How To Cut Your Cat's Nails And Not Die In The Process

One of the best things for you to do when cutting your cat's nails is giving them a treat so they can associate the experience as something positive.  Patience, delicacy, a comfortable position for your cat, and the right tools are all ways to make it easier.
How To Cut Your Cat's Nails And Not Die In The Process

Last update: 01 November, 2018

Keeping up your pet’s hygiene can be really challenging. This is especially true with things they don’t enjoy, like brushing their teeth. However, have you ever tried cutting your cat’s nails? It’s an absolute nightmare. So, if you’re tired of trying and getting upset every time you have to cut their nails, you can look at the following advice on how to make it easier!

How to cut your cat’s nails

If you’re tired of all the headache every time you cut your cat’s nails, then you’re in luck because we have some helpful advice. These tips will help keep your cat relaxed and still when the time comes.

Prepare your cat

When you have to do one of the things pets don’t like, such as things they might even hate, you can’t just do it all in a rush. So, if you want your cat to be calm, start by rubbing their paws and other places they like.

Then start to examine their paws and nails and make sure they’re calm. Your cat might even get tired of it and leave. If that happens, just don’t even bother carrying on. Forcing them to stay still will only make things even more difficult.

Gently pick up their paws and turn them over once your cat lets you. Remember, in order to give them a reward every time they let you handle their little feet. If you give them some kind of treat, they will associate the experience with something positive. That will help make it much easier to cut your cat’s nails.

Kitten playing with his owner


It’s vital for your cat to be comfortable when you try to cut their nails. If your cat is in a comfortable position, they probably won’t want to move, not even if you are going to cut their nails.

One of the best positions you could put them in is sitting them in your lap, with their back on your stomach/chest and their paws in front of you. Hover, not all cats are the same and your cat may not like that position. No matter what, you can find another position they will like. Plus, no one knows your cat better than you do.

Using the right tools

You need to pick out a good nail trimmer. It should be sharp, short, and firm. The more movements you make to cut your cat’s nails, the more restless they will get.

Small nail trimmers or pincers are usually the best options, especially if you’re new to this task because they’re easier to handle. There are also guillotine style trimmers where you put your cat’s nail in and it makes a clean, straight cut.

Be careful around the hyponychium

As you might know, there are veins in cats’ nails that you could accidentally cut. It’s important to take that into consideration and carefully cut their nails.

Cat getting his nails cut

It’s not a bad idea to keep a styptic pencil on hand (you can find them at pharmacies). What this tool does is cauterize the wound in the blood vessel to avoid heavy bleeding. This makes it a great tool to have in case of a nail trimming accident.

Get started

Once you’ve done all of the above, now it’s time to cut your cat’s nails. It might not let you cut them all at once, but don’t worry. Once you get another chance, pick your cat up, put them in your lap, and carry on where you left off.

Don’t forget to give them treats. They need to associate the reward with nail trimming — this really will make it much easier to but their nails.

It takes a lot of patience to maintain a pet’s hygiene, but it’s a big part of keeping them healthy. If you follow these practical tips, cutting your cat’s nails could turn into much less of a nightmare. So, what are you waiting for? Give them a try!


The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.