Claws are an important part of your cat’s daily existence. Claws allow cats to hunt, climb, and protect themselves against predators. In fact, a cat’s claws are also used for exploration, during play, and to place marks as signs that the cat has visited a specific location. How well your cat’s claws are groomed affects your pet’s ability to use the claws properly.

Not only will you want to keep the claws clipped for your cat’s sake but also to protect your possessions from unwanted scratch marks. In general, you’ll want to trim your cat’s claws every month to minimize their length and sharpness, while also reducing your pet’s natural inclination to scratch in order to shed the outer layer of the claws. Here are seven tips that you can use to make this job easier as well as safer to complete.

Begin Slowly

Since this is the first time that you’ll be undertaking this task, you’ll want to start slowly in order not to startle your pet or end up getting scratched. The best way to begin is to play with your pet, touching her paws and seeing how long she will allow you to hold one of her paws before pulling it away from your gentle grasp. As time passes, your pet should begin to trust you, allowing you to hold her paws for longer periods of time.

As the two of you are becoming more familiar with this behavior, take the time to become familiar with the cat’s cues that she is finished playing this game. As soon as your pet becomes uncomfortable with you holding her paws, you should stop. Once you learn the cues, you can stop before your pet even has the time to become upset. Eventually, the two of you will develop a comfortable routine that allows for nail clipping.

Become Familiar with the Nails and Nail Clipper

Now that your pet allows you to hold her paws, you should explore her nails, becoming as familiar as possible with them. Cat claws grow in layers, and the oldest layer begins to shed fall off) after a certain period of time. In order to get a good look at the claws, press on the pad of one paw. The claws will come out, allowing you to see them. You’ll need to practice doing this until you get good at it, because this is exactly how you’ll get the claws to come out when you want to trim them.

The part of the nail that you will never want to cut is called the quick. Learn how to distinguish where the quick is located in your cat’s nails before attempting to trim the nails. You won’t have the luxury of having lots of time, so you’ll need to be able to figure out where the quick is easily in order to avoid accidentally cutting at the wrong part of the nail. The quick is located at the point where the clear or translucent part of the nail stops and the pink-colored portion starts. You’ll be trimming the translucent part of the nail off, while allowing the pinkish part to remain intact.

Become Familiar with the Nail Clipper

Never attempt to cut your cat’s nails with anything other than nail clippers designed specifically for cats. You’ll probably discover that you have two options – nippers and guillotines. The nippers are similar to nail scissors for humans, while the guillotine style features a sliding blade that does the work for you. Practice holding and use which ever tool you buy so that you are familiar with how it works.

Sit by a Lighting Fixture

Choose good lighting when you are ready to begin trimming, because the illumination makes it easier to see where to cut. Remember that you don’t want to cut the quick because your cat will experience pain and the nail will bleed.

Choose a Time When Your Cat Is Relaxed

A relaxed cat is easier to work with than one that is feeling frisky. Since you know your cat best, pick a time of the day when she is usually calm. For some cats, this time occurs after a meal or just before naptime. Additionally, you should remind everyone else in the house to remain quiet during the trimming session. Noise can startle your cat, making it impossible to continue working on her nails.

Work in Pairs

Whenever possible, you should find someone else to assist you. If one of you holds the cat while the other person does the trimming, the process should go much more smoothly and quickly. The individual who is holding the pet can attempt to keep the cat distracted, giving the person doing the trimming more time to get the job done. Just remember that whoever is doing the trimming must also be the one holding the cat’s paws. Otherwise, an accident is sure to happen.

Work Systematically

If you are lucky, you will be able to trim all four sets of claws in one sitting. If your pet gets loose from your grip, just remember to return to the paw that you were working on once you begin again. Your goal is to finish each paw completely before moving on to the next one. This strategy makes it easier if you have to split the trimming up into two sessions.

Clipping Feline Claws Safely and Easily

Cats need their claws trimmed on a regular basis, just like humans do. They use them for a variety of tasks, including hunting, exploring, and foraging for food. Their claws grow continuously, and can become sharp and dangerous if you don’t keep them trimmed. Before your cat will allow you to trim her nails, you’ll need to establish a relationship with her that allows you to touch her paws and nails. For the best results, you should select a tool designed for this purpose and select a quiet, well-lit place. If possible, get someone else to help you and try and finish the job in a single sitting.

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