How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails

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Trimming your cat’s nails not only prevents their claws from breaking or getting caught on things, but can also minimize the damage they can do to your furniture. And if your cat has ever “made biscuits” on your lap, keeping their nails trimmed will make lap time a little less painful.

Items you’ll need:

  • Nail clippers for cats (don’t use human nail clippers, as they may cause the nail to split)
  • Treats
  • A towel or non-stick pad (optional)

Step 1: Get your cat used to having their paws touched

Start by petting their cheek or head, and then, without lifting your hand, touch their shoulder, arm, and paw. Give them a tasty treat for positive reinforcement.

Step 2: Get your cat used to the clippers

Present the clippers to your cat and then offer them a treat. They’ll start to associate the clippers with their favorite snack. If they already have a negative association with your current clippers, try getting different clippers.

Step 3: Practice everything but the clip

Position your cat on your lap in a way that’s comfortable for both of you. Practice gently pressing on the paw to bring their nails out, and then touch the clippers to the nail. Give your cat a treat.

Step 4: Clip one nail at a time

Go slow, and make sure you don’t cut the quick, which is the dark area of the nail where the blood vessels are (see the diagram below). Give a treat after you clip each nail. If you’re unsure, just trim a little bit at first until you and your cat are feeling confident. If you can’t do all the nails, just do a few, and make sure to reward your cat with treats!