Does your cat hate having their nails trimmed? Try this behaviorist’s three tips for a stress-free clipping session

Person clipping blue Abyssinian cat claws
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to maintaining your indoor cat's health, trimming their nails every two to three weeks is key.

While our outdoor-dwelling feline friends will find it easy to keep their nails short and sharp through scratching trees and walking on tough surfaces, indoor cats often need a helping hand. 

Cat nail clipping fills a lot of people with fear as many pet parents worry about over-clipping and hurting their kitty.

On top of that, it's likely not high on your cat's list of fun activities to partake in either!

Thankfully vet technician and feline behaviorist Tabitha Kucera has come to the rescue with a handy Instagram post where she shares her top tips for trimming your cat's nails with ease.

While the post is aimed at kitten pet parents and stresses the importance of forming positive associations early on with potentially nerve-wracking experiences, you'll find Kucera's tips below helpful regardless of your feline friend's age.

Read on to find out three simple things you can do to help your cat feel more comfortable with getting their nails trimmed...

1. Take things slowly: Kucera says turning nail trims into a rewarding adventure all comes down to taking your time. "We break down behaviors into manageable steps, ensuring our furry friends feel safe every step of the way. From gently picking the cat up to placing them on their back, touching their paws while on their back, to finally cutting one nail," she explains.

2. Use treats liberally: "Treats aren't just rewards; they're tools of trust-building. We pair each step with a tasty treat," says Kucera. Check out our guide to the best cat treats for some delicious morsels your feline friend is sure to love.

3. Observe their body language: "Throughout this process, we're watching their body language like hawks," Kucera explains. "Happy purrs and relaxed vibes are our green lights! If they show signs of stress, we take a step back and give them the space they need."

Kucera says patience is key when it comes to nail trims because each cat is unique and progress happens at their pace. 

"By transforming potentially scary moments into positive adventures, we're creating a foundation of trust and love. These experiences become a part of their kitty toolkit, making them more adaptable and resilient."

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.