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posted: 7/3/2013 11:03 AM

Trimming a feline's nails takes patience and persistence

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  • Candie


  • Mattie



By Mary Hayashi

The Buddy Beat

Have you been avoiding trimming your feline's claws? Have you delegated the task to someone else or a groomer? Now is the time for you to establish a routine with your feline so that trimming is a welcome experience for both of you.

First, stick to a schedule. Once a month is a good maintenance schedule to keep both you and the furniture safe. If possible, start when a kitten is young. The pattern will be routine. If you are teaching an older feline, you will progress more slowly, but persist you must to avoid the risk of the nails growing into the foot pads.

Next, we need to make the experience routine and rewarding for both of you. By now you are probable saying to yourself that is just not possible. Patience and persistence are now your friends.

Never attempt the task when you do not have enough time to be patient, loving and to talk in gentle tones. Your feline knows when you are not happy with its conduct and is more apt to act out when he/she has displeased you.

Start with playing with your cat's toes. Start with a foot massage and gently press on the toe pads to expose the claws. Maybe the first time you do this you do not cut the claws but give a treat. Next time, you cut one paw at a time. The incremental approach is the best with older felines.

What part of the claw are you cutting and how far? You need to cut just above the quick, which is the vein inside the nail. That will be the clear area of the nail. If you accidentally cut the quick, styptic powder will stop the bleeding. These products are sold at pet stores. Be sure you have purchased such a product before attempting to trim.

Nail trimmers come in a variety of styles. I prefer a small scissors with a winged handle extension for additional control. Clippers that would be used on a dog are just too awkward.

If none of your efforts are working and your feline refuses to use the scratching post, is declawing an issue?

We have had people interested in adopting declawed felines because they do not wish to be the person that mandates the declawing. They feel the practice is cruel and they do not want any guilt associated with the practice.

The Buddy Foundation does not have a blanket policy on declawing. Ours is a case-by-case decision based on health and age. We fully realize we may be denying an animal a wonderful home if we had such a policy.

I would like to share with you a new procedure that will ease some of the guilt associated with declawing. Laser surgery is the latest innovation in pain management. A laser does not crush, tear or bruise because only a beam of intense light touches the tissue.

The laser also seals small blood vessels and nerve endings. The result is a precise shortened surgery with minimal postoperative pain. The recovery process can be less than 24 hours. My polydactyl is living testament to that claim. She was up and literally running with the rest of my pride within less than a day. A polydactyl feline has extra toes. My polydactyl has 14 toes, just on her front feet alone!

If you choose to declaw, I would strongly suggest you find a veterinarian that has a laser in its practice.


• Candie is a black-and-white, front paw, female domestic longhair, spayed and must be adopted with Mattie. Candie is a little shy, but likes attention and likes to be petted.

• Mattie is a black-and-white, domestic longhair female, spayed, front paw declaw. She must be adopted with Candie. Mattie is very outgoing and loves people.

Can someone take these two into their loving home.

• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. For information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit

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