Trimming Your Bengal Cat’s Claws
Some cats will happily sit in your lap or on a table while you trim their nails, others may require two people to apply some form of restraint. Cats that do not like to have their nails trimmed can be quite a challenge. Therefore, if possible, begin training your cat as a kitten to enjoy the routine and basic process of nail clipping.
Playing with and touching your cat’s paws will assist you in getting your cat used to having his or her paws handled as well as gaining trust prior to attempting to trim claws. Gently massage your cat’s toes and paws while snuggling and playing and occasionally apply pressure to the toes forcing the nails to extend. To extend the nail, place your index finger under the toe and apply pressure to the top of the toe with your thumb. This gentle act, during times of mutual affection, will encourage less resistance when actually performing nail trimming.
Trim the nails regularly approximately every ten to fourteen days. Trimming is best accomplished in a well-lit room. Good lighting may help you to avoid accidentally cutting the ―quick, too. When looking at the extended nail, we note darker pigmentation closer to the foot (at the top of the nail). This is the quick. Most cats have light colored toenails, making it easier to see the quick. The quick extends down the nail a short distance past where you can see it. Always trim the nail just past where you think the quick ends. Cutting the quick can be painful to your cat and make your cat less cooperative during future nail trimming sessions. Cutting the quick will result in bleeding. If you accidentally cut into the nail quick, apply gentle pressure with a styptic stick or powder to stop the bleeding.
Hold the paw vertically. Apply pressure to the nails causing them to extend and then cut the nail from side to side. If you cut the nail from top to bottom, you chance splintering the nail. Remember cats have nails on the inner side of each front foot too, a dew claw. Because the dew claws are not worn down easily through normal scratching, be sure to trim them or they can grow in a circle and into the foot. Trim all nails on all four paws. There are five nails on each front paw and four on each back paw. If your cat is adamantly opposed to trimming, stop and try again later or try trimming only one or two nails at a sitting, finishing the others an hour or so later when your cat may be more cooperative. Some cats will be more cooperative when they are sleepy and resting.
Provide positive reinforcement during the process of nail trimming and utilize special treats as a reward for cooperation. Avoid all punishment or negativity.
There are several styles of nail trimmers, including a guillotine type, a scissor cut, and even standard human fingernail clippers that can be utilized for feline nail trimming. The scissor-type clippers can be invaluable when the nail is extremely long and may be curling under. The guillotine type clippers can be most useful on thicker back nails and human fingernail clippers are an excellent choice for maintenance nipping of the tips or clipping a kitten’s nails. Human clippers can cause damage to the nail crushing and or splitting the nail, so utilize these to clip from side to side and for nipping the nail rather than when a full trim is required.
The best clippers have very sharp blades and are always the ones you are most comfortable handling and using.
What features to look for in nail trimmers:
- Sharp, stainless steel blades. Sharp blades insure a clean cut and prevent crushing, splitting or tearing of the nail. Stainless steel is resistant to rust.
- Easy to clean. Cleanliness of the trimmers is an important aspect of good grooming hygiene.
- Comfortable and easy to use. Nail trimmers that are awkward in your hand can make the difference between an easy well done job and a difficult, poorly executed job.