Selecting and Using Cat Nail Clippers

Cat nail clippers can help you keep your cat's claws trimmed to reduce incidences of injury from cat scratches and damage to home furnishings from cat scratching behavior. Cat claws can be quite long and sharp, but most cats are willing to accept having their nails trimmed. Trimming cat nails can be an alternative to declawing or using soft claws for cats. Here's how you can select and use cat nail clippers.

Consider Your Needs

There are a variety of cat nail clippers on the market, so you should be aware of what features are desirable in a pair of cat claw trimmers. Here are some of the factors you should consider when choosing cat nail clippers:

Clippers should be easy to clean. This protects your cat's hygiene and health.

Clippers should have comfortable handles. Remember holding your cat in order to trim his claws may be difficult, especially at first. Clippers should be large enough to handle easily and fit comfortably in your hand.

  • Clippers should be easy to use. You'll be using them often.
  • Clippers should be durable. Invest in a higher quality pair that will last longer.
  • Clippers should be safe. Choose the design least likely to put yourself and your cat at risk of injury.

Ideally, cat nail clippers should have stainless steel blades and handles that fit comfortably in your hand.

Decide Which Style Is Right for You

There are three different types of cat nail clippers: guillotine clippers, scissor-style clippers and human nail clippers. Knowing how these three types of claw trimmers work can help you decide which type is right for you.

Guillotine clippers work something like a guillotine. The nail passes through a metal hoop on the end of the clipper, and when the handles close, a blade slides across the loop, trimming the nail. Guillotine clippers dull often and their blades will need to be replaced frequently.

Scissor-style trimmers look and operate much like ordinary scissors. Scissor-style trimmers are more durable than guillotine clippers and their blades seldom need replaced. However, they may not be suitable for those with small hands.

Human nail clippers can be used to trim cat nails, though you'll need to be more careful with them. They can be hard to use if your cat's claws are especially large or thick.

Trim Your Cat's Claws

  • Rest your cat comfortably on your lap, the floor or on a table.
  • Encourage him to extend his claws by holding his paw in your hand and gently pressing the paw pad.
  • Hold the clippers in a vertical position so that you cut the claw from top to bottom; this prevents fraying and splitting, which can lead to nail injury.
  • Remove the sharp tip of the claw; avoid cutting into the quick, or opaque, pink part of the claw, as this can cause your cat injury.
  • If your cat becomes agitated during the trimming process, take a break and resume the process later. Focus on trimming the front claws. Most cats don't use their back claws much, and will often trim them themselves by chewing them.