Trimming your cat’s nails can be a challenge if not a downright nightmare. It takes patience, composure, and a lot of love. If you thought the process was traumatizing for you, place yourself in Fifi’s paws. Not only is the fuzz ball yanked away from her (or his) favorite snoozing spot, but you’re rubbing off your icky, human smell and touching her precious legs! Invasion of privacy, anyone?
Yeah- it’s not easy. Yeah- you have the battle scars to prove it. The bottom line is: you still have to take out those nail clippers. Not only are you helping the furniture stay safe and sound but, if you have other pets and children running around the house, you can prevent scratches that can quickly become infected (how do you think cats tidy up their litter boxes? We assure you, it’s not with the scooper).
As a write this, I sport numerous gauze bandages on my right hand thanks to a frisky kitty called Murphy. The incident involved rough housing and a rambunctious, meowing creature eager to play the hard way. Two days later, I was in the hospital with a nurse shaking her head in disapproval and a VERY swollen hand. Just like I became wiser from the experience, I want you, our CAPS reader, to take responsibility over your buddy’s sharpened claws (which should be used for climbing and shredding cat condos and scratching posts- not hands!).
Note: We’ll be using an imaginary cat, Fifi, as our model.
The best way to get Fifi used to the clippers is by exposing her to the idea from an early age. Gently stroke her well-manicured paws frequently and never, ever trim nails when she’s distressed- we don’t want any kitty PTSD, right? My advice: make sure the meowing princess is calm or even sleepy before you start the procedure (ninja your way to her favorite pillow while she’s drowsy from her numerous cat naps). Also, have your items nearby: clippers and styptic powder or pencil should suffice (cornstarch and dry soap are good substitutes as well- in case you were as baffled as I was by the word “styptic”).
Since many of our readers have adopted companions who are well beyond the “baby” stage, we advice them not to fret! Stay relaxed and place the happy companion on your lap, floor, or table. Since personalities vary, some moody felines might not enjoy being away from their comfort zone. To avoid adopting Scarface as a nickname, hold Fifi firmly but gently while placing her fuzzy head on the crook of one arm. Even better, ask a friend or family member to hold her or pet her while you take care of business. If you gently place Fifi’s paw on your other hand and press the toe pad, the claws should easily peek out. To make the whole experience easier for you both, have some treats nearby and reassure the confused kitty cat by petting her or talking to her softly. If she shows signs of anxiety (hissing means you’ve gone too far), take a break. Since you’re focusing on the front nails, it shouldn’t take too long. Just keep an eye out for the pink tissue on the inside of the claw (the quick) and trim halfway from its end to the tip of the nail. In other words, take a little off the sharp end. The rear nails shouldn’t be a problem since most cats take care of them on their own. If you think they’re too sharp (as in “ouch! my lap!”), trim them when you’re done with the front paws.
To prevent splitting, cut the nail at a vertical angle (up and down)- avoid using right/weird angles. If by accident you clip the pink tissue, stay calm and reassure your buddy by soothing her with pretty words, a believable air of tranquility, and a treat (wouldn’t it be nice if someone did the same when you accidentally rip your nail, exposing the painful pink area? Yeah, we thought so). The bleeding should stop on its own. A styptic pencil or powder should help in case the boo boo doesn’t heal on its own. Sill no idea what those are? Scroll up and use the substitutes.
Now that you’re done, you won’t have to worry about cat scratches or nails for about 2 weeks. Take a deep breath and go on with whatever you were planning on doing next! Oh, and don’t forget to take out the scratching post!!!!
*Some cats just won’t budge when it comes to their sharpened, pretty nails. If this is the case, visit a veterinarian or professional groomer and beg for a show and tell.