Nail trimmings are an essential part of a cat’s health and wellbeing. Your cat’s nails should be trimmed every 2-4 weeks to prevent painful complications—and to save your furniture! Unfortunately this can prove to be an almost impossible task for many cat owners. Even the most affectionate cats can suddenly become skittish when the clippers come out. Our team at Anasazi Animal Clinic has a few tips for making trimming cat nails a less traumatizing experience for you and your cat.
Expert Tips for Trimming Cat Nails:
1. Purchase quality clippers.
There are a variety of nail trimming tools that you can use that are available at most pet supply stores. Look for clippers that are easy and comfortable to hold and that have a sharp blade. While it may be tempting to simply use human nail clippers, this can cause your cat’s nails to split.
2. Pets and treats go a long way.
Show your cat some love beforehand to calm her—don’t just pick her up and immediately start trimming her nails. This would be unsettling to anyone! If your cat isn’t used to nail trims, gently rub her paws so that she becomes used to you handling them. Let her sniff the clippers. Give her treats and lots of pets and praise while you do this so that she creates a positive association. You can do this for several days prior to trimming her nails until she becomes more accustomed to the routine.
3. Find a position that is comfortable for your cat.
Most cats will need to be restrained, and they will likely resist this. So you may have to try a few different positions before you find the right hold that works for both of you. If you are feeling brave, you might try placing her in your lap while holding her firmly but gently. If that doesn’t work, try a table or a couch while holding her in place. If you’re worried about scratches or bites, you can try gently wrapping your cat in a towel. This will not only protect you, but it may also calm down an anxious cat.
4. Technique is everything.
Once she is in a comfortable, secure position, you’ll need to hold her paw and squeeze gently just behind each nail to extend it. Now you’re ready to trim—but be sure to only clip the sharp tip off. If you cut too far back, you will hit the quick, which is extremely painful and can cause bleeding. The quick is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerve endings. If you do accidentally nick it, apply gentle pressure with a towel or washcloth to stop the bleeding.
5. Take a break if necessary
If your cat is squirming or scratching you, take a break and try again later. Don’t worry if you can’t trim all 10 nails at once. She may only tolerate you clipping one nail at a time. Be patient and look for opportunities where she might be feeling a little less jumpy and more cooperative.
Bring Her to Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert
If all else fails, we are here to help. Nail trimmings shouldn’t interfere with your bond with your cat. And the good news is that they don’t have to—a nail trim at the vet’s office is inexpensive and can relieve a lot of stress for you and your cat. Just give us a call and let us do the dirty work for you.