Do cats hate nail trimming?
Ideally, handling of paws and nail care should be started when the kitten is young. At this age, training will be easy if one remembers to be gentle and patient.
The scratching post is an important piece of cat equipment. Kitty uses the post to scratch and sharpen the nails, but the act of scratching also helps remove dead pieces of toenails (sheath). This is how the wild cat cares for his own nails!
First baby steps–nail care means regular trims!
Start slow….Gently hold Kitty’s paw in one hand and with your thumb on top of the paw and forefinger on the pad gently squeeze your thumb and finger together. This will push the claw clear of the fur so it can easily be seen. You will notice that the inside of the claw is pink near its base. This is living tissue that you do not want to cut. Trim only the clear tip of the nail.
Do not clip the pink quick, or the slightly opaque region that outlines it. This will prevent cutting into areas that would be painful or bleed. The desired effect is simply to blunt the claw tip. Many different types of nail trimmers are available in pet stores.
If by now you’re rolling on the floor laughing because you know your cat isn’t about to let you trim her claws, here are a couple of guidelines that will help make this a possibility.
Patience and Preparation
Rushing into a full-scale claw trimming is a foolhardy move unless you’re really into operatic drama and traumatic events. As you well know, cats hate to be restrained. And they don’t like you fooling with their paws! After all, their claws are a major tool for survival, and Kitty may consider your motives suspect.
This is where preparation comes to the rescue. For approximately a week before her manicure, get Kitty accustomed to having her paws handled. While petting and soothing her, start massaging her paws, especially on the under side. Gently press on the individual pads at the base of her claws. You may want to give her treats to reward her for not protesting (or as in the case of my own cat, to distract her from doing so). The point of course, is to make the process reassuring so that she will eventually feel comfortable enough to let you handle her paws without protest. It can be very helpful if someone in the family or perhaps a friend offers to gently cradle a wiggly cat while you are focused on this exercise.
Next, be patient. Don’t attempt to trim all her nails at once. Trim one or two at a time, reward her with affection or food, and then let her do as she wishes. Cats are not strong on patience or restraint. Eventually trimming will become a completely accepted experience. The best time to trim your cat’s claws is when she is relaxed or sleepy. Never try to give a pedicure right after a stressful experience or an energetic round of play.
Your cat should be resting comfortably on your lap, the floor, or a table. Clip about halfway between the end of the quick and the tip of claw. If your cat becomes impatient, take a break and try again later. Even if you can clip only a claw or two a day, eventually you’ll complete the task. (Because cats do little damage with their rear claws and do a good job of keeping them trimmed themselves (by chewing them), many cat owners never clip the rear claws. Others trim their cats’ rear claws three or four times a year or have them done by their veterinarian or a professional groomer.
How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails
There are a few things cats really don’t like. One is being fed medicine. However, by and far, the thing that cats hate the most is having their nails and paws messed with. Unfortunately, trimming those razor sharp claws can be necessary if your feline needs to have their gripping tools limited a bit.
Prepare for the Struggle
The first step is to find a method by which to restrain your cat so he or she won’t scratch or bite. The cat’s first defense, believe it or not, will be to bite, and a cat bite can hurt like the dickens, especially on your hand. With the cat’s mouth blocked, usually with a neck cone for good measure so your feline can’t get reasonable reach, then it’s time to restrain the claws. Two methods work with reasonable success: a towel, and a special cat restraint bag. Either way, the cat needs to be wrapped comfortably so the other three paws with claws don’t get in the way with the claws you are working on. The cat bag is ideal and often used by groomers because the other paws are kept restrained and out of harm’s way, with only the target paw accessed by zipper for the work needed.
Understand the Kung Fu of Cat Restraint
The second step is to carefully hold the target paw so you can trim the nails. The cat’s normal reaction will be to pull back with the paw, with claws extended, which can produce some nasty cuts if you’re not careful. Instead, the arm should be secured at the elbow so the cat can’t pull it back effectively. This will still allow the cat to extend its claws, which actually makes it easier to trim them individually.
Plan Twice, Cut Carefully Once
The third step is the actual cutting. The nail will appear clearly as the cat gets irritated and wants to grip something. The clipper end, with cat trimmer tools, should be cut enough to make the claw a nub, but not so deep it cuts the wick. Be careful about this as the wick will be extremely painful and the cat will react accordingly. Once the cat’s nails are clipped, give them a quick sanding to prevent splits and let them retract the paw back into the towel or bag.
Don’t Lose Your Patience
Try to avoid manhandling your cat. This will cause it to fear you and avoid your company later on after too many rough treatments. Be patient, and make the nail-trimming experience a comfortable one. A calm cat will be far easier to work with than one ready to bite and claw anything that comes near it for a week.
Be Your Cat’s Santa Claus After Every Trim
Also, finally, give your cat a treat after a trim. Don’t let them associate the experience as always something negative. If the animal realizes that the trimming event also produces something desirable, it may decide to tolerate your intrusion long enough to get the job done. Don’t expect miracles, but a tasty treat often helps a cat forget what just happened and avoids associating bad memories with a given towel, tool or location.
Of course, if you don’t want to take chances and prefer to have an expert time trim the cat nails on your pet, the Junction City Animal Care Clinic is always available to help. Our team have years of experience gently handling cats and helping them maintain trimmed paws, saving you from risk of scratches as well as your house from damage. Call us to find out more and schedule an appointment!