Trimming your cat’s nails is an essential part of caring for and grooming her. Some felines love to be held, and others just don’t. Even if your furball enjoys a good cuddle session, there’s a good chance once you break out the nail clippers she is all squirms and no help whatsoever. So how do you get the job done without traumatizing yourself and your cat? We have a few tips.
How Often Do I Need to Trim My Cat’s Nails?
If your cat is like any other normal feline, she probably enjoys her scratching post—or worse, your couch. One of the main reasons cats scratch is to get rid of the dead outer layer of their claws and expose the new growth underneath. But scratching isn’t sufficient to keep your kitty’s nails at a healthy length.
Believe it or not, your cat’s nails need to be trimmed every 2-4 weeks. That means we’re talking about 12-24 squirm sessions a year. If left to overgrow, they can begin to curl under and eventually puncture her paw pad or they might become embedded.
6 Tips on How to Trim a Squirmy Cat’s Nails
1. Pick Your Tool
There are a variety of nail trimming tools out there for cats. Some people prefer a small pair of nail-clipping scissors that have a special indent to hold the cat’s claw in place. Others keep it simple and just use human nail clippers. Whatever tool you choose, it’s important to make sure the blade remains sharp.
2. Give Her Some Love
Before jumping right in, it can be helpful to give Fluffy some pets to calm her. Once you have her in your lap, prepare her by gently rubbing her paws and speaking to her softly. If you are new to trimming your cat’s nails you may want to take a week or two slowly training her to sit still while having her paws handled. You can start by applying gentle pressure to the paw pad and allowing one claw to release. Then give her a treat. Over the next few days, work up to handling all of her toes in one session.
3. Get Her into Position
Most cats will require being held firmly while having their monthly, nail salon session. The thing is, there’s no perfect way to hold a cat. You may have to try a few different techniques before you find the right hold. First, see if she will allow you to take her in your lap and hold her paws. If that doesn’t work, try placing her on a table and lift one paw at a time. A more secure option would be resting her in the crook of one arm while holding one paw with the other hand.
4. Use the Right Technique
Cat’s claws naturally retract. In order to trim them, you’ll need to use the right technique to release them. Once she is in position, you’ll take one paw into your hand and press gently on the top and bottom of her paw until you see the claw extend.
5. Stop at the Quick
What’s the quick? It’s the pink part of the nail where blood vessels and nerve endings lie. If you trim past it, your cat will experience some pain and the nail will bleed. If you happen to nick it, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. Just be sure to have a towel handy and possibly apply some pressure to stop the bleeding. You can also apply a little cornstarch. If your cat seems too upset to continue, give her a little break and try again later.
6. Bring Fluffy to the Vet
If your fluffy friend is just not having it, that’s ok too. We are here to help. A simple nail trim at the vet’s office is inexpensive and can reduce the amount of stress you and Fluffy feel when nail trimming time comes around. Just give us a call at East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, Arizona and we’d be happy to pamper your feline.
*If you are contacting us during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can schedule your appointment into the future. At the moment we are following guidance from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and only seeing emergency patients. Here is our clinic’s full response to the pandemic*