Find out how to keep your cat’s nails in perfect condition with this easy guide in just 5 steps.
How to trim a cat’s nails? Everything you need to keep in mind
Knowing how to cut a cat’s nails is important because, although it is a fairly simple procedure, there are a number of issues that you should take into account to avoid hurting your furry, that both are safe and no problems arise.
And it is that cutting the nails incorrectly, especially if it is a cat a little fearful or apprehensive, can make you take bites or scratches, that you get frustrated and shout … In short, it can be not only painful, but also harmful to your bond.
In addition, in relation to cat nails, it is common to have doubts. For example, when is it necessary to cut their nails? Is it good to do or can it harm them in some way? Can it be advisable to start cutting their nails when they are still puppies?
In this article we will answer all these questions and, of course, we will explain how to cut a cat’s nails safely and following a few easy steps. If you want to learn a little more about how to take care of your best friend in this regard, read on.
Is it good to trim a cat’s nails?
This is the first question and it makes perfect sense: why might it be necessary to trim a cat’s nails? Don’t they take care to keep them in good condition?
The truth is that yes, so it is in most cases. Of course, stray and feral cats, for example, nobody cuts their nails and that is not a problem.
The reason is that the nails of these cats naturally wear out more than those of domestic specimens. Cats that live in the wild hunt, scratch the surfaces that surround them, walk through terrain that is often hard and irregular … And all this keeps the growth of your nails under control.
Domestic cats wear their nails with scrapers, trees, walls and, if they have no choice and are not corrected, even with home furniture. Normally this is usually enough and, if so, there is no need to cut the cat’s nails.
But there are times when wear is not enough and the cat’s nails grow larger than they should.
This can be due to many reasons: the cat may not like the scratcher, perhaps because of its age or because it is sick it can no longer scratch as before, etc. There may also be specimens whose nails simply grow faster than others.
In cases like these, yes: cutting the cat’s nails (always with care and moderation) will be not only good for him, but also necessary.
What problems can cause the cat too long nails?
- They can get caught on carpets, sofas and similar surfaces. If the cat gets nervous and stretches, it might pull out a fingernail.
- It is easy for the cat to hurt itself by grooming itself or to do it to you simply by climbing on your legs or while playing.
- The longer the nails, the easier it is for them to break, splinter or grow poorly.
- They can get stuck in the pads, which leads to inflammation and very painful infections.
When and with what to cut a cat’s nails?
When and how often may it be necessary to cut them?
Now that you know that sometimes it may be necessary to cut the cat’s nails, the next question is: how do you know when that time has come?
The simplest thing is to look at your cat’s paws. As you may already know, the nails of these animals are retractable, that is, they can take them out and hide them at will. If your nails are a normal length, you shouldn’t be able to see anything or almost nothing of them when they’re inside your fingers.
That’s the key to knowing when your cat may need a cut: whenever you check that it is possible to see a piece of the nails even though the cat has them retracted. If they are very long, you may even hear how they brush the ground (a soft “clac clac”) when the feline walks around the house.
The behavior of the cat can also indicate that the time has come to cut his nails, because if he feels them very long and is uncomfortable he is likely to start scratching obsessively with everything around him.
A cat’s first nail trimming can be done as early as two weeks old. In fact, it should be noted that if the animal gets used to this process since it is small, it will usually not resist or be aggressive.
As for the frequency of the cuts, the truth is that there is no exact calculation: it depends on each cat. As a guideline, we recommend checking your cat’s paws at least once a month, or every two months.
What you need to cut your cat’s nails
When you wonder how to cut a cat’s nails, another important question is what tools to use.
You really only need one: specific scissors for cats, which are designed to cut their nails simply and effectively. Never use other types of scissors, human nail clippers, or similar utensils, as you could do a lot of harm to your cat.
It is also recommended that you buy styptic powder for pets, a product that has a powerful coagulation effect. It will help you a lot if you overdo it when cutting and your cat suffers a hemorrhage.
How to trim a cat’s nails in just 6 steps
Now it’s time to explain how to cut a cat’s nails step by step and easily. This is the process we recommend you follow:
- The first thing is to hold the cat. You can do it yourself or ask someone else for help. If you think your cat might resist or be aggressive, try wrapping him carefully in a towel.
- Take the leg you want to start on and gently press the first finger so that the nail, which you already know is retractable, comes out.
- Now look at the nail. You will see that it has two parts: an outer one, narrow and curved in the form of a claw, and an inner one, thicker and with a pink or dark colored line. You should cut only the outer part, since the area with the pink line is the vascularized tissue.
- Make a cut of between 1 and 2 millimeters. Keep the scissors in a horizontal position and make sure the cut is flat to reduce the risk of rubbing the vein.
- If you accidentally cut the vascularized tissue and the cat begins to bleed, stay calm and insert its paw into the styptic powder until the bleeding stops.
- Repeat the process with all other nails.
5 tips to make it easier for you to cut your nails
- Try to familiarize the cat with scissors before the first cut. Show them several times, put them close, allow them to smell … And accompany those moments with your favorite trinkets.
- Also get him used to handling his paws and nails. Touch them gently, caress them…
- It accompanies the nail cuts of trinkets, pampering, affectionate words, etc. Be careful and respectful at all times. This will make it much easier.
- Never yell at your cat or scold or punish him. You wouldn’t accomplish anything except to make you scared and feel even more anxious when the next cut comes.
- Finally, if your cat is very aggressive or lives the moments of nail cutting with special anxiety, do not force him. It’s best to take him to your vet and let him take care of it.