Cat VERY aggressive with nail trims

inkysmom

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I'm not new to owning cats, I've owned them my whole life and have had at least 12 that I can remember and lost many to cancer and old age from ages 14 to 20. Most I had from kittenhood on but I've also taken in a few feral kittens, a couple of adult strays who were abused and even one adult feral cat who I eventually managed to tame and strongly bond with..
I've always managed to trim their nails at some point, not always frequently but to some degree. Once I tamed my feral cat he even let me trim his nails.
I currently have two cats one lets me trim his nails and is absolutely perfect for it so I trim his nails probably once a month. No issues. He's 11 and I've had him since he was 3 months old.
My other cat is probably 3.5 now. I've had him since I got him from a rescue at 8-9 months old. He'd been living on the streets with his brother and sister and they were separated, neutered and adopted. I kept him in the bathroom for the first month to get him used to living inside and bond with him and gradually introduce him to my other cat and large dog. He's pretty bonded to me, absolutely loves my other cat and is fine with my dog but not as bonded to him. He likes and is friendly with most dogs because I used to watch a lot of new dogs as a fun side job so he's outgoing and social with any new dog that comes to the place. If any new person comes to my place he hides and won't come out except to walk by. Occasionally he'll be visible and let someone new pet him but he's pretty skittish. He likes my father because my father was visiting for a few weeks when I first adopted the cat so was in the bathroom during that initial time

Even after over two years this cat will come to me when I call him and do a cute trick of standing on his hind legs if I say up and jump on the bed and sit with me and demand pets and give me love bites so is very affectionate. But if I move when he's lying down, even just to roll over he immediately runs away then comes right back. So he's still somewhat scared of even me.
I think he has some kind of PTSD because he absolutely panics and literally flips out if he's picked up the correct way with me trying to hold his back feet. If I do that and try to carry him to another room I've learned the hard way he flips and thrashes and if he feels cornered he then starts literally attacking scratching and biting and won't let go until he's free.

The first time I tried to cut his nails and tried to hold him so as not to reinforce that he'd learn he can escape I literally had bleeding open wounds all over both my arms and legs.

Second time I somehow got him in a carrier and the vet got him in the back with two people and they cut his nails and he was perfect. I've cut his nails a couple of times since then by picking him up like a sack of potatoes with back legs loose he's calmer that way and taking him into the bathroom and locking him in with me. In that small confined space I can pet and praise him and do one paw at a time and he's been ok.

Normally his personality is laid-back, affectionate and playful, not at all aggressive to people or other animals. Curious and a bit timid except with dogs and his buddy cat he's very bold and playful and lives to stalk him and steal the best spots to sit on and steal the food and best catnip toys.

However now he knows the routine and avoids letting me pick him up at all.
It's been months to over a year since I've been able to get his nails done.
Since last night I had him locked in my bedroom with my dog and other cat. There's a water bowl and there's some dry cat food in the bathroom but he won't come out and go to eat it. He's come out and even jumped up to sit with me a couple of times but the second I move he runs back under the bed.
I have regular cat food and water in the kitchen so I've just been letting my other cat in and out when he wants and feeding my dog as needed. But it's ridiculous that I've been barricaded in my room with this stubborn cat and long-term he's going to have to deal with regular nail trims unless I just neglect them for the rest of his life.

After over two years of living with me he should be less timid and more social.

The way he freaks out when picked up or if he feels cornered is not a typical reaction. Like I said I've had at least twelve cats, three dogs, three horses and I've probably boarded around fifty dogs in my place and am a certified licensed horseback riding instructor so I know about horse training and I've never seen an animal flip to attack so instantly with no warning signs.

I've never believed in declawing a cat before but I'm not seeing a way to keep his nails healthy and safely and I can't spend days barricaded in my room every few weeks.. it's not right to just neglect his nails for the next ten to fifteen years either.

