Sharing your home with a cat means cleaning litter, brushing out long coats, and the occasional nail trim. Helping your cat keep their nails trimmed and tidy means less wear and tear on furniture, accidental scratches, and longer lasting toys.
However, not all cats appreciate a manicure. If your cat is one of those that detest it, here are helpful tips that can help you trim their nails safely and quickly.
Choose the Right Location
Choosing a spot in your home to designate as the ‘nail trim’ spot is an excellent starting point. Select a location that is free from distractions, including any outside influences or other indoor pets.
Play with Paws
The right time to introduce your cat to nail trimming is when they’re a kitten. That’s not always a possibility, so instead, it’s important to take time introducing them to the nail clipper. While they’re relaxed, such as after a meal, gently play with their paws. Massage the paws and give the pad a gentle press to extend the nail, and practice doing this over several days until your feline is desensitized to having its paws played with. If your cat pulls their leg away, don’t squeeze or yank. Just gently pet your cat and try again. This step is all about patience, so it’s important to have plenty!
Introduce the Clippers
After your cat is used to having their paws played with, ease into introducing the clippers. While your cat is relaxed on your lap, hold the clippers near your cat. If it is curious and smells the clippers, reward them with a treat. It encourages your cat to understand that the clippers aren’t something to be afraid of; instead, clippers mean treats!
Once your cat is acquainted with the clippers, it’s time to get them used to the noise. One trick is to take an uncooked piece of spaghetti, and while massaging your cat’s paws, gently ‘clip’ the spaghetti. This will get them used to the noise, and every time you clip, gently release the paw and give your cat a treat.
Time to Clip
Now that your cat is desensitized to having their paws played with and is used to the noise of the clippers, it’s time to clip some nails!
The first time you clip their nails, have extra treats close by and be patient. Keep in mind, the first few times you try to clip your cat’s nails; you may only get one paw done. That’s completely fine, but just remember to reward your cat for every successful clip! Start by gently massaging the paw and extending the nail. When you’re ready to clip, trim only the sharp tip of the nail. Don’t trim too short or you could trim the quick and cause bleeding and pain for your cat. After one or two successful snips, give your cat a treat. Repeat the process of one to two snips and treats until all the nails are clipped.
Washington State University has a wonderful photographic step-by-step guide to trimming your cat’s nails. However, if your cat refuses to allow you to trim its nails, give us a call. We’re here to help keep your cat healthy with routine care and keep your relationship with your cat healthy, too!