How to Trim Cat Claws – The Complete Guide

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“F***! When was the last time you trimmed the cat’s claws? Mio just scratched me.”

My partner has a way with words, but I tend to forget to trim the cat’s claws regularly. Because of this and his tendency to use his hands to play with them, a big no-no gets him scratched often.

I will teach you how to trim cat claws without drama, trauma, or damaged egos in the following guide.

Why it’s important to trim your cat’s claws

Cats have an instinct to scratch and claw objects. Cats have a sense of territoriality, and scratching helps to spread their scent via scents glands on their paws. They also use their claws to protect themselves from bigger predators and other cats.

Because cats use their claws to mark territory and protect themselves, you should never declaw your cat. Declawing is a painful and unnecessary surgical procedure.

“Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.

It is an unnecessary surgery that provides no medical benefit to the cat. Educated pet parents can easily train their cats to use their claws in a manner that allows everyone in the household to live together happily.”

The Humane Society

Scratching and biting can be uncomfortable for people and can lead to long-term health problems for the animal.

Ever having gotten clawed by your cat, you know how much it hurts. What you may not be aware of is how dangerous it can be.

If someone with an allergy gets clawed by a cat, it can severely trigger their symptoms. The wound caused by cat claws, if not treated properly, can become infected.

Scratching can also lead to claws splintering and breaking off inside someone’s skin. Ouch!

Trimming your cat’s claws ensures that they’re not overgrown. Overgrown claws can lead to injuries and chronic pain for your cat, including a higher risk of arthritis.

Trimming the nails will not only prevent potential harm to you or your family but to your cat as well.

What Tools Do I Need to Trim My Cat’s Claws?

Claw clippers are a great way to trim your cat’s claws. There are guillotine style, scissor-style, and plier style.

There is no specific type of claw clipper that you need to buy for your cat. Knowing which kind is best for you is based on your cat’s claws and your preference in clipping style.

There are many cat claw clippers available on the market. It isn’t easy to know which one is best for your specific needs. Here are some things to consider when choosing a cat claw clipper:

A serrated blade can take off more material with each passing cut than a straight blade, so it’s better for thicker nails.

The clipper should be large enough to grip the claw securely.

Some clippers have curved blades that allow you to trim closer to the tips of nails.

There are many clippers on the market made specifically for trimming your cat’s claws.

My clipper is named Sunny (bonus points if you leave a comment below telling me what Netflix show I’m referencing. Haha.)

However, you can use an item you already have in your bathroom—a nail clipper. For kittens or smaller cats, use a smaller one specifically for fingernails. For Adult or larger cats, use a toenail clipper. You can also use a cuticle clipper.

There are two problems with using either of these.

1. Is that they may cause the claws to splinter as you cut them

2. Unless your cat is trained to accept claw clipping, you may clip too close to the vein that runs through a cat’s claw. Which could lead to bleeding and infection. Many manufactured claw clippers can detect and warn you that you are close to the vein.

Claw Care Routines for Cats

It would be best if you trimmed your cat’s claws every two weeks.

There are three ways to create a routine and train your cat to accept claw clipping.

The first method works for very relaxed cats. Catch your cat when they’re sleeping. The downside to this method is they may wake up before you finish, and so much for no drama at that point.

The second method is excellent for ferals and cats who lash out. Swaddling, wearing thick gloves and long sleeves, grab a thick towel or a small blanket. Wrap it firmly, not too tightly, around your cat like you would a baby, so their body is unable to wiggle out. This method limits the visibility of the claws. It also becomes challenging to maneuver their paws in and out of the swaddling.

The third method is training your cat to be OK with you touching their paws. The key to this is to leave the clippers out for your cat to sniff and see.

Photo by Tony Wang on Unsplash

Part of socializing your cat should be touching their paws regularly, especially when they’re relaxed. As they get used to you touching their feet, push gently on the paw pads one at a time to extend each claw. Hold for a second and release. Do this with every claw. When your cat stops pulling away as you do this, you will know they are OK with this. Grab your clippers and a piece of dry spaghetti. As you push out each claw, snip a piece of the pasta.

Once they can tolerate the sound of clipping, it’s time to apply the clippers to their claws.

Steps on How To Trim Your Cat’s Claws

  • Holding their paw, extend the claw, and look for the pink part; this is referred to as “the quick.” It is where the vein I mentioned before is located. Just like the nail bed on a human, it can be very painful if cut. You want to avoid this part and only trim the white outer part of the claw.
  • Place your clipper, and trim off the tip of the claw. Do so quickly and move on to the next claw. Do not work too fast to avoid accidents, but try not to take too much time either, as your cat will grow impatient and may not let you finish. If they start to struggle, let them go.
  • If you accidentally cut the claws quick, dip your cat’s claw in styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. Keep an eye on them to make sure bleeding stops. If they’re too upset, discontinue and try another time.

Trimming your cat’s claws is important for their health and your safety

Trimming your cat’s claws is essential for your health, the health of other people, and your cat’s health. It is also a safe alternative to other measures to protect your furniture.

With this guide, you have learned what tools you need, how to train your cat to accept claw clipping, and how to trim cat claws.

Do you have any questions about or experience with trimming cat claws? Leave your comments below. We look forward to hearing from mew, and we respond to every comment.

Brown tabby laying on it side paw on funriture
Photo by Daniel Zopf on Unsplash

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