It's so easy. I can't believe the number of friends I have who want help with this simple operation. If you begin early with your cat, this is much less of an issue. Try to get your cat comfortable with you touching and manipulating its feet. When it is sitting in your lap or beside you, handle its feet even when you do not need to trim its nails. Unlike dogs (who often don't like having their feet touched) cats are usually pretty receptive to this process. I put a heavy towel on my lap before I start. This is to avoid injury to me, should the cat try to bolt. Most of my cats prefer to be sitting in a "normal" upright position. A few, are okay laying upside down. I use a toe-nail clipper made for humans. I did try many other devices before deciding that this was as good a tool as any but you should use whatever is most comfortable for you and your pet. Start slowly and examine each nail carefully. Press each pad gently between your thumb and forefinger to extend the claw. Clip the tip of the nail taking care to avoid the pinkish quick (the live part of the nail). Fortunately, cat's nails are much more translucent than those of many dogs. Usually bright daylight is sufficient to allow you to see how much to cut. With practice, you will often be able to tell by applying gentle pressure on the clipper whether it is "safe" to cut or not. If the nail feels spongy, I usually reposition the clipper and cut less. Don't forget the extra "thumb" claws on either front foot. These get no wear whatever, and can grow long enough to be a real problem. The more experience you get cutting your own pet's nails, the more you will get to "know" your cat's nails and how they grow. You will be surprised that some need very little trimming as a rule, and others are always in need of cutting. If the worst happens and you cut into the quick, have styptic powder handy to stop the bleeding. The few "accidents' I have had in thirty years of owning cats have been very minor, with the bleeding stopping almost instantly. Some people smooth the cut edge of the nail with a file. Cats have all levels of tolerance for this procedure, too. I don't bother with filing, but I do place the cat on a scratching post immediately after trimming the nails and they take up where I left off. If the cat is nervous, slow down and praise and pet it. Make it a positive experience and do not try to overpower the cat. If you can only trim the nails on one foot before the cat gets impatient, that's good enough for that session. Try to end each session with positive reinforcement: praise, petting, treats or catnip. Eventually, most cats will allow you to do the entire operation in one sitting, and many aren't even that eager to leave once you're done. Some cats are really resistant to nail-trimming. If that's the case, save the job for your vet or cat groomer or at least wait until you have the help of someone who can safely hold the cat for you. It's not worth either you or your cat getting hurt, and above all you don't want to damage the bond you have with your pet. Most of the time, though, if you proceed with gentleness and patience you will succeed.
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answered 4 years, 4 months ago
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