When dealing with a cat, among the first things you will have to learn is how to avoid getting mauled. This is because mauling involves getting very close to the pet’s sharp nails. This means that most cat owners will really hate cutting down the nails of their pets. This task can be not only daunting but also painful from time to time. Although some people just choose to go to a professional groomer or even their vet to have the cat’s nails trimmed, it’s always best to learn how to do this yourself so you can save some money and time. Learning how to do this without professional help will also enable you to spend some extra time with your pet, turning it into a bonding experience.
It is very important to introduce your cat to the nail clipping activity from a younger age. This is because kittens will have an easier time adapting to it and accepting it as a normal part of life. It is also very important to do this activity, at least at first, while the cat is in a calm state, either right before she eats or while she is sleepy. You should also try to get the cat used to the sounds the clippers make before actually using them on the pet. This is because this sound is loud enough to potentially frighten some cats. The easiest way to get a cat used to the nail clipping sound is by using the clippers on a dry piece of spaghetti. To do this, just press on one of the cat’s toes so that the nail is extended, and then insert the pasta into the nail clippers. Wait for the nail of the cat to be completely out and then just clip the spaghetti. Do this while extending nails from different toes and on different paws of the cat. To make this training session even more enjoyable, try to also use positive reinforcement and treats.
Some cats might be reluctant even to someone touching their paws and if you have such a cat, try massaging and grabbing toes as a way of getting the cat used to the action before getting to the spaghetti part. Don’t ever resist when the cat starts to get reluctant and pull her paw away. What you should do instead is gently move with her and continue holding on to the paw. The nail is extended by pushing gently on the toe pad. As soon as the nail is extended, just release the grip and give your cat a well-deserved treat.
If you look closely enough at your cat’s nails, you’ll notice that the end that is closer to the paw is usually pink. This part is known as the quick of the nail and is where the nerves and blood vessels are situated. You should always avoid getting too close to the quick when cutting the cat’s nails. It’s always better to stay safe if you don’t know where you should stop with the cutting, but as a general rule, only try to cut the white part of the nail. You can even leave a decent amount of the white nail if you’re unsure, as a way of protecting the quick.
Before even starting the activity of cutting your cat’s nails you should make sure that you have all the tools needed to finish the job. Keep in mind that while dog clippers are too big for your cat, baby nail scissors could cause paint to the animal, and human nail clippers will usually not be strong enough to get the job done. This is why it is vital that you get a set of nail clippers that have been designed specifically for a cat. Go for stainless steel and very sharp blades. You should also consider your comfort, which is why a pair of nail clippers with an ergonomic or cushioned design will be best.
Get ready to start clipping and then put the cat on your lap, but make sure her head is not facing toward you. Take the toes one by one in your hand and try pressing on them gently to reveal the nails. Try to decide from the start how deep you will cut, while also leaving the necessary border close to the quick, go on with the cutting which should be done at a slight angle downwards, and then release the paw of the cat when you are done. If this goes on smoothly, make sure you give your cat a treat for good behavior. You should stop after cutting a few nails, especially if your cat isn’t yet used to the nail clipping activity. YOu can actually take on just one paw at a time, considering that cats have at least 18 toes and most of them won’t stay still for you to go through all of the toes.
The nails of a cat will always keep growing. You will have to trim them if you have a house cat, or else, they can start to grow downward, sometimes even pushing into the cat’s paw. When the paws get too long, it will become pretty painful for the cat to move around. The amount of time you can leave between clippings will ultimately depend on the speed at which your cat’s nails grow, but expect an average of around 12 days.