Grooming cats is right up there on most people’s “tasks to avoid” list. Cats often let you know they are not appreciative of having their paws handled, much less their nails trimmed. But there is a good reason for handling this task.

If you would like to trim your cat’s nails, but don’t know where to start, we can help! Union Lake Pet Services has tips and tricks for cat nail clipping that will make you and your pet comfortable with the chore in no time.

Why Do Cats Need Their Nails Trimmed?

Most cat owners can attest to the fact that cat nails do a number on furniture, curtains, and rugs. This is the primary reason people want to trim their cats’ nails, to avoid cherished items being shredded by their feline companions. Sharp, pointed nails, though, serve a purpose for cats to express their natural instincts, like climbing.

In fact, you can easily redirect your cat from destroying the furniture by giving them plenty of scratching posts and cat trees. These are more attractive to most cats, and they also provide enrichment and exercise.

But there are other good reasons for trimming your cat’s nails. Nails that are too long are prone to injury, since they snag on things as your cat walks. They can be uncomfortable when they hook on everything your cat runs, leaps, and walks across. They are also uncomfortable for you when your cat wants to knead your lap or stretch out next to you. Ouch! These are some great reasons for keeping a cat’s nails tidy.

The Easy Way to Trim Your Cat’s Nails

If your cat hasn’t had their feet or paws handled, start getting them used to the sensation. While your cat relaxes in your lap, lightly touch their legs and paws. If they resist, go back to petting them. Repeat this until your cat acclimates.

To trim your cat’s nails

  1. Restrain them gently by cradling them in your arm or lap. You may even want someone else to cradle them while you trim.
  2. Using a pair of clippers designed for cats, expose the nails by softly pushing down on the joints of the paw using your index finger and thumb. 
  3. Start clipping the nails in tiny increments, starting at the very tip. Once you have trimmed the sharp point, stop there.
  4. During the trimming session, avoid the pink park of the nail, called the quick. There are blood vessels and nerves located there that can be very painful if cut into.
  5. After you trim each nail, reward your cat with a scratch and some treats.

Unless your cat is super active and scratches their nails on designated scratching pads, you can plan on trimming your cat’s nails once every 6-8 weeks, or every few months for older or arthritic cats.

If you would like further instruction on how to trim your cat’s nails, we can help you at your next visit. If you have additional questions about your cat and their overall health and well-being, or would like to schedule a grooming appointment, please contact us.