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Nail trimming, tough cats?

3392 Views 26 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Sinatra-Butters
Maybe because they're former strays, my cats scratch me if I try to trim their nails (or even manipulate their paws). Anyone here any tips for similar situation? I've tried all the usual advice, but that doesn't work with these cats. Especially one of them keeps getting her claws stuck in things and she can't play well because of it. She's indoor-only. Taking her somewhere is not only expensive, but she won't go into the carrier. She's otherwise very affectionate and sleeps with me cheek-to-cheek, arms around mine.
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Have you tried gently wrapping the in a towel with just one paw sticking out? Try to catch them when they are sleepy, do just two maybe three nails at a time.
She'd scratch me a lot more if I tried to wrap her in something. It'd be easier to trim her nails than do that. :) Today, using the surprise factor because I had never done it before, I managed to trim one nail. Then later when I came to just manipulate her fingers, she knew better and swatted at me.

I had forgotten that my friend and the vet can trim her nails with no problem at all. I'm the useless one.
She'd scratch me a lot more if I tried to wrap her in something. It'd be easier to trim her nails than do that. :) Today, using the surprise factor because I had never done it before, I managed to trim one nail. Then later when I came to just manipulate her fingers, she knew better and swatted at me.

I had forgotten that my friend and the vet can trim her nails with no problem at all. I'm the useless one.
Ask your friend for her secret.
I used small people clipper held kitty in the kruk of my left arm and lightly squeeze the paw with my left hand and quickly clip the tips of the claws.
Samantha being a MCC it was hard to see the claws with the toe fur in the way.
I was told that cats can sense authority. My girls will sit still and let their groomer clip their nails, no problem. Me? Not so much.

I did all three girls' nails last month for the first time, but that was because they started to stretch out their paws on my chair. I said, "Oh, **** no!" and took them one by one into the bedroom. I think my determination took them by surprise. It's ten times harder with longhaired cats, because by the time you find a little nail, they've squirmed all over and you've lost the element of surpise.

I need to trim them all again today. fun

I don't really have any advice, everyone seems to have their own little tricks and secrets. The "catch them when they're sleepy" thing doesn't work at my house.
I would start slow. Touch a foot and give a treat. Help them learn that messing with their feet brings wonderful things.

Just like a dog, no treat is free in my house. The want something special then they have to do whatever trick i ask of them.
I think I lack the authoritative gene. This is, by the way, the reason I never wanted to have pets. These were rescues, not planned.
I'm one to get on the floor, gently wrap my legs around the cats and trim the nails. The hardest cat ever was Gata. Gata is 14 lbs of pure muscle. She now lives with my parents and I don't think they trim her claws really anymore, but she's a half outdoors cat so I mean, she needs them claws.
Not sure if it's authority but the cats definitely sense something... I trim several the nails of several of my friend's cats who claim that they just absolutely can't do it because their cat gets "violent" or "out of control". Then I come in and complete the job in under a minute with little fuss. I come in with an attitude of 'these nails are getting trimmed and that is that'. I know exactly what I'm doing, and I know exactly how I like to hold the cats. Watching my friends try to do it is frustrating... they are hesitant and I think that's what the cats sense, and take advantage of.
I have to agree. If you are tentative and ACT like it's a big deal, it becomes a big deal.
Yes, my friend just scruffed her, put her on her lap and clipped while she talked about something unrelated and that was it. Princess tried to object but was met with little attention to her objections. Same happened with getting Prince used to being picked up. He'd put up a fight with me, then let my friend pick him up with hardly any objection. It took both Prince and me getting sick from all the stairs-climbing (7 floors up and down once or twice a day), for me to say "I've had it. I'm picking you up now whatever it takes and that's it", and he didn't scratch me. Nowadays, because he doesn't like being picked up much, he goes into the elevator of his own will when I call him and he rides it perfectly, like a human. And lately he's even ok with me picking him up when he's sleepy and bringing him to bed.

The thing is, except for Prince (who I assume was a house cat at some point in his previous life) my cats have the logic of the street: if you don't like something, you're supposed to hiss at it and scratch it, or bite it. I have a stray in the street that sits on my lap for hours, wrapped in a fleece blanket. When my legs go numb and I tell her she must get off, she hisses at me. It's her way of saying "Don'wanna!" LOL I never had cats raised in a home, so I don't know if other cats also scratch you when they don't like something you do...
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I think that most cats have the probability to be hissy and growly when doing something they don't like. Unless the cat is overly aggressive then I think their responses will only be as aggressive as they are allowed to be.
Out of the four, Kisa is the only one I have problems with. My DH holds them and I clip, it's done in under a minute. Logan struggles a bit, the younger ones just lay there and submit, but Kisa, she's a WHOLE different animal lol.

