How to clip a cat's claws?

Our cat is not too bad about scratching furniture, but she constantly attacks and mauls my wife’s ankles and her arms. She doesn’t treat me this way, only my wife. We have never figured out why she dose this. Often times she is very affectionate with my wife an she is visibly happy to see my wife come home after a long day, and so on. So it’s not that she hates my wife. She just, for some reason, thinks its okay to make my wife bleed.

We have tolerated this behavior so far, but now we are going to have a baby soon. We don’t want for the cat to attack my wife while she’s holding the baby going down the stairs, or worse, for the cat to attack the baby. What for my wife is a moderate scratch could be a serious gash for an infant.

We have tried clipping the cat’s nails but we simply can’t figure out any way to do so. Various websites purporting to explain how to get a cat to let you clip its nails are not helpful. It doesn’t work. The cat just will not allow itself to be held in place long enough for this procedure, and usually ends up hurting us (both of us) pretty badly.

She’s kind of wild, I guess.

My wife and I decided to have the cat declawed in a couple of weeks. My wife has always felt that this is a horrible thing to do to a cat, but our only alternatives seem to be to declaw the cat or to get rid of it.

My own feelings towards declawing are not the same as my wife’s. I don’t mind declawing if I think it’s necessary.

But after announcing to me that she thinks we’re going to have to get the cat declawed, and after getting on the phone and making the appoinment for it, my wife just spent the whole afternoon in the bedroom crying uncontrollably. My heart is breaking over this.

Is there anything we can do? I just gave the clipping thing the old college try once more. It just doesn’t seem like there’s any way to do it. It seems to clip her claws, I have to do the following:

  1. Hold her down firmly
  2. Grasp her paw firmly, forcing it to extract its claws.
  3. Clip

This requires about four hands all told. We’ve tried doing it as a cooperative effort, but even then, the cat continues to twitch and writhe and this keeps either of us from being able to keep her paw still enough for clipping purposes.

I don’t know… Is there anyone here with any advice for this situation?



My sister wraps her cat Bubbles in a blanket so her husband can clip the cat’s claws. She also finds that the cat is more relaxed in the car - sometimes. I think she’s even tried kitty tranquilizers (on the cat). When she has the vet clip do the chore the cat is as compliant and as freindly as can be. YMMV.

Remember it’s not just a cat it’s an adventure.

Well, I don’t know if this will really help or not, but if you can manage to hold your cat down, there is hope for the scratching. I personally use a product called Soft Paws on my dear little Annabel. Soft Paws are little nail caps that you can (hopefully) glue on your cat’s nails. They protect you and your belongings from your cat’s nails, and my cat adjusted to them very quickly. They’re relatively cheap, and they last for months at a time. visit if you think this might be an option for you.

We get our cats’ claws clipped at Petco, which offers pet grooming services. You might have a place near you that offers similar services.

For whatever it’s worth:

The more you can get the cat on your side in this little adventure, the better off you’ll be. Keep the clippers handy next to your favorite television chair, or wherever else the cat is in the habit of jumping on your lap. When the cat appears, pet him, coo over him, scratch him behind the ears, and while you’re petting him and talking to him, gently squeeze one claw enough to get it to extend, clip it, more petting and scratching and cooing, then a yummy cat treat.

Sure, it takes longer, but it’s more pleasant for both of you. You don’t have to do all the claws at once- one or two a night, whatever the cat will allow.

The same system applies when using SoftPaws, which is what I currently use to keep my cats from clawing the carpets. The yummy cat treat after every clipping session is essential.

One of my cats now runs to me eagerly when it’s time for the nightly Checking Of the Claws. Most nights, he gets petting and a yummy treat without any clippers at all. When I notice one needs a new SoftPaw, since I only have to do one, the cat doesn’t object overmuch.

Our cat is much more trusting. I have little problem clipping her nails. She likes to lounge on our bed so I just lay down and wrap one arm around her to hold a paw and clip with the other. Even as skittish as she can be she rarely tries to escape and if I stroke her head a bit before letting her loose she just lays there purring when I leave.

Our cat is pretty cooperative, though he gets less so with time. Some tricks I’ve learned:

  1. Clip when he’s just waking up. If he’s been napping, he’s usually more cooperative.

  2. Use a blanket to cover him; allow only the foot you are working on to peek out.

  3. I use a regular toenail clipper, though it should be held sideways (instead of attacking the nail straight on like you would your own). This cuts through the thinner part of the claw.

  4. I have good luck putting him on his back.

I usually can handle it myself, though my wife sometimes helps with the blanket.

First, put on a cat-proof suit…

Cat restraint is a bit of an art form, really, and a lot of times less is more. Some cats you can do anything with by just sort of jollying them along. If nobody’s actually holding them, they think it’s all their own idea, and they’re fine. I’ve seen cats sit still for blood draws and IV injections like that before, although I’ve never been able to do it myself. I have, however, given Eponine pills, SQ and IM injections, and taken fecal samples while just letting her roam around.

If your cat won’t go for that, though, you need to learn proper restraint techniques. If she’s not too big a freak, you can get by with a basic bearhug. Put kitty on a table, have her lie down sternally, then pull her against your body. Cup one hand gently but firmly around her jaw (make sure you’ve got the jawbone and not any part of the neck) and put her head right up against your shoulder. Put the other arm around the cat, so that your forearm presses her body and hips against your torso. With that hand, grasp the leg you want behind the elbow and put your hand down on the table. That way you’ve got the table for support and bracing, and it’s easier to keep the leg still, and the body is immobilized between your arm and body. Then whoever is clipping extends the claws and trims.

