Trimming Nails to Prevent a Cat from Scratching Furniture

Posted by Dr. Jessica on

Trimming Nails to Prevent a Cat from Scratching Furniture

Cat nails never stop growing, which can mean bad news for anything that crosses their path because cats scratch to buff and shorten them. Nail trimming can prevent a cat from scratching belongings. Scratch posts or scratch mats can help as well.

Many pet parents hesitate when it’s time for a nail trim because it may seem hard to do. Follow this cat nail trimming guide to get started on stopping a cat from destroying furniture.

Create Some Calm

If a pet parent or cat is stressed, set the idea aside and try for another time. Try to trim a cat’s nails when they’re a bit sleepy or are relaxed after a meal. A quiet area away from windows, other pets, or loud noises provides the optimal environment. 

Cat anxiety products are another way to help a cat relax. 

Play and Practice

A practice pawdicure needs to happen before cutting can begin. Cat parents should try to massage their cat’s lower leg and paws, gently pushing down on their toes to extend the nails. Wrap up the practice with some tasty cat treats to encourage continued tolerance and positive associations with feet touching. 

Get the Right Tools

Nail clippers are the most popular way to cut cat nails. Pet nail clippers come in three styles:

  • Guillotine
  • Pliers/Standard
  • Scissors

Pliers are good for medium to large cats, especially those with thicker nails. Scissor clippers are good for all ages but especially smaller cats. Guillotine clippers have a circular section and a blade that closes like a guillotine—using them requires the most practice and they’re best for the calmest kitties. 

How to Trim a Cat’s Nails

Below are the steps to trim a cat’s nails, so a pet parent can prevent a cat from scratching up furniture or injuring themselves and others.

1. Look for the Nail Quick

Before cutting their cat’s nails, pet parents must locate the nail quick. This is the pinkish area at the base of the nail where it meets the paw pad. The nail quick contains blood vessels and nerves and should never be cut. If, by mistake, the quick is clipped and begins to bleed stop trimming and use a coagulant like Kwik Stop until the cat is calm again and trimming can resume.

2. Trim Slowly

Nail trimming to stop a cat from destroying furniture may take time at first. Hold the paw in one hand and press down to extend the nail. Then, carefully place the clippers at the tip of the nail and make a clean cut. Never rush. Always cut vertically, never horizontally. The latter can cause the nail to splinter and leave a ragged cut.

For a more aggressive or anxious kitty, swaddle them in a blanket to prevent squirming. The best way to prevent a cat scratch is to trim one paw at a time. This may mean two or four separate trimming sessions, but in time cats may become so used to the routine that one session is all that’s needed.

3. Use Treats

Rewarding cats for good behavior leads to easier nail trimming and less cat scratching. Although some kitties may never put up a fuss, a treat once in a while is always appreciated. 

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