General Question

gailcalled's avatar

Might I review the techniques of clipping a cat's nails?

Asked by gailcalled (54563points) June 25th, 2008

Could you send me tips for doing it the hard way, please? Gauntlets, muzzle of paper cup and string, custom-made burkah? The easy way does not work. My daughter got 9 of 10 nails and Milo barely noticed. I show up with clippers and find I need the styptic pen for me. Recommended clippers?

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25 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Gail, love, Milo senses your fear. it is also a power struggle.

I have the same problem with Mackie, my dog. I take the coward’s way out and pay someone (whom he hardly flinches for) to do it. My peace of mind is SO worth it.

tinyfaery's avatar

They have special clippers for pet nails, but I find them unneccessary for cats. If your daughter can do it, let her. If I understand, Milo is not your cat, so no need to fret. They also have these sacks that you can put your cat in that constricts their movement so kitty can’t get you (not harmful to the cat). Try to associate nail clipping with something positive, like a yummy treat afterwards. This type of training takes a while, but it will work. If you care to, there is abook called “Starting From Scratch” that has all kinds of answers to all of your kitty problems.

Seesul's avatar

What kind of clippers are you using?

breedmitch's avatar

Wait until Milo is relaxed. Right now Ike is streched out next to me on the couch and it would be a great time to do it. When Milo is half slumbering just reach down and push the middle back of his paw with your thumb. He’s going to pull his arm back in but just go with him. Then quickly snip just the very tips of his claws off. Try to be fast enough to do two or three before he wrestles away from you. Have patience and keep going. The fact that he’s drowsing should help. Like I’ve said before, you’re not looking to cut his claws down to size, you’re just trying to blunt the tip. This will stop his scratching because he won’t be able to get his claws into anything.

susanc's avatar

Gail, breedmitch is completely on top of this; you can just
pm him any time from now on; but don’t, because the rest of us need to keep track.
Did you buy special little kitty toe clippers? Most people use the small size fingernail clippers and they’re fine.

syz's avatar

Poor Gail.

Human fingernail clippers are fine. If you turn them so that the flat surface of the blades are perpindicular to the flat surface of Milo’s nail (higher up, where it is thicker, you can see the orientation), it’s almost impossible for you to quick him because of the curvature of his nail. It truly does not hurt (exactly like clipping your own nails), he is objecting to the restraint and the touching of his feet. Plus, he knows he has you completely bamboozled.

There are “cat bags” available, but I think that you will find that getting a reisting cat into a small nylon bag is harder than a toenail trim has any hope of being.

Swaddling with a large, fluffy towel or a small blanket is going to be your best bet. When trying a manuever like this by myself, I will sometimes sccop them up in a blanket, place them on the floor, and then sit/crouch on the floor with my legs in a “V”, using my legs and knees and crotch as a corral (hence the adequate padding). Then pull out a foot at a time to clip. Be careful – he will still be able to bite if he can get to you.

If Milo is being truly ugly about this, perhaps your friendly neighborhood vet clinic is your best bet. You may even be able to arrange for a pet sitter or technician (or some other professional animal wrangler) to make a house call every month or so for a set fee.

Good luck. Don’t get hurt.

marinelife's avatar

I second the towel idea. Although I have found it works better on smaller cats. Big males are really strong.

scamp's avatar

Here ya go Gail! Handy hints for all types of pet nail trimming.. with pictures! Don’t forget to wear long sleeves to protect your arms.

Seesul's avatar

You can also try to just file them with one of those pink rectangular block things that they use in nail salons. Just tell Milo he’s at the Cat Spa.

gailcalled's avatar

@Scamp: and I quote: “Cats are the most likely pet to cause you an injury while
trimming their nails. They come equipped with sharp teeth,
hooked claws and the mentality of a tiger!” But thanks anyway.

@See; You tell Milo.

@Marina: M weighs 10 lbs 12 oz. Is that considered big? Sometimes he curls into a lump the size of a soccer ball and other times, when str-e-t-c-h-e-d out, looks 3 feet long.