I've tried the vet giving me a sedative go put in his food too. Problem is when I try to separate the cats they both freak out and won't come out for hours and I work full time so can't spend hours trying to coax them out. If I lock one of them in a room away from the other they make a racket screaming and jumping on the door which doesn't go over well on my apartment building.
So I've already tried a lot of obvious solutions. I think I'm just burned out with timid feral shy cats and miss my outgoing bold super outgoing friendly cats who never used to hide from anyone.
I picked this specific cat because he was actually very friendly in the shelter cage and affectionate with me and I actually got him more for my other cat. All of my other cats had died of cancer and he was the only cat for the first time ever and he was grieving and literally screaming whenever I left him alone, especially if I took my dog anywhere so I thought he needed a buddy. He also can be a jerk and a bully to timid cats so I looked for a kitten/adolescent who was easygoing, social with other cats but bold and not aggressive and this cat was perfect for him. They're best buddies and play and wrestle and chase each other all the time. You'd never know my older cat is 11 for his energy level. And this cat is great with calming him down, he literally holds him down and grooms him when my older cat gets too hyped up playing and starts biting and getting too rough. He's amazing with other cats and dogs. Just awful with how timid he is with people. I've tried to socialize him but the pandemic doesn't help. I guess I'm also frustrated that he's still so scared of me I've never done anything harmful to him.
 

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At the vet he is scared. It's like being stunned so he is able to cut his nails. My cats will not let me. So even though it costs more it's worth it to keep taking him
One of my cats claws are very thin and sharp like needles so no sisal rope she will get her nails stuck on it. only corrugated cardboard. She never trims her nails
 
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inkysmom

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That's a good point. He actually just let me do it but he had to go all last night and today without eating and he's a total foodie who's usually constantly saying. I think he did eat earlier when I fell asleep but not as much as he usually does. He was trying to go out of the room after I let my other cat out and that cat was meowing and I said nope not til we get those nails done so he cans to me and let me pet him then just let me pick him up and take him in there. Last night no way. He was fine for the nails too I just kept letting him and praising and petting him and we took a break between each paw.

He's not easy to catch and pick up to even get into a carrier. I take my older cat into the vet every year since he's older and has allergies and needs medications and blood work but I haven't taken him in for a couple of years since he's young and healthy. I don't believe indoor cats need tons of vaccines more than three years or even less. If he was older or had any health issues I'd take him in more.
 

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I've never successfully cut a cat's nails for longer than a couple of months, and not even tried with most of our cats. Your clearly much more skilled. However, I don't really understand why your insistent on doing it with this particular cat. If a cat is using a scratching post to an average post-training degree and not fighting with other cats, whats the need? I understand its desireable as a general matter, but its in no way actually necessary for a happy and healthy cat, absent special circumstances. I wouldn't deny that it will reduce furniture damage, but it just doesn't seem worth the stress to me.
 
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inkysmom

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I've never successfully cut a cat's nails for longer than a couple of months, and not even tried with most of our cats. Your clearly much more skilled. However, I don't really understand why your insistent on doing it with this particular cat. If a cat is using a scratching post to an average post-training degree and not fighting with other cats, whats the need? I understand its desirable as a general matter, but its in no way actually necessary for a happy and healthy cat, absent special circumstances. I wouldn't deny that it will reduce furniture damage, but it just doesn't seem worth the stress to me.
I had one cat who lived to be twenty. She hated having her nails cut so I didn't do it very much. At twenty her nails literally grew into the pads of her paws and were very painful. As cats age their nails get thicker and break and splinter more and give them problems. They can give them problems as they age so it's good to have the cats trained enough to let you cut their nails for later in life so you can find and hopefully prevent problems.
It's neglect to not make sure their nails are healthy.
My last dog before my current dog hated having his nails cut and would get very aggressive and have to be sedated and the vet would need multiple people to restrain and muzzle him it was an awful process. As be got older I stopped taking him as much because I hated putting him through that. I couldn't do it myself he'd bite me as well and his nails were thick and black and I couldn't see the quicks and the one time I tried I got the quicks which bled and hurt him and didn't help him calm down. He developed problems and lameness from his nails being too long hurting his paws to walk on. He was active and liked to run and play but still wasn't wearing them down enough.

I'd read that cat's nails grow in a circle and can literally grow into the pads of their paws and have actually seen it happen.
My cats use their scratching posts plus my furniture. Their nails also get very sharp and painful when they knead me for affection. When they play which is all the time they're more likely to scratch each other accidentally. So I just believe it's neglectful not to trim the nails at least occasionally. Just my in my experience.
 

