Posted 9th Apr 2018
Do you actually need to clip your cat's nails?
The short answer is yes. The purpose of trimming the nails is to remove sharp points, which, among other things, will prevent your furniture from being scratched to pieces.
If your cat is regularly outside, you will not have to worry about their nails too often, as the hard ground should keep them short. However, a less active cat who spends more time indoors will require more frequent attention.
Failure to do this can result in the claws growing inwards, causing infection.
How to cut their nails
If you've never cut their nails before, your cat will feel apprehensive and you could, quite understandably, feel less than comfortable doing it too. This need not be the case, and these simple steps will help the pair of you settle into the process.
1. If you can, get your cat used to the prospect of nail trimming from a young age. Even if they are older, you can familiarise them with the sensation by applying a small bit of pressure to the cat's toes, before offering them a treat to show them it is nothing to fear.
With a kitten you can use a file, as the nails will be softer - this will cause less pain and lower the risk of bleeding.
2. You should be checking your cat's nails around once a week. When a cat is resting, the nails will retract and tuck underneath. If you can see their nails, it will mean they need a trim.
3. Adult cats will need a cat-claw clipper. Keep these sharp to make the trim a simple process.
4. Get the cat's paw and hold it between finger and thumb. The important thing here is to only cut the transparent tip.
5. If you're new to the process, it can be easy to accidentally hurt your cat by trimming the nails too short. If you're lacking confidence, you can always ask your vet or groomer to show you exactly how to do it properly.
6. It's also a good idea to have a silver nitrate stick and cotton wool balls to hand, just in case you do accidentally snip too short. If the nail does start to bleed, remain calm, and apply the silver nitrate. Then press the area with the cotton wool ball for a minute to staunch the bleeding.
Bear in mind that silver nitrate can sting though. Therefore you may want to enlist the help of someone to hold the cat steady. If the cut doesn't stop bleeding, you can visit the vet. Otherwise, don't panic.
7. Use the trimming process as an opportunity to check for cuts around the paws. Don't forget to keep an eye out for signs of soreness between the toes.
Image courtesy of Pixabay