Trimming nails

Kayeff

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Hi everyone!

I have a polydactyl cat who grows an extra nail between her toes and thumb (like between the pointer finger and thumb for a human). It tends to grow and curl in on itself, into her paw pad. Obviously this is uncomfortable for her.

I want to learn how to trim this nail myself at home to save the money we usually pay the vet, since it needs to be done more often than her regular nails (the extra nail grows WAY faster than her normal nails, idk why). But I’ve never trimmed a cats nails. I’m planning on buying a pair of cat nail clipper today after work but I have a few questions.

I know you need to be careful not to cut the nail too close to the quick. Does anyone know if the extra nail is the same? I’ve had the vet say we can safely “declaw” this extra nail and cause no pain to our girl. So if I accidentally cut a little too short, will it cause an issue? I’m very nervous that I’ll cut it too short unintentionally and I don’t want to hurt her :(

Any additional advice is welcome, especially from someone who has experience with this extra nail.
 

DreamerRose

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A claw is a claw. Look at the claw from the side in a bright light, and you will see the pink quick through the claw. Cut the claw in front of the pink quick, and you should be okay.

It really might better to have the vet remove this extra claw.
 
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Kayeff

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A claw is a claw. Look at the claw from the side in a bright light, and you will see the pink quick through the claw. Cut the claw in front of the pink quick, and you should be okay.

It really might better to have the vet remove this extra claw.
I think we are going to take the vet’s advice and have it removed as long as she can keep her fingers thumb lol. I’ll be calling to get a quote on the cost and hopefully schedule it. At first it horrified me because it sounds just like declawing which I’m 100% against but they assured me it isn’t the same.

but in the meantime I want to trim it myself, so I was just looking for tips. If she’s too squirmy or if Idon’t feel like I can safely do it, I’ll probably just pay the vet their ridiculous price to do a nail trim 🤦🏻‍♀️
 

DreamerRose

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You can do it yourself, but you have to struggle with it a number of times before they accept it. My son kneels on the floor and puts the cat, face out, between his knees. He can hold the cat with his knees while he clips the front paws. The back paws don't need to be cut as often, so you can wait until your cat realizes it isn't going to hurt.
 

Lucy&Petra

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Wait until she's sleeping. Massage her paw. Gently massage between the digits. If she remains sleeping she's probably relaxed and it'll be easier. Gently kind of press either side of the digit and "push" the nail out. Cut the nail just where it starts to curl down. You'll see the end of the nail is clear, whereas the 'quick' area will not be clear, almost like a solid mass inside of the nail. In any event, if you cut the nail just where it curls down you should be well clear of the quick. Start by just cutting a bit of the end of the nail off. Build your confidence. Eventually you'll be able to cut the nail a bit more close to the quick. Just like anything, it's a process of taking it slow. Good luck!
 

vince

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I guess a claw is a claw, as Kayeff said. I was afraid to say anything about it for fear it would prompt some kind of inappropriate action. After thinking, the claw does have to grow from somewhere, so it must have a blood supply and a quick,even if there's no toe attached (not sure if I understood the OP's post correctly).

The handling of the foot is very important. Most cats freak out when their paws are touched if they've not been accustomed to it, so practice foot-handling when kitty is sleepy, as suggested above. Also, a treat after the clipping is helpful, as it will encourage kitty to think of the trimming as a not-so-bad thing.

Cutting into the quick hurts and the nail will bleed. A conventional styptic pencil will stop the bleeding before it becomes a mess, but it does sting when applied. If you cut one of the quicks, it's probably best to give the treat and call it a day.

If it's too stressful to cut all her nails, cut only one or two each session. Eventually, you'll get them all done.

Two of my cats accepted the nail clipping pretty well; one did not, but with persistent training, she's not too bad now.
 

danteshuman

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A few things:

Always say the same phrase like “all done” then give her treats immediately whenever you brush her, bathe her, trim her nails or give her pills. It helps them let you annoy them and as an added bonus they relax (almost instantly) once they know the routine & phrase. It tells them that it is over!

Trim less than you think, especially on longer claws. That way you stay away from the quick & it doesn’t hurt them. Get an extra person to hold her if you need to.

They sell aromatic mail shapers/grinders for pets. That might work to.

I’m kinda evil and like giving the cats a pinchfull (each) of the good/expensive catnip with silvervine in it a half hour before I trim their nails. It helps relax them (after the initial running around.) This or CBD oil might be worth a try (I have never given my cat CBD oil but I have heard others talk about it.)

Some people trim one nail at a time while their cat is asleep.
 

vince

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I'll have to incorporate the "all done" with my cats. The seem to catch on about that. When they're pestering me for more treats, I hold up my palms to them and say "all gone." That seems to end the begging. If they can learn that, they should get the "all done" with little trouble.
 

danteshuman

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Since you say the phrase “all gone” you might try something that sounds different from that phrase like “you’re free” or “it is over” or even “thank you” so it doesn’t sound like a phrase you use. They pick up real quick that treats after grooming means it is over. Or treats after you clip their nails, means it is over. It really helped when I had to give my cat medication!
 

Moka

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I have very bright little LED flash light that I hold in my teeth when I trim my kitty's claws. It really helps to see things better and makes me more comfortable that I am not about to cut too much off. Cats can feel when you are nervous or hesitant and it makes them nervous and more likely to wiggle. Maybe using a flash light will help you feel more confident and make the whole process a little easier?
 

ladytimedramon

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I have very bright little LED flash light that I hold in my teeth when I trim my kitty's claws. It really helps to see things better and makes me more comfortable that I am not about to cut too much off. Cats can feel when you are nervous or hesitant and it makes them nervous and more likely to wiggle. Maybe using a flash light will help you feel more confident and make the whole process a little easier?
What about one of those little strap on "head lamps" instead? They're relatively inexpensive (seen them for $5 for stocking stuffers) and probably easier than holding it in your teeth.
 

Moka

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What about one of those little strap on "head lamps" instead? They're relatively inexpensive (seen them for $5 for stocking stuffers) and probably easier than holding it in your teeth.
Yeah, you are probably right. :lol:
 
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