Cats naturally scratch at objects or chew to maintain their nails. If claws are not properly maintained they can grow into the pad of the cat’s paw causing severe pain or infection. Overgrown claws are most often a problem in non-active older cats or cats that don’t groom their claws enough. To combat overgrown claws many cat owners trim their cat’s nails regularly. For other cat lovers trimming is also a means to protect household furniture.
To trim your cat’s claws you will first need some nail trimmers, styptic powder and a few cat treats. The best time to get in a trim is when your cat is sleepy and relaxed. So gather your cat into your lap and snuggle for a few minutes.
Grasp your cat’s paw between your thumb and forefinger then press gently to expose your cat’s claw. Pay special attention to the pink base of the claw. This is known as the « quick » and you should avoid trimming into this area. Ideally you should clip at the midpoint between the end of the quick and the tip of the claw. Work quickly and don’t forget to trim the dew claw located at the inner side of each front paw.
If you accidentally cut into the « quick » don’t panic. Although potentially painful this will not cause serious harm. Any bleeding will normally subside within a few minutes. If the bleeding continues dab the bleeding claw into styptic powder. If you don’t have styptic powder available you can also use baking powder, flour or a bar of soap to stem the bleeding.
If your cat won’t sit still long enough to finish all paws just clip a few nails at a time. Focus on the front paws as these tend to grow unchecked more often than the rear. After a successful session remember to reward your cat with special attention or a treat.
If your pet is particularly uncooperative you can always have their claws trimmed at the vet or groomer.