Trimming Cats' Nails

Trimming cats’ nails is often a task that intimidates pet owners far more than performing the same procedure when trimming a dog’s nails. While it’s true that some cat owners have attempted a nail trim and ended up with arms scratched to ribbons, clippers lost, and a frightened cat under the bed, it’s also possible to trim even the crankiest cat’s nails with a minimum of fuss.

Equipment Needed

You’ll need a pair of nail clippers designed for cats, a styptic, Soft Paws if you’ll be applying them after the trim, and possibly a thick bath towel. If your cat is truly recalcitrant, you may also need a helper and/or some thick gloves. However, for the majority of cats, trimming quickly without making the procedure into an ordeal will result in a painless trim with little or no struggling.

How To

Start by calling the cat to your lap. If she hides uncharacteristically, she’s probably noticed that your body language indicates something’s up. Don’t pry a cranky cat out from under the bed. Fix yourself a snack and wait until she comes out to see what you’re doing.

Calm your cat with petting and treats, and gently stroke her with the nail clippers while praising her. When she’s tolerating the clippers rubbed on her body and feet fairly well, take a firm hold on a paw and push on each toe in turn to extend the cat’s claws. As you extend each claw, locate the pink line of the quick, and trim the nail below the quick, leaving a fairly large margin in case the cat twitches. In most cases, only the tip of each claw should be removed, so the quick should not be a problem.

If You Have Trouble

If your cat is uncooperative, find a helper and wrap the cat in a heavy bath towel, allowing one paw at a time to stick out. Have your helper hug the cat firmly while it’s ensconced in the towel. Then clip the nails quickly. However, only use this “burrito wrap” method if you’re sure that you introduced the nail clipping producedure slowly and gently the first time, offering petting and treats for good behavior. If you are to blame for your cat’s recalcitrance, back up and try again, more slowly and with more rewards.

If you “quick” your cat (cut the nail too short, causing bleeding) apply a styptic immediately and call your veterinarian. If you were silly enough to trim nails without a styptic on hand, corn starch or white flour will do temporarily if need be.

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