How to Cut Your Cat’s Claws

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Does your cat disappear when you get the clippers ready? Do you always wrap him in a towel or blanket so you can clip his claws? If cat licking his pawtrimming your cat’s claws is a chore and struggle for both you and your cat, this article is for you. It is possible to cut your cat’s claws without going through a big, stressful event. Experts agree that cutting your cat’s claws should be enjoyable and calm for you and your cat. Pshaw, you say? Try these tips to peacefully and calmly cut your cat’s claws. It can even be a relaxing time for your cat.

Pick a Calm Place for Clipping Time

It is best if you can start clipping your cat’s claws when he is a kitten. Start young so he will be used to it and less afraid of it. Catch your cat when he is groggy and feeling sleepy. After a meal time is a good time to choose, because he’ll be full, happy and tired. Pick a cozy chair in a quiet room. Kick out any other pets. Close the curtains to remove any distractions.

Petting the Paws

Have some treats ready for this exercise. Get your cat used to getting his paws touched. Hold his paw in your hand and stroke for a few seconds only. When he pulls away, let him. Don’t try to hold on when he resists. Switch to the other paw and do the same thing. Wait until he is still again. Hold the paw the same way again and press gently on the pad to extend the claw (one claw at a time). Let go of his paw and give him a treat right away. Do this every other day with your cat, one claw at a time. Keep those treats coming to praise him and help him understand that he is doing well, and that this is a good experience.

Getting to Know the Clippers

Now it’s time for your cat to get to know his clippers. Sit in the same chair and remove all distractions (other pets and close the curtains). You will need clippers, treats and dry spaghetti. Cut a piece of spaghetti near your cat. If he smells the clippers offer up a treat. Hold his paw and the spaghetti in one hand. Position the spaghetti so you can clip it easily with the other hand. Gently push on one of his pads to extend a claw, and then clip the spaghetti. Offer another treat.

Avoid the Quick

Before we get to clipping the actual claws, you should know about the quick, which is the pink part inside his claws. It’s pink because there are blood vessels and nerves inside. It is a very sensitive spot. Never cut this part of your cat’s claws. Clip only the white part. Cut less to avoid this area, rather than risk it. If you do accidentally cut the quick, you will need to use styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Have this nearby when clipping.

Cutting Your Cat’s Claws

You are now both ready for an actual clipping. Sit in the same chair and remove any distractions. Gently press on her pad to extend a claw. Observe the claw and locate the quick. Clip the white, sharp part of the claw, and avoid the quick. Let go and give him a treat. Do only two claws in a sitting until your cat is comfortable enough to let you do all of them at once. Offer a treat after each cut.

Once he’s used to the clipping you can do this every 10 to 14 days. If, despite your best efforts, your cat still will not let you cut his claws, you can bring him to a vet to have them clipped for a small fee.

 Photo:  Courtesy of ajbunsby via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at www.nickylamarco.com.

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