Handle The Paws Every Day
Do you know why your cat runs away every time you try to trim her claws? Because she is not used to you touching her fluffy paws!
To remedy that, massage the paws every day for a couple of seconds.
- Do not squeeze, pinch, or try to hold the paw if Kitty is not comfortable with it.
- Take it easy and give your cat time to get used to the touch.
When the cat seems fine with the contact, you can press gently to extend the claw. Do not cut it. Release it and give her a treat.
You want to build a positive link between you handling the paw and the food she is getting.
In time, your cat wont be paying attention to what youre doing and wont pull back her paw.
Dont Start Without Practicing
I know you think its a good idea, but believe me, its not. Getting a sharp object near your cat wont do anything but alarm her. Shell either lash our or walk away from you. In both cases, youre the one losing. So, make sure to follow the practicing tips closely and keep them going for a few days before you do the trimming.
Plus, try to get your cat used to the sound of the clipper opening and closing. It may get her nervous when she hears it for the first time.
Define The Cutting Range
Once your cat is relaxed and sitting on your lap, gently lift up one of their paws and be careful not to move your little buddy too much. Press a toe pad between your fingers to expose the nails, like in the image below:
It helps to take a closer look at claw anatomy to make sure you understand how best to trim a cats nails. Mainly, youll want to be able to identify the three key parts:
- The sheath, the outer layer which cats regularly shed off by scratching
- The quick, the inner pink bit full of nerves and blood vessels
- The claw, the sharp bit were all familiar with
This graphic might help you better picture it:
WARNING: Do NOT trim into the quick, the pink part which holds nerves and blood vessels.
In the illustration below, you can see where it is safe to cut your cats nails towards the bottom of the nail, and closer to the tip. Do not cut into the pink area, or you could expose your cat to bleeding and infection. Its better to trim just a little bit than to risk cutting them at the quick.
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How To Trim Your Cats Nails
You can start a couple of days before the first trimming by massaging your cats paws and pads. It will allow him to familiarize himself with it, and he will be calmer when you start doing it for real. You can also try familiarizing him with the sound of clippers.
First of all, you need to make sure that hes in a good mood. Its better to keep your cat well-fed and satisfied if you want to approach him with clips , as food always make cats a little bit sleepy. Choose a quiet room with few distractions Sit comfortably.
If you feel like youre both ready, take your cat on your lap and wait until hes comfortable; you will feel his muscles become less tense. Take one of his paws and press gently on pads. You should see the claws now, and, using special animals nail clippers, clip off the end of the claw; its better to clip off too less than too much, as you may nick the vein. By holding your cats paw up to the light, you can see the pinky vain to be absolutely sure youre not clipping too close to it.
If youre only starting clipping your cats nails, you may do it gradually, one or two nails at a time, to allow your cat to get used to the procedure and the clipper. You can also treat him with his favorite snack as a reward when youre done. Later, he will associate the whole process with the reward, which will help him stay calm or even enjoy it all.
Remember never to use human clippers. You can buy special animal clippers at any pet shop or in a veterinary clinic.
Wouldnt It Be Easier To Just Get My Cat Declawed
The Meow Place is STRONGLY AGAINST declawing. Despite what your veterinarian may tell you, declawing is their big money-maker. They dont promote it because its healthy for your cat its all about profit.
Declawing is more than just removing the nail. Veterinarians amputate everything at and below the first knuckle. Its like a human having the tips of their fingers chopped off. Remember in the movie Roots when Kunta Kinte had his toes chopped off so that he couldnt run away? Thats what declawing does to your cat.
This can cause numerous health problems for your cat. Having their nails trimmed wont save your furniture, but there are a variety of alternatives that help with this problem. Here is a quick list of just a few of them:
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Slowly Introduce Nail Trimming
If you have a kitten, or if you are trimming your older cats nails yourself for the first time, start out simply by handling the paws to get your cat used to the sensation. Hold your cat gently .
Squeeze your cats paws gently to extend the claws, but dont try cutting them yet. Give your cat plenty of treats and petting, and end the session when shes still happy and relaxed.;
Do this a few times a day for up to a week. If your cat is OK with this step, proceed to the next stage. If she struggles or seems uncomfortable, practice touching the paws and claws more before attempting to clip the nails.;
Get your cat used to having her paws and nails handled before attempting to trim.
