Habituate The Cat To Holding Still And Having Her Feet Handled
Another important point in how to trim cat nails is learning how to handle your cats paws in the first place. Cats very rarely resent nail trims unless the quick is struck. However, many cats do not like to hold still and have their feet handled. I recommend that cat parents handle their cats feet every day. If your cat is used to having her feet handled, the job will be much easier. Kittens are especially amenable to this habituation, but it works for many mature cats as well. You can practice extending the nails while you are handling the feet.
What You Shouldnt Do
You should never try to rush the nail trim because this is when mistakes will happen, and you might end up cutting your cats quick.
Dont ever punish or yell at your cat for not cooperating. This will only make your cat feel more stressed out and associate nail trims with unpleasantness.
Dont attempt to trim your cats nails if you are not in a good headspace. If youre in a bad mood or feeling anxious or if your cat is not in a receptive mood, trimming their nails will only add to everyones stress.
You shouldnt trim your cats nails all at the same time unless your cat is looking relaxed and doesnt seem to mind.
How To Trim Cat Nails And Why You Should
Cats are well-armed creatures who punch way above their weight. They have sharp teeth and fast reflexes. They are limber and agile. And those cat claws or cat nails can wreak havoc on prey animals, perceived predators, carpet, drapes, sofas and people who happen to get in their way. So, how do you keep cats from scratching? Lets talk about how to trim cat nails, and why you should.
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Why Clip A Cats Claws
Kittys claws keep growing the same way your fingernails do. A cat that spends a lot of time outside might not need help maintaining his claws. Indoor kitties will try to do the same on your furniture and carpet.
Regular claw clipping not only helps prevent destructive clawing, but also prevents Kittys nails from getting snagged and torn on anything. It will save your arms and lap from an unexpected course of acupuncture when Kitty cuddles up and starts making biscuits.
Nail trimming gives you an opportunity to check over your furbabys paws and claws for signs of any health issues.
Is It Bad To Not Cut Your Cats Nails
Maintaining your cats nails is an important part of your weekly grooming ritual with them. Most cats like getting their claws trimmed, as you might see your own cat chewing them or claiming your poor furniture to try wear the tips down when they get too long.
If not maintained, your cats nails can curl back towards their toe pad. This can cause discomfort when they walk or threaten to puncture their toe pad. Cats can sometimes even hook their nails on their lip while grooming their paws if they are too long.
Examining your cats claws periodically is a good thing. By following our tips above, more and more your cat can feel relaxed in this process.
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Tips For Trimming & What To Avoid
Don’t wrap your kitty in a towel because she may become more agitated.
Don’t aim to trim all four paws in one session. Try one paw a day until she’s accustomed to the process. It’s okay to clip only one claw at a time. VCA Hospitals points out, “The goal is for your pet to associate the handling of the feet and nail trimming with a pleasant outcome.” Rewarding her good behavior instills in her a sense of pride and in you a sense of accomplishment.
Types Of Nail Trimmers
There are many tools that you can use to trim your cats claws. Some will work better for you, while others might work best for your cat. Here are a few options:
- Nail grinders: Using a grinder might be tempting. Taking a little bit off at a time would be easier. But then you have a noisy, whirring, vibrating tool on your cats paw, and most cats wont be too impressed by this. They are also expensive, so if your cat is stressed out by the grinder, it will be a big waste of money for you.
- Scissor style: These look like mini scissors and are perfect for cutting the nails of smaller animals. Theyre easy to hold and manipulate.
- Guillotine style: These clippers are not the easiest to use, and you might risk taking too much off your cats claws and hitting the quick. Proceed with caution.
- Plier style: These come with a safety stop that can be moved into place and adjusted to the right position. They also have rubber grips on the handle, so youre less likely to lose your grip if your hands get sweaty. These particular ones are designed for dogs, but they can work for cats.
- Human nail clippers: Most people already have a pair of nail clippers in the house, so these are probably the cheapest. Since they are small, they can be easier to use, and if youve used them on yourself in the past, there will be a certain level of comfort there. On the other hand, they can easily slip out of your hands if you get sweaty.