We have to wrap her and only let one paw out at a time. She's figured out if she swipes at me or tries to bite I back off (reflex lol) so now we wrap her. She growls and hisses the whole time. She used to be "okay" with it, she'd cackle a bit and let us know she wasn't impressed, but now she fights tooth and nail....literally lol.
Cali was easy last night. Charlee was difficult, but I got it done. Cleo can wait another week or two, since she got her nails trimmed a month ago. I usually wait until it hurts when she kneads me at bedtime.

My Mom can't do it, but I took care of my Mom's cat at Thanksgiving with no problem at all. I told her it's the stranger/authority thing.

The one thing I will never EVER do again is have the girls' groomer come to the house. At the clinic, they're in unfamiliar territory, which helps to keep them from fighting it and bolting, but at home - they know where to run to get away. It was a nightmare!
My cat used to have biting problems, so it was a bit tougher for me. I used to have to cuddle him in a towel and forcibly trim his claws. I am not nervous of being scratched, but I do have to hold him down. After about a ten minute battle, he concedes and I treat him after having every claw trimmed. Now (on the fifth claw trimming - I do trimming once per two weeks) he doesn't even put up a fight. He even allows me to trim his back claws every claw trimming session. With my other cat, this method doesn't work. I have to wear my other cat down for 15 minutes with a cat toy. Then I trim his claws.
Do you have anyone that an help you hold her? I have to hold my siamese while my husband clips her claws, she doesn't struggle, but she will hiss and I just hold her a little tighter. My tonkinese doesn't mind it at all - he just sits in my lap and lets me clip them - but he is a very laid back cat.
do u turn the paws around facing up or down when trimming?
never trimmed a kitten's nail before and mine is getting really really sharp...he is getting his paws stucked everywhere~
Does she sleep on your lap? I clip Ritz' nails when she is sleeping on my lap, I watch for rapid eye movement and her paws twitching, which is a sign that she is in REM sleep. I am able to clip her front claws then (and, only then) or sometimes when she is just waking up. I was also able to clip her back paws once or twice when she was in REM sleep. She looks at me like, um, did you just do something I don't think I want to know about... :)
I can't pick Ritz up because (i) I don't know how, (ii) she hates being picked up; and because of (ii) senses (iii) my insecurities. My friend on the other hand can pick her up, Ritz doesn't love it, but doesn't fight her either. So, yeah, this is a time to be Assertive, not Passive Agressive.
Neither of mine can be done while asleep. They're much too alert for that.

I agree that authority and attitude are related to this. I had major probs with Miu before. Then someone on the forum (God bless their soul..I can't remember who..) told me to sit them in my lap and do it with confidence. Once she knew I meant business, she allowed me to clip her front paws without any fuss at all. The back ones she'll only allow if she's in the mood though. I use small cat clippers from Walmart.

Jack, I had even more trouble. He was a former stray and will not allow me to turn him to sit in my lap like a kid. I didn't want to turn it into a traumatic experience so I didn't use a towel. I had a friend trim a couple of times, but I got tired of begging and he was totally scared of my friend who didn't hesitate to towel him. I also didn't want to dish out $20-$30 for a trimming at the vets every 3 weeks.

I finally figured I can grab him from behind, one arm around his body and my own body behind him so he can't retreat. He's wedged between my legs and I'm kneeling. He's standing on his hind legs. I hold him firmly and with confidence cuz he's all muscle. He struggles a bit but will let me do them. It's over in about 2 mins. Then I give him high quality treats like freeze dried chicken breast. Of course, I also have to treat the other 2 cuz they'll come running.

The only slight prob I have is the angle, I have a bit of trouble seeing the leftmost nail on his left paw. But ...I just figured out thru this post...duh..I can turn his paw around. He's not a dog where you can't turn his paw. :eek:.

Yeah, I feel trimming is a must as mine will get them caught on things and it would be painful to get the nails ripped off out of the nail beds..Of course, it's also for the times you get scratched by accident or intentionally...
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Definitely agree with the authority thing. Milky won't budge when he's on my husband's lap because my husband doesn't let him walk all over him (literally), but I let Milky walk all over me, climb on me etc...

Anyway, so getting back to trimming his nails, I usually opt to give treats. He enjoys those immensely so if he wants them, he'll have to let me trim his nails first. He squirms a bit but I hold him firmly and don't let him go until his nails are all done. He knows by now that it's over much faster if he just sits still!
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