Trouble holding cat for claw trim?

I enjoy the challenge of claw trims.  Keeping the cat still can be a game of skill and imagination!  It’s hard to be more clever than a cat when it comes to keeping them from getting away during a claw trimming session.

Some gentle restraint techniques I’ve used:

No restraint. Just put the cat on a counter and trim the claws. Yay!

Hold the cat in my lap with their belly facing up, just like you’d hold a baby.

Wrap kitty up like a burrito in a big towel, pulling out the paw that I need.

Put cat on the counter, slide cat’s body up against mine so she is snug, and trim claws.

Any of the above, plus a snap-on E collar.

Sit on the floor on my knees, with kitty between my knees. Face a wall so kitty can’t run off.

Lay kitty on side with my forearm resting gently but firmly on their shoulders.  Trim the claws I can reach. Turn kitty onto other side and repeat.

Cats are flexible. As long as you don’t put them in uncomfortable positions, you can try different ways of holding them until you find the one that works.  Remember that trimming claws only takes a minute or so, so even if kitty isn’t thrilled, they are only one minute away from treats, praise and play time.  Not a bad deal!

Claw trimmer and cat's claw
Cat on my lap.

What’s a claw thorn? It’s what I call a claw that’s pierced the skin.

A claw thorn is a claw growing into a cat’s paw pad. Much like a thorn, an untrimmed claw can pierce the paw. Ouch!!

Claw embedded in paw. Happens more often with old or fat cats. Rare with young and healthy cats.
I call this a Claw Thorn. Claw embedded in paw. Happens more often with old or fat cats. Rare with young and healthy cats. When I trim the claw, the part that’s grown into the pad will come out. There’ll be some blood, and a small hole in the paw. Good idea to get your vet to check it out or at least keep an eye on it in case infection sets in.

Holding a cat who’s not into being held


Yoga. Jiu Jitsu. Moving 3-dimensionally.

Cats twist their body in ways we can’t even begin to do.

Cats use extreme flexibility to get the upper paw.

If I’m thinking like a human, two-dimensionally, I’m not going to get those claws trimmed.

The cat is not a piece of paper or a brick. The cat is more like air flowing and shifting shape.

May the force be with you, grasshopper!


How I trimmed my cat’s front claw

I put Emma on my lap with my hand under her armpits.
She sits calmly.
I’m wearing a slippery dress, so she slides a little.
I hold her paw and look at the claws to find one that needs trimming. See the clear part of the claw? See the pink part? I trimmed the tip of the claw so that it’s not sharp and pointy.
I used little claw trimmers.

To get the claw trimmers, Four Paws Cat Grooming Claw Clipper

Confessions of a cat groomer: You get to be the good guy

I get to be the bad guy. You get to be the hero who hands out treats.  File under “reasons cat groomers exist”.

I love this little cat. She USUALLY loves me.

After the claw trim
After the claw trim
Is she gone yet?
Is she gone yet?