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Nope, this isn’t one of those hilarious meme things on how to cut a cat’s claws about pinning a cat down and ending up needing a visit to the hospital for stitches. It is possible to cut a cat’s claws without needing to see a doctor yourself.
Before I go on, I need to emphasise that I don’t endorse declawing cats or making them wear little sheaths on their claws. A healthy and normal cat comes with claws. You can gently train them not to scratch furniture and objects (have a scratching post, make sure they are getting enough exercise and stimulation) and you shouldn’t normally need to cut their claws.
We cut Layla’s claws.
Why/? She’s older, and less active and doesn’t go outside much, and she doesn’t wear her claws down much anymore as a result of that.
So her claws are long and sharp and get caught in things which causes her distress.
With our vet’s permission we trim her front claws and this helps to keep them shorter and stops her from getting stuck when she climbs onto her chair or on the carpet, or in our clothes when she’s on our lap.
She doesn’t like it much but we try to be gentle and quick so it doesn’t distress her too much. She does swear at me in cat a fair bit about it when it’s happening though.
My Vet’s tips for cutting cat claws
Keep it calm and quick
Use a good pair of cat clippers that are designed for the job and are sharp and working properly. We use these (afl)
Gently wrap/swaddle the cat in a towel, and if you can do it as a two person job with one person holding and the other person cutting. I can actually cut her claws alone but that’s because of years of practice and I know her well and can handle her.
Gently press the pad of the paw and make the claw “pop” out. Using the clippers, trim the end of the claw. If you look at the claw you will see where the “nail” bed is and you need to stay well away from that as it’s where the blood supply is and is essentially like the tip of our fingers so you don’t want to cut anywhere near that.
Gently cut each claw. Make sure you do one clean cut and remove the loose claw.
If you do cut too close you will need to press down to stop bleeding and make sure that the area doesn’t get infected. So you do need to be very cautious and careful.
When you are done, reward the cat with a treat and make sure they are calm and ok.
If your cat is distressed and you are finding it hard, STOP. You will hurt them or they will hurt you.
It may be better to take your cat to a groomer or a vet to have their claws trimmed if you are worried you might hurt them or think your cat won’t handle it but for Layla a trip to have a stranger manhandle her would be far too stressful so we do it at home.
You should always seek veterinary advice before you cut a cats claws and make sure you know what you are doing.
And if you really need it, you can reward yourself with a treat afterward too. I find half a glass of wine works for me!