How to Cut Cat Nails?

|7 min read

One of the most tedious parts of being a cat owner is having to cut their nails. It is no less than going to war with your furry friend. But it is time to put all of that behind us. Today at Rexipets, we'll walk you through a step-by-step guide on cutting your cat's nails.

We'll talk about how often you should cut your cat's nails, why it is essential to do so, and offer tips and tricks to make the process less of a headache for you and your cat.

So, hang in there, and let us walk you through the nitty-gritty of trimming your cat's nails. Whether you're a new cat parent or just want to get better at nail trimming, this guide will help you keep your cat's claws in check.

Get ready to make cat nail trimming a breeze for you and your furry friend!

How Often Should You Cut Your Cat’s Nails?

How often should you trim your cat's nails is a very common question. And today, we'll answer that for you as well.

Typically, most cats need their nails trimmed every two to four weeks, but this can change based on how active your cat is and how much they scratch. It's crucial to find the right balance. It is important to avoid nail trim too often, but don't neglect it either.

Age is another factor; younger and more active cats who spend time outdoors or use scratching posts might need fewer trims, possibly once a month.

On the other hand, older cats may need more regular nail care. If you notice increased scratching or see long, curved, or excessively sharp nails, it's a sign that it's time for a nail trimming session.

Why You Should Cut Your Cat's Nails?

Many cat owners trim their cat's nails to prevent them from getting caught in carpets, bedding, or clothing, especially when the claws become too long. This can not only ruin your carpets, bedding, or clothing but can also harm your cat, so cutting your cat's nails is extremely important.

However, unlike dogs, cats don't always require regular nail trimming because of their instinct to scratch. It is, however, extremely important to intervene if an issue arises, such as thickening and curling of the nails into the paw pads, which tends to occur more in older cats.

One advantage of doing the nail trimming yourself for indoor cats is that you can skip the extra trips to the vet or groomer every few weeks and save a few bucks.

However, if cutting your cat's nails is challenging, causing stress for you or your cat, or poses a risk of scratches, it's wise to consult your veterinarian for professional assistance.

Trimming Tools

Various nail clippers are available for nail trims, including guillotine-style, scissor-shaped, pliers-style, and nail grinders. The key to choosing the best one is opting for the one that feels most comfortable for you, and the one your cat is also okay with.

However, a crucial rule is to ensure that the clippers are specifically designed for cats; avoid using dog clippers, which are generally bigger and less suitable for cats.

Additionally, sharpness is essential—using a worn-down pair can lead to squishing the cat's nail rather than cleanly cutting through it.

A well-maintained, cat-appropriate pair of clippers ensures a smoother and safer nail-trimming experience for you and your feline friend.

How to Cut Cat Nails?

Making sure your cat's nails are not too long is important for their health and for protecting your home from scratches. If the idea of cutting your cat's nails seems a bit scary, don't worry! This step-by-step guide on How to Cut Cat Nails can help.

We'll show you simple steps and tricks to make it easy for both you and your cat.

Let's make nail trimming a simple and stress-free routine for you and your furry friend!

  • Step 1: Set up the mood

    It's great if you can teach your cat about nail trimming when they're little kittens. But no worries if you're starting later. The trick is to do it in a calm and quiet place. It's perfect to trim your cat's nails when they're sleepy, like after eating.

    Try to stay away from windows, furniture, and other pets that might grab their attention. Find a cozy spot to comfortably sit with your cat on your lap. This way, trimming their nails becomes a more relaxed and stress-free experience for both of you.

  • Step 2: Paw holding

    Some cats don't like their paws touched, but it's essential to help them get used to it to cut their nails. Take a moment to gently hold one paw and massage it for a few seconds. Press on the paw so one nail comes out, then let go and give your cat a treat.

    Repeat this twice or thrice daily until your cat feels more comfortable and doesn't resist as much. This little training session will make trimming their nails easier in the long run.

  • Step 3: Know your Clippers

    New things can be scary for your cat. Let the nail clippers be around where your cat can sniff or check them out. You can even put a treat on them to get your cat to sniff and get used to them.

    Some cats get scared of the noise the clippers make when cutting their nails. So, to deal with this, make your cat sit on your lap and put a piece of dry spaghetti in the clippers near one cat's paw.

    Then, cut the noodles to make a little cracking sound. Right away, give your cat a treat for being okay with the noise and the paw massage.

  • Step 4: Clip-clip!

    After you've helped your cat get used to the idea, it's time to give nail clipping a try. Sit your cat in your lap, facing away from you. Hold one of your cat's paws gently and press on the pad until you can see their claw clearly. If the claw looks too sharp, trim only the very tip off, being extra careful to avoid the quick.

    Once you've finished trimming a nail, let go of the paw and reward your cat if they stay calm. If your cat is relaxed and doesn't mind the trimming, you can move on to the other nails.

    Some cats might start whining after you've trimmed a couple of nails. If that happens, stop and let them go. Always reward your cat with a treat or a special toy after nail trimming. This helps your cat see that nail trimming is not stressful and leads to enjoyable times. It might take a few short sessions to trim all their nails.

  • Step 5: Avoid the Quick

    If you check your cat's claws, you'll notice a darker pink part inside the mostly clear and hard outer layer. This is called the quick, where nerves and blood vessels are. It's essential not to cut into the quick, as it can make your cat bleed and feel uncomfortable.

    If you've ever broken a nail, you understand why cats don't like it. Instead, focus on trimming only the white part of the claw.

    It's safer to leave a bit more of the claw than to cut too close. It's a good idea to have some styptic powder nearby. You can use these to stop bleeding if you cut too deep. You can find styptic powder at most pet supply stores.

Tips and Tricks on How to Cut Cat Nails

We have a few tips and tricks to make nail trimming a breeze. Let's dig in:

  1. Practice Makes Perfect

    Before using the nail clippers, practice with your cat. Put them in the right position and gently extend their nails one at a time. This helps your cat get used to it. If you have a nail grinder, turn it on during practice, but don't use it on their nails right away. The goal is to make your cat familiar with the noise.

  2. Stay Calm

    Your cat can feel how you're feeling. If you're nervous, they might not cooperate. Stay calm, even if you have to pretend.

  3. Curate a Calm Environment

    Think about using stress-reducing and pain-relieving pheromones, like from a Feliway diffuser, to help your cat stay calm during nail trimming.

    Play soft and calming music, like gentle guitar or relaxing tunes. However, avoid music with bird sounds.

  4. Treats as a Reward

    Treats can be a great motivator. Let your cat know you have a treat, but only give it to them after they cooperate in getting nails clipped.

  5. Gentle Restraint

    Hold your cat gently. Don't use too much force. Avoid techniques like scruffing, which can make your cat stressed and upset.

    Learn to notice signs like tail twitching, growling, or panting. If you see these, take a break and let your cat calm down.

Final Words!

If you are reading this, great job learning how to trim your cat's nails!

By following these steps, you've figured out why it's important to trim your cat's nails and gotten some valuable tips. Just remember, be patient, and make nail trimming a positive time for you and your cat.

Don't forget to keep giving your cat treats and, most importantly, keep things calm. Nail trimming will be easier every time.

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