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Trimming Your Cats Nails

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Does your cat disappear when the nail clippers come out?  Do you have to wrap her in a towel to trim her nails?  Do one or both of you need to be sedated to get through the procedure?  Check out the following tips for turning your cats nail-clipping sessions into a more pleasant experience.

Setting the Mood

Ideally you should introduce your cat to nail clipping when she’s a kitten. Choose a quiet room where you can comfortably sit your cat on your lap. Some people have better results trimming the front claws by kneeling on the floor with the cat between their knees, and then holding the cat in their lap for the rear.  Regardless of which technique you decide on, make sure to plan th eprocedure for when your cat is relaxed (even sleepy). Take care that there is nothing to distract her—and make sure no other pets are around.

Make Friends with the Paw

Gently take one of your cat’s paws between your fingers and massage for no longer than the count of three. If your cat pulls her paw away, don’t squeeze or pinch, just follow her gesture, keeping in gentle contact. When she’s still again, give her pad a little press so that the nail extends out, then release her paw and immediately give her a treat. Do this every other day on a different toe until you’ve gotten to know all ten.

Get Your Cat Acquainted with the Clippers

Your cat should be at ease with the sound of the clippers before you attempt to trim her nails. Sit her on your lap, put a piece of uncooked spaghetti into the clippers and hold them near your cat. (If she sniffs the clippers, set a treat on top of them for her to eat.) Next, while massaging one of your cat’s toes, gently press her toe pad. When the nail extends, clip the spaghetti with the clippers while still holding your cat’s paw gently. Now release her toe and quickly give her a treat.

Never Cut to the Quick

The pink part of a cat’s nail, called the quick, is where the nerves and blood vessels are. Do NOT cut down into this sensitive area. Snip only the white part of the claw. It’s better to be cautious and cut less of the nail rather than risk cutting this area. If you do accidentally cut the quick, any bleeding can be stopped with a styptic powder or stick. It’s a good idea to keep it nearby while you trim.

Time to Clip

With your cat in your lap facing away from you (or kneeling on the floor with the cat between your knees), take one of her toes in your hand, massage and press the pad until the nail extends. Check to see how much of a trim her nails need and notice where the quick begins. Now trim only the sharp tip of one nail, release your cat’s toe and quickly give her a treat. If your cat didn’t notice, clip another nail, but don’t trim more than two claws in one sitting until your cat is comfortable. Be sure to reward her with a special treat afterward. Please note, you may want to do just one paw at a time for the first couple of sessions.

Clipping Schedule

A nail-trimming every month is a nice routine to settle into, but it can be performed whenever your cats nails are starting to get too long. If your cat refuses to let you clip her claws, ask your vet or a groomer for help.

What Not to Do

If your cat resists, don’t raise your voice or punish her.

Never attempt a clipping when your cat is agitated or you’re upset. And don’t rush—you may cut into the quick.

Don’t try to trim all of your cat’s claws at one time.

Do NOT declaw. This surgery involves amputating the end of a cat’s toes and is highly discouraged. Instead, trim regularly, provide your cat with appropriate scratching posts and ask your veterinarian about soft plastic covers for your cat’s claws