Trouble holding cat for claw trim?

I enjoy the challenge of claw trims.  Keeping the cat still can be a game of skill and imagination!  It’s hard to be more clever than a cat when it comes to keeping them from getting away during a claw trimming session.

Some gentle restraint techniques I’ve used:

No restraint. Just put the cat on a counter and trim the claws. Yay!

Hold the cat in my lap with their belly facing up, just like you’d hold a baby.

Wrap kitty up like a burrito in a big towel, pulling out the paw that I need.

Put cat on the counter, slide cat’s body up against mine so she is snug, and trim claws.

Any of the above, plus a snap-on E collar.

Sit on the floor on my knees, with kitty between my knees. Face a wall so kitty can’t run off.

Lay kitty on side with my forearm resting gently but firmly on their shoulders.  Trim the claws I can reach. Turn kitty onto other side and repeat.

Cats are flexible. As long as you don’t put them in uncomfortable positions, you can try different ways of holding them until you find the one that works.  Remember that trimming claws only takes a minute or so, so even if kitty isn’t thrilled, they are only one minute away from treats, praise and play time.  Not a bad deal!

Claw trimmer and cat's claw
Cat on my lap.

What’s a claw thorn? It’s what I call a claw that’s pierced the skin.

A claw thorn is a claw growing into a cat’s paw pad. Much like a thorn, an untrimmed claw can pierce the paw. Ouch!!

Claw embedded in paw. Happens more often with old or fat cats. Rare with young and healthy cats.
I call this a Claw Thorn. Claw embedded in paw. Happens more often with old or fat cats. Rare with young and healthy cats. When I trim the claw, the part that’s grown into the pad will come out. There’ll be some blood, and a small hole in the paw. Good idea to get your vet to check it out or at least keep an eye on it in case infection sets in.

Holding a cat who’s not into being held

 

Yoga. Jiu Jitsu. Moving 3-dimensionally.

Cats twist their body in ways we can’t even begin to do.

Cats use extreme flexibility to get the upper paw.

If I’m thinking like a human, two-dimensionally, I’m not going to get those claws trimmed.

The cat is not a piece of paper or a brick. The cat is more like air flowing and shifting shape.

May the force be with you, grasshopper!

 

How I trimmed my cat’s front claw

CAM02827
I put Emma on my lap with my hand under her armpits.
CAM02826
She sits calmly.
CAM02829
I’m wearing a slippery dress, so she slides a little.
CAM02834
I hold her paw and look at the claws to find one that needs trimming. See the clear part of the claw? See the pink part? I trimmed the tip of the claw so that it’s not sharp and pointy.
CAM02838
I used little claw trimmers.

To get the claw trimmers, Four Paws Cat Grooming Claw Clipper

Cat Claw Growing into Pad? Ingrown Cat Nail?

How do you survive in a world of predators and prey? Hide weakness. Look normal. Act healthy. No matter what.

This is your cat’s code of survival. They don’t have to think about it. They do it automatically.

You look at your cat’s claw and see something that looks weird. You look closer. Wait . . . what? Why is the claw so fat? It’s growing into the paw pad! Oh no! Oh wow! You quickly check the other claws, heart beating. You love your cat. Your cat looked normal, nothing unusual about her behavior, and now this?! You wonder, “Is my cat in pain? This is awful.”

What now?

1. If you usually trim your cat’s claws, you can try to cut the part of the claw that is exposed. You need good lighting. If the claw is deeply embedded, there may be blood.  To prevent infection, keep the claw as clean as possible. Ask your veterinarian how to care for the paw.

OR . . .

2. You can take your cat to your veterinarian.

OR . . .

3. I can trim the claw, BUT if the claw was embedded, you MUST take your cat to the veterinarian or talk to your veterinarian ASAP.  I am a groomer, not a doctor. I can only care for the outside of a cat, not the inside. I am not trained to prevent or treat possible infections. Graduating from grooming school is NOT the equivalent of earning a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, right?

What next?

1. Trim your cat’s claws at least every 4-6 weeks. If you can’t do it, we will set up a schedule. It only takes 15 minutes for a claw trimming visit, as long as the cat is relaxed. For a nervous/angry/wiggly cat, the claw trimming is the easy part. Picking up and restraining the cat is the hard part. Cats that bite or scratch may be calmer at a veterinary clinic.  Some cats “freeze” in a clinic, while they try to figure out what to do next. Or not. With cats you never know. It’s worth a try if house call claw trims don’t work out.

Good luck. Ingrown claws can be found on cats owned by even the most loving people. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty. Just fix it, fast.

The claw trimmer I use is small, but you can use a bigger one or a human nail clipper if that is easier for you.

To buy:  Four Paws Magic Coat Cat Claw Clipper

If your cat doesn’t use a scratching post, the sheath covering the claw might stay on instead of being sloughed off.

The stylish cat scratcher lounge. I own one. So do six of my clients.

PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge (Walnut Brown)