Clipping Cat Nails

It’s not necessary to trim your cat’s claws – it depends on your pet’s lifestyle. Indoor cats are usually the ones who need their claws cutting, especially those who sharpens their claws on your furniture! Most cats do not like having their nails trimmed – so start trimming your kitten’s nails early. This gets them use to having their paws touched and your job of nail clipping much easier.

Some cats will happily sit in your lap while you trim their claws, some may need two people – one to hold the cat and one to do the trimming!

If your cat is difficult when having their nails clipped wrap them in a towel or ask your vet to do it for you, or speak to your vet about a sedative that you can give your cat before nail clipping begins.

Clipping Cat Nails


There are several types of nail clippers, including a guillotine type, a plier type and a scissors type. Some people find the guillotine type easiest to use in cats.

There is also a ‘grinding’ tool now on the market which is easy to use – but it is very simple to over grind so caution should be used with grinders (or any nail clippers!!!).

I find the plier type with a safety guard the best – not only does it give you peace of mind due to the safety guard, but it allows you to view more accurately what you are doing.

Clipping Cat Nails


  1. Cats have retractable claws (dogs don’t).
  2. Black nails are hard to clip as you cannot see the quick. Clip black nails slowly and little by little.

  3. Take it slow, if your cat only lets you trim one paw at a time – just wait and do another paw when your cat settles down.

  4. Cats that go outside or have a cat scratcher inside to maintain their nails may not need their claws trimmed.
Clipping Cat Nails


A cats claw is similar to ours. As with humans the pink part of the claw that can be seen is known as the ‘quick’. The quick is made up of nerves and blood vessels and is highly sensitive. With white clawed cats the quick is easily seen.

Be aware that the quick grows with the claw.

A cats claw is finer and thinner than a dogs claw so easier to cut.


When looking at your cats paw, a claw can be considered long when it curves downwards and a lot of white nail is seen.

To trim a claw cut the nail cross-wise about 2mm below the quick (see diagram).

If you have a cat with very long claws start trimming off very small amounts to begin with. This allows the quick to recede back over time.

Clipping Cat Nails


Why not learn more about how to care for your cat?  Click here to find out more.

Clipping Cat Nails