Many cat owners dread trimming their cat’s nails. And frankly if this is done wrong it can be very difficult and painful for both you and the cat! I’d like to share a process that works for me in trimming my own cat’s nails. This is an important part of caring for cats that if done properly can actually be very easy.
Keep in mind that if you don’t trim your cat’s nails, they will figure out other ways of keeping them shortened, like scratching your furniture for instance? This is one more reason to have a good cat scratching post available, as well as keeping their nails trimmed! Here are some steps that work well:
Step One: From the time you bring your cat home, you should practice holding and handling his paws, so that he gets used to the feeling. When you are cuddling and bonding with your cat, just hold and rub each paw a little bit.
Step Two: When you are ready to trim your cat’s nails, be sure there is good, strong light in the room. This will help you be able to see better, and to make sure that you aren’t cutting too close to your cat’s blood vessels.
Step Three: Get your cat grooming tools together before you call your cat. She won’t like it if she has to wait for you to gather things!
Step Four: Hold your cat closely next to you, holding the first paw in your hand. I usually put my cat on my left side and start with his left paw, but I am right handed. You can do these in whichever order works best for you. If you wish you can wrap your cat in a soft towel, which helps him sit still while you are trimming.
Step Five: Hold each toe between your thumb and pointer finger, and press softly together. This will cause the cat’s nail to emerge, and it will be easy to see where to cut. The nail will stay out until you let go.
Step Six: Cut each nail at the point where it begins to curve. It is best to use trimmers that were especially designed for cats. I personally use the “guillotine” style, but you may want to try different styles to find one that works well for you. Some people prefer a regular human nail clipper.
Step Seven: When you first start trimming your cat’s nails, try doing just a few at each sitting. This may help her get used to it faster. Be sure to give your cat lots of pets as you are trimming, and wait a moment in between each nail, to make the experience as pleasant as you can.
Step Eight: If you do accidentally cut into the quick of your cat’s nail and it begins to bleed, press on the tip of her nail with styptic powder (if you have it available), or talcum powder.
Step Nine: Eventually you will be able to clip all of your cat’s nails at one time. Be sure to reward him for good behavior with lots of affection or maybe a little treat.
Lots of great tips about communicating with and caring for cats can be found in Mary Matthew’s book “Ultimate Cat Secrets”. I have been using this as a resource for many occasions and always find it very helpful.