How To Trim Your Cat’s Nails [6 Steps To Successful Trimming]

Are you looking to clip the claws?

Here we discuss how to trim your cat’s nails. Then we’ll discuss how to prepare your cat for trimming and choosing the right tools.

How To Trim A Cat’s Nails

  • Place your cat in your lap while it’s in a good mood
  • Hold the paws and massage until the nail extends
  • Take the clipper, trim the sharp end and stay away from the quick
  • Treat your cat after each nail or every two nails
  • If your cat responds well, proceed
  • Trim only one paw at a time for the first couple of sessions

Here’s a great video showing you how this works:


Is It Necessary to Trim Your Pet’s Nails?

The answer to that question depends on your cat’s lifestyle, so if you have an outdoor cat, they need to have their nails for defense and climbing. Your cat’s nails will be shortened through this activity alone.

On the other hand, indoor cats’ nails, due to lack of outdoor activities, become long and curved which sometimes leads to pain. Finally, it’s recommended to trim the nails of old cats because they become less active and their nails get very long and curved. Nails that get too long could lead to infection.

Be Familiar with Your Cat’s Quick

Before even touching your tools to start trimming, you should understand that your cat has a pink part of its nail that has all the nerve and the blood supply for the nails, that part is called the Quick. So whenever you trim your cat’s nails, stay as far as possible from it.

Must-Have Tools Before Starting the Process

  • Choose a good clipper and read about the different clippers before buying.
  • Buy your cat’s favorite treats because you’ll need to spoil it after every process.
  • Get a good torch to be able to differentiate between the nails and the quick.
  • Have by your side some styptic powder, in case of bleeding.

Choosing the Right Trimmer

We’re aware that the market has different types of clippers and this might be confusing, so here are the most common clippers available and their best uses.


These look like the normal scissors but they’re designed for small pets’ nails and they’re easy to use and start with.

Nail Clippers

These are professional trimmers used by vets. They last a lifetime but they might be hard for you if you aren’t familiar with trimming.

Guillotine Clippers

You can use these if you’re used to trimming your pet’s nails, but we don’t recommend that type for beginners because chances for hurting your pet are high.


It’s a small electric tool for nail trimming. It’s advertised to look easy but in reality, it’s hard because it makes vibrations and noise that frighten cats. So, if you want to use it, you’ll need to be be pretty familiar with it.

A Step by Step Guide to Get Your Cat Ready

Usually, cats become terrified whenever they see the clippers coming and that makes the whole process looks impossible. Follow these steps for a few days to get your cat ready for a trimmin’.

Choose the Timing

Try to approach your cat while it’s staying calm after enjoying its favorite meal or even when it’s asleep. Make sure that your cat won’t be triggered by a moving bird or another pet nearby.


Play with Your Cat

Take one of its paws and gently massage it and see how your cat responds. If it pulls away, don’t force your cat but wait until it’s still and calm again, then kindly touch the paws again until the nails extend out. You might need to try this for multiple days before trimming to get your cat used to touching its paws.

Make It Familiar with the Clipper

Before trimming, your cat must be in good terms with the clipper. A common trick recommended by vets is cutting an uncooked spaghetti with your clipper in front of your cat while enjoying a treat to get introduced to the sound. Also, try putting its favorite treat on the clipper to sniff it.

leg and long nail of cat with clippers on wooden background

A List of Prohibited Behaviors

  • Never, under any circumstances, punish your cat if it resists.
  • Don’t rush when you trim the nails because we don’t want to touch the quick.
  • Stay away from your cat’s nails as long as you haven’t read enough information.
  • Don’t think of declawing your cat because it’s a very harmful behavior.

How Often Should You Repeat That Process?

It’s recommended by vets to give your pet a manicure every two weeks or ten days, however, you should try the steps of getting your cat ready every day for at least ten days before you actually start trimming.

Becoming a Trimming Master

Trimming your furry friend’s nails doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Remember that it’s key to understand your cat, prepare it mentally, choose the right tools, and stay away from the quick.

After getting your cat accustomed to the process and following the proper steps, you’ll master the art of trimming. You might even find your neighbors and friends asking you for help!

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