Posted in cats, pet health, pets

Big paws, sharp claws

Training a pet to be comfortable when trimming its claws takes time and patience. A claw clipper that is suitable for use on cats, birds, ferrets, reptiles, rabbits, and dogs, can be a handy tool for the pet owner. Something small, with plastic-coated handles for a better grip, should be fine. Ones that operate like a bypass pruner, that snip the claw shaft with minimal tearing, are handiest. The stainless steel blades are shaped to make it easy to snip the claw quickly. It costs anywhere from $3 to $6 at any pet store.

A cat’s claws are retractable so it’s important to work in a well-lit area.

Of course, that’s a sensitive area, so careful but swift action is needed — something that will be difficult to do if your pet doesn’t sit still. Always be gentle, and maybe offer a small treat after the first couple of clips.

To expose a cat’s claw, one needs to press on the toe joint gently, then clip about halfway between the tip of the claw and the quick. The reason that cats scratch at the furniture is to help shed the sheath that forms as the claw grows. Scratching may also help cats to mark their territory.

After every clipping session, clippers can be washed with hot, sudsy water and dried, or wiped with rubbing alcohol.

Animals allowed outdoors will need clipping less often, because their claws will wear down more. Indoor-only pets will need clipping every two to three weeks.

Midnight with an ingrown claw
Midnight began limping on his right paw, which led to the discovery of his ingrown claw.

Pets who are reluctant to have claws trimmed at home may need to be trimmed atthe groomer’s or the vet’s office. Neglecting this grooming can lead to an ingrown claw, and possible infection of the paw.

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Owned by three cats over age 13

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