How to Trim Cat Nails Safely: Your Essential Guide

How To Trim Cat Nails
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While cats are lovely pets, their sharp claws can cause damage to belongings and even human skin. To keep your kitten’s nails healthy and avoid injury, you must learn how to trim cat nails regularly. This article from Canvas Personalized will provide a few simple pointers and a detailed explanation of how to trim cat claws without causing discomfort to either you or your pet.

How Often to Trim Cat Nails

How often should you clip your cat’s nails? The lifestyle and genetics of each cat determine the answer to this question. However, indoor cats may need more frequent nail trimming as their nails grow faster and sharper. That’s why it is important to learn how to cut cat nails properly and safely.

The Frequency Of Cat Nail Cutting
The frequency of cat nail cutting (Image: zhennyzhenny)

Indoor cats are less active than outdoor cats and do not require long nails. Some felines are pleased to keep their claws filed down by scratching on a scratching post, but others may prefer to hone their claws on your furniture, carpet, or other belongings. If you have an indoor cat, you should trim its nails every 2 to 4 weeks to prevent them from doing damage.

Nail trimming is most necessary for older cats, as they are less active and less likely to use a scratching post. Nails on a cat can become infected if they get too long and begin to curl inward toward the paw pads. Nail trimming is recommended if your cat’s claws are too long, pointy, and curved (approaching a circle when withdrawn).

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How To Cut Cats Claws
How to cut cats claws (Image: Helgy)

Prepare before cutting feline nails

Cat Nail Cutting Requirement

Before you start to clip your kitten’s nails, it is crucial to have high-quality equipment. You should gather the following supplies before trimming your cat’s nails:

  • Cat nail trimmers: You need nail trimmers with a stainless steel blade that is sharp enough to cut through your cat’s nails without breaking them. The tools should fit snugly in your hand.
  • Your cat’s favorite food
  • A clicker: This device will be used repeatedly.
  • Styptic powder: Even though we hope it never happens, styptic powder can be used to swiftly halt bleeding if you clip your cat’s nails too short.
  • Patience: Depending on how fearful your cat is and how much practice you put into it, trimming its nails could take a few weeks to a few months. After several short, simple sessions, your cat will learn to accept having its nails trimmed.

Cat Nail Cutting Tools

When learning how to clip cat nails for the first time, it is crucial to use the right tool:

  • Scissor-style nail clipper: Cat owners on a tighter budget will appreciate these simple scissors-style clippers. The blades are sharp, the handles are comfortable, and the knives are lightweight and compact.
Scissor-Style Nail Clipper For Cat Nail Cutting
Scissor-style nail clipper for cat nail cutting (Image: Amazon)
  • Cat nail grinder and trimmer: This is the recommended grinder if your cat can stand the noise and vibrations of a trimmer like it. If you are concerned about filing your cat’s nails too short, you will be relieved to know that this grinder has a nail guard.
How To Trim Cat Nails With Grinder
How to trim cat nails with grinder (Image: Amazon)
  • Guillotine-style clippers: These scissors have sharp blades and are simple to use. These clippers are great since the blades can be swapped out when they become dull.
Cat Nail Cutting With Guillotine-Style Clippers
Cat nail cutting with guillotine-style clippers (Image: Amazon)
  • Nail clipper with LED light: When you flip the switch on the handle, the bright LED illuminates the pink interior part of your cat’s claw, so you can avoid cutting too much and potentially hurting your pet.
Nail Clipper With Led Light For Cat
Nail clipper with LED light for cat (Image: Amazon)
  • Nail clippers for kittens: Kittens have tiny toes, but their nails are sharp, and they love to scratch. Therefore, a clipper for small animals is necessary when dealing with kitty claws.
How To Cut Kittens Nails With Clipper
How to cut kittens nails with clipper (Image: Amazon)

Effective tips

Human nail clippers are not appropriate for use on cats. By applying too much force, they can break or splinter the nail. Doing so risks injuring your cat and makes trimming more of a chore. You should use a cat-specific nail clipper.

