How do I trim cat claws?

You should adhere to a couple of guidelines if you're trimming your cat's claws:

1) Don't do it if you ever allow your cat outdoors. It is a bad idea to allow cats outside (see info on the life span of indoor cats), but it is even more dangerous if the cat does not have its claws. Cats need sharp claws to fight off predators and to escape by climbing trees or fences. It is not uncommon for even pet dogs to attack cats, and if they have their claws they are much more likely to survive. A good swat on the face will deter most would-be attackers.


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2) Be careful about clipping them, because you only want to get the tip. The claws of a cat contain blood vessels on the inside - if you clip too deeply, the cat will start bleeding, you will cause pain to the cat, and risk infections. It's sort of like clipping your own nails - the goal isn't to get the whole thing, it's just to shorten them a little, and, in the case of cats, make them less sharp.

You should only be clipping the tip of the cat's claws - you should see an interior that is kind of a different color - pink in most cases. This is called the "quick" of the claw and you do not want to go near it when trimming. Leave a little bit of white-colored space between where you are trimming and where the pink color starts.

What if I accidentally trim too deeply and the claws of my cat start bleeding?

Sometimes this happens. There are a couple of things you can do. First, put your finger against the tip of the claw where it is bleeding and apply a little bit of pressure. This will usually stop the bleeding in about 5-6 minutes. You can also put some flour on it if you have it, which will help it stop bleeding somewhat.

What kind of clippers should I use to cut my cat's claws?

It is possible to use regular nail clippers made for humans - BUT they have to be sharp. If you're just grabbing the ones you have in the bathroom, they may be dull, and that will not give a clean cut - it will damage the cat's claws, but not really cut them. There are specific cat claw clippers that you can look at, made especially for cats, and you can get them online at that page or you can find them in any pet store.

How do I hold the cat down?

This is the first step. You are going to need one hand free - whichever one you are best with. In the other hand, you will be holding the paws. You will want to sort of back the cat into your armpit, with it's rear pushed against you so it can't back away. This can be easier to do if you put the cat onto a countertop where it is more level with your arms. Then you just reach around the cat with your arm, so that you are surrounding it and can hold the paws in your hand.

If you've got a second person to help, then it's obviously much easier as you just have them hold the cat down while you take the paw in one hand and the clippers in the other.

Then, you do the easy part, which is the trimming. Just clip and try to get a neat, straight cut.

How often should I be cutting my cat's claws?

It depends on the cat - some of them will regrow them more quickly or won't wear them down as fast. Once a month or once every few weeks is probably about right for most cats. If you want to extend this, see if you can get your cat interested in a scratching post. That will wear down the claws somewhat.

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