How To Clip Your Cat’s Claws

isolated cat


  • Make sure your cat is relaxed before you cut their claws.
  • Only use special cat nail clippers, not scissors or human clippers.
  • If possible, ask someone to stroke your cat and give them treats whilst you clip their claws to make it a positive experience.
  • If you struggle to cut your cat’s claws at home, ask your vet for advice.

Step by step guide to clipping your cat’s nails

Step 1 – Wait until your cat is calm

  • If your cat is calm, clipping their claws will be easier for you and a much more positive experience for them.

Step 2 – Get some nail clippers

  • Always use a pair of cat nail clippers. Don’t use scissors or human nail clippers as they are likely to squash the claws and cause them to split.
  • Hold your cat’s paw in a position that is comfortable for them, but also easy for you to see their claws. You might need someone to help you if possible.
  • Gently press the top of a toe to reveal the nail.

Step 3 – Look for the quick

  • The quick is the bit inside the claw that contains blood vessels and nerves. It’s red or pink so should be easy to see.
  • This part of the nail will bleed and be painful if it is cut.
  • You should cut a couple of millimetres away from the quick.

Step 4 – Continue with the other nails

  • Continue to clip the other claws, and remember the dew claws on the front paws.
  • If a nail bleeds, don’t panic - you can dip it in cornflour to help it clot or hold some cotton wool around it until the bleeding stops.

Step 5 – Treats!

  • Give your cat some treats to reward them as this will help them to see nail clipping as a positive experience.

Never force your cat to have their nails cut. If you are struggling, get in touch with your vet for advice.


How many claws does my cat have?

Most cats have eighteen claws in total - five on the front feet and four on the back feet.

Published: August 2022

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.