How to trim cat nails at home: Step-by-step

How To Trim Cat Nails Alone
How to trim cat nails alone (Image: Getty Images)

Step 1: Make your cat comfortable

If you are beginning to use clippers and your first instinct is to trim a kitten’s nails, you are doing it wrong. Instead, it would be best if you gradually introduce your cat to its new environment over several days or weeks.

Before trimming your cat’s nails, practice holding it for several minutes on your lap in the area you intend to trim their nails in. When it relaxes, you can keep its paws lightly and chat softly with your pet to help them stay calm. 

Effective tips

The sound of cutting dry, uncooked spaghetti is similar to that of clipping a cat’s nails, so you might as well do it close to them.
Make Your Cat Comfortable
Make your cat comfortable (Image: Getty Images)

Step 2: Practice a few times 

To safely clip your cat’s nails at home, you should ensure your cat is calm and that you are as well. Begin to become comfortable with the cutters by trimming bits of raw spaghetti. It would help if you got used to sitting in the same position for an extended period as you cut your cat’s nails. If your local animal hospital will let you, you could also ask for a lesson and practice session in person.

Step 3: Arrange the place for nail trimming

Preparing your trimming area and checking the lighting are essential. First, make sure your clippers are sanitized and ready to go, and then settle into a sturdy and comfortable chair.

How To Trim Your Cat'S Nails
How to trim your cat’s nails (Image: Getty Images)

Step 4: Pick a moment when your cat is at ease

Grabbing your cat during playtime or when it is hunting birds through your living room window is not the best way to ensure it is relaxed during claw-cutting time. Wait until they are finished eating or are tired and content. Before touching their paws, always take them up lightly and pet them calmly for a few moments. Treat the situation like you would any other snuggle session.

Step 5: Extend the nail and look for the quick

Begin with the cat’s front paws. Massage and lightly push your cat’s paw pads to expose the claws and extend the nails. Never press down too firmly or aggressively since this may cause pain and make your cat resistant to trimmings. Examine the lower part of the claw for the section that appears almost clear. This area will not have any blood vessels or nerves running through it, whereas the part will be pink and referred to as a quick. Avoid clipping the quick since this can cause pain and blood in your cat.

How Short To Cut Cat Nails
How short to cut cat nails (Image: Cat School)

Step 6: Cut the nails and repeat

Trim the clear, quick-less section and continue on each claw until you are finished. It would be best if you remembered the dewclaw. This is the claw inside each front leg, farthest back from the pad. And then, continue with the other paws, caressing your cat in between and talking soothingly to them.

Effective tips

You should always have styptic powder on hand if you go too far and cut into the quick. Corn starch can also be used in a pinch.

Step 7: Praise your cat

It would be best if you offered your cat a reward shortly after nail clipping to make the experience as pleasant as possible. They will not want to go through it again if they equate having their claws trimmed with discomfort and awkwardness. They should be praised with some delectable food or their favorite toy.

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Step 8: Be patient

Above all else, it is imperative that you have patience with your cat and never punish them for not behaving. Do not rush the procedure of trimming your pet’s claws, even if they appear to be entirely at ease with it. Go slowly and steadily to ensure the accuracy and the safety of your pet. Some cats will never accept getting their nails cut and may need to be taken to a veterinarian.

Effective tips

If you are having trouble keeping your cat still, you can wrap them up in a towel or a grooming bag for cats.
Praise For Cat Nail Cutting
Be patient for cat nail cutting (Image: Getty Images)

How to trim angry cat claws

Some cats have had horrible experiences in the past, while others just refuse to be restrained. Some snarl, while others bite. So, how to trim cat claws when they hate it?

  • Cats have an incredible capacity to absorb our energies. Your cat will notice if you are scared or agitated. So the most important thing is to take a deep breath and try to remain cool.
  • Maintain as much positivity as possible. What interests your cat? It might be a favorite toy, food, or treat. Before you begin, ensure that they are available and ready.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, especially jeans, to protect yourself. Aggressive cats may struggle and scratch you.

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In conclusion, learning how to trim cat nails is a skill that no serious feline owner should be without. Canvas Personalized prepared a detailed guide to help you maintain the health and comfort of your cat’s paws. The pesky scratches will stop, leaving you with a happy cat.