The first trick to trimming a kitten's nails is a good sharp pair of nail clippers. We will show you what we like on your kitten's first visit to Linwood Animal Hospital.
The second trick to trimming is to make sure you have styptic powder on hand in case you accidentally nick your cat's "quick" (the blood vessel in the nail). Even the most experienced nail trimmer slips once in a while. Styptic powder can be purchased at most pet stores and pharmacies.
The third trick for a successful trim is to have someone help hold or distract your kitten. Treats are helpful to distract your kitten and also serve to make the experience more pleasant. Use plenty of positive reinforcement if your kitten is behaving. If your kitten is trying to bite or swat you, say "No" firmly and try again.
How Do You Actually Trim a Cat's Nails?
- Start by holding your kitten's toes with one hand and the nail trimmers in your other hand.
- While holding the paw gently, press down on top of the toe to extend the toenail. As the nail grows it narrows and curves over like a hook. Locate the quick.
- Cut only the "hook" or tip of the nail where it begins to curve, avoiding getting too near the quick. In white nails, it is easy to see the pink quick.
One of the most important things you can do for your kitten is to be positive, patient and encouraging. If your kitten is struggling, don't pursue the nail trim. Clip a few and then take a break. Use plenty of encouraging, soothing words and treats!
Helpful Tip: Start right from Day 1 by touching your kitten's paws and toes frequently even when you have no intention of trimming its nails. This gets your kitten used to having its feet handled. "Desensitizing" your kitten to nail trims will make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your kitten!
If you are uncertain about how to trim nails even after our demonstration during your kitten's visit, please call us at (978) 453-1784. We would be happy to teach you how.
Some owners never feel comfortable doing nail trims on their own cat and that's okay. You can call us and schedule a nail trim. Nails usually require trimming every 4 – 8 weeks depending on how short you want them and how fast your cat's nails grow.