbs are called the dewclaws, and they are useful for cats in holding onto their prey.

Contrary to what many people believe about their cat's claws, they do not retract completely inside a sheath or all the way into the paw. When a cat's claws are in a resting position, they are up off the ground, resting in the fur around the toes. If you look closely at a cat with retracted nails, you can see the nail tips protruding from the fur.

When a cat wants to use his claws, he contracts a tendon to extend them out and down. The extension and retraction of a cat's claws is similar to the way in which a person points their toes and flexes their ankle back.

This ability to retract the claws means that when a cat is walking, the claws aren't touching the ground. This cuts down on wear and tear of the claws and ensures that they retain their sharpness. It also means that cats can walk quite quietly, the better to sneak up on their prey. This is why most cats' rear claws don't require trimming as often; they are worn down more through normal walking.

Cats walk on their toes, and this is known as being digitigrade. In contrast, humans are plantigrade walkers, which mean that the sole of the foot is the walking surface. Because of this, cats that are declawed can have trouble balancing properly.

Cats have claws that curve at the ends. This aids them in catching and holding onto prey and also in climbing. However, it adds to the risk of cats' nails getting stuck in items such as carpet loops and subsequently injuring their toes.

Cats' claws grow continuously, just like human nails. Cats may wear them down through walking or biting at them. The outer sheaths of the claws, which become dull over time, are shed when a cat scratches at things.

Why do cats scratch things?
A cat's natural instinct to scratch serves both physical and psychological needs. Their claws are their primary, instinctive tools for defending themselves and capturing prey.

While dogs urinate to mark their territory, cats have another method of scent-marking. Cats have scent glands in their paws. By using their claws, they mark an area with the scent from their paw glands.

But cats don't use scratching solely as a social cue. Often, they scratch as a way to stretch their bodies and tone their muscles by digging their claws into something and pulling back against their own claw hold. or to condition their claws by removing their old nail sheaths.

Monthly Special

The Family Pet is Open 7 Days a Week!
Non-Anesthetic Dentals
Call 206-784-3810 to schedule an appointment to have your pet's teeth cleaned while they are awake!
Did You Know?
  • DROP OFF EMERGENCIES are seen during business hours 7 days a week. (Appointment Not Required) Please See Details
  • All Pet Insurance is Accepted
  • CT Scan for Pets - The Family Pet has one of the few  CT Scanner for pets in the Seattle area.
  • Generic Medications We offer generic medications to help keep finances in mind. (thyroid supplements, antibiotics...)
  • Treat Itchy Dogs Without Steriods! We now carry Cytopoint and the difference it has made to our allergy patients is remarkable!
  • Experienced Export Experts for pets moving overseas. We are a provider of pet health certificates for several pet relocation services.

Ample Parking - In addition to our off street parking lot, there is free 2 hour street parking on 15th Ave NW in front of the Seattle Mattress store just north of our alley and free 30 minute street parking on 15th on the block just south of 60th street in front on Pasta Bella.

New Client Referral Program
NEW CLIENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME! Current clients who refer friends & family get $15 credit on their account AND their friend or family gets $15 off too! All you need is our business card!

Services, Appointments, Forms

Services We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.

Request an Appointment We will do our best to accommodate your busy schedule. Schedule an appointment today! Online Forms Our patient forms are available online so they can be completed in the convenience of your own home or office.


Meet The Team

Our goal has always been to assemble a veterinary health care team committed to providing exceptional client service and veterinary health care.

Read More


"Most thoughtful vet we've been to. They really love our animals."  - Will K. 

"I had my second visit to The Family Pet yesterday. I was again delighted with the great care and service I received."   - Cathy S. 

"Very caring and thorough in exams and explanations. Now taking my second dog to them. Easy to get to with on site parking helps too. Do grooming too! Drs. Hilmoe and Nagasako both are terrific." - Rebecca B.

"A vet that walks in and joins your very scared kitty on the floor is the best kind of vet. Ella and I thank you! - Brandi B.

Contact Info and Map

The Family Pet Veterinary Hospital, Barnyard Pet Vet and Seattle Veterinary Imaging
6005 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 Phone: 206.784.3810, FAX: 206.892.9696

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The Family Pet Veterinary Hospital and Affiliates are Members of:

American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners

Greater Seattle Business Association

American Mini Pig Association

Puget Sound Veterinary Medical Association

American Veterinary Medical Association

Washington State Veterinary Medical Association

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