How To Trim Cat Claws: Trimming Cat Claws Safely

how to cut cat nails

Being a cat owner isn’t an easy job as it requires continuous care, grooming, and pampering.

Maintaining their health, cleaning them up, and giving proper attention to their well-being is one of the few duties cat owners have to perform on a regular basis.

Another important task that many owners find hard is to trim a cat’s nails.

Like little kids, cats are also reluctant to sit calmly and undergo the nail cutting process. This often results in injuries and getting the claws trimmed the wrong way.

If you have not trained your cat since its childhood, the pet is going to show some resistance. Many times, such sessions end up with a broken cat nail or a scratched owner.

It might seem an intimidating process initially, but with the proper technique, it is quite simple.

In this article, we will provide the complete guide on how to trim cat claws the right way using the right equipment and technique.

So, let’s get started.

Step-by-Step Guide to Trimming Cat Claws Safely

Step 1: Holding the Cat in Place

The first thing to do is to hold the cat in place so that the nail trimming process can safely start.

Cats usually resist sitting in still positions for long periods as they are reactive to other environmental stimuli and like to be able to move freely.

To achieve this still position cats need to be restrained in your lap. It gets done by forcing your forearm over the cat’s neck and back, but you must still be gentle about it though.

In this way, cats don’t have the authority to move freely and won’t run away.

There are useful videos on YouTube in which cat experts demonstrate how to hold the cat when trimming its nails.

They mention that even the most timid of cats can get scratchy when the owner attempts to cut their nails.

I recommend wearing protective clothes such as a long sleeved sweater and be careful of your face, if you want to avoid any possible scars there, that is.

No need to worry though; with a little practice and patience, you can actually manage to get the job done.

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how to trim cat claws…

Step 2: The Tools to Use

To safely trim your cat claws, it is necessary to pick the right tool. There are plenty of tools that can be used to cut a cat’s claws.

Use whatever equipment that you and your cat are comfortable using.

The trimmers include:

  • Guillotine type

Guillotine type clippers is a circular enclosed tool through which the nail gets inserted.

When the handle gets squeezed, a blade slices off the undesired part of the nail. It is easy to hold especially if you are right-handed.

  • Scissors type

The scissors-type is the one that is similar in look to a mini wire clipper. The curved blades at one end come close to each other when the handle gets pressed from the other end.

  • Grinders

Grinders are tools that work similarly to a file to reduce the nail size by gently moving the tool up and down until the desired nail size gets reached.

The guillotine type is easy to use if the claws are of a relatively smaller size. Scissors type is used when the nail length is so much that it appears as a round shape almost.

All of these tools mentioned above are ideal for clipping purposes. All you need is to employ the right method for each tool and learn how to use them right.

If you overlook the precautionary measures, you may end up causing pain to the pet.

It is recommended to use the sharpest trimmer so that you can get the job done on your first try.

This not only saves time but also makes sure the cat doesn’t get scratchy.

Also read: best cat scratching post.

Step 3: Holding the Tool

If you are left-handed, hold the trimmer in your left hand, and if you are a righty, hold it in the right hand.

You need to forcefully press the clipper side that will result in the movement of the cutting blade, to get the job done.

When you squeeze the handle, the cutting blades slide through the stationary ring area.

When using the guillotine type trimmer, it must be held in a way that the cutting blade faces you.

Cut the nail from top to bottom instead of from side to side. If the blade is not sharp enough, get it replaced first.

Step 4: Trimming the Cat Claws

Once the tool is in its place, the cat is in the restrained position comes the time to trim the cat claws.

Cats have claws that appear when slight pressure gets applied on the toes, retractile type claws.

Cats have nails similar in appearance to humans as they also have a pink-colored base indicating nerves and blood vessels. The remaining white part is the area that gets cut without causing any discomfort or painful sensation.

Remember not to slice off the pink part of the nail as it will cause considerable pain and bleeding.

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be very careful not to cut too deep…

The trimmer should be perpendicular to the area that needs cutting.

