Clipping Your Cat's Claws

in Cat

Most cats abhor having their feet touched. If you acquired your cat as a kitten, you may be able to train her to tolerate having her feet handled. If not, there are other tactics that may work with the least danger of being scratched or bitten. You might have a more successful outcome if you wrap the cat in a towel. Wrap her securely, then expose one foot at a time, being careful to put the finished foot back in. For very difficult cats, go ahead and cover the head, too. This may help keep you from being bitten!

Sometimes you can get away with this little trick: Wait till kitty is taking a nap. Gently press one toe at a time to expose the claw and carefully clip it quickly without pulling on it or making any noise. If she wakes up and catches you sneaking up on her feet, and you don't get to all of the toes this time, wait a few hours for another opportunity with another nap. It's not vital to get all claws done in one session. Work within your cat's tolerance level and in time, the cat may come to accept this grooming activity.

Generally, common scissors are not the right equipment to use, as the claws are not cut smoothly, leaving them ragged. It's best to use the right tool for the job. Some higher quality nail clippers work adequately, but it's still best to obtain some clippers made for the job. Ask a groomer for a recommendation.

Please note that the claws are retractable. All you have to do to get a claw out is to press on the pad under each toe to squeeze it out of its sheath. Be careful to avoid cutting into the vein (or "quick"), which should be easy to see inside each claw. There is a pink area about half way down the claw, near the center of the curve of the claw. This is much harder to see if your cat's claws are black, of course. Just nip off the tips if you are afraid of going too deep. If you do nip into the vein, it will bleed. It's not life-threatening and there is little you can do about it now, other than try to staunch the bleeding, but it causes some discomfort to the cat and she may come to distrust you, making future attempts to groom or medicate her extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Another way to handle sharp claws is to cover them with one of the "soft claw" products, but this is tedious and not permanent. Also, if you have a resistant kitty, you will need some help... perhaps a professional groomer. Some vets are willing to apply these nail caps for you, too.

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Dr. R.J. Peters has 1 articles online

Dr. Peters has an extensive background in health care and animal care. Visit her website, for more articles and information about pets.

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Clipping Your Cat's Claws

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This article was published on 2010/04/03