Best Nail Clippers for Cats
Cats are highly efficient predators, with sharp teeth and claws that are designed to help them survive and thrive in the wild. Teeth and claws help cats defend themselves, mark their territory, hunt successfully and help them to stay agile as they leap up trees and over obstacles.
In the domestic environment, your kitty probably isn’t using its claws the way nature intended. However, those claws are still growing – and your pussin is no doubt sharpening them. On the cat scratcher, on your furniture, on your curtains! And if they’re a snuggly lap sitter, you’ve probably felt those claws penetrate your tender skin as kitty kneads you possessively before settling down for a snooze.
You might be thinking about trimming your cat’s claws. Taking off those sharp edges can help stop the damage to your furniture – and your lap.
But what should you use to trim your cat’s claws? Is it safe to trim cat claws? How often should you trim your cat’s claws? What are some of the risks of trimming your cat’s claws?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about nail trimming, so that you can trim your pussin’s claws calmly, safely and with the right equipment.
When should you start trimming your cat’s nails?
It’s fair to say that most cats don’t like having their nails trimmed.
If you are considering trimming your kitty’s claws, this is a process that you should start when they are a baby. It will help ensure that claw trimming becomes part of their regular, expected grooming routine. If you get them used to it as a kitten, it will be easier to manage through the rest of their life.
Cats have five nails on each front paw, and four on each back paw. That’s 18 altogether. Some cats have polydactyly, which is a congenital condition where extra toes and nails grow on each paw. It won’t affect your cat so you can still trim these nails in the same way.
How do you trim a cat’s claws?
It’s important to get your cat used to being handled before you begin trimming their nails. Following a simple step-by-step process can make this easier for everyone involved!
1) Accustom your cat to the procedure - Be Gentle!
Get your cat used to having their feet touched. When your cat is still a kitten, regularly touch and handle their paws gently while you’re grooming and patting them. Make sure you gently spread out their toes and push on their pads lightly. This will help them get used to the feeling of you touching their feet. You can try doing just one foot at a time.
If kitty pulls back her paw, follow the movement gently with your hand – don’t pull the paw back to where you want it. You need to reassure the cat that it’s ok for her paw to be in your hand. And some kitties have ticklish feet, just like people, so be patient! Don’t ever deliberately tickle the paws – that’s just as horrible for them as it is when someone does it to you.
2) Ensure your cat is okay with having her feet touched
Get your cat used to the sound of the nail clipper. Once your kitty is ok with having their feet touched, you can introduce the sound of the nail clipper. When you have your pussin in your lap, put a piece of uncooked spaghetti next to a foot. Press your cat’s foot gently and then clip the spaghetti at the same time, so that your cat hears the “click” of the clippers as her foot is being touched. Because you’re only clipping spaghetti, this won’t be threatening. Then let go of the foot and give kitty a treat!
3) Only cut the white part - never pink!
Only clip the white part of the claw – NEVER the pink part. After a week (or a few weeks, depending on how brave your pet is) your cat will be used to you touching their paws and to the sound of the clippers. You can start to actually clip the claws.
Choose a quiet room with a chair where you can sit comfortably and gently grip your kitty. You should only take off the top millimeter of the claw – the very tiny sharp tip at the end. You shouldn’t clip the claw any more than this. Your aim is just to blunt the claw, not remove much more of it. Just do one paw at a time until your cat is used to the clipping and understands that there isn’t anything to worry about. And administer treats afterwards so your cat knows there is something to look forward to at the end of the process!
NEVER clip the pink part at the base of the nail, as this is where the blood supply and nerves are located. Clipping to here will seriously hurt your cat, and they will bleed. You may well never be able to clip their claws again.
4) Clip regularly, but not too often.
Clip the nails regularly, but not too often. You can trim your cat’s front claws around every three-four weeks. Back nails tend to blunt much more quickly than those on the front paw – when you see your cat scratch, they’re usually sharpening just the front paws. So back claws can be trimmed approximately once every two-to-three months.
Are there alternatives to nail trimming?
Some people discuss declawing as a way of managing the scratching issue. We would never recommend declawing your cat under any circumstance.
Declawingis an horrific practice that is still legal in the US although it has been banned from many other countries around the world for years. In effect, it is actually a mutilation of your cat’s feet. Declawing does not simply remove a claw as you might think – it is an invasive surgery that removes the entire last bone in your cat’s toes. Imagine it as being the same as removing the top joints of all your fingers.
Declawing is intensely painful and can result in lifelong physical and behavioral problems for your beloved pet. You only have to check YouTube to see some of the stomach-turning results of declawing gone wrong.
What kind of nail clippers should you use to trim your cat’s claws?
It’s best to choose a nail clipper that is specially designed for cats. These clippers have a unique shape that works specifically on cat claws, and it will be more comfortable for you cat. It isn’t recommended to trim your cat’s claws with human nail scissors.
Best Cat Nail Clippers on Amazon
Here are three different products that you can consider when you’re thinking about trimming your cat’s nails.
Zen Clipper is a larger clipper that can be safely used for adult cats as well as kittens. These clippers have an excellent design feature that only allows the very sharp tip of the nail into the cutting area, reducing the chance of accidentally cutting too far into the nail and hurting your cat. It has a sharp cutting blade that won’t crush the nail. Size #2 will work for most cats, and Size #3 is specially designed for adult kitties.
JW Pet Company Gripsoft Nail Clipper
JW Pet Company GripSoft Nail Clipper in small. This nail clipper is specially designed for cat nails. It has a secure rubber handle that’s non-slip, so it makes it easier to hold and use on your kitty. These clippers won’t split the nail like some other brands.
Whister Wishes Veterinarian Grade Pet Clippers
Whisker Wishes Veterinarian Grade Pet Clippers are a small, easy-to-handle nail clipper that is veterinarian grade. It works for left-handers as well as right-handers, so it can be a great option if you’re a southpaw and struggle with standard right-handed blade shears! Solid rubber grips limit the chances of slipping.