My Cat Wont Let Me Trim Nails What Should I Do
Since many cats do not like getting their nails cut, or are not used to the process, it may not be easy to cut your cats nails yourself. Your cat might try to squirm away from you, or worse bite or scratch. If youve already tried the steps above with a lot of patience, love and care, and its still not working, seek professional assistance. You could ask your vet to trim your cats nails, or look for a cat nail trimming service near you.
Remember, youre not the only one in fact, its quite the accomplishment being able to trim a cats nails!
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Can You Use Human Nail Clippers On Cats
If your cat has small nails, you can try using a human nail clipper instead of a pet nail clipper. However, because human nail clippers are very small, they may be hard for someone to hold and maneuver, especially if the cat is resisting. If you have a squirmy cat, pet nail clippers may be a better choice.;
Do I Need To Trim My Cats Back Nails
Its only common to trim a cats front claws. Thats because cats dont scratch with their rear claws. Their rear claws can still become overgrown and/or ingrown, though.
Another issue with trimming a cats rear claws is that this is even more stressful for it than trimming its front claws. Thats probably because your cat can at least see what youre doing to its rear claws, and could bite you if you did something it didnt like; but if you hurt its rear paws, it couldnt stop you as easily.
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How Often To Trim Your Cats Nails
All cats wear their nails down differently depending on how much they use a scratching post, run or climb. Examine your cats nails at least every two weeks, and trim them when they grow too long.
Youll notice the rear nails are often much shorter than the claws in the front. Trim your cats nails about every two weeks. The nails on the front paws are often longer than the nails on the rear paws.
Some cats wear down their rear nails more as they run and climb. If the rear nails are short, simply snip the tips.;
What To Do If You Cut The Quick
Because its so easy to see the quick in cat nails, cutting the quick is somewhat uncommon when trimming cat nails. It happens more frequently in dogs since many dogs have black nails and you cannot see the quick. Youre more likely to cut the quick if your cat is struggling or trying to move her paw while youre trimming the nails.;
If you do accidentally cut into your cats quick, do not panic. Cutting the quick hurts, and your cat might cry or pull away. If the cut was deep, the quick may bleed. But all that said, cutting the quick is a minor injury, and one that can be dealt with using your styptic powder.
Place a little bit of powder on your finger or a cotton swab and press it gently but firmly against the bleeding nail. Hold it there for a minute or two until the bleeding stops. Vow not to trim too close to the quick again, or your cat may begin to resist your nail trimming efforts.;
Trim your cats nails as often as necessary. For most cats, this is every other week or so.
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Anatomy Of A Cats Claws
A cats nails or claws are retractable which means they can be drawn back or back in. The front claws are sharper than the claws in the hind feet. Cats extend their claws when hunting, climbing, during self-defense, and if kneading or when they push and pull their front paws during a state of ease. Most cats have 18 digits and claws with 5 on every forefoot. The 5th digit is also called the dewclaw which is on the upper part of the foreleg.;
Get Your Cat Used To Having The Paws Touched
Do not dive straight to the cutting, you will need to split the handling of the;paw in different steps before you can make the paw touching enjoyable. Cats love;treats, so use their little weakness to teach them how to cope with the handling. It;may be food or anything your cat likes. To help the cat learn better a sound like a;marker word or a clicker can be used. Clickers help animals associate quickly the behavior;the owner will reward. Your cat will eventually anticipate the reward as soon as they hearthe sound, thanks to the repetition. Remember to always do the handling first, and;then give the reward for long term acceptance..
Go through the different steps of handling at your cats pace. Respect the fact;that they may not tolerate handling, they may find too stressful. If your cat shows signs;of irritation or struggles, you need to stop immediately the session and allow some;time for your cat to rest. When you start again, go back to previous steps your cat is;already comfortable with.
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When Once Just Wont Do: Tips On Nail Cutting Over Time
1. Try cutting one cat nail while your cat is asleep.
Another pet parent once told me this is the trick she used to keep her outdoor cats nails cut throughout his entire life.
I think its brilliant if it works, but for some reason, I typically seem to struggle to do it fast enough that my cats dont catch on to whats going on before theyre awake and running.
If you can manage, this might be the only trick you need.
2. Try cutting one nail every day, or twice a day, to decrease the novelty of the sensation.
To get your cat used to the experience of nail cutting, youll want to increase the frequency of the nail cutting to as often as you can without creating anxiety.