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Use The Right Equipment And Use Good Technique
One person should gently restrain and reassure the cat. The other person should quickly extend each nail and use an appropriate nail trimmer to remove the tip of each nail. Move smoothly through the nails on each foot. When in doubt, it is better to remove too little nail than too much. The sharpest part of the nail is at the very end, so only a bit needs to be removed anyway. If you accidentally hit a quick, apply corn starch or a commercial powder such as Kwik Stop to control the bleeding.
Remember that with nail trimming, as with so many things in life, practice makes a big difference. If you set your mind to regularly handling and trimming your cats nails, you will most likely get good at it.
Tell us: What are your tips on how to trim cat nails?
Get The Cat Familiar With The Sound Of The Clipper
The other thing that freaks cats is the sound of the clipper. So, you want Kitty to get used to its sound before attempting to cut the nails.
You can do that by using a piece of uncooked spaghetti. Heres how to do it:
- Get the cat comfortable.
- Massage one of the toes and press to extend the nail.
- Do not clip the nail, instead cut the spaghetti with the clipper.
- Give the cat a treat and repeat.
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Never Cut To The Quick
If you look at your cats claws, youll see a darker section inside the mostly clear, hard exterior. This is called the quick. Its where nerves and blood vessels are found. Never cut to the quick, or your cat may bleed and become uncomfortable. If youve ever broken a nail, you know why cats dont like it. Instead, only trim the white part of the claw.
Its always better to leave more claw than to cut too deep. You may want to have a styptic stick or powder on hand. You can use it to stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut too deep. You can find these products at most pet supply stores.
How To Trim A Cats Claws On An Aggressive Cat
Some cats do not mind claw clipping, and you can do it without getting scratched or bitten.
However, if youre reading this article, your cat is probably one of those who dont submit quietly to this necessary procedure.
First, keep something in mind. Do not call the cat or try to lure her with a treat when youre about to do something unpleasant.
Go and get her. Otherwise, Kitty will start associating your calling with bad things and will hide promptly.
The second thing is that you should try to get your cat used to nail clipping when she is young. In this way, youre going to avoid future problems.
Unfortunately, a cat that has had an unpleasant experience with claw clipping will probably continue to give you a hard time.
But these tips on how to trim a cats nails by yourself will come in handy, so keep on reading.
Check: Why Does My Cat Bite Her Nails?
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What If Your Cat Doesnt Like Being Held
Not all cats love to be held or enjoy lying on your lap. So, what do you do if you dont have a lap cat?
One option is to place your cat on a table, or if your cat loves hanging out on a shelf or cat tree thats at a comfortable level for you, you can try it there. This could work well because this is where your cat will also feel relaxed and safe.
You can also ask for help if there is someone in your household or you have a friend or family member who doesnt mind dropping by to help out on nail trim day. Having a helper will free up your hands, and they can try petting and distracting your cat while you sneak in a claw trim or two.
Staying On The Cutting Edge
There are plenty of tools available to trim a cat’s claws use the one that works best for you and your pet.
Some people prefer a special pair of scissors modified to hold a cat’s claw in place, others prefer human nail clippers and still others choose pliers-like clippers or those with a sliding “guillotine” blade. Whatever your tool, be sure the blade remains sharp the blunt pressure from dull blades may hurt an animal and cause a nail to split or bleed. Keep something on hand to stop bleeding, such as styptic powder, cornstarch or a dry bar of soap .
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Was Your Pet Food Recalled
Getting the nail perfectly set into the little guillotine window requires time and skill. The guillotine must be perpendicular to the nail. The extra few seconds required to get the proper nail placement may make you lose your golden window of opportunity.
4. Human Nail Clippers
Many people find human nail clippers, a staple in every household, the easiest tool to cut your cats nails and I agree. They are small, so you are close to your cats nail and can quickly trim a nail.
These work best turned sideways to cut the cat nail, the opposite of how you cut your own nails.
Beware the advertising on all the Dremel tools sold online and in stores. They make it look so easy, but that is not the case.
