What You Should Know
- The humming noise may be scary to your cat.
- The grinders can get hot with use, so make sure to take breaks and dont spend too much time on any one nail.
- The ground-up nail bits have a pungent odor that some cats dont like. You can wear a mask to prevent inhalation of nail particles.
- The vibration of the grinder on the nail will feel strange to your cat and may take some time and gradual exposure to get used to.
- Long hair can get caught in the grinder, which hurts. Trim hairy feet or hold the hair back away from the nail with your fingers.
- If you sense your cat is losing patience with you, cut the session short and come back to it later.
What Should You Do If You Cut Into The Quick
Dont panic. Cutting into the quick can happen during a nail trim. If you notice blood from a nail during a trim, apply light pressure to the very tip of the claw. The claw can be dipped in corn starch or styptic powder to help stop the bleeding faster.
Cutting into the quick can be painful for your furry friend. If your cat becomes too upset, stop the nail trim and give them time to cool down before starting again.
To create a less stressful experience, try having your cats favorite blanket or bed incorporated into the nail trim. Take your time and provide their favorite treats between cutting the claws.
When Do You Need To Trim Your Cats Claws
Overall, its not necessary to trim your cats claws, but it depends of your pets lifestyle . If we are talking about an outdoor cat, his/her claws are essential to defend him/herself, hunt or climb. For an indoor cat, a scratching post allows daily self-maintenance. However, if your cat tends to sharpen his/her claws everywhere in your house, you can shorten them so they will cause less damage. The use of an educational and repulsive spray could help the pet to drive his/her scratches to a selected object like a scratching post.
When ageing, cats become less active. In such case, it is important to trim their claws which can get longer, curve and penetrate into the pad, sometimes causing an infection.Lastly, remember to check the dewclaws of the front legs. Indeed, as they are less likely to touch the ground, they wear out more slowly.
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Learn The Proper Technique
Hold your cats paw in one hand and gently push down on one paw pad to extend the claw. Position the clipper blades at a diagonal rather than exactly perpendicular to the nail to help prevent the nail from cracking. Trim just the white tip of the clawits better to take off too little than too much. Repeat this process for each nail. Average cats will have 5 claws on their front paws and four on their back, however, polydactyl cats may have more.
Nail Caps Are Great Options For Many Owners And Cats:
- Elderly cat owners, or those with thin skin or bleeding/clotting problems caused by medication or health conditions
- Families with small children and/or lots of visiting family and friends
- Households with antique furniture, quilts, rugs, etc.
- Cats or kittens who play rough or show aggressive behaviors
- Cats with skin issues, chronic itching, health problems, etc.
- Sphynx and hairless cats with delicate skin
- Cats whose nails get stuck in the carpet, bedding, clothing or other fabric
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Myth #3 Scratching Posts Can Be Used In Lieu Of Nail Caps
Scratching posts are fantastic option for many cats by encouraging them to flex and stretch, provide an alternative for cats to scratch instead of furniture, carpets and window curtains, and to mark their territory with scent from their paws. A common misconception is that scratching posts file down a cats nails so they are less sharp. What they do is help the cat to remove dead layers of the nail sheath, revealing new, sharp nails underneath. So, even though scratching posts can maintain health cat nails, they will still be sharp and can still do damage to both skin and belongings.
The process before applying nail caps regularly also removes the dead layers of nail sheath and trim the nails to an appropriate length as well. Since, nail caps should be replaced no more than every 6-8 weeks , this maintains good health and length of the nails, preventing damage from sharp scratching, and still allowing the cat to enjoy the natural urge to stretch, flex and scratch.
Tools And Tricks For Handling A Difficult Cat
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There are some techniques and tools to try if you have an aggressive cat that is likely to bite you.
Some cats respond well to being burritod in a towel while others freak out when restrained that way. Some people recommend cat grooming bags. Personally, I have found that they really dont help. A lot of cats are more stressed by being stuck in the sack than just handled on your lap. The bags cant prevent a cat from biting you and that is my main concern when doing a nail trim on a challenging cat.
A lot of cats are visually overstimulated by claw clipping. If you cover his head with a towel or the corner of your sweater, he may relax enough for you to clip his nails alone.
A Clean Cat is a Happy Cat
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How To Trim A Resistant Cats Nails The Easy Way
Flickr: Chris Gin
Though some cats are very cooperative when it comes to nail clipping, others maybe very resistant. I have three cats, they give three different responses to nail trimming. Shadow lets you clip his nails with ease. Flip may flinch once in a while, but he is mostly calm and does not move around too much if the person who cuts his nails is gentle and someone he can trust. Jackie, our fluffy kitty does not like nail clipping with a passion. He would resist so hard that we almost never get to do it while he is awake.
So that got us thinking maybe we shouldn’t do it when he is awake. He just would not let us touch his paws. Then a light bulb went on in our head. Here is how it went when we attempted to trim his nails when he was asleep 🙂
Play the video below:
When cats are in a state of stress, the best way to calm them down is distraction. Besides trimming their nails while they are asleep, you can also try to feed them treats such as mayonnaise , they’d be too busy licking off the treats to worry about having their nails trimmed. However, if your cat is as resistant as my kitty Jackie, the nail trimming while asleep technique should work the best. Here is a clip of a stray kitten who is still in the process of learning to trust people, getting his nails trimmed:
Finally Its Time To Clip
The ASPCA offers an interesting tip: while introducing your cat to the clippers, hold their paw while using the clippers on a strand of dry spaghetti. That way, your cat can get used to the sound of the clippers. They wont get startled by the sound when youre trying to trim their nails, which could lead to slipping and mistakes.
Finally, you can start to trim your cats nails. Have those extra-yummy treats ready!
Some people trim just one nail each day, especially when the cat is just learning to tolerate trims. However, it might be easier to trim at least one paw if your cat allows it.
