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The nail trimming battle, how to win the war?

2133 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Arianwen
Looking for some advice here. When I clip Winston's nails he struggles half heartedly for a moment then just resigns himself to his fate. Though he does make himself into a jello cat; its like he is saying 'Fine but you have to do ALL the work.' The same was true when I had to bathe him once.

Archie on the other hand goes nuts. He struggles so much that he is usually in an upset state for a good hour after. I actually have to have a friend who worked for a vet come do it for me. However, thats obviously a bit inconvenient for the both of us. So how do you all manage this task??
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I would start a toe nail at a time. Book was pretty spastic about it first as well. I would trim ONE nail while he was sleeping and the second he noticed what I was doing (right after I snipped the nail) I would praise him to the heavens and give him a treat.

Then I just added toes one at time until he let me trim them all. I tried really hard not to overwhelm him.
I trim out cats nails when they are sleepy or sleeping. I take my time, if I only get one or two done I'll do the rest at another time.
I've seen some people reccommend making a cat burrito with 1 paw sticking out of a blanket, but I'd feel mean. Luckily my kitten just lets me as long as he's sleepy. He gets very annoyed if i take too long though. My vet does it when we go and she always comments that I don't clip enough off. I know where to clip, I just get scared he's going to try to get away at the last minute. hopefully we'll both get more comfortable with it as time goes on
Is Archie a lap cat? My Meatball doesn't like nail trimming too much either, but I can finish at least 2 paws when she is soundly asleep on my laps. If she shows signs of waking up, I just pet her and she will fall back to her sweet dream :lol:
I got a muzzle for Paizly. I tried the one toe at a time, but I can't actually HOLD her paw (she'll let me touch/pet them, though), she freaks out and yanks it away while trying to bite me. When she sleeps she always it's hard to get to her when she's under a dresser or something.
It may sound mean, but with a muzzle she can't nip at me, and it gets done in less than 5 minutes. I figure stress for 5 minutes once a month isn't gonna kill her (though she certainly acts like it!)
I do give her treats, but she's too busy sulking and fuming that Nebbie usually ends up stealing them from her LOL
Is Archie a lap cat? My Meatball doesn't like nail trimming too much either, but I can finish at least 2 paws when she is soundly asleep on my laps. If she shows signs of waking up, I just pet her and she will fall back to her sweet dream :lol:
No, he is my 'I want to be near you but not actually touching you' cat. But he is usually within reach when he curls up with me. So I will have to try the sleeping trick. He will let me touch his paws as he is generally very trusting of me. He even lets me pick him up, flip him on his back and rub his tummy while walking about with him. But he absolutely hates having his nails trimmed. Too bad he hasn't picked up compliance from winston yet :fust
If he's this bad now and you force him he'll get worse...a LOT worse.

I'd suggest the one claw at a time method too. Try for one claw a day, and as soon as you've done it stick a yummy treat right under his nose (have it ready next to you). This way he'll start associating it with that yummy treat, and it'll slowly get easier.

DON'T wrap him in a burrito! He already hates having his nails done, and that would also terrify him. It's kind of like if you were scared of the dentist, so they strapped you down, used a machine to hold your mouth open, and were rough with you. All the nice words in the world after that wouldn't help and you'd probably do anything you could to get out of ever going to the dentist again!
A friend recently told me that she lays a towel in the bathroom sink and puts her resistant cats in the sink on their back and then clips. It also allows her to close the door so they can't go too far if they escape. May not work for all cats, but it's more ammo in the arsenal.
I swaddle 3 of my cats. The sleepy thing never worked for us. They stay still until it's over, which is about 2 minutes since I make sure I am quick about it, but that comes with experience. Afterwards, they get treats, and a lot of the times a good brushing, too. It's not such a huge traumatic deal.
If he's fine with you handling his paws, perhaps it's the style of clippers you are using that he objects to for some reason?

Mine have all been clipped from a young age, as I also do with litters, will all happily sit on my lap while I do them, less than a minute and all 4 paws are done.
The key is acclimatizing them to having the nails clipped; which is one reason why the one claw at a time method works. They eventually get used to being handled, having the nail clipped and getting the treat. Of course this does not work for all cats, but it does for the majority.
I'm beginning to feel a bit of a freak as I have never had to clip a cat's claws. Even when I have taken them for check-ups in the vets, it has never been suggested altough their claws are looked at. Am I alone in this?
I'm beginning to feel a bit of a freak as I have never had to clip a cat's claws. Even when I have taken them for check-ups in the vets, it has never been suggested altough their claws are looked at. Am I alone in this?
it is good practice to trim them for several reasons; they get caught in stuff when they are long, and in some cases, have ripped, bled, become infected or grown in weird directions, such as curled into the paw pad, the cat won't scratch you accidentally when running, stretching, or kneading, the cats won't hurt the other cats during aggressive play sessions, minimizes the wear and tear on stuff that is scratched when they get carried away, such as furniture, pillows, and it gets the cat (s) used to you handling its paws regularly to keep an eye on any upcoming conditions, which might require your attention.
Before you think about clipping the nails, just focus on getting the cat used to everything UP TO that point. Figure out the best position for you and the cat to be in and practice getting the cat in that position, then give treats while they are there. I like to have mine on the floor, sitting or lying sphinx style, then I kneel over them so they are between my knees. I don't squeeze them or anything, but if they back up I can put my feet together so they can't slip out.

Then while they are in the position practice lifting an arm. At first you may need to stay away from the feet, lifting the arm at the elbow and giving treats. You can slowly work at lifting the arm closer and closer to the paw. Then practice lifting the paw, then flexing the paw so the nails come out. Work on this step for a while, increase the amount of time you must hold the nails out. Make sure to practice holding each nail out individually as you would when clipping. If they pull away let them, the last thing you want is for the cat to feel trapped during these sessions, he should feel like he can get away if he really wants to. That will prevent panic (and thus biting and scratching) In the mean time also work on petting paws and legs while the cat is resting near you just to get them used to the sensation. Always keep these sessions very short, you don't want to continue until the cat has had enough, quit while you're ahead.

Then introduce the clippers, start like the previous session, flexing nails, and then do it with the clippers in your other hand. You can bring the clippers near the nail but don't touch. Then you can touch them to the nail. Then you can slide them onto the nail like you are JUST about to cut, but don't. And then finally you'll be able to cut a nail. Never move up to the next step unless the cat seems comfortable at the current step. Cats rarely NEED to have their nails clipped, it lessens scratching and prevents them from getting stuck on stuff but they usually don't become overgrown to the point where they affect walking or curl into the paw as can happen with dogs. So you can really take your time with this if you need to.

When you can clip them I don't suggest you clip them all at once. Mine have had theirs clipped since they were kittens and are a breeze to do, and I still only clip two or three at a time. I get the cat in position, clip clip, release. Then I do the same to the next cat. Then go back to the first cat and do a few more. They don't like you grasping their paw for a long time, they want it back and get panicky if they can't have it. So give it back before they ask for it back. If I'm just clipping on cat I'll do two nails, let him go, pet him and love on him for a minute, then do two more, etc. until he's done.
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I handle paws and they let the vets handle them - the vet checks them but has never suggested that they need it even when he has suggested it to others. With my dogs as well, the most trimming I have ever had to do is dew claws. Touching wood, none of my cats over a very long period have eer had one grow in a wrong shape or rip.
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