Grey and White Cat Relaxing on Sofa

How to Trim Your Cat's Nails

Trimming your cat's nails can be a daunting task. The fear of your cat scratching you and squirming to try and break free of your grasp can make anyone dread nail-trimming sessions. It doesn't have to be though. There are ways to make it a positive experience. Below are some tips and tricks to keep you and your cat stress-free when doing the nail clipping deed!

'Pawsitive' Introduction

Introduce your cat to having their nails trimmed as early on in life as possible. Choose a chair in a quiet room where you can comfortably sit your cat on your lap. You and your cat should be in a relaxed state of mind, ideally after a meal when he or she is ready for a nap. Make sure no other pets are around.

Handling the Paw

Cat Paw on Human Hand

Photo by Александар Цветановић from Pexels

Gently take one of your cat’s paws between your fingers and massage for no longer than the count of three. If your cat pulls her paw away, don’t squeeze or pinch, just follow her gesture, keeping in gentle contact. When she’s still again, give her pad a little press so that the nail extends out, then release her paw and immediately give her a treat. Do this every other day on a different toe until you’ve gotten to know all ten.

Get Familiar with the Clippers

Have your cat used to the smell and sound of the clippers before actually using them. Put a piece uncooked spaghetti into the clippers and hold them near your cat.

Next, while massaging one of your cat’s toes, gently press her toe pad. When the nail extends, clip the spaghetti with the clippers while still holding your cat’s paw gently. Now release her toe and immediately give her a treat.

Never Ever Cut the Quick

Cat's claw anatomy outlining where to cut The pink part of a cat’s nail is called the quick. This is where the nerves and blood vessels are. Do NOT cut this area. Snip only the white part of the claw.

It’s better to be cautious and cut less of the nail rather than risk cutting this area. 

Time For Clipping

With your cat in your lap facing away from you, take one of her toes in your hand, massage and press the pad until the nail extends.

Check to see how much of a trim her nails need and notice where the quick begins. Now trim only the sharp tip of one nail, release your cat’s toe and quickly give her a treat. If your cat was ok with it, clip another nail. Don’t trim more than two claws in one sitting until your cat is comfortable. Keep it super positive and relaxed.

If you're relaxed, chances are it will rub off on your cat! Don't forget the 'reward!' Your cat will be more willing to have their nails trimmed if they know they will get something for it. 

How Often Should I Trim My Cat's Nails?

A nail-trimming every ten days to two weeks is a nice routine to settle into. If your cat refuses to let you clip her claws, ask your vet or a groomer for help.

What NOT to Do

  • If your cat resists, don’t raise your voice or punish her. Leave it for later or another day. 
  • Never attempt a clipping when you or your cat is agitated or upset.
  • Don’t rush-you may cut into the quick. Good luck getting your cat to allow you to trim their nails after that. Let me tell you, it's not easy. 
  • Don’t try to trim all of your cat’s claws at one time.
  • Trim regularly, provide your cat with appropriate scratching posts and ask your veterinarian about soft plastic covers for your cat’s claws.



Written By Jan,

Blog Writer/Social Media Manager at

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