Do indoor cats need claw clipping?

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Ever wondered if you need to trim your indoor cat's claws? Our grooming expert shares her advice...

Q) I’ve been a cat owner for many years but am going to be getting my first indoor cat. We’ve moved house recently and with the new location, I think it is safer to keep my cat indoors. We’ll be making the garden cat proof so he will have access to the outdoors, but I was wondering about his claws? With him not being an outdoor cat, will I have to trim his claws? What’s the best way to do this?

Cats can maintain their claws perfectly by way of scratch posts in the home and bark/ wood posts or trees in the garden. However, it’s useful to get your cat used to having the paw touched for when they may need a helping hand with clipping the claws in their mature years. This is because the nail thickens and can grow and bend into the paw pad if your cat is less mobile and not using their claws much.

There are some great videos on YouTube to help owners get used to clipping claws and the main thing you have to be mindful of is not cutting into the quick, which is the pink part of the nail where blood vessels are. International Cat Care has a good claw clipping video online that I’d recommend watching: icatcare.org/advice/trimming-your-cats-claws

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Top tips for claw clipping

  • Ensure your cat is relaxed before attempting to cut the claws.
  • Be prepared: set up where you'll do it, in good light and have your clippers ready — this may be on your lap if your cat is particularly calm there.
  • Gently pressing each toe will help to extend the claw so you can clip it.
  • When it comes to cutting, you’re looking for the transparent tip. You should be able to see the quick, which is usually pink in colour and closer to the paw. Avoid cutting this, as this will bleed and the cat will experience pain.
  • If you or your cat are struggling, don’t force it. Your vet will be able to help with claw clipping if you need assistance.

Advice given by expert cat groomer Anita Kelsey.