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Tips for cutting ingrown nails on your cat

Black-and-white cat lounging sleepily, with front paws facing forward to camera.

It's easier to clip nails if the cat is sleepy. (Photo: Flickr/Elisabeth r)

Tips for cutting ingrown nails on your cat

March 07, 2013

Q: I have a 9-year-old cat and just noticed that his claws are so long they are starting to grow into the pads of his front paws. One or two may have broken through the skin. The rest are touching or about the touch the pads. What can I do?

A: If they have actually grown into the pads this could be difficult to do at home without some mild sedation.

The best thing we have found to cut the ingrown nails are human toenail clippers, as they are easy to get around the nail. You should be able to slide the nail through the opening of the clipper holding it sideways.

This may take two people. One person is going to have to scruff the cat and lay him on his side. You may also have to hold the hind legs.

Oral Benadryl at a dose of 1-2 mgs per pound of body weight may provide some sedation, or you can try Feliway spray. Spray it on a towel, then simply lay the towel over his head while he's laying on his side. Do not wrap it or hold it tight, just use it to cover the head. The combination of the spray and not being able to see will often calm him to get the job done.

If you are not able to calm him or do this at home you'll need to go to the vet. Or you can try your local Human Society and ASPCA to see if low-cost vet care is available.

-- Answer from Candy R., a veterinary technician on JustAnswer.

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