2010 20 Oct

how to clip cat claws

The claws of cats are sharp and help them to climb and to catch their prey. On occasions however, the claws can prove to be a handicap, particularly if they become overgrown, so it is advisable that you learn how to clip cat claws to avoid further cat claw problems. There is a risk that the cat can injure itself by tearing a claw which will be very painful. So it is important to check your cat’s claws regularly, to ensure that they remain in trim. Check your cat’s claws by gripping paw so the claws extend. Avoid cutting claws too short. Your pet Cutting the claws is not a very difficult procedure, but it may be better to leave this task to your vet.

  • Vets are experienced at restraining and clipping at the same time.
  • You may prefer to get someone to help.
  • Guillotine clippers make the task much easier.

The claws are formed of tough keratin, the same material which makes up our fingernails. In the cat’s case, the blood supply to the living tissue extends a variable distance down each claw, usually being visible here as a thin pinkish streak. In the case of an overgrown claw, it is important to know where the blood supply is because if this area of the claw is cut, then it will bleed profusely.

Correct Cat Claw Clippers

If you have never cut a cat’s claws before, seek advice from your vet, to ensure that they really do need to be trimmed back. It is also important to have proper tools for the task. Scissors are not suitable, simply because they will tend to split the claw, rather than cutting through it cleanly. This can be damaging. Special guillotine clippers of the type sold for use with small dogs are generally the best choice for cats as well.

Right Environment to Clip Cat Claws

Try not to stress your cat more than necessary when cutting its claws. Place your pet on a table or at a similarly convenient height, in an area of a room where good lighting is available. This is important so that you can see what you are doing. The task will be easier if you have someone to assist you, by gently restraining the cat and holding out each of its paws in turn so that you can concentrate on dealing with the claws.

  • Cat’s claws are sometimes found lying in the home. This happens when the cat has nibbled through the longer outer covering, exposing a new nail beneath. Claws are not shed in their entirety like hairs.
  • Older cats are more likely to suffer from overgrown claws because their level of activity declines with age.
  • The cat’s dew claws — on the inside of the front legs, raised off the ground — are most likely to become overgrown because they do not come into contact with the ground. If left, the nail will curl round into the fleshy pad behind, which will be exceedingly painful for your pet.
  • Take care cutting the claws of black cats. You will not be able to see the quick easily, because it is masked by the dark pigmentation of the claw.

Is cat claw clipping painful?

It should be no more distressing than cutting your own fingernails, although some cats may resent being restrained for this procedure. Only if you cut into the quick of the nail will it actually hurt your cat.

Can I do anything to prevent the cat claws from becoming too long?

Cats which wander outdoors are far less likely to suffer from overgrown claws, because they will wear them down naturally, by walking and climbing. A scratching post will help for cats housed indoors.

What should I do if the claw starts to bleed?

To help the clotting process, apply a styptic pencil (as sold for shaving nicks) to the bleeding end of the claw, or press there for a few moments.

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