How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails at Home

As a cat owner, taking care of your cat’s health should be a priority for you, and trimming their nails is no exception. Trimming your cat’s nails is important for their safety, your safety, and the safety of your furniture and other household items. Every cat owner knows that cats love to scratch and dig their claws in different places – the furniture, carpet, and even your body!

Cutting your cat’s nails by yourself can be a stressful experience enough to cause your blood pressure to rise. It takes a lot to do this successfully, as cats can be sensitive to touch and will not hesitate to let you know how they feel about it. Since you have to trim your cat’s nails regularly, you need to know how to do this at home. So, how can you trim your cat’s nails at home?

Trimming your cat’s nails at home requires familiarizing your cat with their claws and nails being touched. Furthermore, both you and your cat need to be comfortable and relaxed during the process – speaking softly to your cat and offering them treats is a great way to keep them relaxed. Finally, you can trim your cat’s nails with small, pet-friendly nail clippers, but be sure to avoid cutting near the “quick”.

how to trim your cat's nails at home matthews nc

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Cats usually scratch to flex their feet, stretch their bodies, mark their territory, and weaken the dead outer layer of skin on their nails. So, it is normal for cats to scratch, but unfortunately, the scratching can lead to damaged curtains, carpet,  and furniture.

You could also get badly injured, which is why it is essential to trim your cat’s nails every ten to fourteen days. Doing so can reduce the risk of an injury from your cat scratching you.

How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails at Home

Although trimming your cat’s nails seems like a simple process, there are a couple of important steps you must take in order to make it easier on both you and the cat.

Prepare Your Cat cat nail trim

The first thing you need to do when you want to trim your cat’s nails at home is to prepare them for the experience. It would be best to start when your cat is little so that they can get used to it, although this will work regardless of your cat’s age.

Your cat should be used to nail trimming as a kitten and having their paws handled regularly. The earlier you establish these good habits, the easier it will be for you.

You should always massage and play with your cat’s paws regularly and reward them with treats. The point of this is to show your cat that the nail trimming experience is enjoyable and not painful. Your cat should also be familiar with the sound and look of nail clippers before their first trim.

Always try to reward your cats with treats when they exhibit positive responses to the nail trimming preparation. This way, they will always look forward to the trimming experience.

Set the Mood

Before you begin trimming your cat’s nails, you should set the mood by ensuring that the environment is conducive for a nail trimming session. To be peaceful, you should always trim your cat’s nails in a quiet and calm area. It would help if you did this after a meal when your cat is sleepy.

You should avoid distractions during this process so stay away from anything that will cause one – close your windows and keep other pets away if you have any. Lastly, you want to ensure you and your cat are comfortable before you begin. For example, put your cat on your lap to get easier access to their nails.

Get Your Nail Kit

Once you are done setting the mood for this process, get all the necessary supplies that you need. You will need pet nail trimmers (small-sized ones), a blanket for your cat to lay on, your cat’s favorite treats, and a toy. Ensure you cross-check because you would not want to stand up again once you have started, as this will break the flow completely and your cat may run away and hide.

Ensure Your Cat is Comfortable

Before trimming your cat’s nails, ensure they are very comfortable because they need to be as calm as possible throughout the process. Place your cat on your lap or a soft blanket, pet them, touch their paws, speak softly to them, and let them get used to touching their feet. Then you can begin.

During the process, if you realize that your cat is getting impatient, you should try to calm them down before you start again. Reward your cat’s good behavior with treats, which should encourage them to maintain good behavior.

cat nail quickTime to Trim

It is essential that you know how much of your cat’s nails you should trim because a mistake could cause them to bleed. An area in the nails is called the ‘quick‘ – a tissue layer under the nails with nerve endings and blood vessels. They are similar to human nail beds.

If you trim the nails too short, there is a possibility that you will cut the quick. This can be very painful for your cat and may cause them to bleed. So, you need to be extra careful because your cat will not want another nail trimming experience if that happens. The good thing is that cats have transparent nails, so it is easy to see the quick (a pink-colored triangle at the base of the nail).

Cats have retractable claws, so when trimming, you need to squeeze the bottom and top of each foot gently so that the claws can be extended for trimming. To make cutting easier, cut from the sides of your cat’s nails instead of from top to bottom. This will also help you to see what you are cutting easily.

Cutting all your cat’s nails usually takes more than one nail trimming session. Once you trim a nail successfully, give your cat a treat. Once they are relaxed, you can move on to the next nail. Most cats usually get tired or begin to complain after you have cut two or three nails. When this happens, you should let them go and try again at a later time.


Cutting your cat’s nails is not a difficult process and is something you will get used to after a couple of tries. It would be best if you were relaxed, confident, and comfortable when trimming your cat’s nails so you do not make mistakes. The more confident you are during nail trimming sessions, the more your cat will be at peace.

The steps above will help you to trim your cat’s nails at home efficiently. Always make sure you avoid the quick and keep in mind that you cannot finish the process in one day. You can try cutting one nail each day every week so that your cat gets used to the process.

Do you have questions about trimming your cat’s nails at home? Caring Hearts Animal Hospital in Matthews, NC is here to help. Reach out at 704-893-2799 with questions or make an appointment today!