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From what you are saying, often, the only time you pick him up, something unpleasant happens...nail trim, vet, etc. I would suggest that you make a habit of picking him up very briefly, saying something sweet to him and setting him back down several times a week (or when you can get your hands on him. Let's work on letting him know that being picked up is not ALWAYS a bad thing!
 
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inkysmom

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From what you are saying, often, the only time you pick him up, something unpleasant happens...nail trim, vet, etc. I would suggest that you make a habit of picking him up very briefly, saying something sweet to him and setting him back down several times a week (or when you can get your hands on him. Let's work on letting him know that being picked up is not ALWAYS a bad thing!
That's a good point! I started out with lofty goals of training/socializing him much better than this. But working again full time in an ER is stressful and exhausting and I've focused on training my dog to be good when I take him out. Plus I got COVID a year ago before the vaccines were available and it literally knocked me out for months.
And this cat is very smart he comes to me to be patted only when I'm lying down and the instant I move he runs.
But I'll try more since it's such a major pain not being able to pick up and handle my own cat.
 

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So, think of it this way. You have a green Andalusian Arab cross mare that was unhandled till she was 4. She is fearful and naturally hot and spooky. Would you tie balloons to her feet? And if you tried, would you be shocked if you got kicked.

The nail trim is just as fearful to him. Horses and cats are much closer personality wise than dogs and cats.
His behavior is typical for a cat that was feral. My cat is 13 and still runs if I walk by when she is eating. It is what it is. I don’t let it bother me. Some cats are timid around new people and will always be spooky to certain things.
Why do you want to trim the nails?
The best way to handle this car is not at all. Don’t pick him up. Wait till he is asleep and without moving him trim one nail. Give a treat and wait 24 hours and do the next one.

Just remember that you will never win an argument with a cat. You can’t expect him to modify his behavior, you must modify yours. If he is biting it is out of fear only. Even if it seems like it isn’t, it is.
 
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inkysmom

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So, think of it this way. You have a green Andalusian Arab cross mare that was unhandled till she was 4. She is fearful and naturally hot and spooky. Would you tie balloons to her feet? And if you tried, would you be shocked if you got kicked.

The nail trim is just as fearful to him. Horses and cats are much closer personality wise than dogs and cats.
His behavior is typical for a cat that was feral. My cat is 13 and still runs if I walk by when she is eating. It is what it is. I don’t let it bother me. Some cats are timid around new people and will always be spooky to certain things.
Why do you want to trim the nails?
The best way to handle this car is not at all. Don’t pick him up. Wait till he is asleep and without moving him trim one nail. Give a treat and wait 24 hours and do the next one.

Just remember that you will never win an argument with a cat. You can’t expect him to modify his behavior, you must modify yours. If he is biting it is out of fear only. Even if it seems like it isn’t, it is.
You should read my earlier posts and replies. Cats nails can actually grow into their paws since they grow in a circle. I've seen it happen in my twenty year old cat and I've had several senior cats get thickened nails splinter and break.
If I'm going to feed and pay for vets and lifelong pet insurance i need my cats to be trained enough to be safely handled for going to the vet and basic care like nail trims and meds.
Cats can live in families and conies like horses live in family herds but cats as a rule aren't motivated to please humans like bonded tame horses and social digs are. Dogs also typically are packs although some breeds are independent and dog aggressive so I don't know that I completely agree that cats are more like horses then cats
I'm a licensed horseback riding instructor, certified eagala equine therapist and have owned, raised and trained my own and other horses professionally. I bred, raised and trained my stallion from birth from my mare and kept him a stallion until age ten when I gelded him only for practicality after learning he wasn't as fertile as I'd hoped. He's an amazing gelding just as he was amazing and well behaved with excellent manners and awesome to ride as a stallion in mixed company with mares and geldings.

I've raised and tamed feral cats from kittens and adolescents to adults.
I disagree that never handling him is going to help anything. Socializing him means more handling and getting him used to things I just have t had the time and energy to devote to focus on him only as a project. He's made tons of progress overall. It's the picking him up and getting him into carriers or places that's our challenge. I'd like him to be more social with people but during a pandemic I'm not having tons of people here so that's unrealistic.

