How to cut your cat’s claws


Trimming our cats’ claws is a job that generally takes time, especially if your cat is a swiper. However a lot of the time, our animals need help when their claws get too long. It’s important to know when it’s time to give them a trim, and even more important to understand how to cut your cat’s claws safely.


Why do cats need claws?


A cat’s claws are used for many things. They use them to climb trees, which alternatively help them to escape any dangerous encounter. Scratching is also a form of exercise and helps them to stretch their muscles. Did you know that scratching also communicates a cat’s presence with both physical and scent marks?Cat customer stretching claws out


Signs it’s time to cut your cat’s claws


Whilst there’s no specific time interval between each claw-cutting session (as cats age, their claws grow quicker), there are signs that your cat’s claws are too long and in need of a trim:


  • They get caught on blankets or carpets and can’t free themselves.
  • Their claws are clearly visible.
  • They struggle to scratch their claws (it can become painful).
  • You can hear them tap when they walk on hard floors.


How to cut your cat’s claws


Before approaching to trim your cat’s claws, you must have the right tools for the job! You can buy clippers made specifically for cats’ claws from most pet shops but here’s one I found on Amazon:


Step 1 – Prepare


Before starting anything, make sure you have everything you need like clippers and treats. It is recommended to close any doors and windows to stop your cat from escaping and be somewhere comfortable for your cat. As impossible as it might sound, try to get your cat settled. Make sure they are in a position where you can hold them comfortably but firmly too.


Step 2 – Hold their paw


Once you and your cat are comfortable, gently hold one of their paws between your finger and thumb. Apply very gentle pressure until you can see their claws – make sure not to squeeze them too tight!


Information image on how to cut cat claws

Step 3 – Clip the end of the claw


With your clippers, clip the very tip of the claw only. It’s very important to not cut them too short as this can hurt your cat. A sign to know where to not cut is the bit at the base of the claw by the toes, this is the bit that is pink. If you cut down there it will be very painful for your cat and will make them bleed. So be sure to keep to the white parts at the end of the claw.


You may also find it easier to have a second person to help you. Sometimes it can help to have one person hold the cat and the other be in charge of cutting the claws.


Step 4 – Give your cat a treat


Once you have trimmed all claws on one paw, it’s best to give your cat a little rest. This will avoid them from getting too stressed in one go. Do something to take their mind off cutting their claws like giving them a treat or playing with their favourite toy.


Step 5 – Repeat


If your cat becomes restless and very fidgety whilst trimming their claws, it might be worth spacing out cutting their claws over a few days. Tackle one paw at a time and recognise when they have had enough.


What are claw covers?


Cat claws

Claw covers are marketed as a ‘humane’ way to stop your cat from scratching you/furniture. They might seem like a quick and easy way to save your couch, but they cause cats a lot of stress and can be very painful. 


The covers themselves stop cats from scratching entirely as it means they can no longer retract them. Scratching is a natural behaviour and claw covers also mean that the cat wearing them won’t be able to groom themselves as well.


There are alternatives to claw covers if you want to prevent your cat from scratching furniture. You could try placing a scratching post next to the couch they have a habit of scratching to encourage them to use that instead.


Knowing how to cut your cat’s claws safely


I have used the advice and information from the Cats Protection website and if you would like further information on how to cut your cat’s claws I recommend visiting their site at


Information in this post has been created and researched by My Three Cats. We do not provide medical advice. If your cat experiences any issues regarding cutting claws, please get in touch with your vet immediately.

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