With a little time and patience, it’s possible to trim nails without you or your pet being stressed out. The trick to getting them comfortable with the idea is to introduce things gradually, over a week or two — even longer if needed. Start by handling your cat’s paws. A day or two later try unsheathing a claw by pressing a paw between your finger and thumb. Keep progressing through the stages, repeating each activity — rewarding progress with treats and praise. This will help create a positive association with nail trimming.
If you or your pet have struggled with nail trims in the past – try starting over from the beginning. It can also help to mix up the variables: move to a different room in your house, change the style of trimmer, and reward with higher value treats. Next, it’s time to identify where to make your cuts. This is important – if you cut into the sensitive area of the nail, called the “quick”, it will bleed and be painful.
Look for a pink area inside the nail – this is the part of the nail you’re trying to avoid cutting. Past that area you should see a lighter-colored area – this is the part of the nail that’s not sensitive and safe to cut. If it’s difficult to identify these areas on your cat, no worries, just trim off the thin curved tip.
Be sure to take your time and work at a pace your cat’s comfortable with. This might mean cutting just one nail a day – and that’s totally okay. Over time your cat’s comfort level will increase, allowing you to cut multiple nails in one sitting. Cut at an angle, not straight across. After trimming to the desired length, you can round off the sharp edges with two small vertical cuts.
To finish things off, try giving the trimmed edges a nice smooth finish with a file or rotary tool. If you use something like a Dremel be careful not to get hair tangled in the spinning head!
It’s always a good idea to have clotting powder on hand just in case you do cut into the quick – baking soda can also work in a pinch. If this happens – don’t panic, everything will be just fine. Just place the nail in the powder to stop the bleeding.
After a while you and your cat will get the hang of things and you’ll be nail trimming experts – if you need any help along the way, reach out to us at your next visit and we’ll be happy to give you some more tips.