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How Do I Trim My Cat's Claws and What Else Do I Need to Know?

Cat claws are naturally sharp, and can do a lot of damage to both yourself and your furniture. The best way to deal with destructive cat behavior is to understand your cat's behavior and train him not to scratch and claw at you and your furniture. However, even at the best of times, kitty can become over-excited and fall back into his natural behavior. At times like these, you'll be glad if your cats claws have been blunted.

There are three main ways to minimize the damage from cat scratching:

  • Trim kitty's claws
  • Apply a soft cover over your cat's claws
  • Cat declawing

Trimming kitty's claws is one of the best and cheapest ways to go. You basically trim off the sharp, hooked tip of your cat's claws so that they can't cause as much damage when the scratch you or your furniture. Depending on the amount you trim, you may need to do this every fortnight, or even monthly. How much you trim off every time depends on both kitty's comfort level and your comfort level. It's best to start slow, until you build up a high level of trust.

Besides trimming cat claws, you can also apply a soft cover over the claws. Normally, you'll need to apply a special glue to stick these covers over kitty's claws. Of course, over time these soft covers will come off, so you need to replace them regulars. Check with your local pet store for the best brand for your breed of cat.

Declawing your cat really means that the vet will cut off the first joint of your cat's toes. As you can guess, this is not only very traumatic to cats, it permanently prevents them from defending themselves. It even prevents them from climbing trees and other high places to escape from danger. In many cases, cat owners have reported behavior problems following this operation. Nowadays, this operation is illegal in many places.

What Is The Best Way To Trim Cat Claws?

If you are trimming kitty's claws for the first time, it is best to go to a vet. Ask him to show you how to do it right. However, here are the important steps to note:

  • Make sure you have good lighting available
  • Support kitty firmly and securely in your left arm
  • Hold his front paw in your left hand
  • Extend his claw by pressing firmly but gently on the pad area
  • Examine the claw to find a pink area - this area contains blood vessels and nerves, and is called the quick. It is critical to avoid this area when you do the trimming
  • Quickly snip off the tip of the claw with a pair of clippers
  • Repeat until you finish

If you only have one cat, you may want to schedule a regular appointment with your vet. Most vets charge in the range of $10 to $20 to do this. If you ask for regular appointments and pay for everything up front, he should be willing to give you a discount.

What Else Do I Need To Know About Trimming Kitty's Claws?

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • If your cat struggles, you can wrap him up in a thick bath towel with only the paw extended. Another way is to wait until he is asleep
  • You can use nail clippers for people, or buy special clippers from your pet shop. Note that there are different sizes, so you want to buy one which fits your cat's claws
  • Normally you hold the clippers parallel to the flat part of the claw. But if you find that this splinters kitty's claw, rotate the position 90 degrees so that it is vertical
  • Initially, only clip off the sharp tip of the claws. Once you build up a greater degree of trust, you can clip off more if you want to
  • Do only one paw at a time, unless kitty is really comfortable with the procedure
  • Usually, you don't need to trim the back toenails. It may even be undesirable if yours is an indoor-outdoor cat
  • Give you cat a treat to distract him or as a reward
  • This bears repeating - avoid the "quick"

As you can see, trimming cat claws is not a difficult task. It can really cut down on the amount of damage they do when playing with you or scratching your furniture. The first time you do it, it is best to ask the vet to show you the proper way.

Do you have problems with your cat scratching you or your furniture? Visit to learn more about cat behavior problems and how to stop your cat biting scratching you.

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