How To Clip Kitty Nails & Avoid Injury

25 Jul

Around the time we got our cat (who we later named Xena), I was touting some of her more … interesting qualities on Twitter.

Xena, a white cat, lies down with her front paws curled.

"You heard the vet - I'm an adorable doll! And am therefore incapable of doing misdeeds!"

Mainly the one where she peed on our bed, twice, for no apparent reason. We decided to get her spayed shortly after that, as we were guessing she might’ve been in heat (Apparently when cats are in heat they pee more. She hasn’t peed outside the litter box since getting spayed, though she is still banned from entering the bedroom at night, more because of the whole  “I attack feet that are under covers” and the “I jump onto high places and knock things down for attention.”)

Anyway, I mentioned on twitter that we were getting her spayed, and Rith the Warluid (@riththewarliud on twitter, who blogs at, who knows a thing or two about cats, asked how old Xena was. At the time she was around six months, and age Rith approved as old enough to get her spayed (hooray! Less peeing!) And because Rith knew so much about cats, I decided to ask some questions with regard to trimming kitty claws, a task I was apprehensive about.

Here’s the conversation we had on twitter (modified from its original version, formatted to fit be read on this blog).

Misha: Now quick – tell me what kind of clippers to get and also how to clip her nails. XD

Rith: I don’t think the brand of clippers matters; we have a standard pair of scissor clippers that work just fine. It would be good if you could get her used to being on her back in your arms. I know it’s hard to do with a kitten!

Xena's Paw - Deadlier than it seems.

But that way she may not fight you as much when you go to clip her nails; I cradle the cat in my left arm like a baby and clip with the right as I am a righty. Generally I don’t have many issues; it helps if you have another person to scratch their ears and distract them. Also, treats are your best friend. If they get too fiesty, towel burrito them.

(Ed. Note: Sometimes she can lie on her back in my arms, though I usually can’t get a good handle on her to clip the nails. Instead I just sneak up with the clippers while she’s sleepy… Also, I have completely failed at all attempts to towel burrito Xena.)

Misha: Mmm, towel burrito. We’ll have to try it out. She loves lying on her back on stretching, but not as keen for being held.

Rith: Haha. Another thing you can do (if you can catch her and hold her still long enough!) is play with her feet to get her used to it.

Misha: Good news is I think my friend did that a lot, so she doesn’t mind her feet being touched. We’ve touched them a lot. :3

Rith: Awesome! I like your friend more and more. 🙂 Best of luck getting her nails trimmed! Also, invest in some of that clotting powder incase you cut a bit too short.

Rith: And let me guess; way too much information? xD

Misha: No, no. In fact I’ma gonna copy it all for further study. :3

(Ed. Note: That’s what this is.)

So there you have it. Lots of handy information on how to clip kitty nails! I’ve been doing pretty well so far, but I’ve only been making really short cuts so there are no bloody nails, as I still haven’t invested in some blotting powder!

Thanks again for the advice, Rith! And I’d appreciate any more advice on clipping cat nails that any of you might have!

"You want my paw? Fine. Here it is. You get 15 seconds before I start nipping."


4 Responses to “How To Clip Kitty Nails & Avoid Injury”

  1. Faeldray July 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I’ve never actually clipped a cat’s claws but I’ve worked at a pet store so I know a little bit about it. In addition to the scissor clippers, there’s the “guillotine” type clippers that sound scary but they really aren’t. You put your cat’s claw in a little hole and then squeeze the handles to make the blade come down like a guillotine and clip it. Some people like those because you hold them at a different angle that they find easier.

    I imagine distracting the cat with food while clipping might prove to be useful. >.>

    • Mishaweha July 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      I dunno, I think I’m still scared of the guillotine type. XD Though I did switch from the type we bought (they looked sorta like pliers) to a pair that were like scissors with a notch. They’re easy for me to use and hold (and also are not pink. That probably doesn’t have anything to do with how they cut but it makes me feel better about them. XD)

      I think Xena would shake her paw out of my hand if she was eating while I tried clipping. Getting her while she’s lying down and relaxed is working great! So every time I see her sleeping nearby and I’m not busy I grab the clippers and check for longer claws. XD

  2. RDoug July 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    That’s a real cutie you have there. We have three cats, although I don’t expect the 17-year-old to be around much longer.

    • Mishaweha July 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

      Thanks! She does act adorably, except for the biting thing. Hope your oldest cat is still doing alright, though!

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