Although you may love your weekly mani/pedi, cats are not so thrilled to get their nails clipped. To make it less of a fight it is important to start the process when they are young. If you start young they may sit placidly in your lap, but there are those that will need to be restrained.
To restrain a cat in your lap, use your forearms draped over the cat's neck and hind-end to keep the cat in your lap. The clipper is held in the right hand.
Choosing the correct nail trimmer is important. You have to use one that is comfortable for you so try them all out. There are guillotines, scissors and a regular human nail clipper.
Close your hand around the clipper to squeeze the handle which will move the cutting blade. Cats have retractile claws so you need to gently squeeze the toe between thumb and forefinger to expose the claw.
The majority of cats have light colored paws, but even if yours does not, you need to be able to see the quick. The quick is the red blood vessel that runs through the nail. If you do cut it, it will bleed and be painful.
The clipper should be placed at an angle of the blade going from top to bottom for best control. Do not place the clipper parallel to the nail as it will cause the nail to splinter and sometimes be crushed. Use the sharpest nail trimmer for the cleanest cut. You can even finish off with a nail file to smooth the rough edges. If you notice that the blade is becoming dull do your cat a favor and replace it.
One tip is that you are less likely to cut into the quick if the blade is facing you.
Don't forget about your kitty's dew claws- they are found on the inner side of the foot. They (or any nail really) can grow into the foot if not properly and regularly trimmed.
Sometimes we all make the goof of cutting into the quick and causing the nail to bleed. The bleeding will stop on it's own within a few minutes. There is a product called a styptic pencil that will aid in stopping the bleeding, but guess what? Flour works to stop bleeding too!