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Trimming Your Cats Nails

Fri 21st February, 2014

Clipping your cat’s nails should not be stressful, for you or them. It is a process that should be started when they are a kitten, but no matter their age, there are certain things to know before you attempt to trim your cat’s nails.

  1. Allow your cat to get comfortable with you by touching and gently pressing on the pads of their paws, as well as massaging their paws for a few seconds every other day. This also gives you the opportunity to become familiar with the structure of their feet.
  2. Allow your kitty to get used to the sound of the nail clippers by having the cat sit comfortably on your lap, and have a piece of uncooked spaghetti and the clippers within reach. Now start massaging their paws, gently pressing on the paw pad (exposing the nails), while simultaneously clipping a small piece off the uncooked spaghetti and release the paw. By doing this exercise, your cat will associate the noise with a quick trim of their nails.
  3. Be careful not to clip too close to the “quick” (the pink area of the nail where there are blood vessels and nerve endings).
  4. Before you attempt to actually clip your kitty’s claws, it is important that your cat is in a relaxed state. Choose a quiet and windowless room, where there will be no possible distractions (such as birds chirping, and ensure that children or other pets won’t be running about) to startle or alert your cats.
  5. With your cat comfortably on your lap (facing away from you) take the paw, massage it slightly, and gingerly press on the paw pad to expose the nail. Hold the clippers in a vertical position so the nail is cut from top to bottom, instead of straight across. This positioning helps to keeps the nail from splitting.
  6. Clip off the very sharp ends, always being aware not to trim too short. It is always better to clip less than more. It may take several sittings to clip all the nails, don’t let this discourage you, as this can be normal until your kitten gets used to the process.
  7. A cat’s nails should be clipped every 10 to 14 days. If your cat refuses to allow you to do this, or if you feel unsure and uncomfortable performing this important part of the grooming process, make sure to visit your vet or enlist the assistance of a professional pet groomer.

It is vital to not “punish” your cat for not cooperating, and also never attempt to clip your cat’s nails when they are upset, agitated or highly energized from a round of play.  This should be an enjoyable experience for you and your kitty.

There are alternatives to regular nail trimming, and that would be commercially made plastic covers for each of your cat’s nails.  These can come in fun and festive colors.  Also, there is no need to trim (or cover) back nails, as cats will naturally trim them by chewing downing the tips.