Cat Care

Trimming a Cat’s Nails Without Getting Clawed

how to trim cat's nails without getting scratched

Have you ever been scratched by a cat? It hurts! A cat’s nails can grow as fast as a human’s nails, but they are much sharper.

There are good reasons to trim their nails on a regular basis. However, it is not always easy. It is possible, though, to trim those nails without getting clawed.

Why should you trim your cat’s nails?

First of all, is it really necessary to keep your cat’s nails trimmed? There is much divergence of opinion about this.

A cat that spends a lot of time outdoors may need their claws for protection, and because they are not inside much, they may not need to have them trimmed anyway.

An indoor cat is much more likely to need them trimmed. Dr. Marty Becker, DVM states that protecting our furniture is not the main reason one should trim a cat’s nails.

He says that trimming the very ends of the nails can make life more pleasant for both the cat and its owner.

For one thing, they can get their claws caught in things, like carpets or fabrics. An entangled claw can cause damage to the cat’s paw, even tearing the claw off.

Decker also states that keeping the nails trimmed can protect the cat’s owner and other people.

Cats often enjoy kneading with their claws. This can be very painful to the person they love.

Trimming the very ends will make this loving gesture less painful and more enjoyable.

According to Pets WebMD, trimming should be done approximately every 10 days to 2 weeks. This isn’t so bad. After all, we do our own nails about that often.

Wouldn’t declawing be easier?

Declawing seems like the easy solution to the claw problem. Just take care of it once and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

However, the Humane Society tells us that this is not a very good solution.

For one thing, think about what it would be like for you to be declawed. It would basically mean having your fingers cut off at about the first knuckle. Believe me, you would not like this and neither will your cat.

When a cat is declawed, it can cause a lot of pain. Because of this pain, they may not want to use the litter box anymore because scratching in it is too painful.

In addition, because they no longer have claws for defense, they may start biting.

Why does a cat hate it so much?

Since humans aren’t cats, there is probably not a good answer to this question.

However, it is well known that cats don’t really like having their paws handled.

It is important to let them get used to the handling of their paws in order to make it easier to trim their nails.

Trimming Your Cat’s Nails

If you have ever looked into it, you have found many tips for trimming a cat’s nails.

Some involve simply manhandling them with the help of at least one other person.

Even with help, this may end up with one or all of you getting clawed and/or bitten.

According to the ASPCA, there are a few things that can be done to make trimming easier on both parties.

One important thing to do is give your cat time to get used to the process. These are the steps to be taken.

1- Find a quiet place where there are no distractions for your cat, such as other animals or windows. A good time to do this is when the cat is sleepy. After a meal is probably a good time.

2- After complete relaxation has taken place, gently take a paw in your hand and massage for no more than 3 seconds.

If the cat tries to pull away, gently hang on, but follow with him. When calm again, gently squeeze to retract the claw and then let go.

3- Get your cat used to the Clippers first. Bring them out during the relaxing session, along with a piece of dry spaghetti.

Bring the clippers close to the cat while massaging the paw and extending the nail. Then clip the piece of spaghetti, giving him a treat immediately afterward.

4- The pink part of the nail, or quick, is where the blood vessels and nerves are. DO NOT cut these, just the white part at the very tip of the nail. Be prepared with styptic powder, just in case you do accidentally cut the quick.

5- With your cat in your lap facing away from you, gently retract one nail and clip just the tip. Then give a treat.

If he doesn’t notice then you can do a second, but don’t do more than two nails at a time until the cat is comfortable with the process.

6- Always remain calm, even if your cat is resisting. Never trim the nails unless you are both calm, as agitation from either of you may result in cutting into the quick.

7- It is also recommended that you do not clip all your cat’s claws in the same sitting.

This video from Petco will give you a clear picture of how the above process works.

Trimming Claws of an Uncooperative Cat

Though the above process is really the best way to go, there may be times when this ASPCA-approved process just doesn’t work.

There are many other suggestions for doing it. One way is to wrap the cat in a towel or blanket, except for the paw being worked on, as in this video.

Whether or not to trim your cat’s nails is really a matter of personal preference. If you want your cat’s nails trimmed, then this gentle process will make the experience pleasant.

No matter how you do it, remain calm and treat your cat gently so that you don’t hurt him. Otherwise, this process will always be a fight, and neither of you will come out on top.

Leave a Comment