Just like how you need to trim your nails from time to time, your cat should have her nails trimmed too. Doing so will help them feel more comfortable, lower the chances of damage being done to your furniture, and reduce accidental scratches. It is quite simple to trim your cat’s claws. All you need is a nail clipper and a styptic pencil/powder, and you’re good to go.
Your cat may not like having its nails clipped, so it is best to do it when it is sleepy and will put up the least resistance. Keep your tools close-by so when you see it nodding off, then its time to get to work. You also have to make sure you are prepared mentally. Keep a positive attitude and most importantly, keep calm. If your cat is awake, she will respond better if you are stress-free. Now, there are cat nail clippers specifically designed for cats (which you can find in any pet store), but even human nail clippers can do the job. Lastly, you need to have styptic pencils on hand in case you cut too far and clip to the quick (the cluster of blood vessels located in the nail) because it will stop the bleeding.
There is no correct method to hold your cat when trimming her nails. For instance, if your cat is very laid back and relaxed, she may simply lay in your lap as you clip her nails. On the other hand, anxious or restless cats may need to be held down more firmly. In cases like these, you want to be firm yet gentle enough so it won’t feel threatened or distressed. If your cat simply cannot calm down, perhaps you should stop for the moment and try again later.
Start by trimming the front since it is easier than trimming the back. Simply squeeze the joint slightly above the nail to extend the nail. Next, trim only a small amount off. Especially if this is your cat’s first trim, stop here to let your cat get used to the new sensation. If not, you can try to trim more. The further back you trim, the more cautious you should get because you may clip the quick. In white nails, the quick will look like a pink streak and a dark patch in darker nails. If you have a strong light, you can easily see which parts of the nail are empty, and which houses the quick.
As you trim, you may want to reward your cat for being so patient by giving her treats and reinforcing this process as a positive experience. If you do cut into the quick – and don’t worry, sometimes even professionals do this – then apply the styptic and stop for the day so your cat can calm down. Once you have successfully trimmed your cat’s nails, give her a treat for being so good. By repeating this process once every few weeks, you can begin to establish a familiar routine and your cat will put up less resistance in the future.