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6 Cat Nail Trimming Tips

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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How many of us put off trimming our pet's nails until the inevitable veterinary check-up comes around and the veterinarian must do it? It is important to remember that untrimmed nails can cause a variety of problems including broken nails which are painful and can bleed.

A good indication that a cat's nails are too long is that her unclipped nails get caught in the carpet, furniture, or your clothing.

  1. Invest in a good pair of nail trimmers for your pet. They can last a lifetime.

  2. Make trimming time fun and not a struggle. Sit on the floor with your pet, trimmers, and Doctors Foster and Smith CutStop® Styptic Pads to stop bleeding if you knick the quick. The "quick," a blood vessel and nerves that run down the middle of your pet's nail, grows as the nail grows, so if you wait a long time between cuttings, the quick will be closer to the end of the nail. This means more likelihood of pain and bleeding during trimming.

  3. Try to trim your pet's nails weekly. Weekly nail trimmings can also alert you to other foot problems your pet may have.

  4. Tips for Nail TrimmingTrimming your pet's nails doesn't have to be a chore or unpleasant. If your pet is not used to having her nails trimmed, start slowly and gradually work up to simply holding her toes firmly for 15-30 seconds. Do not let her mouth or bite at you. It can take daily handling for a week or more to get some pets used to this.

  5. Using a nail trimmer for cats, cut the nail below the quick on a 45-degree angle, with the cutting end of the nail clipper toward the end of the nail. You will be cutting off the finer point. In cats, the quick is generally easy to see, and you can cut the excess away with one cut.

  6. If your pet will tolerate it, do all four feet this way. If she won't, take a break. And don't forget the dewclaws. If not trimmed, dewclaws can grow so long they curl up and grow into the soft tissue, like a painful ingrown toenail.

  7. See our video for full instruction and for a demonstration.
After trimming, be sure to reward your good cat with a treat. Trimming nails regularly should be a part of your weekly grooming routine with your pet. Many owners use Nail Caps after they trim their cat's nails. Nail Caps are the ideal way to protect household surfaces from scratching damage. Once applied, Nail Caps last for 4-6 weeks. Remember that cats as well as dogs can benefit from a nail trimming.
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