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Cat Won't Let Me Cut His Nails

Discussion in 'Grooming & General Cat Care' started by babygirlandbigboy, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. babygirlandbigboy

    babygirlandbigboy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 3, 2018
    I've recently adopted a rescue who is about 4 or 5 years old and is 18 lbs. He's a huge cat, very muscular, and will fight whoever tries to restrain him in any way. As you can infer, this makes clipping nails very difficult. I have clipped nails on 5 different animals and have never not been able to figure it out. However, I've tried everything, including scruffing him and using the blanket method. I don't know what to try next and I would like some help. His front claws are needle sharp and it is getting hard to play with him without getting injured. I would prefer not to take him to the vet every other week because we live in a small town and our vet is an hour and a half away. He's a good boy, he's just afraid of being restrained. He's afraid of a lot of things, actually. Please help! upsidedownhercules.jpg
    Beans<3r, dustydiamond1, tarasgirl06 and 3 others purraised this.

  2. PushPurrCatPaws

    PushPurrCatPaws TCS Member Top Cat

    May 22, 2015
    Hello, have you tried just trimming a few nails at a time, and when he is more relaxed or sleepy? This is when I have the best luck trimming any nails with my cat. She'd never let me do an entire "mani/pedi" all at once -- too intense! But she does let me catch up with a nail here, a nail there, when she is just dozing during a nap. And I'm always giving her a few yummy treats after the nail trimming.

  3. babygirlandbigboy

    babygirlandbigboy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 3, 2018
    I have tried that, and a few times he will let me cut one or two, but usually he catches on and tears away from me faster than a cheetah. Not too bad of an option, but he is rarely tired enough to let me cut a few nails :(

  4. PushPurrCatPaws

    PushPurrCatPaws TCS Member Top Cat

    May 22, 2015
    That's too bad. What's his name? :heartshape:

    Well, I personally wouldn't recommend scruffing a cat, unless it is an emergency and you really need to try to restrain him. I don't feel cats react well to scruffing, so it's possible that could be part of it for at least some of the times you have tried to do his nails.

    Somehow, then, the idea will be to try to get him desensitized a bit so that handling him (and this whole nail trimming idea) doesn't seem like it is traumatic for him. Have you tried the treat reward idea with him, giving him some of his favorite treats or food once you get a few nails clipped?
    (maybe I'll give a shout out to member @calicosrspecial for possible ideas?)
    nese and Margret purraised this.

  5. babygirlandbigboy

    babygirlandbigboy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 3, 2018
    I think I have managed to clip a couple of nails a total of 2 or 3 times, and each time i've given him treats afterwards.

  6. babygirlandbigboy

    babygirlandbigboy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 3, 2018
    Oh! and his name is Hercules! :)

  7. PushPurrCatPaws

    PushPurrCatPaws TCS Member Top Cat

    May 22, 2015
    He's awesome!

    Have you tried reading some of the comments from other posters over time to see if any of the tips and tricks could be attempted w/ Hercules? It might take some time to go through, but you might get lucky
    Search Results for Query: trimming nails | TheCatSite
    Margret purraised this.

  8. babygirlandbigboy

    babygirlandbigboy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 3, 2018
    So far not much.
    Margret purraised this.

  9. LTS3

    LTS3 TCS Member Staff Member Forum Helper

    Aug 29, 2014
    I kneel on the floor and tuck one of my cats between my knees so I can clip her claws. I do this in the bathroom with the door closed just in case she wiggles free. Give this a try if you are able to kneel on the floor.

    You can also try those cat grooming bags. There are various styles. Here's one https://www.amazon.com/Top-Performance-Cat-Grooming-Bag/dp/B001VP61N8
    nese, timosmom and DreamerRose purraised this.

  10. Margret

    Margret TCS Member Top Cat

    Jul 17, 2014
    Littleton, CO
    :thumbsup: How appropriate!

    How much do you know about his history? Specifically, is there a chance that he's the product of a kitten mill? I've heard that some :censored: "breeders" will deliberately clip claws all the way into the quick, presumably either to "desensitize" the cat (it actually has the exact opposite effect) or so they don't have to do it so often. If he's come from that kind of background your endeavor is doomed; there's no chance that he'll ever tolerate nail clipping.

