how to trim your cat’s claws

how to trim your cat's claws

This post is about half useful information and half me squeeing about my adorable cats. You’ve been warned. Big Dee is the older lady with black spots, Luna the Tuna is the little ginger-spotted cat in the towel. 😀


I trained both my cats when they were kittens to get their claws trimmed. That’s really the easiest way to trim their claws, ha! But with enough bribing and coaxing you can even get older cats to cooperate for the small amount of time it takes to give them a quick manicure.

I trim their claws for a couple reasons – they tend to play a little rough with us and among themselves, and sometimes they decide the couch and other soft furnishings are scratching posts. I don’t recommend trimming your cat’s claws if they’re outside cats – they need their claws for defense! My ladies are inside-only.

 how to trim your cat's clawsThere are three major things you need for a proper cat manicure:

  1. a cat (it might be a little hard to obtain once of these once they figure out what your plan is. proceed with caution)
  2. a pair of nail trimmers (I love this pair!)
  3. a blanket or towel

If might also be a good idea to bring treats and some styptic powder.

Once you’ve gather those things, sit down on the edge of a chair and put the cat into you lap facing away from you. You’re going to have to sit them down like they’re people for this to work. The reason we’re holding them this way is simple – it allows you to keep the skin on your face and arms. 😀 You’ll be able to control their arms and legs much easier in this position!

how to trim your cat's clawsOnce they’re sitting, hold one of the their front paws and push gently at the base of one of the toes with your thumb and forefinger to get the claw to extend. (The “thumb” claw is a little trickier to get out – it takes a little more pressure and you’ll need to be slightly ambidextrous to trim both!) Trim 1-2 millimeters off the claw.

REAL TALK INTERLUDE: Never, ever cut too far down. It’s better to trim more often and cut less than cut too much and injure your cat. Have a look at one of the claw while it’s extended – see the cloudy part of the claw going from the base of the claw to a little before the curve? That’s called the quick, and it’s living tissue. That means it bleeds and hurts quite badly when nicked. Avoid at all costs!

Repeat the process with the back feet. Look at Big Dee relaxing while getting a manicure. omgggggggggggg. She’s so chubby.

how to trim your cat's clawsIf you’ve got a cat that is not excited about having their claws trimmed, or sitting in laps, or even having people look at them maybe, it’s a good idea to wrap them in a towel or blanket before attempting this. 😀

Wrap the cat firmly in a towel, leaving only their head and the paw you’re focused on hanging out.

(Lu is actually really great when cutting her claws, but she looks so cute wrapped in the towel that she got nominated to be the “bad cat”)

Make sure to give them lots of treats and pettings afterwards, especially if you had to resort to making them in a mummy-cat.




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