Cats are generally pretty good at looking after themselves. They keep themselves well groomed, for example – in fact they always seem to be grooming themselves! One thing that you can do for your cat, however, is to clip their nails for them. Not all cats need to have their nails clipped, however, and doing so can be a little tricky. So here I will explain how and why you should clip cats nails. If you would rather hear me explain this in a fun video check it out below.
Why might a cat need to have their nails clipped?
There are three main reasons why a cat may need to have their nails clipped:
1. The nails are too long.
This can happen with elderly cats that spend a lot of time sleeping in one position. As your cat strolls along the sidewalk or the patio, the hard surface helps to wear down their nails. If your cat does not wear down their nails in this way, they can get overly long and may need to be clipped.
2. The nails are too sharp.
Some cats’ nails grow to very sharp points, which can be painful if they knead your arm while you are petting them! Kneading is a cat’s way of showing their affection so it would be a shame if it caused you to yowl with pain. A little gentle clipping can often be all that it takes to enable you to enjoy those petting sessions once more.
3. Your kitty scratches the furniture.
Now, clipping your cat’s nails is not, ideally, your first port of call if you want to change their scratching behavior. You can get your cat to move from your prize sofa to a scratching post quite easily – rubbing a little cat nip on their scratching post should do the trick! Some cat owners find that spraying their cats lightly with clean tap water helps to discourage them from scratching the furniture. However, if your cat still persists in scratching the furniture, then you can minimize the damage that they do by clipping their nails. Often older rescue cats, for example, have developed scratching behaviors that can be hard to unlearn. In cases like these, your best option is not to invest in expensive sofas and to reach for the clippers once in a while!
What are the problems caused by long cat nails?
If your cat has very long nails, then they may find it harder to groom themselves. And, of course, the damage done to your sweaters, your furniture, and your poor arm will all be greater!
How to clip your cat’s nails – it’s easy when you know how.
The first thing that you need to do is to get your cat feeling comfortable around the clippers. One thing that you can do is to balance a treat on the clippers and let them nibble at it. Once your kitty starts to make the equation ‘clippers = treats’, then they may even start to look forward to their manicure sessions.
If your cat enjoys it, you can also ensure that they feel comfortable with you touching their feet by giving them a paw massage. Gently press on and stroke the pads of their paws for a few seconds at a time. If they are used to you doing this, then they will not feel anxious or worried when you start to lift their paws to clip their nails.
The actual clipping process should be quick and painless. Get some sharp cat clippers that will enable you to cut through each nail cleanly with one stroke. And, make sure never to cut off too much. Remember, unless your cat has super long nails, clipping is more about chopping off those sharp points than removing as much of the nail as you can. So, just try and remove a milimeter or two from the end of the nail – that should be enough.
A note on over clipping.
Removing too much of a cat’s nails can actually be painful for then. Claws are very sensitive parts of a cat’s body – they are not just ‘dead’ matter like the ends of human nails are. Some cat owners go even further and completely de-claw their cats. However, this is akin to removing part of a human’s finger right down to the first knuckle! So, always be careful with those clippers – be gentle and calm and only cut off a small amount of the nail.
If your cat’s nails are too short, they may find grooming themselves becomes difficult. In addition, they may even find things like scratching in the litter tray a little tricky and even painful. Your cat uses their nails to sense the floor as they walk and leap, too, so over clipping their nails can make it harder for them to balance as they walk.
What if my cat won’t keep still?
What if your kitty is wriggling around and you are finding it hard to keep their claws still? At times like these, it is a good idea to set down the clippers and to wait until they are more relaxed. Perhaps wait until your feline friend is dozing on the soft and then gently pick up the clippers again and trim their nails. It is much easier, and safer, to trim your cat’s nails when the cat is relaxed and relatively still.
What if I am really finding it difficult to clip my cat’s nails?
Don’t worry! If for some reason you are finding clipping your cat’s nails a trial, then you can always ask your vet to do it. If your cat is very highly strung, for instance, it can be best to let a professional clip their nails.
Can I file my cat’s nails rather than clip them?
You could try filing your cat’s nails, though this will depend on the individual cat. For some cats, the vibrations that they feel as a nail file moves along their claws can be irritating. However, other cats may actually enjoy this – the equivalent of a paw massage! In addition, filing takes longer than clipping so you have less chance that your kitty will stay nice and still throughout the whole process.
