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Best Way How To Trim Cat Claws

If you want to know how to trim cat claws because your cat is slowly destroying your place realize that it may be difficult. Start by building trust with your cat by going slow and have lots of treats.

Cats claws are very sharp and they may not like you handling their paws. Start touching and massaging their paws so they get used to the contact.

While massaging their paws, press slightly to extend their claws. Keep doing that for a few days to warm them up for the clipping session.


How To Trim Cat Claws by Yourself or With Help

Those cat claws need trimming

You need  your cat to trust you and to be relaxed. Don’t try this with a cat that is agitated..

So you want to:

  • Be able to massage each toe of your cat
  • Then extend each claw to see the entire claw
  • Introduce the clipper and the sound it makes
  • And take your time and trim each claw with precision

Let’s start with getting your cat to trust you to inspect each paw.


Don’t Try to Restrain a Cat to Trim Their Claws

You don’t want to restrain them, you want to get them to relax. Most people suggest clipping a cat’s claws after they eat and are a little tired.

Definitely make the experience a pleasant one or it will be your last clipping session. Have a bad of cat treats beside you.

Massage & Examine Your Cat’s Paws

Sit down with your cat on your lap facing away from you. You want to examine each paw and claw. Gently massaging the paws will relx them, and you can press on the paws to extend the claws.

It also helps if you can pet her in her favorite spots like behind the neck or under the chin but that will be difficult unless you have someone helping you.

Both my cats tend to pull their paws out of my hand when I try this. Just keep doing it over and over. Break out the treats if your cat is being difficult. Stop if your cat resists.

The goal is to squeeze each toe to extend the claw. Most likely you will have to repeat this process a few of times over a day or two. In time your cat will get used to it and you can take it a step farther.

You have to examine the claw so that you can see the “quick.”. The quick is the pink part of the claw where there are nerves and blood vessels. It has a triangular shape near the base of the claw where the claw is the widest.

You NEVER want to trim the claw anywhere near the quick. If you do, it will be very painful for your cat and the claw will bleed.

You probably will not cut into the quick in the beginning because you will be super vigilant. Maintain your focus everytime you trim yout cat’s claws, especially as you become more experienced. You may get used to the process and not pay as close as attention as when you first started.

What the quick of a cat claw looks like and where you should trim

So get kitty to relax and so that you can extend and examine each claw. If you can do that then you can trim their claws.

The Details of How to Trim Cat Claws

So you have gotten your cat to relax and you have pressed on the toes to extend and examine each claw. Now you want to get the cat used to the look, smell & sound of the cat nail clippers.

First, place the nail clippers near your cat as you are massaging the toes and paws. Let her smell them. Easy enough. You also need your cat to hear the sound they make so grab some uncooked pasta.

What you want to do is clip the pasta while you are massaging the toes. Repetition is key so keep repeating it as many times as you need to relax your cat.

When you are finally ready, and able, to trim your cat’s claws, only cut the clear tip. Stay far away from the pink quick part of the claw (never cut the quick).

It is recommended to have styptic powder close if you do cut the quick. I disagree. That will put you in a failure mindset. Think success instead. Also, it’s not like your cat is going to stay on your lap when you cut into the quick causing her extreme pain.

Are you going to be able to pull her out of wherever she is hiding to apply the blood-clotting powder? Here is a better idea…never cut the quick.

The Details at the Moment of Clipping

Here are the basic steps on how to trim cat claws:

  1. Have your cat on your lap facing away from you
  2. Try doing this after meals, not when the cat is active
  3. Pick a toe, massage it and extend the claw
  4. Notice where the quick ends, trim below that point then release the toe
  5. Note: make sure to cut the nail from top to bottom, not side to side or else you could crush the claw
  6. Breathe a sigh of relief and try for another claw

Count yourself lucky if you can get 2 or more claws clipped in one session in the beginning. If you can trim two claws, then that is 5 sessions to trim all 10 (you don’t need to trim the claws on the back feet). You will have to repeat this about every 2-4 weeks.

Use lots of treats, praise, and petting during the process. It will get easier as your cat gets used to you trimming her claws.

My cat nail clippers to trim my cat's claws
This is a scissor type cat nail clipper

Types of Cat Nail Clippers

Regardless of the type or brand of cal nail clippers, make sure they are sharp. Dull clippers may squeeze the nail AND the quick causing pain and \ or splitting of the nail.

The clippers are dull if they don’t make a clean and easy cut. You ideally would want to have a second pair ready if the pair you are using isn’t sharp enough.

There are two basic types: scissor and guillotine. The scissor type cat nail\claw clippers are best for beginners. If you are reading this article, then get the scissor type. The guillotine type is best if you are already experienced clipping cat claws.

The other features you may want are a locking blade and ones made of stainless steel. You will have to replace them when they get dull unless you can have them sharpened.

Don’t use human nail clippers even though they will work. They are not as sharp and designed for a different purpose.

Here are three sites that review the best clippers. There are two scissor type clippers mentioned in all 3 pages: Safari Pro Nail Trimmer & Pet Republique. I would go with one of them.

  1. 4 Best Nail Clippers for Cats 2019
  2. Top 5 Best Cat Nail Clippers (YouTube video on Trimming a cat’s claws)
  3. Best Cat Nail Clippers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2019


Now that is a nice cat paw!
This is a picture-perfect cat paw!

Cat Grooming Services & Prices

Most groomers are geared towards grooming dogs but some also offer cat grooming services. If you are from Philadelphia, you can check out my article Dog & Pet Grooming Prices. I found 18 grooming companies and seven of them offer cat grooming services.

The price I found to trim cat claws was $10 for all the groomers that list prices on their websites. If you take your cat every two weeks, then that would be $260 for the year.



My opinion is to spend the money to have a professional groomer trim your cat’s claws. If you prefer to do it yourself, then buy the scissor type cat claw clippers. It really depends on how docile or aggressive your cat is.

You have to know how to properly trim the claws of your cat, because if you cut into the quick just one time, your cat may not let you try it again. Check the groomers in your area for your local rates.

I think you should let a professional trim your cat’s claws unless you have a docile cat. Good luck either way.

Jim Kernicky

I have been a dog walker and pet sitter for my business Fairmount Pet Service in the Art Museum area of Philadelphia since 2008.