Trimming Your Cat’s Nails

Most cats do not like having their claws trimmed. You should start trimming claws in young animals so that they get used to the process. Some cats will happily sit in your lap or on a table while you trim their claws but many require some form of restraint.


To restrain a cat in your lap, use your forearms draped over the cat’s neck and hind-end to keep the cat in your lap. The clipper is then held in the right hand.

Cats have retractile claws so you need to gently squeeze the toe between thumb and forefinger to expose the claw.

Most cats have light colored claws, making it easy to see the blood vessels and nerves that supply the claw as a pink stripe at the base of the nail, which is called a quick. The clipper should be placed perpendicular to the nail (cutting top to bottom) and you should try to cut the claw to within approximately 2 mm of the quick.  If you go too close, you may cut into the quick, the claw will bleed and the cat will experience pain.

Cats also have a nail on the inner side of each paw called the dew claw. Don’t forget to trim these too, as they are not worn down when the cat scratches and can grow in a circle, growing into the foot.

If you are having any troubles trimming your cat’s nails at home, we can help you out at the clinic.  So give us a call to arrange a time for your cat’s next manicure!