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February 2005
GOT CLAWS?  Purr..haps it’s Time for a Manicure
By Mollie Hogan

Does Kitty stick to your sweater when you’re simply asked for a hug?

Have you awoken to a yowl of distress to find kitty unable to free her clawed paw from the sofa? Were you enjoying your cat lap warmer when a car alarm sounded and Kitty flung herself to safety using your bare legs for a launching pad?

If any of these examples ring a bell, claw trimming may be in your feline’s future.

All kitties need their claws to mark territory and defend themselves and escape from danger up the nearest tall tree. But if your cat has an indoor life, claws often do not wear down properly and they can become too long and sharp for home and human compatibility.

A young kitten may adjust easily to claw trimming. However, an adult cat will probably need time and proper instruction. Here are some simple steps toward encouraging a hesitant subject to accept voluntary nail trims.

It is best to use pet claw clippers ,which can be easily purchased, in most pet stores. When the clippers arrive in your cats home, let her see the clippers and inspect them. Make the clippers an extension of your body. Hold the clippers when you are petting kitty and hand feed your kitty treats with clippers in hand. Do this until she sees the clippers as non-threatening addition to positive occurrences—attention, food and petting. If she is worried about the clippers, always leave them in plain view.

While you are desensitizing Kitty to these instruments of torture, tell your cat she is a “good kitty” and pet her or scratch her neck gently. With your other hand pick up one paw and quickly put it down. (Note: It is important to place the paw down before she starts to pull away.) Do this often until she is comfortable with you holding her paw with clippers near by. Be sure that you always reward her with petting or treats while you are holding her paw. Take it slow. Make sure that your cat is completely comfortable with paw massage and the clippers before you finally touch her paw with the clippers while reinforcing her with treats. Trim only one nail the first session and only trim the hooked part of the tip. If you cut the nail too short it will hurt, it might even bleed and it definitely will make future trims more difficult. Don’t expect to trim all Kitties claws in one session and try and end each session on a positive note. Don’t be in a hurry. Just take it slow until your cat calmly accepts your request.

P.S. This works on boy kitties too!

 

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