JUST A LITTLE OFF THE TIP, PLEASE!

Hello! Nigel, here!  As my friend, Albert, above is demonstrating nicely…we cats have amazing claws.  We use them for many things such as hunting, climbing and marking.  In order for us to live nicely alongside you humans, it can be helpful to you to learn how to clip our nails down from time to time.  This is essential for keeping your furniture in the condition to which your accustomed to having it remain.  If you have one of those cats who needs to knead you — and who pokes those sharp tips into your skin — taking off the very end of those claws will make this loving gesture something you can both enjoy, rather than dread. For you kitty, clipping his tips can prevent painful broken claws that can result when a sharp tip gets caught in the carpet.

Clipping your cat’s nail tips doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you start when your cat’s a kitten, it will probably never be a big deal. (And clipping is a far better strategy than declawing).  But even if you start today with an adult cat, you’ll probably both get through it just fine. You can use a small clipper made for feline nails, or you can use a human nail-clipper.  There are many different varieties and you should try different types out until you find the style that suits you best.

It is best to start teaching your cat to accept nail clipping with sessions that involve no clipping at all.  That’s right…I did say….I am going to teach you to clip your cat’s nails, without clipping your cat’s nails.  No…I’m not crazy.  To do this, you will need to have some small treats on hand.  You can use these treats, gentle caresses and loving words to get your cat used to being relaxed and happy in your lap. Slowly introduce touching, then handling, your pet’s paws. Watch carefully for any negative body language: If your cat’s tail becomes more active, or his ears flip sideways or toward his back, stop until he relaxes again.  If at any point your cat becomes very agitated and unruly and does not want to be held, don’t fight to hold him — just let go and try again another day.

Once your cat is comfortable letting you handle his paws, move on to pressing gently to expose his nails.  Expose one nail and touch the trimmer to it without clipping it.  Give your kitty a treat and then let him go.  On the next training session,  the goal is to  get your cat to let you clip just one nail tip.  Reward him immediately after you have removed that one tip and then let him go again.  On the session after that one, try for two nail tips before rewarding and releasing him.  This is called “desensitization” and will allow your cat to gradually accept the fact that nail trimming is not scary or painful.

To get great pictures and step-by-step information on how to give a great kitty pedicure, click on the link below:

Clipping Your Cat’s Claws

As you may already know from having your cat’s nails trimmed at For Cats Only, the pedicure only lasts for a couple of weeks. The nail tips will typically be sharp again within 10 to 14 days if left alone. To make maintenance easy, keep the clipper next to the chair where you’re most likely to sit with the cat in your lap. When you find your cat relaxed and enjoying one of his many daily massages (you are giving many daily massages—-right?), you can just gently reach down and check his nails to see if they need trimming.

Some cats may eventually allow you to trim all the nails in one session, but if your cat draws the line at one or two a night, that is okay. You should never force your cat to allow for more than he can handle. Always end a session in a positive way. Your goal should be a happy, purring cat who no longer has the claws of a mountain lion. If you need help with the clipping technique or have any questions or concerns, be sure to stop on in at For Cats Only and ask one of my loyal staff members (Darla, Maria and Tracy) to help you. They will scoop me up immediately so that I can demonstrate for you how to help your feline friend at home.

Until next time…Nigel, signing off! Meow!

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