I also politely disagree that cats can't learn to modify their behavior. When I first got each of my dogs and board new digs my older cat can and will attack them and draw blood. He's learned that I will tell him. nO and immediately lick him in the bathroom each time he attacks a dog unprovoked and praise and pet him for ignoring or being friendly to a dog. He's obviously allowed to do whatever he wants to a dog that gets in his space or threatens him and I'll immediately protect him and crate and tell the dog no and confine it. He doesn't attack dogs anymore and is neutral to new dogs and very bonded to my dog and regular calm dogs I watch. He cuddles with them and acts like they're his buddies
Praise and rewards and corrections work wonders. This cat stands up on his hind legs like a bunny and rubs his head under my hand for pats when I say "up ups". He learned a trick just like my dog does. They both saw my dog getting tricks our of his new puzzle toy my dad got him for Christmas and ran over wanting treats too and both cats now wait their turn and race over when I say "cookies!" And out the cat treats in the dog's puzzle toy after his turn and they even take turns fishing the treats out with their noses and paws!
So I've shown cats can absolutely modify their behavior and be trained if they're motivated. If I say no or down or off they know not to be in the fur ityre and jump off immediately. So I've had many cats that are very intelligent and trainable they're just not as easy to motivate as dogs and horses.
Food, affection, praise and catnip usually work.
He actually pleasantly surprised me when I've had people over by being visible at all. He also was almost friendly when my best friend stayed for a long weekend last fall and my dad and his wife visited daily for Christmas. He was much more visible than I thought he'd be but they also brought catnip toys and my other cat was very friendly and high on catnip which I think gave him courage.
We're obviously comfortable with different expectations from our animals which is fine. I'd be taming and socializing the Andalusian mare you posted about too!
I've had three large fearful aggressive dogs and trained and socialized the current and last one very well. Current one actually has his Canine Good Citizen Certificate from the American Kennel Club which we passed on our first try with only me training him. I take him everywhere and everyone asks if he's a service dog he's so well trained. He used to be fearful and reactive to most men and people with hats and any telling or strange movement. Now he's calm and relaxed and lives everyone. I e even brought him to my jobs as a therapy dog to work with people with anxiety, depression and PTSD. He's calm, relaxed and balanced and confident. I've learned all his body language and know how to calm him and when to give him space to prevent any fear or tension on his part so he's learned to trust me too. It took years but he's perfect. So I guess I don't give up. I just haven't focused on this cat yet as I've spent more time with the dog and life in general.
 

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I am a bit confused. You said you worked as a horseback riding instructor and also in an er?

Anyway, I would not pick him up at all to trim his nails, try to catch him when he is asleep, and only do what you can get done one one paw at a time. I do that with my current cats- many cats do not like to be held and this is the easiest way to do it. You can also try doing it while they are sitting and relaxed and just hold one paw. If he gets too stressed after one or two nails do the rest later. Try some treats in between so he associates something good with it.

My Wizard who was totally tame did not like to be held, etc. but he spooned with me every night of his life and held my hands etc. he was very affectionate and did not like to sit directly on my lap but would sit right next to me hugging me with his paws on my hands. He was a rescue from outside trapped by accident when I was trying to trap another cat. But he was totally tame and affectionate right away he was not feral but he still just did not like to be picked up a lot or held for too long or to sit on your lap and he absolutely hated getting his nails clipped too, although he was never aggressive at all. He was the sweetest most loving cat on the planet

Each cat is different and since he hates having his nails trimmed so much and generally does not like to be held and picked up I would definitely not combine the two together. I do trim my cats nails for the reasons you mentioned also, I don’t trim the bottom ones as much it’s usually the top paws that get sharp. I only trim the ones that have grown a lot and are sharp as well.

Ingrown nails are bad and Sybil who was polydactyl on her front paws would have the inner nail curl into her paw. She also hated her nails being trimmed but was also very gentle and we figured it out.

You can still work on getting him to be more comfortable with being physically close, touched etc. but it may not include picking him up a lot. He also sounds like a cat who needs to be on medication all the time such as gabapentin- that may help a lot of the fears that he has.

The other option would be just to take him to DVM maybe pre-sedate him and have them do it. There are special bags you can zip the cat in with a paw sticking out but I think that might be too hard with your kitty. I tried that for Quinn because he also hates getting his nails clipped but there was no way I could get him into the bag so it was useless and he would’ve just escaped from it I think.
 