These Dremels make a noise, create a vibration sensation and can take a while to sand down the nail. Most cats are not fond of a noisy, vibrating tool coming at them.
Why Should You Trim Your Cats Claws
It goes without saying that sharp cat nails inflict more damage than trimmed ones. Your sofa, carpet and drapes will notice significant benefits. For the record, sharpening the claws is a normal expression of feline behavior, and it cannot be humanely suppressed. Thats why all cat owners should have scratching posts.
As a person for whom cat scratches are an occupational hazard, I can assure you that trimmed cat nails cause less damage to human skin than their sharper counterparts. Cat scratches arent merely painful. Scratches can become infected . And flea-infested cats may spread Bartonella henselae, also known as cat scratch disease .
Cats derive direct benefits when their people know how to trim cat nails properly, too. Cats nails grow in layers that are like shells. When cats sharpen their claws, they are removing the older shells to expose the sharper new ones. However, often cats do not successfully remove the shells. This can lead to ingrown nails that can become extremely painful and can lead to nasty infections. Regular nail trims prevent ingrown nails. Furthermore, a cat with trimmed nails is likely to enjoy a better relationship with her family, since she wont be ejected from laps merely for making kitty dough.
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Use The Right Cat Claw Trimmers
Finding the right clippers will help ensure your cats claws are properly trimmed and help prevent injuries to their claws or paws. Choose a well-sharpened pair of clippers with a scissor cut, safety lock and nail guard for best results. A nail guard will help to ensure you only trim the white parts of the nail, as the pink part contains blood vessels and nerve endings.
Training Steps To Help Your Squirmy Cat Tolerate Nail Trims
It is important to teach your cat to relax and tolerate having his nailed trimmed.
- Get her used to having her paws handled and massaged. Just play with them while shes hanging out with you.
- A gentle press on her paw pad and the top of the paw will extend her claws.
- Let her explore the clippers so she doesnt see them as threatening.
- Clip a piece of spaghetti or a straw so she gets used to the noise of the clipper.
- Give her a favorite treat.
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How Can I Help My Cat To Keep Their Claws In Good Condition
Outdoor, active cats shouldnt need their claws clipping. In the wild, your cat would wear them down running, hunting, climbing, playing and scratching. Your pet should be no different! But indoor or older cats can be more at risk of getting longer claws.
Here are our top tips for keeping your kittys claws in shape:
We’ve put together advice from our veterinary team across PDSA.
How To Trim Your Cat’s Nails
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 16 testimonials and 95% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,098,932 times.
A cat may need its nails trimmed to keep them from splitting or breaking, and you may find it productive to trim off the sharp points of your cats nails if the cat is prone to kneading, scratching, etc. Trimming a cats nails is fairly easy once you get your cat accustomed to it. Read on for detailed instructions.
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How To Restrain Your Cat For Nail Trimmings
Some cats require very little restraint, but here are some tips for the fearful, fretful or ferocious feline.
Little or No Restraint
If you have a fairly willing cat, they may find comfort lying in your lap.
Gently rest or drape your forearm over the cats neck and hindquarters and try to pick up a foot, usually with your left hand and clippers in the right hand.
You might want to have a thick towel or pillow on your lap between you and the cat in case your cat decides to use your thighs as a springboard to leap off your lap.
Lets say this doesnt go so well: My suggestion is to wait and try again at another time when your cat is calm and is not aware of what youre up to.
The Towel Method
Some cats are not necessarily nasty but are just jumpy and wriggly.
- First, wrap them in a bath towel.
- Then try to take out a paw for nail trimming.
With some practice, the towel can help envelop 3 limbs while you take out 1 limb at a time.
The 2-Person Method
If you have ever watched your vet and a vet tech trim your cats nails, 2 people can often make this task go quite smoothly.
A table or countertop works well. One person holds or even restrains with a back-of-the-neck grip while the other person trims the nails.
This is not for every couple or roommate team nor is it for every cat. You can get hurt if you arent comfortable with your partner or with restraint.
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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