@tiny; he is, in theory, my daughter’s cat. He’s here, however, and she’s in BC. She popped in for a visit from Vancouver for several days and did the clipping. She is now back in BC for an indefinite stay, depending on the Canadian gov’t and the new love.

@syg; is there a bag I can stuff me into- preferably of chain mail.

@all; I have been feeding a neighbor’s cat while owner’s been away. He said he’d take me out to lunch. I said, “Guess again.” Stay tuned.

And thanks again…everyone.

Brian. How far are you from Penn Station? It’s a lovely ride up here.

Seesul's avatar

I’ve done it to 3 cats, all Russian Blues, The first two were re-homed and already used to it from being shown. The first one’s human sat me down and showed me how to do it, but both of those were willing. Then I got the kitten. She has never been shown, and maybe had her nails clipped once or twice by her previous humans. I sat her down in my lap and just told her nicely we were going to do this and i was going to win, so she’d better get used to it. The first time she fought me, so I wrapped her up. The next time, I didn’t have to, but, again, I told her I was going to win. I speak very nicely to her, kiss her on the head after each paw and do a countdown of 18. When she’s done, i hug some more, rub her where she likes it and praise her for being a good kitty.

That being said, she was a kitten and still is around 7 lbs full grown. Maybe you’d better order out. I’d come over and try, but gas is about $3.60 a gallon right now and I’m only taking one foray into the mosquito zone this summer, as beautiful as it is (and as fetching as I will look in that outfit).

Again, forgive any mistakes, my eyes are too smoked out to proof.

marinelife's avatar

@GC That’s not big for a male. he should wrap nicely in a towel if you go that route. I am liking the chain mail for you idea though.

gailcalled's avatar

Try to imagine Seesul in an LLBEAN net suit- head to toe – to keep the Eastern mosquitoes out. Who would be more fetching?

marinelife's avatar

It’s a vision whose beauty blinds me so that I cannot decide.

Seesul's avatar

What’s funny, gail is that you wouldn’t believe how many of my clothes come from LLBean. I’ve even toured the store in ME. If I showed up in that to take care of his majesty, that might shock him enough to stun him into submission. He’d do anything for you after that, as long as you didn’t bring that “whateverthatis” back.

gailcalled's avatar

Back to Milo; my male friend who has owned cats all his adult life, came over today with his nail clippers. We swaddled Milo in his own Milo-smelling towel. After a blur of arms, legs, paws, someone’s tail and several near-misses of fangs, we got three nails cut.

That’s it. I am hiring someone..I don’t mow my acreage, I don’t plow my driveway, I don’t do nails.

syz's avatar

I hope you supplied the friend with a nice cold beer afterward.

gailcalled's avatar

It was 10:00AM and he owes me big-time. I feed and water his cats three x weekly while he is commuting to NYC for a writing job. I did make him a nice iced peach herbal tea with fresh mint and sliced nectarines floating in it. Whadya want for three nails?

syz's avatar

<grins> I guess as long as there was no bloodshed….

gailcalled's avatar

Not this time. His cats sit quietly, hold up their paws and almost choose the color of the polish they prefer. But he has had them since kittenhood. The first year of Milo’s life is a mystery, although how anyone could leave this handsome dude at a shelter is beyond me.

When Milo rolls over on his back, exposes his belly and stretches, is that a sign he wants to play, or is he saying, “Don’‘t touch me ”? If I am close, he will sometimes poke me, fairly gently.

marinelife's avatar

He is inviting your caress.

syz's avatar

A cat that shows you his belly is expressing trust and relaxation (that’s a kill site for a predator). It does not necessarliy mean that he wants to be rubbed there – some cats seriously do not like it and will grab and bite. It may be an invitation to play. I’d cautiously explore.

gailcalled's avatar

I threw a ball of twine at him and he went seriously bonkers for several minutes. Then back to the evening lethargy. My daughter did suggest, strongly, that I never touch his abdomen.

@Syz: I finally learned how to enlarge the avatars. That is one extremely large Jaguar you have. Who does his nails?

syz's avatar

That’s Bruce, a jaguar I used to work with. Bruce pretty much got to do whatever he wanted.

breedmitch's avatar

Gail, let me get this damn winebar open first and then I’ll gladly come for a visit.

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