How To Trim Your Cat's Claws

20 April 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you don't want to have your cat declawed, but still want your furniture to stay in-tact, trimming your cat's claws is essential. Cats have a natural urge to scratch in order to wear down their claws. By trimming the claws, you'll reduce your cat's need to scratch, and also ensure that the damage that's done when your cat does scratch is minimized, since the claws won't be as sharp.

To trim your cat's nails at home, just follow these steps:

1.  Get your cat used to you handling his or her paws.

If your cat has never had his or her nails trimmed before, you'll want to get him or her used to having the paws touched before you bring out the clipper. Hold the cat in your lap, and take one paw at a time into your hand. Massage the paw gently, and press on the junction between the toes and the foot to release the claws, just as you would if you were trimming them. Repeat this a few times over a week-long period, or until your cat allows you to handle his or her paws without complaint.

2. Hold your cat properly, and prepare to clip.

Human nail clippers are perfectly fine to use on your cat and are an easy choice, since you're already used to using them. If you have nail trimmers specifically designed for cats, feel free to use those instead, but know that they might take more time to get used to than human nail trimmers.

With your clippers ready to go in your dominant hand, position your cat in your lap so he or she is facing away from you. Take one paw in your hand, and push down gently to expose the claws.

3. Clip with caution.

Once your cat's claws are out and your clippers are in place, the trick is to act quickly and clip as many nails as possible before your cat starts struggling. Make sure you clip off just the tips of the nails. You'll see a reddish-pink streak that runs down the center of the nail and ends a ways before the tip of the nail. This is called the quick – it's comprised of blood vessels and nerves. If you cut into it, your cat's nail will bleed. If you're nervous about cutting into the quick, be conservative about how much you remove the first few times you cut your cat's nails.

It's best to position the cat's claw vertically in the clippers, rather than horizontally. In other words, the slit in the clippers should be pointing up toward the ceiling as you clip. This leads to less splintering of the nails than does clipping horizontally. With the cat's nail in the clippers, simply squeeze them shut, just as you would with your normal nail. That's all there is to it.

4. Repeat on each paw.

If your cat is getting restless, you may want to stop after one paw, and then do the other paws, one at a time, throughout the day. Over time, your cat will become much more used to having his or her claws trimmed, and you'll be able to do them all at once – likely within a few minutes.

Clipping a cat's nails is not hard, once you've done it a few times. However, if the prospect of doing this intimidates you, it might be best to have a groomer or veterinarian do it for you instead. Your vet may also be able to give you tips for holding your cat more securely, which will make the process of clipping your cat's nails at home much easier. To find out more, speak with someone from a business like Clayton Veterinary Associate.