When and how to cut a cat’s nails

Nails are a natural defense for cats. However, not maintaining them properly can cause injuries when playing with your pet or some other mishap in your furniture. Therefore, knowing how to trim a cat’s nails is essential.

In addition to the scraper that will help you exercise while cleaning your claws , you should take the routine of trimming your nails at least every 2 to 3 weeks. Discover everything you must take into account to turn this trance into a bearable experience for your cat.

You may also be interested in: Signs of pain in cats

The role of nails

Did you know that cats have 18 nails? 10 on the front legs and 8 on the back legs, the latter being the ones that wear the least. They are used to defend themselves, to hunt, to play or to communicate.

Through the interdigital glands located in the pads, when scratching they deposit olfactory marks that allow them to mark the territory and communicate with their peers.

They also resort to nails to relieve stress and sharpening them is a most pleasant activity for cats. Since they are made up of several layers, it is necessary to cut them from time to time to prevent them from splitting.

We will identify the propitious moment when we observe that they stand out at rest . As they are retractable if you do not need them, for example, when walking they should not be visible.

Preparing the cat to trim its nails

It is no secret that most cats are completely independent, they decide when they want to pamper themselves or when they want to be at their own pace. So in order to cut their nails, we must teach them from puppies to be on our lap, on our legs.

We can play with them, pamper them, anything that keeps them entertained, so that they get used to being on us and so that human contact is more natural. Cats accustomed to being on humans and the most tame, are the ones that will give us the least problems when cutting or filing their nails .

For the occasion, we must look for a moment of the day in which both the cat and you are totally comfortable. There is no use trying to cut its nails if the cat is to something else … because it will not pay attention to us and it will not be still.

Never try to cut his nails by force, because it will not work. If today is not the day, do not despair and try it tomorrow.

How to cut the nails of a pussycat

The technique to cut your cat’s nails is simple. However, putting it into practice is not always so easy, especially the first few times you have to face it.

As in other areas of training, you should not lose your cool. Be patient and talk lovingly to your pet. Remember that before learning to cut his nails you must know how to calm him down .

You should prepare it by simply stroking its legs when it is relaxed. If you see that he doesn’t want to, don’t force him. When you consider that it needs a cut and that it has been familiar with this routine for a while, take it on your lap, with its butt and its back towards you.

Take one of its legs and press one of the phalanges until one pops out. You should cut only the white area , never the pink, following the direction of the nail. You should not reach the vascularized area with the cut, because it would bleed and hurt.

Once all the nails have been cut, take the opportunity to examine the state of their pads (that there are no cuts, lumps or foreign bodies attached), as well as to please your pet with a whim.

You should always reward their good behavior with a treat or a favorite snack. In this way, the positive reinforcement will work in your favor for the next time .

  • Stay calm and do not stop petting your cat or talking lovingly to it in order to calm it.
  • Don’t force him if he’s not receptive. Find the right time, when he is relaxed. For example, after a gaming session.
  • Get it used from a puppy and progressively dedicating the first sessions only to stroking its legs.
  • Do not prolong this trance beyond 10 minutes.
  • Make your back nails quick to trim, as they tend to wear out less than the front ones.
  • Cut in the direction the nail grows and only in the white area.
  • End each session with a prize. Don’t devalue everything you can get out of your cat through positive reinforcement.


When to cut a cat’s nails?

Cats need their nails for everything, which means they use them on a daily basis. Both for your daily life and to play with us. That is why we must keep your nails well cut and filed, as this will avoid painful accidents.

The normal thing is to cut the nails of a cat every month or month and a half. That is, once every four to six weeks . If you don’t dare with the nail clipper, you can just file them down. Remember that in veterinary clinics they sell special nail clippers for cats, they are easier to use.

If your kitty has a toy-shaped nail file, you may only need to trim them when they grow excessively (watch their length), but it can be every three to four months.

What nail clipper is the most appropriate?

The scratcher and the nail clipper should complement each other, since each of them brings particular benefits from which your cat will benefit. The first will facilitate stretching while the second will help make the trance of cutting your nails more bearable .

In general, scratchers are usually made with sisal rope, although there are wicker ones, stuffed animals … You will have to pay attention to the size, age and activity level of your pet to select the ideal one.

Of course, keep in mind that the scraper must be vertical, tall, stable and with a rough surface.

  • How to make a homemade cat scratcher

As for nail clippers, on the market you have more and more models at your disposal. From the conventional scissors or guillotine, now you can opt for the electric ones .

They are very useful if your cat is especially nervous and resists trimming its nails. The novelty of these nail clippers is that they consist of a sensor that detects the presence of blood vessels, so it indicates the best area to cut.

Likewise, there are electric files and even cuts nail bleeding for pets, although we are sure that following the recommendations that we have provided you will not need them.

So now you know how to cut your nails, just remember to be patient and do it with great care.


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