How to Trim your Cat’s Nails and Keep Your Skin Intact

November 28, 2017
You love your little kitty and there is no gadget you have not bought for her comfort.  She has a snuggly bed to sleep in, a self-cleaning litter box, a treat dispenser, cat grass, every cat toy known to the pet shop owner, and a variety of scratching posts.  Alas, the only scratching post she seems to enjoy is your sofa.  You have tried spraying the numerous sprays that would allegedly cause her to turn up her little nose at your furniture, but to no avail.  Unerringly, she still visits your sofa every day to sharpen her claws.  You have tried the sticky tape trick, you know the one – you are supposed to put double sided tape over the spot she scratches so that next time she tries it she will be scared away by the stickiness of the tape, but this only made her go to the other side of the sofa to get her pedicure there.  What is the cat owner to do? Trimming her nails is quite possibly the best option but how can you go about doing so and still live to tell the tale?  After all, any time that you come near her with the grooming instrument, she turns into a spitting ball of fur, claws, and teeth!

When contemplating taking on the grooming of your kitty, it is important to work up to the big moment.  Plunging right in will only cause for a traumatic experience for kitty and some cuts and bites for you.  First and foremost, go ahead and get your cat accustomed to having her paws touched and massaged.  This should be done well in advance of any grooming attempts, so that she does not associate having her paws touched with being groomed. Secondly, read up on the proper techniques.  As you may know, there is a blood vessel running inside the claw that can belled profusely when being nicked. Similarly, a wound on her claw can easily become infected since your cat is digging with her paws inside her litter box, and no matter how clean you keep your litter, there are always some bacteria lurking in there.  Thus, it is imperative that you avoid clipping too close to that blood vessel. Prior to actually doing the clipping, be sure to get out all the things you think you will need.

The most important tool you will need is the set of nail clippers.  This is not the time to skimp and buy something cheap.  Similarly, don’t use your nail clippers.  Your clippers will most likely only rip the nail and may cause some serious damage.  Instead, go ahead and visit your pet shop and invest in some heavy duty Guillotine-type nail clippers made from surgical steel.  If they come with an extra blade, this would he even better since it will allow you to remove the other blade for sharpening.  Practice using them before clipping day so you know how to hold them comfortably.  Another implement you may need is a towel to wrap your kitty in.  If she just doesn’t seem to calm down at all, it is best to simply wrap her snugly into a big, soft towel and work on her claws one paw at a time.

You may wish to enlist the help of a friend to hold on to your little feline until you and kitty can work out a routine together. Last but not least you will need a good strong light to see the blood vessel that runs though the claws.  Make every effort not to cut through this vessel!

Of course, there is no guarantee that you will succeed, and if your cat gets too upset, it is probably best to take a break for a few minutes, hours, or perhaps even days. Getting only one paw done is not the end of the world, and it is better to stop and let kitty regroup than having her traumatized to a point that she will run from you next time you unpack the clippers.  Another thing to remember is that scolding your cat will accomplish nothing. Unlike dogs, cats do not take kindly to sternly spoken words, and unlike dogs, they may fear you if you persist in scolding them. The last thing you want to do is scare your little feline companion, so be sure to trim nails with compassion and common sense!

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