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How to Trim My Cat's Nails

Ideally, cats should be introduced to nail clipping when they are kittens to allow them to get used to it at an early age. However, this isn’t always the case with adopted pets. When cats aren’t used to nail care, it can cause them a lot of anxiety. Over time, your cat should become familiar with you touching their paw, massaging it, and being rewarded with a treat afterward. The best way to have a successful, calm, paw-dicure experience is to create the right environment and use the proper process.

How to calm cat down

Like dogs, cats get nervous around the nail clippers, and their body language can be very telling. If your cat rolls their ears back, keeps their tail low, and has constricted pupils, watch out! These symptoms signal a stressed-out cat. To help alleviate everyday stress for your cat, you can follow this guide. If your cat is feeling anxious or strung out from a catnip binge, you can give them these treats to zen them out and help them calm down.

How long is too long for cat's nails

Cats use their nails for hunting, playing, stress-relief, and marking their territory. They are a necessary evil and an important part of your pet. However, size matters, and if your cat's claws are long, curved, and resembling Wolverine’s, it’s time to trim.

How often should you trim a cat's nails

Before you begin trimming, your cat should be comfortable and familiar with the process. You can introduce clippers to them in a nonthreatening way by letting them sniff or touch the clippers and then reward them with a treat. Then, you should practice massaging their paws to stimulate them to extract their nail to make it easier for trimming. You can help them get used to the scary noise of the clippers by clipping uncooked spaghetti while holding your cat’s paw. Once your furry friend is untroubled by the process, you can start trimming regularly. If possible, experts recommended trimming your cat’s nails every 2-3 weeks. Additionally, scratching posts can help your cat-file their own nails, and soft nail covers are available to help dull sharp nails.

Steps to trimming cat's nails

Although most vets do provide meow-nicure services for a small fee, you can easily do it yourself! Simply follow this guide for how to trim cats’ nails at home. Never use human tools or products, and ensure you’re only using clippers meant for cats.

  1. Create a calm environment by sitting in a comfy chair and placing your cat on your lap. It’s best to get them post-meal when they will be a little groggy.
  2. Take one of your cat’s toes in your hand, massage and press the pad until the nail extends.
  3. Trim only the sharp tip of one nail (which is usually ¼-inch or less). Don't get too close to the quick (the pink part of the nail) where blood vessels and nerve endings are.
  4. Release your cat’s toe and quickly give your kitty a treat.
  5. No need to rush the process. If it’s easier, you can break the task into different sessions, doing the front claws first and back claws later.
  6. Some folks only cut the front claws, but it’s important to keep an eye on the rear claws to make sure they don’t get too long.
  7. Repeat the trim and treat process until all nails have been cut.

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