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Well, sadly I've never had a cat live to be 20, but I've had 7 cats live a normal life span and zero had problems with their nails. You said you've had over a dozen cats, and you've seen one with ingrown nails. That doesn't make it neglectful to not cut a cat's nails. There are many highly knowledgeable folks that worry about their cat's health that don't cut nails. If it became a problem, we would have dealt with it. To insist on doing so with an anxious cat this stressed by it seems a bit cruel to me and counter productive -- stress is a health issue as well. I mean, you are clearly skilled with the issue, and given that, it certainly makes sense for you, having that skill built up, to continue doing it with most of your cats. But this particular cat?

Although my cutting experience is limited, the wife and I found it hugely helpful to work together doing it. If you live with someone, perhaps that could help.
 
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inkysmom

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What I do for work doesn't really matter lol. I have a ton of experience with cats, dogs, horses and professionally in the mental health field with humans. Currently I work full time in an ER for the income and benefits bit I have many years experience training and instructing horses and riding lessons as well as being certified to practice equine assisted therapy on people using horses as therapy tools. To do this I had to certify and test as being an "expert" in horse behavior and horse general health and information.
I've also worked independently as a consultant training and boarding difficult behavioral dog and telehealth therapy and in person therapy for all kinds of people needing mental health therapy for over twenty years now.
I've worked with different cats for other people but mainly had my own cats.
Just saying I've had a lot of experience with behavior and training/modification on several different types of animals and an licensed to work on behavioral therapy with people.
As far as medication, gabapentin is a pain medication and didn't do much for anxiety. My dog is on it for years for his hip dysplasia and arthritis but it does nothing for his separation anxiety which he had well before I adopted him.
He takes sertraline which is generic form of Zoloft which works well better for anxiety. Gabapentin which is generic form of neurontin is rely for nerve pain.
As I posted above if you actually read my posts and replies this cat is not anxious with other cats or dogs and is quite bold and playful with other animals. He calms down my other cat when the other cat gets too aggressive with playing. He's simply a typical fetal suspicious cat who grew up in a dangerous neighborhood and was separated from his siblings and thrown into invasive vets, surgery for neutering, shots and a fishbowl type of caged shelter and rightfully doesn't trust new humans. He does see me as an overall good human until I act suspicious and get too invasive.

I never hold him to cut his nails. I get him into the bathroom and then sit on the floor and lean him next to me and cut one paw at a time. He's fine with that, if he gets tense I pat and praise him and give the paw back and try again. This is fine and he relaxes. I never force him to be on me as he rarely does that. He likes to lean next to me so I respect that.

I actually don't like pets climbing on my stomach and chest and face. My other cats all used to climb all on top of me and wake me and bruise my chest and ribs and I hate that. I'm always telling my older cat to sit next to me and get off me. And I've trained my 100 pound dog NEVER to climb on me and sit on me as that seriously hurts. Not really a fan of lap cats or dogs. So no way I'm training him to do that. All our bonding and nail cutting is him leaning next to my side with tons of praise and rewards.
 
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What I do for work doesn't really matter lol. I have a ton of experience with cats, dogs, horses and professionally in the mental health field with humans. Currently I work full time in an ER for the income and benefits bit I have many years experience training and instructing horses and riding lessons as well as being certified to practice equine assisted therapy on people using horses as therapy tools. To do this I had to certify and test as being an "expert" in horse behavior and horse general health and information.
I've also worked independently as a consultant training and boarding difficult behavioral dog and telehealth therapy and in person therapy for all kinds of people needing mental health therapy for over twenty years now.
I've worked with different cats for other people but mainly had my own cats.
Just saying I've had a lot of experience with behavior and training/modification on several different types of animals and an licensed to work on behavioral therapy with people.
As far as medication, gabapentin is a pain medication and didn't do much for anxiety. My dog is on it for years for his hip dysplasia and arthritis but it does nothing for his separation anxiety which he had well before I adopted him.
He takes sertraline which is generic form of Zoloft which works well better for anxiety. Gabapentin which is generic form of neurontin is rely for nerve pain.
As I posted above if you actually read my posts and replies this cat is not anxious with other cats or dogs and is quite bold and playful with other animals. He calms down my other cat when the other cat gets too aggressive with playing. He's simy a typical fetal suspicious cat who grew up in a dangerous neighborhood and was separated from his siblings and thrown into invasive vets, surgery for neutering, shots and a fish cage shelter and rightfully doesn't trust humans. He does see me as an overall good han until I act suspicious and get too invasive.

