How to Trim Your Cat’s Claws

An orange and white cat sitting in a scratching post

All cats need their claws trimmed on a regular basis.

If your cat’s claws start snagging on fabric (or on you), it’s a good indication that they need clipping. A pair of clippers designed especially for cats should be used, and are available at pet stores. Never use regular scissors as they can crush or otherwise injure your cat’s claw. Since most cats will struggle during trimming, it is wise to wear long sleeves and pants, and wait until she’s sleepy. If your cat is especially reluctant to have her claws clipped, you might need someone to hold her still while you do the clipping. Otherwise, begin by holding your cat in your lap, or on the floor between your knees. Make sure there’s sufficient lighting, and that you’re familiar with the way her claws ought to look. With one arm, pin the cat to your side, taking one of her front paws in your hand. Gently press on one toe until the claw pops into full view. Clip it, being careful not to cut into the quick—the slightly pinkish area containing nerves and blood vessels. (When in doubt, trim less not more!). Repeat with the next toe and so on, until all clipping is complete. And don’t forget the dewclaws! Found only on the front paws, they’re located right about where humans have thumbs.

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