Trimming your cat’s nails regularly is an important step in caring for your cat. If a cat’s nails grow too long, they can end up growing into the pads of her paws. This can be painful, and it can result in infection. Cutting cat nails will also prevent her from inflicting scratch wounds on her face or ears if she is itchy. In addition to keeping her healthy, shorter nails will also help to preserve your carpet and sofa. You will also be less likely to sustain scratches from your cat during intense, interactive play. Once you learn the basics of how to trim cat nails, practice and patience will achieve your confidence and proficiency.
Degrees of Protest
Cats like to make the rules, and they do not make willing participants in any activity that they do not want to do. Many cats despise having their paws handled, especially their rear paws, and they tend to resent having their nails trimmed. Each cat is a unique individual that will respond in his or her own way to restraint. Some cats cooperate best with minimal restraint, while others must be held down firmly for their owners to accomplish nail trims. Some cats will be quite vocal in their protestations throughout the procedure, and others will remain stoically silent.
Preparation of Cutting Cat Nails
From the time your cat is a kitten, you should play with her paws frequently. Handle each pad, gently press each toe and get her used to the idea of having her paws touched. She will also learn that she can have her paws fondled without necessarily having her nails trimmed. As you get to know your cat’s overall disposition, you will get an idea of how she responds to various levels of restraint.
There are a number of nail trimmers available at pet supply retailers. Choose one that is made for use in cats. Opt for a style that you can handle comfortably and confidently. Many cat nail trimmers are manipulated in the same way as a pair of household scissors. You should also purchase a styptic product to keep within reach while trimming your cat’s nails. Cutting the blood vessel, or quick, of the nail happens much less frequently in cats than it does in dogs, but you should be prepared to stop the bleeding if you accidentally trim a nail too short.
How to Clip Cat Nails: the Approach
Always initiate a nail trim session when your cat is very relaxed. Do not attempt to trim her nails if she is in an excitable play mode. You can hold your cat on her back in the crook of your arm, using that hand to grasp each paw while you trim with the other hand. Alternately, position your cat on your lap so that she can lie back against you, using one arm and hand to hold her in place and hold each paw as you trim with the other hand. If your cat is more difficult, place her on a table or bed, hold her down firmly under one arm, grab each paw with that hand and trim with the other. To trim the nails of a feisty fighter, you may need to enlist a brave family member to restrain the cat while you focus on getting the task done.
The Trim: How to Trim Cat Nails
Front claws grow much more quickly than back claws, so you most likely will not need to trim the back nails every time you trim the front ones. Cats also resent having their rear paws touched. Always begin cutting cat nails on the front paws to increase the likelihood that your cat may cooperate for all four paws if necessary. Take a front paw firmly in one hand, and gently press on the first toe until the nail extracts. A cat’s nails are fairly transparent, so it is usually easy to see the quick. This vessel appears as a pink structure within the nail. Snip off the curved tip of the nail with the nail trimmer in your other hand. Take care to make the cut just in front of the pink quick.
Continue to hold the paw, but release the toe so that the nail recedes before repeating with the next nail. There are five nails on each front paw and four nails on each rear paw. If your cat is polydactyl, meaning that she has extra toes, then she will have more nails for you to trim. If you trim a nail too short, continue to hold on to your cat with one hand, grab the styptic product with the other hand and apply it to the nail to stop the bleeding.
Your Manner Makes a Big Difference
The key thing to remember as you learn how to clip cat nails is to always remain calm and confident. If you are nervous, your cat will sense trouble and act accordingly. Talk to your cat in an engaging, conversational and even tone throughout the entire nail trimming session. Move quickly from nail to nail until one paw is complete, and then take a second to pet her head or her chin before moving on to the next paw. If her patience has expired after one paw, do not push her further. Let her go. You can try for the next paw during a calm moment on the following day. Always give her a treat at the end of every nail trim session so that she learns to associate something positive with her ordeal.
Trim your cat’s nails once each month to keep them from growing too long. By using the least amount of restraint needed to get the job done, talking to her throughout the task, not pushing her beyond her limits and rewarding her for tolerating what she perceives to be a violating atrocity, you will make nail trimming easier for you and as emotionally tolerable as possible for her. Check out these tips on how to trim your dog’s nails.