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What age is safe to start trimming kittens' claws?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I trim my adult cats' claws about once a week--when I can catch them asleep.

Goldy's babies are now two weeks old, and their claws are like little needles--lots of them! How soon is it safe to start trimming the kittens' claws? I'm thinking it would be a good idea to get them used to it early, I just don't want to do anything that will harm them.
post #2 of 16
I trimmed my 6 week old's nails the other day, the only thing was it was very tough to see the quick of the nail so I just took the very tip off so it's a little less sharp.
post #3 of 16
I usually wait till they are about 4 weeks old. While the nails are like needles now, they are paper thin and will bleed easily (I've done kittens at 3 weeks and had that happen!).

Even at 4 weeks its hard to keep them still. So I trim the front ones as they are the one they bat at each other and "needle" mom when nursing. I usually lay them belly down on my leg with their feet near my knees and just nip the ends off - don't cut any more then the tiny tip for now.

Oh and use small fingernail clippers at this age. Anything else is too big to use.
post #4 of 16
Mine ended up with their nails cut at 10 days old. Reading this now, I feel bad! What happened with mine is, one got conjuctivitis. It was bad, so I panicked and took them to the vet. The vet told me that his little eye probably got scraped by one of his sibling's nails, and proceeded to cut all their front nails!

I didn't do it again until over a week later, so around 3 weeks. Even then, I only cut the very very tips, and only did one nail at a time, and only the front paws. With 5 kittens, it was a daily thing- a few nail clips here, a few nail clips there!

So I'd listen to everyone else, they know better what is good and what isn't. That's just what happened with mine!
post #5 of 16
I've always started my kittens at 3-4 weeks old to get them used to it. I use human baby nail clippers, to make it easier. By the time they go to their new homes, they're all accustomed to it.
post #6 of 16
A similar thing happened to my RB kittens - one almost lost an eye to a sibling. So I started nipping nails at a very young age. I do check and nip them as needed twice a week for the first few months - after that - its a weekly check and clip on all 4 feet.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
A similar thing happened to my RB kittens - one almost lost an eye to a sibling. So I started nipping nails at a very young age. I do check and nip them as needed twice a week for the first few months - after that - its a weekly check and clip on all 4 feet.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to look for baby nail clippers. I got Shareena when she was 7-1/2 weeks old (I know, too young. But I didn't know anything about kittens then). Anyway, I tried using my regular nail clippers on her and found that they crushed and split her claws instead of cutting them.

I've never tried clipping clipping the back toenails. Guess that could become my next great cat adventure.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I got the baby nail clippers. Now how do I hold a kitten still long enough to actually clip the nails? And don't tell me to wrap him/her in a towel. I swear the little critters could teach Houdini a thing or two.
post #9 of 16
Go back and read my post about laying them on your leg/knee. You might need a 2nd person to help for awhile.
post #10 of 16
I have failed miserably trying this. At first it was easy because they slept in my lap or next to me, so I could catch them easy. but now that they are grown I can NEVEr get them calm enough to let me do it. So i gave up
post #11 of 16
Don't give up. Take charge! I'm serious. I don't bribe my kittens/cats nor do I do it when sleepy. I teach them that when I want to cut nails, I will.

I sit them on their backs in my lap and hold firmly and cut every nail - even if they sit and complain about it.

Bring your kitty over to me - I'll show you how to do it
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
With my adult cats it definitely works best to have them on their backs on my lap. They don't necessarily have to be sleepy, but it can't be during their playtime either. I actually got all of them done in one sitting a couple of days ago.

The kittens are another story. They're so squirmy it doesn't matter how I hold them. I'm afraid I'll end up cutting into their toes because they jerk just as I'm starting to clip. They're only 2.5 weeks old, though, so I think I still have time to figure this out.
post #13 of 16
Play with their feet and toes. Gently restrain them so they get used to it before you get the nail clippers out.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I think I've got it figured out at least temporarily. I managed to clip two or three little kitten claws without drawing blood--theirs or mine. However, even after I cut the tips off, the claws still had sharp edges, so I got the emery board out the smooth them down.

The kitties scratch at the emery board and basically file their own fingernails. That works much better than coming at them with something sharp in my hand.
post #15 of 16
Hmmm ... that's interesting about the emery board.

I wonder if a sheet of fine sandpaper would work as well. Then they could file down all their nails at once.

Scratching posts should work too, but I haven't been able to get my kitties to use one consistently.
post #16 of 16
Try the sandpaper - let us know if it works Maybe you will stumble on a new material that the cats will use
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