For health, hygiene and comfort, it is recommended that all cats have their nails trimmed. We explain when and how to do it, with advice from veterinarians to be successful with feline manicures.

Cat nails clipping

The cats communicate, interact, and climb or hunt with their nails. They are so vital that their caregivers must always ensure their health and care for them. 

To do this, nothing better than to start doing it since they are puppies, always with patience, affection, and helped by a good nail clipper or scissors, whether ordinary or special for cats. But, of course, the experts remind us that the moment of the feline manicure should be pleasant for both because otherwise, there will be no human being capable of cutting the cat’s nails.

In this article, we clarify your doubts and explain why it is advisable to cut your cat’s nails, regardless of its breed or age, when, how, and where to do it, and we offer you some recommendations from veterinarians who know the world of felines and their care.

Cat nails

Cats have 18 toes, with their respective claws, at the end of their four legs: five on each front hand and four on each back. We often forget that the nails are precisely one of the essential parts of our cat, and keeping them cared for, and healthy will be necessary for their quality of life. And the thing is that cats communicate with their nails, but they also use them to explore the environment surrounding them, hunt (even when it comes to domestic cats), and climb or stay agile.

Faced with the doubt that often arises among cat caregivers about whether or not to cut the nails of felines, José Luis Guerrero, Cristina Veterinario’s veterinarian, believes that it should be done so that “they do not get stuck like pins.” something that will make life more pleasant for both the animal and us. “We will be grateful if he has blunt nails when he plays on us or if, for example, we have a cat who likes to knead, as he did with his mother when she was breastfeeding him,” he explains.

Some nails that are not very sharp also help prevent them from getting caught in carpets or curtains. 

Although Guerrero warns that cutting the nails does not serve to protect the sofa, since we must offer other more attractive “scratchers,” he believes that it helps so that the deterioration is less.

Regarding scratchers, experts recommend that those who live with a cat at home provide all the necessary means for the animal to have its scratching needs met. For example, suppose you are forbidden to scratch specific furniture or objects. 

In that case, you must be offered an accessible alternative, and this is where the particular scratchers that we find on the market become a great option. Although cats sometimes prefer some aspects of the home, a solution may be to protect those elements that are the object of their passion.

Is operating on the cat to remove its nails a solution?

For Ana Anglada, a specialist in feline medicine at Anaga Centro, this operation to remove the cat’s nails is not a possibility since she considers it “a savage” and ultimately discourages it due to the physical and psychological effects it has on the cat. feline. “Currently, amputation for aesthetic reasons of any part of the animal is prohibited by law. When the nails are removed, it is not really “only” that the nails are removed, but the first phalanx is also amputated.

Cats use their nails to interact and communicate, so if we remove their claws, we modify how they relate. Furthermore, it can also happen that many animals have posterior pain due to a phantom limb, as well as behavioral problems for this exact reason”, explains Ana Anglada. 

Trimming the cat’s nails: when, where, and how?

Cat nails clipping

There are no differences between breeds in the care of feline nails since there are no cats that need a regular manicure more than others. There are also no distinctions in age. 

Therefore, it is recommended for everyone, without exception. How often? According to the veterinarian Ana Anglada, it can be done approximately every 15 days or every month, “depending on the needs of each cat and its age,” but also “if you use scratchers or not regularly at home.” 

Although many veterinarians and animal care centers may offer the ability to clip nails to felines, we can do it at home. Unlike those of their fellow dogs, the pins of these animals are not excessively thick or stiff, so that a standard nail clipper will suffice. 

Most stores specialized in pet care have specific tools for this purpose, mainly scissors and special nail clippers. All are equally valid, and your choice will depend on how comfortable one is, both for us and the pussycat.

For a correct cut of the nails, Ana Anglada remembers that we must bear in mind that cats have retractable claws. That is, they are generally hidden, and we must remove them by pressing the pad with our fingers to visualize them. “Inside the nails, they have a vessel and a nerve that end in the shape of an arrow. To cut the nails, we must leave a few millimeters in front so as not to harm them and that the vein does not bleed. 

The ideal is to cut only the tip to avoid these structures”, says the Anaga Centro veterinarian. When in doubt, the best thing to do is cut less and repeat the operation in less time if necessary, then go overboard and harm the animal.

Lastly, nail trimming can be a nervous and restless time for some cats. To make this situation pleasant for everyone, both for him and us, the ideal is to accustom the puppy to manipulate his legs. The caresses, a relaxed tone of voice, and laying him on our legs can help us cut his nails at home without significant drama.