Nail trims can be difficult for cats to accept and even more difficult for owners to perform, which is why so many people take their cats to a groomer or veterinarian’s office to get the task done. But trimming your cat’s nails doesn’t have to be an epic battle – it can become a fun, easy part of your regular grooming routine. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a comfortable nail trim for everyone in no time.
#1 – Treats
Although many people think that cats can’t be trained like dogs can, science and cat owners both beg to differ. Cats can learn behaviors using positive reinforcement training, so why not make one of those behaviors getting their nails trimmed?
Offering your cat treats while you touch their paws will teach them to positively associate having their feet handled with getting delicious snacks. Once your cat feels comfortable with you handling their feet, you can start touching their nails with nail clippers – but don’t trim yet! Many cats don’t like the feeling of the metal touching their nails, so we have to work with treats to help them understand the clippers themselves as something positive. Next, we can move on to actually trimming some nails.
You may only do one or two nails at a time, returning the next day to get one or two more, and so on. We want to be patient and offer plenty of yummy treats so that we don’t overwhelm our cats and the experience stays positive.
#2 – Towel
Cats are very agile and can squeeze and twist every which way to get out of our grasp. Fighting our cats while trying to hold them still is not only stressful for both you and your feline friend, it can injure your cat. Since this will make nail trims much more difficult, among many other things, we definitely want to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Wrapping your cat in a towel with one leg out at a time is a great way to keep your kitty snug and preventing them from flailing about. Think of the way you’d wrap a baby in a baby burrito – you’ll do this with your cat and just readjust to take a different leg out each time you’re finished with the other. This allows for very little movement of your cat and is a comfortable and safe way to confine them. With one leg out at a time, you can focus on giving treats and trimming nails without worry of being scratched or bitten.
#3 – Patience
Patience is probably the most important part of teaching your cat anything. When we become stressed and upset, our cats will become stressed and upset. We all know how good our kitties are at reading and responding to our emotions, so when they are already fearful and we become frustrated, we’re just adding to the problem. Be calm and happy, because teaching your cat something new, even if it’s just how to sit through a nail trim, should be a fun bonding experience.
When we take our time, we make our cats more comfortable and we’re able to move faster and prevent any regressions that might be caused by too much, too soon. Being patient with our cats is so important, in so many aspects of life, that we should always be ready to support our cats with patience.