Do cats trim their own nails?

Cutting your cat’s nails is often a stressful experience for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be. Cat’s nails are retractable, meaning they’re kept hidden until the cat needs to use them. These nails can grow back fast sometimes! Almost every cat needs to have their nails trimmed regularly;

cats trim their own nails

Cats Claws Get Stuck On You!

Cats’ nails are extremely sharp, and a scratch can lead to an infection, so trimming the nails would be a benefit for you. As your cat also roams the great outdoors, trimmed nails also could help other creatures he might get into a tussle with. Unlike declawing, trimmed nails still will allow him to defend himself and to climb to safety when needed. Keeping your cat indoors would prevent any of that.

How Do Cats Keep Their Own Nails Short?

You might be thinking, “There are plenty of cats that live outdoors and no one is trimming their nails but they’re also not hobbling around with overgrown nails or getting stuck on everything they touch- so what’s going on here?”

So Do Cats Need Their Nails Trimmed?

If cats are especially active, they may not actually need their nails trimmed. But you should never take an out of sight, out of mind approach and assume that all is well with your cat’s claws. Even if you have a young, active, and healthy cat that spends plenty of time climbing cat trees and scratching their posts you should still regularly check claws to make sure they not starting curve inward or have especially sharp points.

But trimming cat claws isn’t just about your cat, it’s also great for you! While not every cat is a lap cat, there are plenty of felines that love nothing more than crawling into your lap or on your chest and digging their claws into you! You’d be amazed at the difference that a simple trim can make!

Keeping up with nail trimming can also protect your furniture! Even if your cat isn’t actively trying to scratch the furniture, claws that are too long can get caught on fabrics like your couch or shirt. This can quickly lead to small but unintentional holes in your fabric!

Why Do Some Cats Not Need to Have Their Nails Trimmed?

Trimming or not is generally dependent on your cat’s lifestyle.

Outdoor Cats – If your cat is an outdoor cat, it may be a bad idea to trim his or her nails because they are needed for important tasks:

Climbing – Cats need to climb to navigate their territory and also to escape danger when pursued by other animals.

Scratching – Cats nails are always growing, and scratching is an instinctive act that keeps the nails trim and sharp.

Marking Territory – Cats have scent glands in their paws, and will scratch as well as urinate to help them mark their territory outdoors and keep other strange animals away.

Indoor Cats – If your cat is an indoor cat, you may need to trim your cat’s nails more frequently:

If your cat has a scratching post and likes to use it, his or her nails may need only occasional trimming when young, especially if his or her nails grow very slowly.

If you regularly take your indoor cat outside for walks on a leash, he or she may have opportunities to scratch and wear down his or her nails and reduce the amount of trimming needed.

How Often Should You Clip Your Cat’s Nails?

How often you trim your cat’s nails will depend on your cat. Instead of getting into a specific nail trimming schedule, it’s better to get into a routine for when you check your cat’s nails since the length will vary week to week and month to month. I wouldn’t suggest going more than a month between checking your cat’s nails and ideally, you’re taking a look at your cat’s toes every two weeks or so.

You don’t have to make it into an official toe check session- just take a peek at your feline friend’s feet while you’re petting them or while they’re relaxing. The best way to check is to gently hold your cat’s paw and put very light pressure on the back of the toes. This will push the claws forward and allow you to easily see how long they are.

Tips For Keeping Nails Trimmed

It’s easy enough to say you should keep your cat’s claws trimmed but if you’re like most cat owners you’ve found it’s not always easy to actually do. While I could write an entire article on the art of trimming cat claws, we’ll keep it to just a few tips here.

Less Is Usually More

In the world of veterinary medicine, it’s common to hear “less is more” when you have to hold an animal for a particular procedure. This is especially true when you’re dealing with your own pet that will often be much more tolerant of your handling than a strange veterinarian or technician. When it comes to trimming your cat’s claws, always try to start with the least amount of restraint needed and then work your way up from there.

You might be surprised that you can often trim your cat’s nails while they’re comfortable laying down or partially napping!

There’s nothing wrong with trimming just one nail one day and coming back to another a few days later. Instead of turning nail trimming an event, make it part of your regular cat care process and work it in as needed.

Use Foods

If your cat is food motivated, you can incorporate some treats into the process! In many cases, you can actually trim your cat’s nails while they’re eating. Tuna is a surefire option but for many cats just a can of wet food will do the trick. You can also try to reward your cat with some tasty food after mealtime to try and turn the nail trimming into an experience into a more positive one.

How Much Does It Cost to Trim Cat Nails?

With all this in mind, you might be wondering if you can just pay someone to handle the hassle of trimming your cat’s nails! You absolutely can and it’s surprisingly affordable with most groomers charging between $10 -$25 dollars for a nail time. Of course, that’s just a range the exact number will depend on your specific area.

But is it really worth it to pay a groomer?

It really depends on your individual cat. If your cat hates nail trims but handles the car and new places well (an admittedly unlikely combination) then paying a groomer might be a great option. Usually, these are cats that outgoing cats that are just really good at resisting the nail trim. But if your cat is terrified of the car and their carrier it’s probably best to get it done at home.

If you want a more creative solution, consider trying to find a local veterinary technician to stop by your home to handle the nail trimming. It will cost a bit more but it’s not actually that uncommon and I’ve done a few at-home nail trims for friends in the past.



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