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How to hold kitten while clipping claws? She bites...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
The new little kitten, Senja, (not the one on the pic below) is a sweetie in many ways, but is also a bit of a biter. She's only about 8 weeks old, so I figure that part can be worked on.

I will not be declawing any cat ever ever ever, I think it's a horrible practice, but clipping seems good to me. This is a new consept to me, and I've figured out where to clip the claw (and I've got a good kitty claw clipper) but I don't know how to hold her while I clip. She does struggle, so does my Jasmine, so it's hard to get a good look at the claw before I clip. And I've not made any mistakes yet, no blood etc. But the moment I am about to clip, they start moving and jerking... It's so hard to restrain them! I've been holding them on my lap for now, facing away from me, then grabbing one paw at a time. Of course it will help if my dh assists me, but I'd like to be able to do this on my own; he won't always be there when it's a good time for me...
How do you hold a struggling kitten who just isn't used to it yet?

Senja also tries to bite me when I work on her; not all the time, but now and then. I'm trying to teach her that hands are for cuddling and not for biting toys, so I'll hiss at her or blow her in the face etc if she does bite. But what about when clip her claws? She obviously doesn't like it, and is trying to make me stop. Shoud I ignore her biting then, or still teach her no biting allowed?

And- do biting kittens learn not to bite as adults, or will it always be a part of them?
post #2 of 18
I haven't had a cat yet that "liked" having it's claws clipped.

Our experience has been that if we wait until they are snoozing or all relaxed they will fight less. We also started out by handling their paws while they were sitting with us - just sort of "playing" with their toes and paws so they got used to us touching the paws. I don't know if this would work for every cat, but it works with Bijou. I frequently "hold his hand" and whisper sweet nothings in his ear and kiss his paws and he doesn't pull them away from me. We do the same with Mika but she isn't quite as relaxed as Bijou.

I try to clip while he is still laying down rather than fully waking him and putting him on my lap like you said you were doing. Once they are used to having it done on a regular basis, you may find it much easier. As I said, I don't think they will ever LIKE it, but they will tolerate it better.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyViking
Senja also tries to bite me when I work on her; not all the time, but now and then. I'm trying to teach her that hands are for cuddling and not for biting toys, so I'll hiss at her or blow her in the face etc if she does bite. But what about when clip her claws? She obviously doesn't like it, and is trying to make me stop. Shoud I ignore her biting then, or still teach her no biting allowed?

And- do biting kittens learn not to bite as adults, or will it always be a part of them?
She does need to be taught not to bite. I personally find human nail clippers easier to use - but that's just me and I'm not by any means recommending you use them.

Bijou was a "bitie" kitten but since maturing he is wonderful. Neither he nor Mika bite at all - well if I make a raspberry on his tummy he will play-bite but never bites hard.
post #4 of 18
My friends cats hate having it done, but we found a sloution that takes two people. Have one person hold the cat while the cat is wrapped in a towel or blanket. Then have the other person take one paw out at a time and clip the claws. It helps if you don't have the other three paws trying to claw you.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyViking
How do you hold a struggling kitten who just isn't used to it yet?
We think it would be hard to improve on the advice you just got from our neighbor to the north in Ontario. Catching them in the middle of a good nap, and "whispering sweet nothings in their ear" usually works for us, at least until the cat wakes up and realizes you have taken advantage of her. At that point we have fallen back on an old "vet trick" of making a "cat taco," that is, wrapping the cat up in a towel and pulling one foot out at a time for a trim.

Sometimes one does not have the luxury of waiting until the cat goes to sleep, particularly just before a cat show, when your cat must have a "show trim." This amounts to trimming the claws all the way down just as close as you can get to the quick. If a cat uses long sharp claws on a judge at a cat show that is likely to be the end of her show.

We have known people to latch on to a cat's neck scruff to hold her still for a trim, but this seems to us to be unnecessary roughness when you can use the "cat taco" trick instead.

BTW -- never relent on your stated commitment to avoid declawing your cats. This is unnecessary cruelty, normally excused by blaming the cat for furniture damage, when in fact the truth is more likely that the owner will not take the time and effort to trim the cat's claws correctly, provide scratching posts or boxes, and train (yes, you really can) the cat to not scratch where it is forbidden.

Good luck,

Jim & Ann
post #6 of 18
Kittens never want to sit still!

Anyway, try wrapping the kitten in a small towel and taking out one paw at at time. If you have a helper, one can hold, other clip the nails.

I just firmly hold the kittens leg in my hand and nip the nails. If they struggle, I tell them in a firm voice "no" or "stop it" and then wait a few seconds and do it again.

They get off my lap when I'm done all 4 feet. If you give in and let them go sooner, then they will know if they give you a hard time, you won'd do it.
post #7 of 18
I wait til they're asleep too, and wander over to them and do as much as I can before they wake up. If they start to push me away then I stop, no point in making them afraid or annoyed of/at the nail clippers. I handle their paws often when they're awake and asleep, so they rarely pull away from me now anyway.