If you cut the cats quick, they will bleed and probably wont trust you to trim their nails again for a long, long time. You can keep cornstarch or septic powder on-hand to stop any bleeding that may occur.
Its better to trim tiny fragments of the nail than to risk cutting the quick. Praise and reward your cat between clips.
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Ask Your Veterinarian For Help
Many people can learn a lot from a quick tutorial at your vets office.
The veterinary environment, however, is different from the home, so how your cat behaves at the vet may not be what happens in your living room.
Some cats are more docile because they are frightened at the vets office, while others are more angry. Vets dont want to intensify fear in your cat at the veterinary visit, so nail clipping may not always be advised if this is the one event that is going to send your cat over the edge.
Cat nail clipping at home requires a well-adjusted patient and a patient pet parent.
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Play With Your Cats Paws Regularly
Play with your cats paws regularly and you can do this while she is awake or sleeping. This will allow her to be accustomed to you touching her paws. Then when it is time for nail clipping session, she is not so supprised to have her paws handled.
You can start pushing the pads of her paws to push her nails out once she is used to. This make her more comfortable and she may even enjoy it.
Taking A Little Off The Top
Now that you’re in position and the cat’s in position, put the claw in the right position, too. Take a paw in your hand and use your thumb and pointer finger to gently press down on the top and bottom of the paw on the joint just behind the claw. This will cause the claw to extend so you can quickly but carefully snip off the sharp tip and no more.v
Don’t get too close to the pink part of the nail called “the quick,” where blood vessels and nerve endings lie. Just like the pink part of a human fingernail, the quick is very sensitive cutting into this area will likely cause bleeding and pain.
If this happens, apply a little pressure to the very tip of the claw , dip the claw in a bit of styptic powder or cornstarch or rub the nail across a dry bar of soap. Don’t continue if theyre too upset, but keep an eye on them to make sure the bleeding stops.
It’s common to only cut the front claws, but take a look at the rear claws just in case they’ve gotten too long, especially if their sharp tips hurt you when your cat leaps on or off your lap. Since most cats fuss more about having their rear claws clipped, start with the front claws.
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Old Cats Or Deformed Nails
Older cats tend to end up with longer, thicker nails and often a greasy exudate around the nail bed. This can be cleaned off with a dilute chlorhexidine solution or gentle pet shampoo if it is difficult to remove. Older cats are also more likely to have problems with the nails growing into the pad. Thickened nails or deformed nails can also be a sign of underlying health problems, so if your cat has started growing unusually thick nails, particularly if this is combined with an increase in thirst, please get your feline friend to the vet for a check-up. Nails can also grow back a bit deformed if there has been some sort of trauma to the nail bed, such as when the dew claw has been caught in something and torn.
Whenever you trim your cats nails remember to make the whole experience rewarding by having treats at the ready. Always take a little bit at a time if you cant clearly see the quick beneath the nail. And if you have a determined couch-shredder on your hands, why not consider some soft paws to protect the furniture.
What Part Of The Claw To Clip
If you think of your finger as your cats claw, form a C with your thumb and forefinger. Your forefinger is your imaginary claw. The part youd be clipping off is just past the first knuckle, the top part of the C. The quick or live part would run between your hand and the center knuckle. If you look at your cats claw the quick is the pinkish part.
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Get Acquainted With The Clipper
Unfamiliar objects can be stressful for your cat. Leave the clippers out where your cat can investigate them. You can even leave a treat on them to encourage your cat to sniff and become familiar with them.
Some cats are afraid of the sound the clipper makes when trimming their nails. With your cat in your lap, place a piece of dry spaghetti in the clippers. Hold the clippers near their paws and gently massage one paw, then cut the noodle so it makes a cracking noise. Immediately give your cat a reward for accepting the noise and the massage.
How To Restrain A Dog To Clip Its Nails
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Frequently I am asked about nail trimming, but for the first time, I was asked how to restrain a dog to clip its nails.
My initial reaction was to ask questions about their dog and why they needed to restrain their dog to clip its nails.
As my dogs get older, I have needed a second pair of hands to distract or hold the dog, but not restrain.
My personal experience with restraining is that it can cause your dog to react more than if you just distract them with a treat or chew.
However, I am also not so foolish to think that all dogs can have their nails clipped safely without being restrained.
Some dogs display fear aggression and snap or even bite their owners when the nail trimmers come out.
Some dogs even need to be sedated to cut their nails.
Its also vital to point out that restraining a dog is not cruel, nor does it hurt them when done correctly. And securing your dog can be necessary, especially if the dog is hurt or at the vet.
So, even if your dog doesnt need to be restrained for their nails to be cut, it is a good training opportunity in case it is ever required.
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Bring Fluffy To The Vet
If your fluffy friend is just not having it, thats ok too. We are here to help. A simple nail trim at the vets office is inexpensive and can reduce the amount of stress you and Fluffy feel when nail trimming time comes around. Just give us a call at East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, Arizona and wed be happy to pamper your feline.
*If you are contacting us during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can schedule your appointment into the future. At the moment we are following guidance from the American Veterinary Medical Association and only seeing emergency patients. Here is our clinics full response to the pandemic*
Things To Remember When Clipping Your Dogs Nails
There are a few things to keep in mind when clipping your dogs nails:
- Keep things positive. Bring treats, chews, or canned food to make the task more enjoyable.
- Work your way towards clipping their nails without restraint Neither you nor your dog loves going through the restraining process. Plus, its so much easier if you can do it with treats instead.
- If your dog is getting stressed, stop the process, you do not want to make their nail trimming experience worse.
- If you are not comfortable clipping your dogs nails or dont know how to, learn this step first. Otherwise, nail trims can become a real disaster for both of you.
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