Allison's Book Bag

Cinder’s Advice: Trimming a Cat’s Nails

Posted on: May 22, 2017

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: How does one clip a cat’s nails?

Meow! Meow! After I got adopted, I felt so happy to have a new home. I also felt so grateful to my new owners. In that first week, I wanted to check out my new home and to thank my new family—both at the same time.

I tried to knead the scratchy carpet, the way I used to knead on my mom when I was just a kitten. But my claws got caught in the loops of carpet fibers. I tugged to free my nail. Then tried again to knead. But I got stuck again.

Never mind, I figured, I’ll just climb on my owners. Except this time my claws got hooked on the man’s jacket. He gently worked my claws free. I thought maybe I should just stop, so that I didn’t upset my new owners. But I couldn’t! I just felt so excited! But then my nails got hooked into the lady’s jeans.

When she put me down, I retreated to my bed. All I wanted to do was show my appreciation, but instead I felt as if I were making a mess of everything. I took a nap to figure out what to do.

When my owners woke me, they surprised me by making a fuss over my paws. I wanted to do whatever they wanted. But I also kind of felt embarrassed. Was there something wrong with me? Why were they checking out my paws?

Eventually, I found out that they were just helping me. once I got used to having my paws touched, they trimmed my nails. After that, I had a lot of fun scratching things over the next few weeks without getting stuck!

Here is how to clip a cat’s nails:

  • Most cats are nervous of having their paws touched the first time. To help us adjust to the experience, pet our paws while simultaneously petting us in our favorite spots. Sweeten the deal by rewarding us with treats for letting you handle our paws.
  • Once we’ll let you rest your hand on our paws without pulling away, this means we’re comfortable. Now you can start to hold and massage our paws.
  • Eventually, you should be able to gently apply pressure to our paws, which will push out individual claws. When you look at an extended claw, you’ll see a pinkish area close to the toe. This area is called the quick. Be careful not to trim our nails too close to the quick because it’s painful and we’ll bleed. You should clip off only the sharp point.
  • Use a pair of nail clippers specifically designed for cat claws.
  • A good time for nail trimming is after we’ve eaten, when we’re feeling sleepy and content.
  • Please remember to keep reassuring and rewarding us. We like to know we’ve done well!
nail, before

cat nail before being clipped

nail, after

cat nail after being clipped

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

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