While it might be difficult to get used to at first for either a new cat owner or a new cat, nail trimming is an important part of keeping your feline healthy. Without regular trimming, cat’s nails can actually grow long enough that they will curve into the cat’s paws. This is not only painful, it can lead to serious infections too. Thankfully, trimming your cat’s nails doesn’t have to be an H. P. Lovecraft horror fest with a few training tips and tricks.
- Start by training your cat to be comfortable with their paws being handled. While they’re relaxed from being pet, offer them treats while you handle their paws. Don’t continue if they become uncomfortable, and stop the treats when you stop handling their paws.
- If they already like being on their back, this is the best position to be able to trim their nails in and a great time to train them to be comfortable with having their paws handled. However some adult cats already don’t like being on their backs and will have a hard time with it, so you’ll have to find an alternative position where they’re comfortable.
- For adult cats that are already afraid of nail trimmers, help improve their association by pulling out the nail trimmers during happier times such as feeding and petting. Don’t use them at these times, but just place them nearby so that they become familiar with their form and reduce their negative association with them.
- When do you trim a cat’s nails, start with just one at a time and then give them a treat. While they’re eating, cut the next nail if you can. It helps at this point to have an assistant providing your cat the treats.
- Especially at first, don’t trim more than five at a time. This helps reduce the stress buildup from reaching the point where your cat will want to run away.
- If your cat really really can’t stand it, you can gently wrap them in a towel and trim one foot at a time. Even with this method it’s best not to go for all four paws at once. If they’re angry or stressed that will build up their negative association with trimmers and make every attempt difficult and unpleasant. However if used gently, the towel method can be a helpful training tool in the beginning for particularly skittish kitties.
- Make sure you’re not trimming their nails too far! You only want to clip off the sharp clear end, avoiding the pink quick inside which is sensitive. This is why it’s helpful to have an assistant, your cat comfortable so they’re not pulling away, and especially to have trimers that are sharp and easy for you to handle and see the nail while using.
Here’s a handy video to give you a visual overview of the process of trimming your cat’s nails,
We wish you luck with helping your cat become comfortable getting their nails trimmed! If you have any other tips or tricks, feel free to let us know! And if you’re on the lookout for a new feline best friend, check out some of our favorite cat rescues on our Community Partners page.