How to Clip Your Cats Claws

Cutting your cats claws is really very easy when you know how.

I find that my cats need their claws clipping every couple of weeks. This can be an easy or difficult experience depending on when you decide to tackle the task.

I find the best time is when your cat is relaxed and docile . . . 

. . . not just after they have spent 15 minutes running around the house at 100mph (which is also the time you will probably notice they need their claws clipping as they are hanging from the curtains)

I suggest you wait for them to relax.

Let me show you how to clip your cats claws with as little stress as possible. 


How to Clip Your Cats Nails

Before I explain how to cut your cats claws let me first explain that cats front feet have five claws and their back legs have four. The front feet have what is called a dew claw which is located in the ‘thumb position’. All of the cats claws need clipping including the dew claws.

Cats front paw

Cats back paw

Cutting Your Cats Nails

I strongly recommend that you clip all four feet and not just the front feet. If you are clipping your cats claws in preparation for a cat show then you must clip front and back. If you only do the front then you are letting down your cat, the judge, the steward and most importantly yourself, cat shows are beauty contest after all!

Front Paw Gently Push Paw Pads

Back Paw Gently Push Paw Pads

Best Way to Cut Your Cats Claws

To get my cat used to clipping their claws I start to play with my cats feet when they are kittens. I gently press on the paw pads and extend the kittens claws, I play with the toes and generally just get my kittens used to the fact that I like to mess about with their feet. (What they must think I do not know!) I find that all my cats are quite happy for me to clip their claws and I can usually manage to do them without any help. I must admit though it is easier as a two man job.

When clipping a cats claws great care must be taken not to clip to closely to the quick. The quick is a nerve ending inside the claw and if you cut it then it will bleed and also hurt your cat.

Avoid clipping near the cats quick

I usually cut half way between the quick and the end of the nail leaving a blunt edge to the claw.

Clip cat claw here

Cats clipped claw

There are a few different styles of claw clippers which are only a few pounds. I recommend that you use cat claw clippers and not human nail clippers to avoid splintering or cracks. I also recommend that you clip the claws vertically and not horizontally to again avoid splintering or cracks. If a crack shoots down to the quick this is painful for your cat.



If your cat becomes impatient and uncooperative then take a break. If you only manage to do two or three claws at a time then you are still making progress. Do not stress your cat out as clipping claws is something you will need to do over and over and the least stress the better to ensure some sort of cooperation in the future.


Set of small nail clippers ideal for cats.


About the author

Ross writes extensively about cats and kittens and has been featured in magazines such as Your Cat and Our Cats and has also guest authored on newsletters for various cat organisations. He is also a guest speaker at cat seminars.

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