Monday, April 4, 2016

Clipping a Cat's Claws

Clipping a cat's claws should be part of your cat's regular care. Do you clip your kitty's claws? It's not easy, but it can be done.

Clipping a Cat's Claws

I shared pictures, above, of Monsieur Pierre. He is our oldest cat and the second cat that I have ever owned.

He's also an absolute couch potato...most of the time. When he hears the drawer open where we keep the kitty toenail clippers (people-sized clippers we reserve just for the cats) he turns into a demonic, crazy, fire breathing, bucking bronco cat.

All of this stems from when he was a mere 8 weeks old. His tiny little claws were so sharp that we were all getting scratched. We asked our veterinarian if we could clip Pierre's claws, and Dr. Gates said, "Sure, absolutely!"  So I held Pierre and Hubby snipped the nails. Hubby had years of practice clipping cat claws from our old, dearly departed cat, Baloo. Baloo was a black cat and clipping her jet black nails was difficult but Hubby always did a fine job.

That is, until Pierre.

Then the unthinkable happened. Tiny kitten Pierre squirmed...and we clipped one tiny back toenail too short. One. Tiny. Toe. It bled. It bled a little, but we stopped the bleeding.

You would have thought we tried to amputate his entire leg.

Since then, Pierre has never, ever forgotten the moment. Eight years have passed. No matter. It could have been yesterday.

In his mind, toenails are never to be clipped. End of story.

Or...not quite.

Clipnosis and Nail Clipping

I shared the video I found of a technique called clipnosis. Clipnosis is actually using a cat's natural instinct to go limp when the mother cat grabs them in her mouth by the scruff of the kitten's neck. You simply scruff the cat, or hold them firmly by the scruff. In 9 out of 10 cats, the cat goes limp.

Pierre, by the way, is that 1 out of 10 who doesn't.

With all six of our cats, I am in charge of scruffing. We bring the cat to the bed and lay him on his side. I firmly but gently scruff him. Some of the cats, I also use my hand to hold the front shoulder forward. This immobilizes kitty and lets Hubby get to work with the nail clippers. 

We extend the claws by pressing the foot pad gently under each nail. The claw is extended, and we can snip the sharp points off.

We only trim the indoor boys' nails. The outdoor cats need all the sharp little claws they can get, and even though they have plenty of time inside, they do not shred anything when they come in. Our furniture has suffered from the occasional scratch from a back claw, but it's to be expected with six cats and counting.

It's important to clip a cat's nails to keep them from growing too long. Too-long claws not only scratch you and your furniture, but can actually catch on carpet or upholstery. A ripped off toenail isn't pretty and can lead to infection.

How to Clip a Cat's Claws: Video

This blog post is part of the A to Z blogging challenge for April. C is for Clipping Claws!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Monsieur Pierre is very handsome!

    When I was younger and lived with my parents, all of our cats were declawed on the front (rear claws untouched) so I never had to deal with clipping claws until I was on my own and adopted my first kitten. She snarled and hissed and made a HUGE deal of it, but I soon learned that she was all talk. She never tries to run and never tries to bite, she just sits still and makes a whole bunch of noise :D My second kitten, adopted seven months later, was much calmer and licks me constantly while I trim her nails. They are 14 and 15 now, but nothing has changed :D And it only takes a minute to trim each of their nails. I still don't trim the rear though, but they've never had issues with those nails.

    Our pug, however squeals and squirms and tries everything that he can possibly do to wriggle free. We used to spend half an hour to trim just one nail! So, now we take him to a professional groomer. Although now I am tempted to see if Clipnosis would also work on a dog!

  2. What a tremendous amount of work you have done to participate in the #Challenge. Congratulations of the results. Fun to find new blogs. Interested in historic hotels or inns, join me if you have time.

  3. I trim several of my cats' nails, but some won't let me.

  4. Awwww, he's precious! I need to clip one of my cat's claws soon. He's the most mellow cat in the world, but I think I'll have someone scruff him anyway.