In this situation, though, the basics probably won’t be enough. It sounds like she’s been kicking your butts pretty regularly and, well, you’re her bitches. You try to bearhug her, she’s likely to just up the ante. You’re gonna need to scruff her or get a towel. Scruffing is probably easier to learn, but some people are less comfortable with it because they worry that they’re hurting the cat. It’s terribly simple, though. You just grasp the cat firmly by the scruff of the neck with one hand and grab the back feet with the other. Stretch the cat out and lay her on her side with the scruff-holding forearm flat on the table and the cat’s back against your forearm. Trim whatever side is up, then flip her over.

If she’s especially naughty, get a thick, solid towel and make her into a little kitty burrito. Spread the towel out flat, then put the cat along one long edge. Make her lay down. Pull the towel edge behind the elbow of the leg you want to work on, then wrap it snugly around her back. Then take the excess towel behind her and wrap it up over her back. It takes some practice to get a good, tight, solid bundle, but when this is done right, there’s nothing sticking out but the head and the leg you want to work on. She can’t get the other front paw out at you because it’s trapped against her body, she can’t bunny-kick you because her back legs are likewise trapped, and she can’t back out of it. Then you hold her in the bearhug position and trim away.

Being able to trim the cat’s nails at home isn’t going to solve the problem, though. Declawing her isn’t going to solve the problem. She’s still going to launch herself at your wife’s ankles any old time she pleases. Because you’re her bitches and she can get by with it. Until you get to the root of that and deal with it, the danger is still going to be there. It could be pure excess rambunctiousness, it could be intermittent aggression, it could be a lot of things. I’d suggest consulting a behaviorist for help dealing with this problem.

Mine have all been indoor cats with their front claws clipped, and their rear claws available.

Of my three cats, including my oldest who is now 15 human years, I’ve never needed to clip their nails.

They bite them if they get too long.

I find nails on the floor, they look like hypodermic snake teeth (meaning hollow shells which obviously don’t hurt the cat). Pretty cool.

Ugh, I mean declawed on the front.

      • I would swear that had this method posted here before, but I can’t find it now. So anyway–to trim a cat’s claws is easy, even on a totally-resistive cat. You need a mug hook, a shoestring, a collar-sized strap with a quick-snap buckle and the trimmers. With these items even one person alone can easily trim all of a cat’s claws. Note that you can’t always get all this stuff done in one day.
  1. You screw the mug hook into the wall about 30 inches or so off the ground. I did my moms into the under-counter kitchen cabinets, right underneath the countertop–because the floor has to be smooth. It affords the little beast less traction than a carpeted floor does, in the event that they try any quick moves on you.
  2. You adust the quick-snap collar so that it fits around the cat’s neck securely enough that they can’t pull it off, but not enough to normally risk choking them.
  3. you tie a small loop in one end of the shoestring, and tie the other end around the “collar” so that there is about an inch or two of slack, if the collar was on the cat, and the cat was standing right beneath the mug hook, with the other end of the string hooked around the mug hook (things should be pretty obvious by now).
  4. You sneak up on the unsuspecting kitty and snap the collar around their neck, and then take them and hook the other end onto the mug hook. What is typical is that the cat freaks out at having a big leash on, and so they instenctively try to back away from the leash–but since it is tied so high above them, they can’t “crouch down”, because backing away pulls their head up. And then you can trim away. My mom’s cat is so freaked out by the leash that she doesn’t even really move at all. Clipping all four feet takes all of 45 seconds.
  • This is basically the way that pet grooming places do it, except that they use a table that has two “leashes” on opposite ends, one for the neck and another around the “waist”, so that the animal cannot move at all.

  • Is it cruel? Well, I am generally the practical sort, and so I will say that I don’t care if it’s cruel by anyone’s standards. The cat certainly does not enjoy the experience, but then it doesn’t harm the cat and it’s the only way that we found to trim the little beast’s claws that worked. There was NO WAY even three people simply “grabbing the cat and holding it down” was going to go–the cat would start writhing and clawing at the hands that were trying to hold it. Done with the leash the cat does not move AT ALL, one person can easily trim all the claws at once, if you can get the leash on the cat.
    You see–that’s the catch here.
    The cat learned what the leash was for, and so now she runs when she sees it out. It’d sure be nice if there was some way to get the cat to co-operate with the whole business, but I just don’t ever see that happening. And I am far too impatient to sit and ponder the cat’s delicate psyche while it rips holes in the furniture. She usually hides for a couple hours after each trimming, but the rest of the time acts no different. In fact–it is when she starts clawing at furniture again that we know that it’s time for a trimming.

Cookie Monster is too strong for most restraint techniques (as several veterinary nurses have discovered to their cost - now I turn up at the vet’s wearing gloves and a leather jacket, and the vet visibly blanches…) So I do what FisherQueen suggests. I have made Cookie associate the clipping with pleasure. I get her when she’s really purry and affectionate, stroke and pet her, scratch her under the chin, and gently push each claw out and give it a snip. At first she resisted, but after each approach she got a treat, so now if I approach her with the snips, she starts purring before the event. Her back feet are a little more of a problem, as she seems to be very ticklish, but we’re getting there. Note: when snipping, do not snip too far below the tip, or you might catch the nerve, which would be painful for all concerned.

Our cat is pretty cooperative when it comes to having his nails clipped and his paws messed with. I usually recline him on my lap against my stomach, and clip the nails with toe-nail clippers. They work pretty well. He’s never scratched or bit me when I do this.

He’s also strangely tolerant of rough play. He’s like a feline rag-doll (I can toss him in the air, and swing him around and he doesn’t struggle or complain… he’s an oddball).

i sneak up on the furry girls when they are asleep. i usually get a claw or 2 done before they wake up.