How To Clip A Cat's Nails

Published by Robert Baker on 29th Jul 2015

Clipping your cats nails is not the most fun you can have in an evening, but it is something that should be done on a regular basis. The best way to start this habit is to start clipping when they are kittens. Many cats will sit in your lap quietly when you do this, others will need a bit of gentle restraint.

Restraining a cat is not difficult and you can place your cat in your lap, using your arms over their neck and bottom area to hold them in place. Hold your nail clipper in your right hand (if you are a leftie you will have to reverse everything we tell you).

You should choose a nail clipper that is most comfortable for your use. There are many types including standard human clippers, guillotine clippers and scissor clippers.

Practice by closing your hand around the clipper to squeeze- you want to be confident when it is time to cut kitty's nails. Because cats have retractable claws you will need to push the claw out of the bed to be able to manipulate it.

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 perpendicular to the nail (cutting top to bottom). If the trimmer is placed parallel to the nail (cutting from side to side), the nail is crushed and may splinter. The sharper the trimmer, the cleaner the cut. You can use a nail file to smooth the end of the nail after clipping.

One tip is that you are less likely to cut into the quick if the blade is facing you.

Don't forget the dew claw. It is on the inside of each foot and can actually grow in a circle right into your cat's foot if not regularly trimmed.

If the claw is cut too short, you can use a styptic pencil containing silver nitrate to stop blood flow, although many animal object to this the styptic pencil as much, or more, than claw cutting. The black end of the stick is held to the bleeding nail and gently rotated. Even without any treatment the nail should stop bleeding in about 5 minutes or less.