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How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails

Cat Nail Trim

Cat nail trims can be quick and easy with the right clippers and knowledge. Keeping your cat's nails trimmed will help save your furniture and your skin! Continue reading for some quick, easy tips to trim your cat's nails like a pro!

Cats have retractable claws, meaning they can pull part of their nail back into the paw. Their nails are also like an onion, made of multiple layers that peel off to keep them sharp.

Trimming Your Cat’s Nails

Use scissor-style clippers for the best results. You may need to shave long fur away from the nails before trimming the nails themselves.

Most cats have white to clear nails so you can see the sensitive pink quick through the nail itself. Gently hold your cat’s paw with your forefinger on the digit pad and thumb on top of the digit and the junction with the nail. Apply gentle pressure to expose the nail so it’s no longer retracted. Use the nail clippers and trim back toward the pink quick area. Stop trimming when you are within 2-3mm of the quick.

If the nail appears thickened, you can use your thumbnail to feel the groove on the underside of the nail and gently pick off the thicker outer “onion” layers of the nail. Senior cats commonly have this issue as they don’t sharpen their nails as much. The thicker the nail becomes, the less the cat can retract it. As a result, the nail may overgrow into the paw pad. This can lead to pain and infection. Think, ingrown toenail - ouch!

When to visit your veterinarian

If you notice your cat has a nail that’s growing into the pad, contact us or your veterinarian. Your kitty may need a professional nail trim, clean up, and possibly antibiotics.

Read more:

How to Safely Trim Your Pet's Nails

First Aid for Broken Nails

Nail Trimming Tips for Rabbits and Other Pocket Pets

Need to speak with a veterinarian about trimming your cat's nails or another condition?

Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.

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