Nail trims are vitally important for indoor cats to protect you and your furniture as well as your cat’s overall well-being.

Unclipped nails can be painful, shred, get hooked on fabric and, especially for older cats, embed themselves in their toe pads. You should not trim a kitten’s nails. Consult your vet if you are unsure.

The recommended rate is every few weeks but all cats vary. You can generally tell when a clipping is due by a painful kneading session or when you hear a little clacking when the cat waltzes across your kitchen floor. A good sharp set of cat nail clippers are your best bet. Squeezing the toe pad will cause the nail to extend. Remember that cats have an extra “dew claw” on the front paws so they generally have a total of 18 nails. Only clip off the sharp tip and no more. You don’t have to get all 18 in one session so, if your cat gets grumpy, you can stop and try again later. Some people choose to only do the front 10 claws.

You don’t want to get close to “the quick”, which is the pink part of the nail bed.  It contains blood vessels and nerve endings and nipping the quick will cause a great deal of pain for your pet and most likely yourself. Lots of blood usually ensues. Luckily, a cat’s nails are generally clear and the quick is easy to spot.

Some cats do not cooperate well with nail trims and there are several ways to restrain or deactivate a cat but some folks find these methods distressing. Often, it is best to solicit a partner to help you. One of you can soothe the cat while the other does the clipping. If your cat particularly likes brushing, it might be distracting for one partner to brush the cat during the nail trim. It is a good idea to reward your cat after a successful nail trim. If you don’t think you can successfully trim your cat’s nails, you may want to enlist the services of a groomer. 

Most vet offices also offer these services, or, if your cat finds a visit to the vet or groomer to be stressful, you can request the service from your pet-sitting pro. Let your pro know if your cat is unlikely to cooperate with the nail trim so she/he can take appropriate safety precautions.

If you have questions about trimming your cat’s nails, feel free to inquire with us:

Sources for this article include

The Humane Society of the United States