How to clip a cat’s claws without getting nailed

When I go to clip my cat’s claws, I do it when they are sitting up not lying down. They are not on my lap, they do not have their bellies exposed, they are simply relaxed and in a sitting position.

It seems to be a bit easier than when they are on my lap. First of all, some of my strays and ferals are not lap kitties. So I have evolved this process over time. I clip while they eat.

Lying on the floor near them while they eat, I take the claw scissors and gently using it as a probe, I expose their claws. One by one, I begin to trim off just the tip being careful to not expose their quick (the pink part of the claw where the blood supply is located). Because they are eating, they don’t mind their feet being messed with and the trimming goes quick and easy. I make sure to leave some meaty treats in their food bowls on claw trimming days, which keeps them occupied and chewing on something besides me. I don’t make a big deal about clipping their claws, and have just found this system to work best for me.

6 thoughts on “How to clip a cat’s claws without getting nailed

  1. I’ve never done this before but I sure do agree with just doing it and not making a big deal out of it. They feed off of your reaction, and if you act like it’s nothing (especially when they’re eating, excellent point!), it makes sense that it would go well for you (and the cat 😉 ).

    It’s also much better when you’ve been clipping their claws since they were kittens, but it sounds like you might be taking in feral adults. (?)

  2. Yes, I do take in the older feral cats that people believe should be destroyed. They too, allow me after a time to clip their nails while they are eating. The food is a buffer, if they get ticked up, they attack the food- not me.

  3. OMGosh…I’m so glad I found this site! I have 2 feral cats on my porch right now! They are the parents of the 3 boy cats I have in my home. I trapped the kittens 3 years ago and they are wonderful pets. I have taken care of the parents for about 5 years now, but had to trap and move them when we moved from our home. They’ve been on my large screened porch for 8 weeks. I’ve come real far with them, but it’s SO slow going, and I really need the porch for the boys’ litterboxes (our home is smaller now).
    I wanted to put the parents (Princess & O.B.) in my office thinking a smaller space will help them adjust to me, but I can’t do it without trapping again. The male lets me pet him, but only while he eats. The female will take food from my hand. But, it’s been that way for weeks and I’m not sure what the next step is. They still run from me when I go onto the porch (even tho I always have food). I was thinking of letting the boys onto the porch once in a while. They’ve been sniffing each other through a screen for weeks. Then, when the female & male are eating in my office, where I will feed everyone, I can shut the door and keep them there for a week or two to work further with them. Anyone have any ideas? BTW…GREAT idea about how to clip their nails. I was wondering about how I was going to do that soon.

  4. Thank you

    I have a semi feral black cat as a pet (adopted her from a shelter) who hates he nails getting cut

    I tried sitting her upright in my lap (I.e. Belly not showing) and hid treats in one of my hands. It worked!!! She let me cut her nails 🙂

  5. What about feral tame cats that let you pet them but they won’t let us pick them up. We traped them with the program S.N.R (Spay Neuter Release)
    Thats how we know they are feral. ( knotches out of there ears )
    Is it possible to cut there nails
    They dont hiss but are very affectionate.

  6. I would find a good stout log or tree limb and sprinkle catnip all over the wood. This will entice the cats to scratch the wood and thus will blunt their claws. If they are outside- they are probably scratching on trees and blunting them anyway

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