Friday, May 30, 2014

Trimming your cat's nails

Of course we all know that the best time to introduce a cat to the routine of nail clipping is when they are kittens so it becomes a natural part of their routine.


But what if you didn't do this when your cat was a kitten or an older cat has joined your home?

There are always the professionals (groomers and vets)…or with a few ‘pointers’ and a little patience, you can become a cat clipping pro!


First of all, find a location in your home where you and your cat can be comfortable, and a place with few distractions.


Choose a time when the cat is already relaxed, after a meal or ready for a snooze!  Some people even try to sneak in a clipping when their cat is asleep.

Get your cat used to having the paws touched, and gently massage them, and don’t start the clipping until they are used to the touch. 

Start with one paw at a time.  Gently take one paw between your fingers and massage for a few seconds.  Don’t squeeze or pull, let them get used to it.  If your cat is ‘food motivated’, give them a treat; if not, a nice rub or words of praise will also work.  Wrap them in a blanket or towel to keep them contained and manageable but avoid too much pressure.

When the cat is relaxed, give the pad a little press so that the nail extends out, then release the paw, give praise or a treat.

After this ‘introductory period’, it’s time to clip! (check out this 'how to video")

Have your cat sit in your lap, or on a table next to you, facing away from you.  You may want to start with a few toes initially, and not try to do all of them at the same time.

Take one of their toes in your hand, massage and press the pad until the nail extends. Pay very close attention to where the ‘quick begins’ and how much of the nail needs to be trimmed; and only trim the sharp white tip of the nail.  Many cats get used to having their paws rubbed so do it frequently, not just when you clip!

Never Cut to the Quick 

The pink part of a cat’s nail is called the quick; it is where the nerves and blood vessels are so be very careful NOT to cut this sensitive area. Snip only the white part of the claw. Clip on the side of caution, and keep a styptic stick close at hand in case you do accidentally cause bleeding.  If this makes you uncomfortable, try a little baby oil and the quick will be easier to see...and it will soften the nails!


Only trim as many nails as your cat will allow.  You don’t want them to become agitated or stressed, again to avoid cutting the quick or cause them to re resistant to the whole idea of clipping.  And of course, never raise your voice or become impatient.
It’s a good practice to keep your clipping on a schedule and if the cat is willing, every two weeks will keep those nails trimmed and tidy!  Trimmed nails are essential for grooming and for their safety (you don't want the nails to get so long that they turn into the pad area).  Not to mention how nice it is for you and your furniture!

Because cats do little damage with their rear claws and do a good job of keeping them trim themselves (by chewing them) many cat owners never clip the rear claws, or clip three or four times a year, or have them done professionally.

And if your cat does resist, there is always the vet or the groomer and everyone will be happy! 






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