We believe that being able to trim your cat’s nails is an essential life skill for a cat parent. While some cats may make the process difficult, others are very cooperative. Of course, starting your cat out early in your relationship and using positive reinforcement training helps them to be more cooperative.
Nail trimming is a fairly simple procedure in a cooperative cat and is something that you should be able to master with a little instruction and some practice. The best part of trimming cat’s nails is that, unlike dogs with dark nails, you can almost always see the “quick”, or the pink, vital part of the nail very clearly. This is the part that if you trim it, it will bleed and be sore.
So first you need to be familiar with the anatomy of the nail.
You can see we have a thicker part with a pink triangle in it, then a hook that comes off of this. This is the “cat talon”. That’s a technical term created by yours truly. When you trim your cat’s nails, this cat talon is the part you want to remove with the nail trimmer.
Here’s Harley Quinn’s nail with a “cut here” line.
There are various kinds of nail trimmers in different styles. For most cats human finger or toenail trimmers actually work just fine, but if you prefer you can certainly purchase pet specific nail trimmers that come in both large and small pliers styles as well as guillotine trimmer styles. My preference for cat nails is the small scissors type, they are not too large compared to a cat paw, and are much more maneuverable than the large pliers or the guillotine type of trimmer, but everyone has their personal favorite.
Nail trimming is an important routine grooming procedure. Some cats’ might need their nails clipped weekly to every other week. Consider trimming your cat’s nails at least once monthly.
– Dr. Erika Raines, DVM, CVA, CVSMT