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protracting cat claws for trimming

Cutting your cat’s claws

Q: How do I clip my cats’ claws, and how often should I do it? Can I use claw covers instead?

A: About once a month, I interrupt snuggle time with my cats to trim their claws. I usually use a human toenail trimmer but occasionally grab the cat claw trimmer I bought years ago at the pet supply store.

I’m right-handed, so I hold the cat close to me with my left arm. I make the claw visible by gently pressing my thumb above and my forefinger beneath the toe. Then I clip off the clear, curved hook, leaving the pink quick undisturbed.

As I trim each claw, I coo “good kitty.” After I finish a paw, I pet the cat before I start the next paw. At the end of the pedicure, I give my cat a few yummy treats and resume our snuggle session.

The hind claws aren’t hooked, and cats don’t use their rear paws to scratch, so I rarely trim those claws. However, I did find the procedure helpful when we had leather furniture that the cats scratched as they launched themselves from it.

The vinyl cat claw covers or caps you asked about come in many colors, and they’re easy to apply. After you cut your cat’s claws, simply glue the covers in place over the trimmed claws. The covers fall off about six weeks later as the claws grow out.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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