I never hold him to cut his nails. I get him into the bathroom and then sit on the floor and lean him next to me and cut one paw at a time. He's fine with that, if he gets tense I pay and praise him and give the paw back and try again. This is fine and he relaxes. I never force him to be on me as he rarely dies that. Heines to lean next to me so I respect that. I actually don't like pets climbing on my stomach and chest and face. My other cats all used to climb all on top of me and wake me and bruise my chest and ribs and I hate that. I'm always taking my older cat to sit next to me and get off me. And I've trained my 100 pound dog NEVER to climb on me and sit on me as that seriously hurts. Not really a fan of lap cats or dogs. So no way I'm training him to do that. All our binding and bail cutting is him leaning next to my side with tons of praise and rewards.
Ok, you are obviously the expert here, lol. But I am the one who is able to trim all of my cats nails over many years. Somehow I managed to do that. 😀 Without any of them getting so stressed out that they left me wounded.

I’ve given you my advice but clearly you’re not interested in listening to it so good luck!
 
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inkysmom

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Well, sadly I've never had a cat live to be 20, but I've had 7 cats live a normal life span and zero had problems with their nails. You said you've had over a dozen cats, and you've seen one with ingrown nails. That doesn't make it neglectful to not cut a cat's nails. Frankly, its a little bit insulting. There are many highly knowledgeable folks that worry about their cat's health that don't cut nails. To insist on doing so with an anxious cat this stressed by it seems a bit cruel to me and counter productive -- stress is a health issue as well. I mean, you are clearly skilled with the issue, and given that, it certainly makes sense for you, having that skill built up, to continue doing it with most of your cats. But this particular cat?
I've had the one 20 year old get ingrown nails which was very painful and traumatizing for her. She hated vets and meds so had a lot of trauma with vets and meds and procedures that I could have avoided by just cutting her nails a bit more.
I have two cats now and have had TEN cats die of horrible cancer, kidney problems, age and suffering in their last six to twelve months. All of them were cats I was very bonded to and had their whole lives for at least ten to fifteen years and watched then gradually go from young active silly playful crazy cats to eventually lazy less active cats and every one of them got the senior old cat thicker nails as one of the first signs of aging. Then the nails started splitting and breaking and got painful. Then they'd be less active due to pain. All of them benefitted from nail trims where I could head off the splintering and breaking. All of them benefitted from me noticing wow this cat has senior nails at ten or eleven, better get him to the vet. Those two rare cats died of metastatic cancer at twelve. The other cats lived to fourteen to sixteen had young cat nails much longer. Nails and their state are a huge predictor of health. It's a good way to stay on top of how they're doing in general.
I got home a few years ago and my older cat had ripped a hind nail playing too aggressively with his cat brother and was running bleeding all over the place. Blood everywhere like a crime scene. If he hadn't been perfect about me trimming his nails since I picked him up off a busy road in Aruba when he was starving at three months old I could never have gotten him to the ER so fast. They fixed his torn nail and found another issue with his stomach to test for which is luckily fine.

Again for the fourth or fifth time, this cat is good once I get him next to me on the floor and trim one paw at a time with tons of praise and pays. It's the picking him up and bringing him anywhere he just runs that takes forever to do. Which is dangerous for future vet visits and I'm in a large apartment building with frequent fire alarms. It's awful I can't quickly get him in a carrier to bring him outside in case of fire alarm and no one can catch him quickly. He'd burn to death since I'm on the 7th floor.
 
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inkysmom

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Ok, you are obviously the expert here, lol. But I am the one who is able to trim all of my cats nails over many years. Somehow I managed to do that. 😀 Without any of them getting so stressed out that they left me wounded.

I’ve given you my advice but clearly you’re not interested in listening to it so good luck!
He only wounded me the first ever time I cut his nails. Never since. Like I said he's fine once I'm actually cutting the nails. Try reading my replies. I'm respectful of everyone who answered even though it's obvious some commenters did'nt bother to read my posts or replies since they post things that clearly ignore what I already said
And no need to be condescending. It gets old repeating the same information to people who don't bother to read.
I really appreciate the good advice but I'm remembering why I've stayed off this site for years. Some people are very helpful if you post when you're grieving for a sick or dead cat then others just unfortunately are less helpful with snarky remarks.
If you work with or own any animals long enough no matter how expert or experienced you think you are, it's only a matter of time before one hurts you. Pride goes before a fall.
That's why Olympic level professional horseback riders get killed riding their horses at a walk sometimes. After winning or placing in the Olympics. Never be too smug and overconfident.
Good night!
 
