Thursday, March 3, 2011

How to Trim Your Cat's Claws

By Guest Blogger Katie Tontala

You're watching tv and relaxing...and then your beloved feline jumps up for some snuggle time (how cute!). But then it happens. Your adorable ball of fur instinctively starts kneading your lap, and you regretfully think, "Why oh why didn't I trim his nails?" Nothing can ruin a pleasant moment like the feel of tiny needles in your leg!

Since declawing can bring even more challenges for you and your cat, it would benefit both you and your kitty to incorporate nail trimming into your grooming routine. So take a deep breath, grab a pair of nail trimmers and get started! It's easier than you might think.
  1. Your cat usually feels more secure when you hold him against you. As you support him with one arm, hold his paw and extend the nail with one hand while you work the trimmers with the other. (Having issues? Try wrapping your kitty in a towel and only extend one paw at a time.)

  2. Hold his paw with your thumb on top and your fingers supporting his paw underneath. As you gently press on his paw, his nail will naturally extend.

  3. Clip only the very tip of the nail. If your cat has light-colored nails, you'll be able to see where the pink color starts. That is the vein and you want to make sure you don't accidently cut it. If your cat has dark nails and you can't see the vein, you'll be fine if you just trim only the tip.

  4. If you do accidently cause the nail to bleed, just apply some styptic powder, which is available in any pet supply shop, to the end of the nail.

  5. Remember that you don't have to cut all of his nails in one session. Do a few nails at a time and stop if things get too stressful.

  6. Afterwards, give your cat a tasty treat to reward him for his patience and good behavior!

Some additional tips to make things easier for you and your feline...

If your cat isn't used to having his paws touched, try massaging his paws as you pet him so he gets more used to the idea. Better yet, if you have a kitten, start trimming his nails while he's young so he won't have time to build up a negative response.

Your vet will be happy to show you how to trim your cat's nails.

Is your cat a furniture scratcher? Make sure he has a scratching post or carpet so he doesn't turn to your favorite reading chair.

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