I only clip the front claws too. They scratch with the front, I don't see any point in doing all four paws, when it significantly adds to the stress of the whole procedure
post #8 of 18
I do Cupid's when he's sleeping also. Since he's usually sleeping on my lap or being held, he's already in range. I keep clippers in several places in the house so they're always within reach.

His back claws are tougher to do. He is either ticklish, extraordinarily sensitive, or it's just a cat thing--but he absolutely hates his back claws touched in any way. Unfortunately, I have to do them because when he's sitting on me and jumps off, it is really the only time he scratches me...and it hurts. When he's sleepy, it's a little easier but I can only get one at a time. I can usually manage to get both front paws before he starts getting annoyed.
post #9 of 18
Cutting mine's claws is kind of like wrestling. I wrap my legs around their torso, so only their front end is exposed, and they can't struggle too much. Then I clip the front claws. Then, I flip them over so I'm doing the same thing, but have a cat butt in my face, and do the rear claws. They don't like it, but it makes it quick and easy(ish.) Good luck!
post #10 of 18
Fortunately for me, Tiger was an adult when she came into our lives. But as an encouragement, as she got older it got much easier. She would even stand ther with one paw in the air while they were trimmed. Or she'd lay in your lap. Her face still plainly told you she did not want them clipped, but she didn't fight anymore. Good luck! We used the kitty taco method for her meds. Toward the end of her life she was very sick and would still fight like the dickens to not take the meds!
post #11 of 18
the kitty taco sounds great. taking each paw out. but do they still struggle when theyre in the towel???
post #12 of 18
They don't stuggle as much in a towel. But I think it also depends on the attitude of the person doing it. If they hesitate or hold the paw too lightly, the cat will catch on really fast with "if I give them a hard time, they won't do this"!

So I more/less hold the kitten on its back and tell them "time for nail cutting" and then take charge. I've trimmed many "hard to handle" cats to the amazment of their owners. I think the cats sense I mean business and they won't be getting away with their little tricks.

The hardest cat I did was my sister's. The only way I got his nails cut was to sit on him and hold him down (he was like 15-18 lbs). He didn't like it but I got the nails cut without any blood from me or the cat!
post #13 of 18
Do handle th epaws as much as you can during kittenhood.
I have a friend who did that and now all her cats put out their paws to be clipped.
I can only do half of my cats, but I have started the paw handling.

Getting them in barely-awake mode is also good.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by trixshar
Do handle th epaws as much as you can during kittenhood.
I have a friend who did that and now all her cats put out their paws to be clipped.
I can only do half of my cats, but I have started the paw handling.

Getting them in barely-awake mode is also good.
I handled all my cats paws and now they don't mind being clipped
post #15 of 18
This concept of 'barely awake' is rather amusing... Bella and Rowan go from sleepy kitten to fierce hunters at the slightest hint of an interruption.

As for how I trim their nails... I hold them with their backs against my stomach, and usually just do one paw a day. I haven't actually done any back paws yet, although the scratch in my leg from this morning means that I'll probably start doing that. And I also do paw-petting, so that they are used to me handling their paws.
post #16 of 18
Both Lily and Tolly have been used to having their claws clipped right from a very young age when they were at the breeders - to my knowledge neither have had any reason to be afraid of the clippers (no cutting the quick). I do both of their claws when they're asleep.

Tolly is an absolute dream - I can whip through all four paws in no time, he doesn't mind at all. It only takes me to do it, I don't have to have any help.

Lily is another matter, even though she is used to having her paws handled she a total drama-queen and only has to see the clipper near her claw and she lets out a blood-curdling squeal. Yet if I cut them when she's asleep she hardly bothers at all - so it clearly isn't hurting her. I do all four of her paws too.

The reason I cut the back paws - apart from the fact that both will be taking part in a Show in the not too distant future; is that cats use their back paws to spring from furniture/skid round corners so can do some damage that way. Mine also wrestle and rabbit kick each other, and we don't want any scratches there.
post #17 of 18
It really is just the "I dont want any non-sence from you" additude taht will help you in the long run. When I got elliot he was 6 months old, and very feisty. The people at the shelter thought he was very cute, but they couldnt pick him up or hold him because he absolutely would not stand it. What I ended up doing was just grabbing him, flipping him over on his back, grabbing his foot and just doing it. Both my cats will shake their feet and try to pull away before I snip, but I hold the paw firm and tell them "NO!" and that makes them put their ears down and duck down (I dont hit them they just fear my no and my wagging finger) and then they cooperate. Aerowyn is very skinny and squirly. I do the towel thing with her too sometimes. The no nonsence thing really just helps to stop your kitties from scratching more (I think anyways)

BUt the towel is the best bet. Covering the cats head/face/eyes makes them not able to see what is going on, but it makes them calmer for some reason.
post #18 of 18
I've gotten lucky with Milo, I just lay him on his back on my lap like a baby and he'll let me clip his nails no problem.
Pixie is a bit more of a challenge. I make her sit like a little person and then wrap my leg gently around her to hold her and then just clip away. It works very well for her.
Plus I always, always, always give them a treat or two after I clip their nails. That way they forget the "torture" a little quicker!
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