Best Cat Nail Clippers + How To Trim Nails

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If you are in a rush and want to skip ahead to our number one choice for nail clippers for cats look no further than CleanHouse Pets Dog and Cat Nail Clippers, with Pet Safety Guard & Lock

One of the most dreaded pet owners’ duties is nails trimming, and for good reason. 

The thought of trimming a cute kitten’s nails can be scary for inexperienced kitten owners. Understandably so, there is fear of making mistakes or hurting the cat. On top of that, cats might try to resist the trimming, putting you in an even more difficult situation.

Unfortunately, for most indoor felines, it is almost necessary to periodically trim nails. That will help prevent painful ingrown nails and will protect you and your family from accidental (and not) cat scratches. There are plenty of more reasons why you might want to do it and we’ll get into those below. 

In this article we will be reviewing the following cat nail clippers:

We also carefully explain the steps you can take to have more calm and even enjoyable nail clipping sessions. And to make your job even easier, we reviewed and recommended the best cat nail clippers on the market.

Why trim cats’ nails?

This is a very good question and one that comes up often. After all, cats in the wild (as well as other felines) don’t have anybody trimming their nails and evolved fine for thousands of years.

In the wild, felines come in contact with many hard surfaces such as rocks and trees which will help the cat to naturally rid the outer layer of the nails. Indoor cats often jump from one soft place to another and don’t have the same opportunity (scratching posts do help for this though).

Image of a cat scratching tree in the wild to trim his nails

Further, while in the wild, it is necessary for cats’ survival to have sharp claws, in your house it could put your family (not to mention the furniture) in danger.

Issues with untrimmed cat nails

As we mentioned, a few problems could arise if a cat’s nails are not regularly trimmed and they could affect you as the owner or the cat itself. Below are the main things you will avoid by taking care of her nails.

  1. Overgrown nails could curl and push on to the cat’s paw, which can be extremely painful and cause your cat to limp. This is most likely to happen on the dewclaw (comparable to our thumb nails), as that’s the one that has the least contact with the pavement.
  2. Untrimmed claws are more likely to hurt you and your family, particularly kids, making it dangerous to play with the cat. Moreover, if your kitten has fleas, their scratches could carry an infection called cat scratch disease (or Bartonella henselae).
  3. When claws are too long, they become frailer and more subject to breaking, which can also be painful.
  4. Untrimmed claws will create more damages to your furniture
Image of a cat scratching furniture with sharp nails

Having said this, if your cat spends a good amount of time outdoors and has a scratching post at home, regular nails trimming might not be absolutely necessary.

It will still be important to periodically check her nails to make sure that they are all in good condition so that you can trim them when necessary. Pay particular attention to dewclaws as they don’t hit the pavement as much and need trimming more often.

How to trim my cat’s nails?

Ok, now that we know why it is better to regularly trim your cat’s nails, we can go ahead and explain how to do it in the best way. Before we do, it is important to tell you that if you feel scared, you can also have your vet trim the nails for you. They are usually experts at it and will be able to do so in a few minutes. That will usually get your cat used to having it done and will give you some insights into how to go about it.

If you feel comfortable doing it yourself (many people do), it is important to understand the anatomy of your cat’s claws.

Cat nails Anatomy 101

The picture below shows the main thing you need to know about cat nails’ anatomy.

Image of the cat nails anatomy showing the quick

The red part highlighted in the picture is called the cat nail’s “quick”, it is connected to nerves and if cut, would cause your cat to feel pain and bleed. For this reason, it is usually recommended to keep a safe distance from the quick when trimming nails. Usually, you can easily see and avoid the quick as it is of a distinct dark color, as shown in the photo below. If you can’t seem to see the quick, you can also drop a few dabs of olive oil on the cat’s claw. That will help to make the quick more visible.

Best practices for safe and easy nail trimming

In this section, we’ll give some tips to help you make the experience of clipping cat nails more relaxed and even enjoyable. The trick is to help your cat create positive association with the experience. A few examples of this are using a calm, soft voice, choosing a relaxing environment and giving your cat some treats. Before diving into the tips to help your cat relax, it’s super important to say that the quality of the cat clippers you use will make a big difference in your cat’s experience.

Set the right (relaxed) mood

You should never start trimming your cat’s nails when she’s agitated or very active. Rather, you should do so when she’s relaxed or even sleepy. Bring her to a quiet room, sit her on your lap and ensure that there are no distractions. Try to also use a relaxed tone and not to raise your voice if she resists. If you show anger and turn the situation into a fight, you will create a negative association and your cat will dread getting her nails trimmed.

Image of a relaxed fluffy cat sleeping on the couch

Go through the motions creating positive associations

It helps to get your cat used to “the motions” of getting nails trimmed and to create positive associations. You can do so by gently taking your cat’s paw and massaging it, allowing the nails to come out, then reward her with a treat.

Another aspect of this is to get your cat acquainted with the clipper and its noise. You can do so by using the cat clipper to cut a piece of uncooked spaghetti while the cat is on your lap and you have her paw in your hands. Then reward her with a treat, so that she can create a positive association (and will not be afraid when you are actually cutting her nails).

Avoid the quick and have some Styptic Powder handy

As we mentioned, the quick is connected to nerves and if cut, it will cause pain and even some bleeding. As a general rule, you always want to stay away from the quick. As a precaution, you should keep some Styptic Powder handy. If you mistakenly cut a part of the quick and your cat starts bleeding, apply the powder to the claw to help stop the bleeding and relieve the pain.

