If your cat becomes Houdini and magically vanishes whenever you even think about trimming her nails, part of the problem might be she has learned to associate the procedure with restraint, discomfort, fear or even pain. Even if you do manage to accomplish the nail trimming procedure, if you’ve had to wrap your cat in a towel, enlist the help of family members to hold her down, restrain her by scruffing or have punished her in any way for being a wiggle worm, then all that just compounds the problem. If she dislikes the process now, she’ll absolutely hate it the next time and then go into full panic mode the time after that.
Nail Trimming Shouldn’t be Stressful
Ok, it may not top the list of your cat’s favorite things to do, but it shouldn’t create a wave of panic and should definitely not result in hissing, growling, biting or scratching (by the cat or by you!). When done correctly, it should be a quick, easy, and dare I say, pleasant experience.
Develop Trust With Your Cats
If you’re dealing with a kitten, don’t waste time – start getting her comfortable with having her paws touched and her nails trimmed. This is the ideal time because if you get her comfortable with it from the very beginning it will be a heck of a lot easier when she’s an adult.
If you’re dealing with a cat who has never had her nails trimmed or has had a less-than-happy experience with the procedure, you’ll have to take it slow and do some trust-building. For this, you won’t even get out the clippers or attempt to trim one nail. Your main objective during this phase is to show your cat having her paws touched is a good thing.
The Velvet Touch
Choose a time to begin the training when your cat is relaxed and maybe even a bit sleepy. Arm yourself with some treats. Gently touch her paw and then offer a treat. If she has never been comfortable with having her paws touched then make sure when you do touch her, it’s for no more than a couple of seconds – just one gentle stroke.