AUTHOR: DR JOHN ABBASS
DVM M.Phil (Pet diseases & welfare)
There are many benefits of cat claws for our feline friends. They use these tools for various purposes including scratching, pouncing, climbing, and hunting and to defend themselves from other predators and even humans.
NOTE: Claw trimming is an essential part of cat grooming.
Here, we will throw light on some important recommendations and tips which you can implement to take care of your cat’s claws.
Why You Must Trim Cat Claws?
Generally speaking, it is not necessary to trim the claws in some cats. But in case of indoor (less active) and older cats, claws become sharp and larger with the passage of time. Additionally, these overgrown claws cause problems for your cat and you as well.
Overgrown cat claws cause discomfort and become prone to a number of bacterial and fungal infections. If you really think that your cat needs claw trimming, then it is better to consult with your veterinarian and get his suggestions.
Do Cats Like Claw Trimming?
This depends upon the temperament of cats. It is better to train cats from a very young age. However, this is a general experience that cats don’t like claw trimming. However, some cats need special restraints.
How Should You Trim Your Cat’s Claws?
TIP: Teach Your Kitten to Get Used to Having their Feet Touched.
As mentioned earlier, some cats can easily let you trim their claws, if properly trained from a very young age. But a few cats really resist and unlike this process. In that case, you must seek veterinary assistance.
A friendly or well trained cat’s claws can be easily trimmed while making her sit in your lap and facing away from you. Always be careful while trimming the claws. Try your level best to prevent any injury.
Types of Cat Claw Trimmers:
NOTE: Scissor type clippers should only be used when claws are overgrown (too long and curved). Otherwise, it is better to use standard human nail cutter or guillotine type clippers.
After applying a suitable restraining technique, hold the claw trimmer in your hand. As you know, cat claws are retractable; you need to apply some pressure on the top and bottom of the cat’s feet (squeeze your cat’s feet between your thumb and finger to expose the claw).
NOTE: Just cut the white part (easy to distinguish in cats having the light colored cat claws). Cut the claw within the 2mm of the pink strip (Hyponychium). This is also known as “the quick”. Simply, this is a live part of the nail that is enriched with blood vessels and nerves.
Any damage/cut to this area causes pain, discomfort and bleeding which can lead to serious toe infections.
NOTE: Clipper must be at the right angle to the cat claws (cut nail from top to bottom with special attention)
How Often Do Cats Need Claw Trimming?
This depends upon you. Usually, it is better to trim the claws after ten or fourteen days. Take suggestions from your vet in this regard.
What is the Difference Between Declawing and Claw Trimming?
Declawing is a surgical procedure in which the claw is removed with the all or a part of the end bone of the toe. Whereas, claw trimming is simply cutting of long nails/claws.
Basic Claw Care Tips
Maintain cleanliness: Regularly monitor the cleanliness of your cat’s claws and paws. Observe any lesion, Injury, wound, dirt and take action immediately to correct the problem.
Scratching post/board: Train and encourage your cat to use scratch posts to satisfy her scratching needs. Remember, scratching helps in shedding the outer nail sheaths and exposing the inner smooth and sharp claws. If you provide scratch posts to your cat, she will not get bored and scratch your valuable furniture.
Award Treats: It is better to award treats to your lovely furry friend every time when you handle paws and trim cat claws.
NOTE: In case of any injury/cut to the pink strip, apply styptic powder (Silver nitrate applicators) to stop the bleeding. Additionally, cornstarch can also be applied. Contact your vet, if the situation gets worse.
Caring for cat claws is a necessary part of pet ownership. It will not only save your furniture but also you and your family from scratches. A cat scratching post will reduce the frequency you need to trim your cat’s claws if they are encouraged to use the post as opposed to your furniture. For more details on why cat’s need posts and toys, check out our article titled “The A – Z Guide of Cat Toys”.