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noani

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So the issue is mostly picking him up?
If he doesn't like that, have you tried clicker training? You could clicker train him with a target stick. That way you could lead him into another room for nail trims without having to pick him up. Clicker training could also work to train him to go into a carrier (would take longer probably, but may be doable if he's very skittish and you set it up to be a safe space/space where he gets something yummy). Also, I second the suggestion to randomly pick him up, and set him back down with nothing bad happening, and giving him extra love or treats then. Does this cat have an absolute favourite treat? Something that he goes crazy for, which you can use only for this purpose?

I've trained my cats now to accept trimming nails quite happily by: sitting in front of them so we are facing each other. Then I squeeze some liquid snack on the back of my left hand, so they lick that off and in the meantime I slowly clip (well I don't use the clipper, I use the little specific scissor type thing as it's much smoother) their nails. Sometimes I can do all 10, sometimes less so I repeat over a few days. (Obviously initially it was more like 1 at a time. As soon as they showed reluctance I just let it go, and over time they allowed me to do more and more each time). Basically I only ever use this treat for nail trims. As soon as they see the little sachet, they jump on the bed and sit down waiting for it. I've had one of them only for a few months and the other almost two years, but they are basically the same about it now. Sometimes one will let me do all 10, sometimes less and then pull away the paw. In which case I just leave it, let them finish the treat and do the rest the next day. As soon as they pull away their paw, I stop. I never hold on to the paw against their will, which I've found to be counterproductive to the max.

I had a cat many years ago from a shelter who had been horribly abused by her former owner. She was older when we got her and she was sometimes very (fear) aggressive, and incredibly skittish. It took a very very long time to get her to accept it, and we started actually just holding her paw when she was sleeping. Then if she woke up treats and treats and treats. Then holding the paw and lightly pressing (to get out the nail).. and so on. It took quite a few months overall but we managed. The key I think is never do anything that they see as "forced on them". As soon as she tried to remove her paw from our hands, we'd let it go until next time. That one took a lot of patience, but yours is younger so it may be faster. That cat never let anyone pick her up for as long as she lived. I mean you could have forced it, but it was very similar to what you describe. She got so stressed that she would lash out like an absolute maniac. If yours lets you pick him up a certain way, that's good - if he associates if with negatives of course he will stop. I also really don't believe in holding a cat tight against their will until they calm down. Yes usually they eventually do but in the long run it does more damage than good imho.
I have a friend who is disappointed her cat isn't very cuddly so she thought she'll just pick him up wearing a thick sweater, with a blanket and hold him super tight until he calms down and stops struggling. She's been doing that thinking he'll learn nothing bad happens and it can be pleasant to cuddle. Let's just say it's not working, and I really don't agree with that approach at all.

I'm not saying the cats should call the shots by any means, but forcing anything will be counterproductive. So, to sum up, clicker training? Fave treat?
 

silent meowlook

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Since he is trainable. Teach him a one word command to go into an open carrier. Practice until he is really secure with it.
In an emergency most cats will not let you carry them.

As for me: 30+ years working in feline medicine. Currently cat only hospital the last 6 years.

The claws don’t grow into their nails until they are seniors, unless polydactyl. Maybe by then he will be more comfortable with it.

I did read your post.
 

Mamanyt1953

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You can’t expect him to modify his behavior, you must modify yours.
Well, you can modify a cat's behavior to one degree or another, however, I am also fond of telling people that I worked for months on my cat's habit of getting on the counters, and am happy to report that it no longer bothers me in the least.
 

imaginewizard

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I've never believed in declawing a cat before but I'm not seeing a way to keep his nails healthy
I am absolutely pro-trimming a cat's claws, esp if they're indoor only as you're right, they can sometimes grow too much for them in the soft comfort of a house. But I feel declawing is always a no no as it's worse than having uncomfy claws. There's definitely a bunch of steps you can take.
 
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