Ease into it (cut only one or two nails at a time at first)

Cats often dislike the trimming experience because it can last a long time if you are trying to trim all the nails in one sitting. This is why it is best to begin by only cutting one or two nails per sitting. Doing so, you will avoid creating negative associations with the experience.

Use high-quality pet nail clippers

 If you don’t, and the nail does not get cut correctly, it might break causing pain to the cat.

If possible, start trimming your cat’s nails when she’s a kitten

Talk to your vet if you have trouble or are worried about trimming the nails for the first time.

Vets can usually trim your cat’s nails for you and show you how to do it safely.

How to choose the Best Cat Nail Trimmers?

Before delving into the best cat claw trimmer out there, we outlined the main factors that you should consider when buying your next nail clippers.

  1. Blade sharpness will ensure that nails are cut properly, quickly and painlessly. The best material for sharp blades is stainless steel
  2. Ease of use and size: Some clippers will be better for beginners for their small size and ease of use, but they won’t necessarily be the best overall. Indeed, the most professional nail clippers are sometimes a bit harder for newbies to maneuver.
  3. Quick protection guard: Some cat claw clippers come with an in-built guard to help you avoid cutting the quick. Again, that’s recommended for beginners.
  4. Warranty: Many of the best nail clippers for cats out there provide an extensive warranty (sometimes for lifetime!). That is usually a sign that the company stands behind the product and is confident of its quality. Keep that in mind if you are not sure about which one to pick.

The Best Cat Clippers

Epica #1 Best Professional Pet Nail Clipper

Image of Epica Cat Nail Clippers

These are arguably some of the best quality pet clippers out there in the market. All of the clippers that we picked for this review have sharp stainless steel blades, but these ones stood out for how sharp they were. With these clippers, you can trim the nails quickly and have the confidence that even thickzz nails won’t break.

Considering their high quality, these clippers are surprisingly affordable. If all that wasn’t enough, the company is so certain about its product that they offer a lifetime warranty.

There are a few drawbacks though. The clippers only come in one size, for both dogs and cat. Thus, they can feel big and scary to cut a cat’s nails, especially for beginners. To address this issue, they feature a “quick protection guard” to help you prevent overcutting.

Overall these are great clippers and we’d recommend them to anyone with some experience in trimming cat’s nails.

✔️ Pros:Cons:
Super sharp (stainless steel) edge makes trimming quick and easyQuite big to handle, especially or beginners
100% lifetime warranty
Safe lock for storage
Good price
Guard to prevent overcutting (removable if you prefer not using it)

Shiny Pet Nail Clippers for Small Animals
Best kitten nail clippers

Image of Shiny Pet Cat Nail clipper

This is another great product, especially if you are looking for scissor style clippers, which can feel easier to maneuver than pliers. Shiny’s clippers are designed for cats, and this is why they look tiny compared to Epica’s clippers. Like Epica’s, they also have a lifetime warranty to protect your purchase.

A unique feature of these clippers is their tilted angle blades, helping you to more easily see the cutting area while trimming it.

Even though their small size can make them appear more beginner-friendly, keep in mind that these clippers do not have a safety guard.

Another drawback of these (and other scissor style) clippers is that the handles can be small to handle, particularly for people with big hands. If that’s you, pliers style clippers might be a better fit (see below).

✔️ Pros:Cons:
Angles blades make it easy to cut and view the areaNo safety guard
Lifetime money back guarantee
Small and easy to use

CleanHouse Cat Nail Clippers, with Pet Safety Guard & Lock

Image of Cleanhouse Cat Nail clipper

We love these clippers because they combine a small size (make sure to select the small one before purchasing) and a protection guard for the quick. These are also the only pliers-style small clippers that we found. Despite being small, this is a heavy duty product with extremely sharp blades, which will make nail cutting easy and fast. Like many products on this list, they also feature a lifetime warranty!

The only drawback that we could find with these clippers, is that during the first uses some users reported having issues with the safety feature. Therefore, we’d recommend you to try it out on a spaghetti to get comfortable with it and understand the locking mechanism.

✔️ Pros:Cons:
Small pliers styleDuring the first uses the safety feature may inadvertently lock the clippers
Heavy duty and sharp (stainless steel)
Quick protection guard
Lifetime warranty

Pet Republique Cat Nail Clippers

Image of Pet Republique Cat Nail clipper

Don’t be misled by their price. These clipper set are a great example of how an affordable product can also be of good quality.

There are some compromises though. Like other, scissor style clippers, these can also be problematic for people with big hands (because of their small handles) and do not have a quick protection guard.

Other than that, these are a great option, featuring sharp blades, great grip, and small, cat size. They also have a 4 year warranty and a 90 days money back guarantee, so you can purchase them and return them if you’re not satisfied.

✔️ Pros:Cons:
Specific for catsNo quick protection guard
Easy cuttingHandles might be small for large hands
Small and easy to handle
90 days money back guarantee + 4 year warranty

Wrapping up

It is not easy to pick the best pair of nail clippers overall. Everyone has different needs and what is best for someone depends on factors such as their level of experience and the age of their cats. 

However, if we had to pick one pair of clippers that would be a great choice regardless of the factors above, we’d recommend the CleanHouse Pets Dog and Cat Nail Clippers, with Pet Safety Guard & Lock.

These are pretty unique clippers as they combine small size, quick protection guard and, ease of use, even for people with big hands (they are pliers style, not scissors). The quality of the blades is guaranteed by the reputable Cleanhouse brand.

As always, feel free to let us know what was your experience with any of these or other nail clippers in the comments below 🙂

Happy grooming!

Additional resources:

The best Cat Nail Caps

Other how to videos:

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