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How To Cut Cats Claws Safely

Updated on March 29, 2012

How to trim cats claws safely

I used my big boy, Wolfie, to demonstrate how to trim nails on an uncooperating subject...but for once he decided to cooperate with me. He was a very good boy this time around. He usually struggles, growls and bites gently at my hands.

Thankfully cats have almost clear nails, which allows one to see where the quick ends. If you place the clippers a tad beyond that point, you will neither cause pain or bleeding when you trim the nail. If the cat refuses to stay put...And believe me them kitties can squirm out almost anything they do not wish to participate in...You can wrap him snuggly in a towel, keeping the paw free that you wish to work on. If the towel does not work, it may take 2 people, one holding the cat by the scruff and having a hand bracing the tail end while the other clips the nails.

I rarely clip the back claws on my cats, I find they don't really require it. In the video I used human finger nail clippers, but for cats I prefer to use the scissor action cat or dog nail trimmers, it gives you far greater control than the nail clippers do. Although I see now that they have nail clippers with rubber grips...I really need to get one of those, because the metal ones slip and twist in my hands.

When trimming dogs claws, it is the same as for a cat, but sometimes you have dogs with black claws. If you look at the underside of the dogs claws, you will see that from the paw out the claw is wide, but at some point it narrows and closes to a solid tip. Where it narrows and closes is the end of the quick. You can cut anywhere beyond that point.

In the video, you see Wolfie biting at my hands each time I go to clip his claws. He has done this since I got him. HE doesn't like anyone messing with his claws, and yet sometimes he will actually put his paw in my hand when we are in bed or he is resting in my lap. He doesn't like to be held but he does like to be near me and even goes so far as to climb under the covers with me sometimes. He isn't trying to hurt me in the video, he is just warning me to be careful.

It helps to talk to them and stop as often as needed to calm and comfort them. It is also best to start trimming them when they are kitten, and teaching them early to trust you. To start a kitten out, take the paws one at a time and hold it gently in your hands, letting go as soon as the kitten pulls away. Little by little the kitten will allow you to hold its paws for longer intervals. When you feel the kitten is comfortable, the next time you hold the paws, give them a gentle squeeze and immediately let go. do this every few times. Eventually the kitten will let you hold and squeeze the paw without struggling and you will be able to start cutting the nails.


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  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa

    hi there peachpurple...some cats are like that, and then it is best to let a vet take care of them. and some cats never need trimming. if they have access to a good scratching board, they can keep their own claws healthy. as they scratch, old sheaths become loose and fall off, then they scratch and sharpen the freshly exposed claw until that sheath loosens and falls off. thank you for reading and commenting...have a great day and good luck with your kitty.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    I don't cut my cat claws. She don't even allow me to touch her paws. She scratches me ! Maybe I will do that when she is fast asleep???

  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

    hi Nat...i fully expected him to give me the usual fight, but he was actually very good and it surprised and pleased me. one thing i meant to mention and forgot is the use of soft paws or claws, the rubber tip some people put on the cats claws. i tried it once, and the cat hated it, he would bite at and pull until they were torn off, also tearing the outer sheath covering with them. i happened to know that if a fake fingernail pops off and is glued back on enough times, the outer layer of nail is gone and the glue begins to sting when you apply it. the same happens to cats who tear the outer sheath off the nail. then you cause pain when you try to glue it back on again. this is why i dont approve of that method. thank you for stopping in to read and leave a comment, i hope you have a wonderful night.

  • Nat Amaral profile image

    Nat Amaral 5 years ago from BC Canada

    A very good demonstration. My former roommates used to do that with Austin while I'd distract him. You're cat was as good as he was. Thanks for showing the video. He's cute.