Usually for me, this is once a day or twice a day.
The issue is if youre trying to wait a week or even weeks before trying to cut your cats nails again.
I dont think a cat can get used to the experience as easily if the nail cutting sessions are so spaced out in time.
One nail cut once a day plus a reward after, and Id say within a month, your cat should be fine with the claw trims.
3. If your cat begins to let you cut one nail easily, increase the number to two nails, then to three, then to a whole hand.
If you started off snipping one nail because that was all you could do, and now your cat is fine with it, you can and should absolutely try to cut a second nail if your cat seems game for it.
Increase to two nails for a few cuttings, then to three if you can, then the whole paw.
Here Is The Nail Trimming Process
- Most cats dont like to have their nails trimmed and some will absolutely not tolerate it. If your cat wont even allow you to hold his or her paws, you may have to rely on a pet groomer or your cats vet to trim your pets nails.
- If you take a slow and easy approach, you can succeed in time, especially if you have treats ready, and your cat may associate the nail clipping routine with yummy treats.
- Dont attempt to clip your cats nails if your pet is upset or if you are upset.
- Towel You can gently wrap your cat loosely in a towel if you are afraid he or she might suddenly bolt off your lap and scratch you.
- Sharp cat nail clippers There are a variety of good nail clippers for cats. Some of them are designed to make sure you dont clip too close to the vein that runs into the thick part of the claw.
- Styptic Powder If you have clippers that arent designed to protect the vein and you accidently cut into it, you can apply a small amount of powder to stop the bleeding.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Hastings Veterinary Hospital and a clickable link back to this page.
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How Often Should My Cats Nails Be Trimmed
- For indoor cats, nail trimming in general should be done every ten days to two weeks.
- A senior indoor or outdoor cat will often develop thick, brittle nails that need to be trimmed more often than when theyre a kitten. Stay alert.
- . It is now understood that declawing means that the ends of the toes are amputated during the surgery, which has been stated as ethically problematic and not an appropriate means of dealing with feline behaviour issues. So now if you live in BC you must learn to trim your kittys nails properly, or either pay a groomer or visit your cats veterinarian to perform this task.
- An outdoor cat may become more of an indoor cat when he or she is old and arthritic, so regular nail trimming will become a necessity.
- Usually it is only the front paws nails that need to be trimmed, but if you notice that the back paw nails are digging into you when your cat jumps up into your lap, you should trim those nails as well.
Why Does A Kitten Need Claws
The claws are an important part of a kittens body. During the first month of life, the claws are non-retractable, which may aid in kneading the mother to stimulate milk production. Around four weeks old, the kitten develops the ability to retract the claws into the paw. Kittens use their claws to scratch and groom themselves, to stretch, to balance, for self defense, and to explore their environments . Most importantly, claws give cats the comfort and confidence to know that they can protect themselves and navigate the world around them safely.
Knowing how necessary the claws are, it should go without saying: never declaw a cat! Declawing is a cruel procedure that permanently mutilates the cat, and can result in unnecessary pain and discomfort, as well as emotional and behavioral issues. Instead of cruel tactics like declawing, help your kitten get used to regular nail trimming by starting to trim her claws at 4 weeks of age.;
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Against: Cats Hate Having Their Claws Trimmed
Its rare for a cat to be well-behaved when its having its claws trimmed. Thats not because cats are disobedient; its because they dont understand what youre doing and why youre doing it. That applies whether your cat has an issue with its nails that youre trying to fix, or whether youre taking preventative measures.
Its always helpful to think from your cats perspective. Consider the following:
- If you have trimmed your cats claws before, it will to some degree remember the last time you did so. If it was nervous last time, it will be nervous this time. Thats especially the case if you hurt your cat by accident.
- If you have never trimmed your cats claws before, it will be an entirely new sensation. Your cat will have no idea whats happening, and may think youre trying to hurt it.
- When your cat senses something badlike a vets visit or a nail trim sessionit will try to avoid you. Youll have to chase it and grab it to pick it up. This will mean that your cat is nervous and angry before you even start.
- Almost all owners find that they have to hold their cat down to trim its nails, e.g. by wrapping it in a towel and pinning it in place. Cats dont enjoy being restricted like this.
- Almost all cats dislike having their paws and claws touched in any context.