Legs, Hips and Paws

Trimming your cat's claws will usually make it easier for him to put them away when he is done using them. You don't need specialized equipment -- inexpensive human nail trimmers will do the job nicely. "I hate the guillotine-type pet nail trimmers," says Dr. Scherk. "They tend to crush the claws instead of clip them." Dogs and cats dislike having their nails trimmed, but it is not that hard to do, she adds.

When you are ready to do a "pet-acure," here is what vets advise.

Hold your cat in your lap with a towel wrapped around his chest and back. This will prevent your feisty feline from putting his claws to work on you.

Press on the first knuckle of the paw to push the nail outward. Clip off the sharp tip of the nail. Don't clip farther down and into the pink area, which will be painful and may cause bleeding. When you're done, move on to the next nail. If your cat doesn't struggle too much, you can do all the nails in a few minutes.

A cat's claws grow in layers from the center out, like an onion. After you trim the tip of a nail, gently flake away the loose outer layers. Some people file the nails afterward, but this isn't necessary.

If you accidentally clip too far down and the claw bleeds, pressing flour on the cut will help stop the bleeding. (Or you can rub the cut place with nail-trimming powders that you can buy from a pet supply store.)

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Copyright 1999 Rodale Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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