Trimming your cat’s nails can be a bit nerve racking when you first start out. But if you follow these simple steps and go slowly, you’ll soon be able to trim your cat’s nails regularly at home, safely and accurately. The best thing to do is to get your cat used to having his or her paws touched and played with from an early age. That way trimming their claws can be a regular, stress free activity. If your cat is older, not to worry, with some patience your cat will soon accept you touching their paws. To get your cat used to having their paws touched, try giving treats and lots of nice cheek scratches and rubs at the same time. Eventually they will learn that having their paws touched is a positive experience, accompanied with treats and cuddles. Try getting them used to lying on your lap while you play with their paws, as this will most likely be the easiest way to hold them while you’re trimming.
Next, be sure to have all the appropriate tools on hand. A good pair of nail trimmers is essential. It’s easiest to trim your cat’s nails with scissor like clippers, as pictured above. These can be purchased at most pet stores or veterinarian clinics. Be sure to replace them once the blade has dulled. You should also consider investing in a coagulant powder, such as “Kwik Stop” if you happen to quick the nail (don’t worry, accidents do happen). Lastly, be sure to have some yummy treats on hand to reward your cat and to keep the experience positive. Once you’re ready to start trimming, pick a nice quiet area that your cat enjoys and hold them on your lap. While holding your cats paw, slightly flex the nail and find the quick; the quick is the small pink point in the middle of the nail; it is the blood supply to the nail and will bleed if trimmed. With your other hand, trim off the sharp hook of the nail. Give your cat a reward and be sure to keep things very positive. If your cat doesn’t mind, trim another nail, but remember to start slow and build up to trimming a full paw and then all paws.
If you happen to trim too much off the nail and cut the quick, don’t panic, you’re probably more affected by it than your cat. Calmly locate the bleeding point; firmly press your finger against it to stop the bleeding while you get some powder ready. It’s easy to apply the powder right onto the nail with your finger, or if you prefer you can put it on a square of gauze and then apply it to the nail. Hold the powder on the nail for a few seconds and don’t pat or wipe the powder off. Make sure you’ve covered the end of the nail well. If you feel you need to apply a bit more powder that’s alright, the excess will come off on its own. After the bleeding is under control, you can continue on to the next nail if you feel comfortable and your cat is still tolerating you well.
It’s also important to remember that if your cat goes outside it may not be necessary to trim their nails. Outdoor cats need their nails intact, as a defense mechanism. Encourage them to use a scratching post if you’re worried about them scratching your furniture. If you do decide to trim your outdoor cat’s nails, be sure to not trim them too short.
Follow the link for a video demonstration of how to trim your cat’s nails https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIBK9GnliVU
If you feel that a nail trim demonstration with your cat may be beneficial when you’re first learning, feel free to give us a call and any of our technicians would be happy to walk you through the process.