If it is parallel to the claws, it will result in a cracked nail. Once the nail gets trimmed, it might have a rough tip that can get sharpened using a nail file.

Cats possess a nail on the inner side that is known as the dewclaw, it needs trimming as well because it can grow a considerable amount if left untrimmed that results in a painful sensation to the cat.

Some people end up hurting themselves or their pets when they attempt to cut their nails. There is no need to get worried about these incidents but you must always try to be very careful.

Accidents are part of your daily life, and even though you should practice utmost care while trimming your cat’s claws, any rapid movement can result in a minor accident.

If any precarious situation unfolds, instead of panicking, quickly apply a small amount of septic powder to the injured nail tip, it can reduce the chances of any infection.

Can I Use Human Nail Clippers On My Cat?

You may wonder to yourself it you can just use your own nail clippers for your cat and if doing this is a good idea.

You can use your own nail clippers, and it can get the job done nicely.

But, it is still much better to get actual clippers that are intended to be used on cats and they will fit the cats nails much better.

If you use human nail clippers for your cat, it can actually cause their claws to split and that will remain a possibility. It is recommended to get specialized cat clippers for this purpose alone.

So, you can use your own and regular nail clippers and it can work but you must be extra careful if you choose to do so.

It can save a lot of time and effort to just get ones intended for cats though.

Is it Necessary to Trim a Cat’s Claws?

Let us now address the question of why is it necessary to trim a cat’s claws.

The answer to this question needs an understanding of the shape of the cat’s nail.

When owners do not consider trimming their cat’s nails, what happens is the nail grows similar to the shape of a hook and penetrates the paw that can cause extreme pain, and is prone to infection.

This phenomenon affects the normal behavior of a cat and results in more complicated situations which could be easily avoided.

Another reason to trim cat claws is that they like scratching different furniture if not provided with a scratching pad, this can cause considerable damage to the surface.

So, in order to avoid these unfavorable conditions, it is useful to trim your cat’s nails. Many people are hesitant to cut their cat’s claws because of any pain they might cause.

But if you use the proper tools and use them according to instructions, you can ensure a safe and painless procedure. If the claw gets cut too short, you can always use silver nitrate solution to minimize blood flow and control pain.

There is nothing to be worried about especially if you follow the guide carefully.

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Should I trim my cats claws?

What Happens If You Don’t Cut Your Cat’s Claws?

Not trimming your cat’s nails can be detrimental in many ways for both you and your pet.

A nail that is left untrimmed for long periods can cause considerable pain to your cat and in the long run cause infection.

If your cat stays inside and scratches claws all over the house? It can cost you a considerable amount of maintenance as well.

It is recommended to cut your cat’s claws every 2-3 weeks in order to minimize the threat of any unfavorable condition.

The majority of veterinary doctors agree upon the act of trimming cat’s claws regularly.

One of the easier ways to trim your cat’s claws is through a human nail clipper, hold the clipper perpendicular to the nail, and press the levers that will result in the blades clip off the excess part of the nail.

However, pet owners try to get their hands on specialized equipment for the grooming of their cats and dogs, which is a good thing. These trimmers are designed to offer ease and convenience over traditional nail clippers.

This guide was written to help you find the best clipper for your pet and use it according to the instructions.

They are not very expensive and are usually included in cat or dog grooming kits available on the market.

Also read: How to train a cat?


Cutting your cat’s claws can seem like a daunting task especially if your cat doesn’t sit still.

However, this step is as important as feeding a cat the right food because it ensures not only your safety but also protects your furniture from being scratched.

Follow the guidelines outlined in this article if you are completely new to this process and don’t know where to start. The tools are easy to find and straight forward to use.

However, it is important to use them properly in order to avoid any mishap or injury.

Not only can you find the best trimmer for cutting a cat’s claws on the market, but you can also watch many useful videos on keeping the cat still and making sure you don’t hurt yourself while trimming the pet’s nails.

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Author: Cathour

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