Our foster kittens are a lovely bunch who love to sleep and flop around. On this busy time coming up to the holidays (and for some of our friends on the other side of the world – the holidays have already started with Thanksgiving).
We think taking a nap is the perfect way to enjoy and stay relaxed during this busy time. Sometimes… you can’t even wait to get to a comfy spot and flop in the middle of playing or walking down the stairs.
What do you think? Are these cute kittens napping a sign that we should all be kind, careful and gentle these holidays?
All cat owners have had to deal with the – uh – distinctive smell of cat pee at some time in their lives. Cats use their pee as a means of marking their territory, so it is designed to have a smell that lingers on! However, there is no need to despair if you need to get rid of that cat pee smell in your carpets, linen or floorboards. There are plenty of ways to neutralize that odor (if your cat regularly goes outside the litter box, check out our solutions so that you eliminate the problem at the cause) Want to know how to get rid of cat pee smell? Here’s the solution.
1. Blotting the area.
Use a paper towel to blot away any moisture. Make sure to wear rubber gloves! This will instantly minimize the cat pee smell in your home. However, it is tricky to remove cat pee odor just with blotting alone, so the next step is to use an enzymatic cleaner or a vinegar solution.
2. Enzymatic cleaners.
Enzymatic cleaners work against the smell of cat pee at a biological level. Cat urine contains proteins, and breaking down these proteins reduces the odor it emits. Enzymatic cleaners break down these proteins – and usually all that you need to do is to spray the cleaner straight on to the area your cat has peed on. One thing to note, though, is that enzymatic cleaners can be hampered by the presence of chemicals, and so if you have tried to treat your carpet with chemical sprays before applying the enzymatic cleaner you may find that it does not work so well.
A cheaper, home made solution to the problem of cat pee is to mix some household white vinegar with a little warm water and scrub it onto the affected area of your carpet (or floorboard or whatever) with a stiff bristled brush. This is an age old method for removing cat urine and the associated smell. Once you have treated the area with a vinegar solution, it is a good idea to scrub it thoroughly with clean water until the smell of the vinegar itself has also disappeared.
Bleach can leave stains on fabrics, however it is great for hard surfaces such as kitchen linoleum. Mix a little bleach with warm water, scrub it onto the affected area and then rinse and dry. Make sure to wear rubber gloves for this too as bleach can irritate the skin! Bleach has the additional bonus of being a disinfectant, and so it will remove any bacteria, germs and other nasties in your cat’s urine. It is a good idea to test the bleach solution on a small and inconspicuous area of the surface first to make sure that it does not stain.
Lingering smells? Try hydrogen peroxide.
If, when you have allowed the area to dry, you still smell a faint odor of cat pee, try scrubbing some hydrogen peroxide powder into the area with a stiff bristled brush. Again, rubber gloves are a must here, to protect your own skin. Hydrogen peroxide is great for neutralizing odors, and you can shampoo your carpets, curtains or other upholstery for good measure once you have finished treating them.
However, the easiest way is to make sure you have enough litter trays for your cats to use!! Check out our short video here.
For many cat owners, administering pills when their cats are sick, or need flea or worm treatment, is one of the hardest things that they have to do. So, how do you do this without getting your cat all stressed out – and without winding up with your arm covered in scratches? Here, we give you a handy four step guide entitled ‘how to give a cat a pill’.
Step 1: Keep things calm.
Approach your cat calmly and gently, giving them lots of strokes. One bad experience with a pill can make your kitty fearful of taking their meds the next time around, so keep things calm from the start. If your cat has already grown a little scared of taking pills, though, don’t worry. You can get them back feeling calm and happy about it by laying down good pill taking habits from now on.
Step 2: Get in position.
The best way to give your cat a pill is to hunch over the cat’s body and hold their front legs, whilst gently but firmly pinning their back legs in position with your thighs. This stops them from wriggling around and scratching you, and decreases any chance that they will panic. It also means that they cannot dart forward or back up to avoid the pill. Of course, this is a whole lot easier if you have another human to hand to put the pill in the cat’s mouth whilst you can use both hands to hold your cat’s forelegs. It can be a little tricky holding the cat’s front legs with one hand and administering the pill with the other – though it is perfectly doable.
