Tips for Clipping Cat Nails

Do you clip your cat’s nails or do you take them to the vet to have it done?  When a Floppycats’ reader posted about this subject a few weeks ago on Facebook, it made me think to do a blog post about it.  I clip Charlie and Triggs’s nails myself – they aren’t crazy about it, but tolerate it.  Rags never seemed to care – just sat there until I was done.

Here are some tips I have heard over the years:

  • Wrap your kitty in a towel, so they have less mobility and cannot stratch you, but you can still access each paw, one at a time.
  • Wake them up when they have been sleeping for awhile – they don’t have as much energy and might be less inclined to care.
  • Do one paw a day or do as many paws as you can and save the remaining paws for the next day.

When I did the reviews for some cat clippers, I cut Charlie and Trigg’s nails like I always do – you can see those videos below:

Here’s a video of my mom cutting Caymus’ nails for another product review – Caymus cares about it just as much as Rags did – in other words, not at all!

These clippers remain my favorite clippers – JW Pet GripSoft Cat Nail Clippers

What are your favorite clippers and why? Do you have tips on how to cut your kitty’s nails?

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Have you ever tried a cat nail grinder? I have never seen one until today on the YouTubes so I was wondering if you have ever used one or did a review of one? I couldn’t find that you had so I thought I’d ask and see. I’m not to sure about how something like that would be, If it would be a good or bad thing…hmmmmmm?

    1. my mom uses a grinder on her dogs – i am not a fan – especially when you can see the quick on a ragdoll cat and it’s super quick to clip and not so quick to grind. I wouldn’t want the vibration of the grind on my nails.

      1. Thank you Jenny for that reply, I appreciate your advice. I didn’t think it was something I would like to do either but I figured to explore the subject after I had seen it. I always look forward to your posts and videos Kisses and hugs to Charlie and Chiggy

        1. Thank you for bringing it to my attention – and please don’t ever hesitate to do so.

  2. I agree and should be giving a “greeny” which is the favorite treat of my Rags. Will do so next time! When they seem to scratch a lot, either on my couch or scratching posts, I wonder if that means their nails are too longs and need clipping.

  3. I always follow up a nail trimming session with a treat – before releasing whoever is on my lap. The treat is given even if all 4 paws have not been done (due to wriggling). That makes them think about the last thing – a positive – once they are off my lap. Now, when the clippers & treat box come out, they line up! Everybody gets 1 treat for waiting and the “patient” gets 3 or 4 – again before release. No one hides anymore & the whole process is a non-event.

  4. Eszti & Phineas says:

    My Phini tolerates nail clipping fairly well. I have a completely no-name cat nail-clipper purchased from Alpha Zoo (pet supply store here in my country), nothing special.

    I do it the way that after the usual play-session when he falls asleep like a baby (he can sleep like he is in coma lol) I simply take one of his paws, start stroking it (he purrs like a diesel engine), and carefully clip his nails on said paw while he is asleep. He does not even wake up by it anymore.

    He also tolerates it when he is awake, but is objecting a little bit in the beginning. He never claws though, if he is not in mood for something he rather jumps out of my lap and jogs away than biting / clawing :).

    Anyway I think it helps if everyone gets their cats used to their paws being touched from a really young age, because some cats just hate it due to the fact that it is an unusual feeling for them that they are touched at those spots. I started “training” my Phineas for nail clipping by touching his paws from the point I took him home, and it worked wonders. In the beginning he always pulled away his actual paw, but in a fairly short time he got so used to it that he now actually gives me his paw intentionally so I will stroke it :).

  5. I can see the rationale for the clothes pins concept/acupressure points, and where Mama cat grasps young kittens, very interesting.

    My idea is pretty simple and rudimentary: Distraction:

    If your cats like the outdoors at all, take them out on a short walk around the yard while holding them snug at your non-dominant side of your waist with one arm, and clipping the front nails with your dominant hand (and little help with non dominant hand to hold paw) while they’re more interested in looking around at all the stuff outdoors, so you can get away with clipping the nails of a cat who normally is opposed to it.

    Or for more distraction, team up and have a friend distract visually with a toy while you have them on your lap quickly snipping/clipping.

    I just use a small human nail clippers to take the little bit of sharp points off the ends–not too much at all. Of course Mulsanne immediately goes to his scratching posts to sharpen them right up again.

  6. I recently picked up this helpful link from a Ragdoll Forum:

    At first, this made me cringe! Just be sure to use only the not-too-tight grip of wooden clothespins so you do not hurt your kitty! I practiced the principle of this but without the clothespins. My bf held Romeo’s ruff tightly and I was able to cut his nails without him wildly trying to pull away. It does make them relax.

    1. Geo – holy smokes! that is crazy – but makes sense!

  7. Thank you for all the great tips! Learning alot about care and behavior. However your cats are so sweet! Tuffy is a monster compared to Charlie and Caymus. I swear I have one of THE most aggressive Ragdolls on the planet! I’ve had to get a biting muzzle wrap her up etc. As far as teeth brushing I’m so petrified I will have to send to vet! : (( she’s about a year now and as unaffectionate and bossy as ever! But I love her! Never could break her out of those ways, that’s why I own her and was given to me by former owners after they named her Devil Pussy.
    As far as the clipping of nails I did manage to do two paws until she had enough, two down two to go. Sincerely Cindy. Owner of DP : )

    1. Dawn Jones says:

      Even easier if you go to a beauty supply and buy yourself a good pair of human toe-nail clippers. Oh so easy to cut your kitties nails. I have 7 and don’t even have to wrap them up. I got them used to me touching their feet and pushing out their claws when they come to sit on my lap while I’m watching TV. So nail trimming is now an easy task at our house.

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