If you adopt a kitten who hasn’t been declawed, the shelter is going to urge you to keep it that way. While getting rid of cat nails used to be the norm, it’s an extremely painful procedure for felines and is equivalent to cutting a human’s finger tips off to the first knuckle. Ouch! Many veterinarians won’t even do the surgery these days. So leave those little claws alone, and instead learn how to trim cat claws with a nail clipper so Fluffy won’t scratch up your furniture.

Kittens can be skittish, especially when you are touching their paws, but if you introduce them to the nail clipper at a young age, the chore won’t be nearly as challenging. Trimming cat nails is much easier with two people, so one can do a bit of petting to calm kitty down, and the other can focus on how to trim cat claws. Before doing anything, you want to teach your cat not to be afraid of the clippers. Keep them out on the coffee table with a treat on top before attempting to clip her nails.

Begin by setting a calming mood for Fluffy. If she begins to run away, chasing after her is going to scare her. The best time to bring out the nail clipper is right after meal time or when she is a bit groggy from a nap. Have a towel on your lap, in case she tries to make a run for it, and treats nearby. You need to offer a bit of positive reinforcement for her good behavior!

Gently grab one of her paws, and massage it just a bit, so she gets used to the feeling. Squeeze the paw so the claws extend outward. Now, pay attention to the coloring of her claws. You’ll notice that at the top of the curve, it becomes less transparent–this is called the quick. Don’t clip above this! Doing so could hurt kitty, and even cause bleeding. It’s better to trim too little than too much, so just take off the tip of the nail. Once you’ve done this successfully, give her a treat! You may need to sit down a few times before getting all her claws–cats tend to get restless, especially if they are anxious.

Your cat-friendly apartment should have at least one scratching post for your kitty to sharpen her claws after they are cut. It is also a great alternative to her tearing up the side of your sofa!