    Also, when you're searching the site on this subject, look for "claw clipping" as well as "nail clipping." Humans have nails, cats have claws.


  11. babygirlandbigboy

    babygirlandbigboy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 3, 2018
    We don't know much, we only know that he came from a home before us with one other cat, and they decided they couldn't take care of them.

  12. babygirlandbigboy

    babygirlandbigboy Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 3, 2018
    If I thought this might work, I would buy one right now. However, if we could hold him in one spot long enough to put him in one of these bags, then the problem would be moot. :(

  13. mayabear

    mayabear TCS Member Young Cat

    Feb 17, 2014
    New York, NY
    I was going to say the same thing. I have to pull a "sneak attack" on Maya when she's sleeping. I very calmly and quietly go over to her and gently grab her little paw. I might only get a couple in at a time, but it's better than nothing. Those nails can get so sharp! They hurt me, and they can get stuck in things. I don't even worry about her back paws.
    nese, foxxycat and GGG purraised this.

  14. silkenpaw

    silkenpaw TCS Member Super Cat

    Oct 18, 2009
    Hollywood, FL, USA
    Have you tried different positions? My Armani hates being held and if I try to hold him while he’s sitting up, he’ll try to get away but if he’s held down while laying, he’s fine with it and I can trim his claws that way.
    nese purraised this.

  15. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

    Sep 19, 2006
    Glendale, California
    He sure is a handsome big guy! Well, one thing that works for us is to wait until the cat is very relaxed -- even sleepy -- and clip one or two claws at a time. Treats can be given when claws are clipped, so he will associate it with pleasant things he likes. I would never restrain a cat to clip claws, because he will become more scared and more resistant. Also make sure you provide him with various types of scratching pads and posts, so that he can exercise his claws and wear off the old claw sheaths. Patience is key.
    nese purraised this.

  16. Royalty

    Royalty TCS Member Alpha Cat

    May 23, 2018
    United Kingdom
    To be honest I'm a bit of a coward I take my two boys to the vets n they cut Luther n Zeus nails

  17. DreamerRose

    DreamerRose TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 11, 2015
    Naperville, IL
    Lily is very sensitive about having her "nails" cut, but I do what the others do - a few at a time and treats after. Keep at it, and eventually he will be more tolerant. When she is asleep on my lap, I also squeeze her paws like I was going to cut the claws, but without actually doing it. This seems to have made her more tolerant also. She's still freaky about it, but it's better than it was.
    nese, mekkababble, CalliopeUno and 1 other person purraised this.

  18. Starznight

    Starznight TCS Member Young Cat

    Mar 31, 2018
    With my boys I use regular human nail clippers to trim their nails, and occasionally a plain old Emory board if they’re really skittish. I show them me using it on myself, make sure it’s after a meal so they’re full and relaxed, sometimes even playing some classical music if I have a kitty whose really against paw touching. And I don’t restrain them to do it, just lots of cuddles and for a few that have been really against me holding their paws I’ve spent a bit teaching them “shake” like a dog. Without going after the nails at all.

    But even then I’ve had a few kitties who no matter what have said no to taking care of their nails, that’s when I’ve made up an Emory board scratch post for them as part of their cat trees.
    dustydiamond1, CalliopeUno and DreamerRose purraised this.

  19. CalliopeUno

    CalliopeUno TCS Member Young Cat

    Jul 31, 2018
    I'm intrigued by the emory board attached duo the scratching post. Very clever- I'm trying to visualize it. I have been getting more successful at squeezing my guy's paws when he's lying near me, and have done the "shake" thing with him since I got him (we call it "paws" or "hands"-I know I should pick one and be consistent). Anyway he's getting more tolerant of me handling his paws but still kneads like crazy when purring and I'm constantly detaching little claws from my clothing and skin. I've tried putting barricades of covers, a catnip fish, a pillow etc but apparently nothing is more satisfying than feeling your class sink into human flesh, even through clothing. Like you, @Starznight I look forward to someday maybe being able to trim those suckers.
    He's getting better about the hairdos tho.
    Bluuuii purraised this.

  20. Pjg8r

    Pjg8r TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Oct 3, 2017
    @Starznight could you explain or give a picture of the Emory board scratcher?

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