Trimming Cat Claws

by Paul
(Los Angeles)

<small>Winchester always has perfectly trimmed claws ... now!</small>

Winchester always has perfectly trimmed claws ... now!

I have two cats, an Oriental and a Siamese. Trimming claws was a breeze with the Oriental from the beginning. He'll lie on his back while I do it ... purring.

With Winchester (the Siamese), on the other hand, it just wasn't gonna happen.


As a kitten, he was powerful, fast and skinny. He could work his way out of anything I tried. It was extremely stressful for both of us.

On top of that, I lived alone - and since they'd hide whenever someone came over, having a helping hand was out of the question too.

What was I to do? His claws were getting sharper and longer by the day.

I considered the vet's, but had to let that go because not only would it be stressful for him, the ongoing cost would be ridiculous. I mean, realistically, claws have to be trimmed at least every two weeks.

So this was my idea. I thought ... picking a cat up by the scruff of the neck is something of a tonic immobilizer. Often times, they purr. They certainly don't try to move, or squirm away, as a rule.

So ...

I sat Winchester on my lap, and took his scruff in my teeth, supporting the bulk of his weight on my lap. He immediately started to purr!

Using a pair of really strong reading glasses - his claws would only be about 2 inches from my eyes - I raised one of his paws into view. No fussing, just intense purring.

All 20 claws .... trimmed. Perfectly.

I did this for about a year.

One day, I thought I'd try it without that fur-in-the-mouth scruff thing.

Wouldn't ya know ... he dang well let me - with nary a fuss at all. Now, he lies on his back too - and purrs all the while!

Reply from Caroline (Admin):

What a great story, Paul! This did made me chuckle. A really unusual solution to a 'thorny' problem.

Thanks so much for sharing. I'll link to this from my 'Clipping Cats' Claws' page, too, as everyone deserves to see it.

Note: Just a quick word of warning to others who might be thinking of trying this - please don't ever pick up a cat or kitten by the scruff of the neck without support - you might strangle them.

Always take the weight of your cat, as Paul did, by supporting their legs and body from underneath.

Paul also sent us another story about Winchester and Oberon and what happened when they had to go into a temporary home. Wonderful!

For more thoughts on cat care, see:

Comments for Trimming Cat Claws

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Aug 11, 2015
by: Sharon

Thank you for warning people not to pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck. I get so mad when I see people do that. I do speak up for the cats when I see someone doing that.

People don't realize that that part of skin is only to be utilized for a mother so she is able to move her young babies around and get them away from danger. It is not intended to be used by humans to lift an entire cat. How lazy are people that they can't simply lift a cat from all four paws.

I lift cats by supporting their entire weight. My arms lift one at the back and one at the front of their legs.

Dec 28, 2014
More paws and stories
by: Shadow's mate

Shadow (sadly deceased now), would just sit on my lap and hold up each paw for me to do - bit like his own salon. His favourite scratching 'post' was a square of carpet (underside up) that I left by my bed.

Every night, after checking that I'd shut the house up properly, he'd come in, rip hell out of his square, jump up on the bed and push his way under the blankets next to my head. If it was hot and I only had a sheet on, he'd still go under and would often wake up clammy with my sweat (I sweat a lot at night).

In his old age, if you spoiled any part of this routine, he'd jump down, go out of the room and start again ... but he was 16 by then.

Feb 23, 2013
No way!
by: ShirlC

One of my Siamese lets me cut his claws without any problem. My other cat (his sister) actually screams if I try to go near her with any cutting instrument.

She won't use a scratching pole and has ripped a piece of carpet on a step to pieces but it doesn't help her claws. She's an indoor cat.

Nov 18, 2012
Trimming claws
by: Angela

I have a modern and traditional Siamese that I have been trimming both of their nails every two weeks since they have been kittens.

Mo (female-modern) just purrs ... and licks herself. She knows it's grooming time! Now Bushido ... he runs for cover. I have to burrito him (towel wrapped around him) and his ears go flat back to tell me he is not happy camper.

Once he growled and I stopped and petted him for about five minutes with a soothing voice. He never did it again. I still burrito him and we do our nails every two weeks, but he knows the more he is quiet, the faster he is free to get his kitty treat!

I always give them a yummy afterwards! I find also if you trim their nails every two weeks they don't use the scratching posts as often.

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