Some cat owners swear by wrapping their kitty in a towel to prevent their legs flailing around, though some cats find this distressing. Other cat owners simply approach their cats calmly when they are curled up on the sofa and give them a firm but gently hug to keep them in position. The main rule is to find out what your cat is happiest with. Avoid holding your cat by the neck or grabbing them tightly as this can hurt and scare them. Instead, try and work with what is essentially a slightly firm hug!
Step 3: Open their mouths.
Opening a cat’s mouth is easy. Just insert a finger gently into the space behind their teeth, in the corner of their mouth. Then, pop the pill in to their mouths. Aim right and it should be swallowed instantly. If they spit the pill out, don’t worry: just repeat the process again until it’s swallowed.
Step 4: Reward time.
You cat took their pill! Yay! Now is the time for plenty of rewards in the form of strokes, encouraging words, and perhaps a treat or two.
What if my cat really hates taking pills?
It happens. Talk to your vet and see if there is another solution such as a cream or an injectable medication. Most flea treatments can be applied as liquids directly to the fur, for instance, or you can replace worming pills with suppositories (though that’s a whole other story).
First things first – why might I need to shave my cat?
Shaving a cat is something that should only be done in certain circumstances. Some people shave their cat’s fur for aesthetic reasons or because they believe that it will keep their kitty cooler during the hot summer months. However, cats’ fur has evolved to perform several important functions, such as regulating temperature (including, believe it or not, helping to keep them cool!), protecting the skin from sunburn, and secreting various oils that are necessary for skin and hair health. So, unless you have good reason to, shaving your cat’s fur just because you think it will help them to cool down may well have the opposite effect – they could end up sunburned, hot and with irritated skin.
However, there are several reasons why it is a good idea to shave your cat’s fur in certain circumstances. These include certain skin conditions, mats, and preparation for medical procedures. Let’s take each of these in turn.
The dreaded ringworm.
The presence of the infectious parasite known as ringworm is signaled by an irritated, red ring on the skin. If your cat has ringworm, then the vet will most likely decide to treat ringworm with topical creams that need to be applied to the skin. These creams will sink in to the skin much more easily if you have shaved the fur away from the area.
If your cat is too old or sick to groom themselves, their fur may become matted, which is very itchy for them. Mats can be hard to get rid of, and often only shaving will do the trick.
Before an operation such as neutering, your vet will usually shave your cat. You can do this yourself of course, but it is best to leave it to the vet in this circumstance as they know exactly what they need to do in order to make the operation go as smoothly as possible.
So, now you know why you might want to shave your cat’s fur. Want to know how to shave a cat? Read on.
Three tips for shaving a cat.
1. Choose cat friendly clippers.
Cats hate noise, and human style clippers can be too much for them. Head down to your local pet store and pick out some nice, quiet gentle clippers that will suit their delicate skin and ears.
2. Select the right setting.
Any pair of animal clippers worth its salt will come with various attachments and attachments. As a rule of thumb, you should use the gentlest possible setting/ attachment combo to get the job done. You may need to change settings halfway through your feline barbershop session, especially if you are dealing with mats. Clip the mats away with a strong setting/ attachment before switching to a gentler one to smarten up the remaining hair once the mats have been dealt with. Another tip with mats is to try and cat them away with scissors (be careful with those pointy edges!) before you use the trimmers.
3. Shave along the direction of the fur.
This may seem counterintuitive, but you will end up with a much smoother result if you run the shavers along in the same direction as the fur grows. Going ‘against the grain’ can result in clumps of bald patches which can look super unsightly.
Keep things calm.
It goes without saying that you should take care to keep your kitty nice and calm all through the shaving process. Start when they are nice and relaxed, stroke and pet them, and then start using the clipper nice and gently until the job is done. Reward them with a treat or two if you feel they need it!
Caring for shaved areas of skin.
If your cat has ringworm or another skin infection, the next step after shaving them may be to apply a cream or lotion to the affected area. This can be done nice and gently a little while after shaving.
If it is hot and sunny out, the shaved areas of your cat’s skin may be at risk of getting sunburned. Yes, cats can get sunburn too! Luckily, you can buy specialized kitty sunblock both in pet stores and online, so massaging a little bit of this into the shaved areas is all you need to do – just check with your vet if you want to use it in conjunction with medicated creams.