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How to Use Cat Nail Clippers — 4 Simple Steps

Devoted cat parents go above and beyond to create comfortable environments for their felines and ensure their furry friends are always well-fed and well-maintained. Grooming is an essential part of every cat’s life, and cat nail care is one of the hardest things about it.

Many people get nervous when cutting their cat’s claws, as cats can be fussy about the process. Some are also unsure how to properly use cat nail clippers, which may result in more stress and anxiety. Fortunately, the process is simpler than it seems.

This article breaks down how to use cat nail clippers and provides you with beneficial tips on taking care of your cat’s claws.

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The 4 Steps To Use Cat Nail Clippers

1. Choose the Type of Cat Nail Clippers

Before you use cat nail clippers on your feline, you’ll need to decide on the type of nail clippers that you want to use. There are various ones available that can help you do this job successfully, including:

  • Scissors-style cat nail clippers — These easy-to-use nail clippers are shaped like scissors and include a divot for cutting nails.
  • Pliers-like cat nail clippers — These spring-like nail clippers enable you to cut even extremely thick cat claws.
  • Guillotine-blade cat nail clippers — These sharp nail clippers function on a guillotine principle; you have to insert the cat’s nail into the guillotine hole to cut it, which may be tricky for people without experience.
  • Grinder trimmers — These electrical trimmers are efficient and can quickly help you cut your cat’s nails. However, these devices are often loud and may scare or irritate your cat.

While you can use any of these tools for clipping your cat’s nails, the best option for beginners and those who fear accidentally hurting their cats is the scissors-style cat nail clippers.

If you’re currently unable to buy these, you can also use human clippers to cut your cat’s nails, but be sure to disinfect them and ensure that the blades are sharp.

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2. Create a Relaxing and Quiet Environment

For the nail-cutting process to go smoothly and peacefully, you need to consider the setting, not just the act of cutting. Since this situation may be stressful, it’s best to create a relaxing and quiet environment where you’ll be cutting your furry friend’s nails.

Make the whole process as relaxing as possible. Put on cat-friendly music, and find a safe area where your cat can comfortably sit on your lap.

If you want to ensure that your feline will be calm during nail clipping, try to clip their nails after a meal or when they are sleepy or groggy, as that’s when they are usually the most relaxed.

man holdint cat nail trimmer
Image Credit: Tatiana Foxy, Shutterstock
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3. Hold Your Cat’s Paws

After you create a comfortable setting and have your cat in your lap, you’ll need to hold their paws to limit movement and prevent possible injuries when cutting their nails.

If you’re doing the job by yourself, you can either place your cat on a table and hold one paw at a time or put them in your lap and use one hand to hold your cat while using the other to hold the paw/cut the nail.

If you decide to restrain your feline, remember that less is more: Always apply the least amount of restraint needed to do the job. You should hold your feline firmly but gently so neither of you gets hurt.

While it’s possible for some cats to go through nail clipping without restraint, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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4. Carefully Cut the Nails

Although many people believe that it’s hard to cut a cat’s nails, the truth is that the act itself is not that difficult. While most cats will show resistance at first, you’ll notice that each subsequent nail-cutting session will be easier and easier.

The main reason people are afraid of cutting a cat’s nails is that they are afraid of unintentionally hurting their furry friend. A cat’s nails contain nerve endings in the quick area, which can cause pain and bleeding if accidentally cut. That’s why you should be careful when cutting your cat’s claws.

To make the whole process easy and injury free, follow these simple steps:

  • Apply gentle pressure to your cat’s paws so their claws extend outward.
  • Examine the nail, and try to determine the position of the quick.
  • Cut the nail a couple of millimeters away from the quick to prevent injuries.

Remember to take your time during this process instead of making it into a race, as that will cause more resistance in the future.

If your cat is extremely fussy about nail clippings, even clipping one nail a day will be a great start! You’ll eventually become better and do the job faster, and your feline will become more patient and learn how to wait out the process.

close up trimming cat nails
Image Credit: GaiBru-Photo, Shutterstock

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Additional Tips for Trimming Your Cat’s Nails

Practice Regular Nail Care for Your Feline

Cats’ nails constantly grow, meaning that felines will need a nail care routine for the rest of their life. To ensure that each session with your cat goes smoothly, you need to be consistent and practice regular nail care. That will allow you both to become more comfortable with the process while keeping your cat’s health in good shape.

You should clip your cat’s nails every 10 days to 2 weeks to prevent them from becoming overgrown and causing pain, discomfort, and mobility issues.

Do Not Declaw Your Feline

Cats love to scratch everything around them, from their toys to the furniture, as scratching is a natural instinct for them. Some people may consider this to be a behavioral problem, though, and decide to declaw their cats.

Although this may seem like a good idea, declawing is inhumane and should be avoided at all costs.

If you’re having issues with clipping your cat’s nails, you can always seek advice from your vet or take your cat to a professional groomer.

kitten nails trimming
Image Credit: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do If I Accidentally Cut the Quick and My Cat Bleeds?

Despite your best efforts and intentions, it’s possible to unintentionally hurt your feline during nail clipping. If there’s a mishap and you accidentally cut your cat’s quick to the point that it bleeds, remain calm, inspect the wound, and look for ways to stop the bleeding.

If the cut is small, simply use flour, cornstarch, or styptic powder to stop the bleeding; your cat will experience minor pain, but it should go away rather quickly.

If the cut is deep or you can’t stop the bleeding, it’s best to take your feline to the vet, who will provide the necessary help.

How Can You Make Nail Trimming More Comfortable for Cats?

Over time, nail clipping will become easier for cat parents and cats; it’s all a matter of practice and patience. However, there are many things that you can do to make the process more comfortable for cats:

  • Clip your cat’s nails in a peaceful environment.
  • Play cat-specific music to help your furry companion relax.
  • Apply the minimal amount of restraint needed to cut your cat’s nails.
  • Give your cat treats throughout the process.
  • Do not rush things; go at your cat’s pace!
  • When necessary, divide the clipping into multiple sessions, clipping one nail at a time.

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Final Thoughts

Using nail clippers on a cat may seem difficult or complicated, but it’s actually simple once you learn how to use them. After reading this article, you should now know how to use cat nail clippers to cut your cat’s nails safely and efficiently.

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Featured Image Credit: 135pixels, Shutterstock