Grooming Cats' Nails

Grooming cats' claws is an important task for any cat owner to participate in. Many owners find that it's desirable to keep their cat's nails short so that the cat cannot scratch furniture, the floors and other items in their homes. Keeping your cat's nails closely trimmed is akin to the experience that cats in the wild have as their nails become worn down from hunting and catching prey, so it will make your cat more comfortable and will reduce the likelihood of certain medical conditions.

How to Groom a Cat's Claws

There are a few things that you'll need to gather before you can groom your cat's claws. Depending upon your cat's temperament, you may need some more than others.

  • Cat nail clippers
  • Cat treats
  • Lamp or a light to see with
  • Cat toys

Calmly draw your cat to you and reassure him with gentle pets and toys. You may even wish to reward him with a treat to get him to calm down. The process of having nails clipped can be scary for cats, although most will become accustomed to the procedure within a few times and will have no problem with it. The less frequently that you attempt to groom your pet's nails, the harder it is likely to be.

Clipping the Nails

The cat nail clippers will automatically adjust to the length of the nail that is appropriate for your pet. Gently grasp your pet's paw and carefully push the claws out so that they're fully extended with one hand. Cradle your pet's body in your arms and be sure to provide reassuring words and pets. With your free hand, use the nail clippers to carefully cut away each of the claws on the paw that you're grasping. Make a clean, swift cut so that you don't have to go back to any claw more than once. Reward your pet with treats before continuing to the next paw. Done properly, a feline claw grooming session should take no more than a few minutes.

If you find that your pet is unwilling to sit still and cooperate for a nail clipping, you should speak with your vet. Many vets are willing to clip your pet's nails as part of a regular checkup, although you'll likely need to clip his nails more frequently than you'd take him to the vet anyway. You should plan on clipping your pet's nails every few weeks. You can also get into the habit of regularly checking his nails to determine how far out they've grown; if they are looking too long, take a few minutes to clip them once again.

Keeping your cat's nails properly groomed will ensure that he is comfortable, that he doesn't experience any nail infections or other medical conditions, and that your furniture and home remains pristine and scratch-free. For more information, ask your veterinarian for additional advice.