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Which cat nail clippers are best?

Bringing a sharp or potentially harmful gadget close to any animal is sure to make it run for the woods. Sometimes, you can’t even say the word “v-e-t” out loud before your cat scurries away to a safe place. But if you need to clip your cat’s nails and want clippers that are simple to use, the JW Pet Gripsoft Deluxe Cat Nail Trimmer is an excellent choice.

What to know before you buy cat nail clippers

It will be a struggle

You should trim your cat’s nails from when they are young, to get them used to the actions and the feeling. If it’s something new that you are trying with an adult cat, you might end up with more scratches and hisses than clippings.

The most important aspect is to show your cat that it isn’t in any danger and that what you’re doing won’t hurt — unless you do it wrong. Positive reinforcement can also work wonders, offering a treat for each nail successfully clipped.

There are different kinds

To many people, any clippers are simply clippers. But there are three kinds of clippers for cat claws, and you might have to go through each to find the type that works for you and your cat. 

  • Scissors cut is exactly what it sounds like. It resembles garden scissors and you place the nail in between the blades and press down, just like you would with regular paper scissors. These are the best for long nails that are starting to curl back into the toe pads.
  • Guillotine-type sounds extreme, but it’s easier to handle if you know the correct technique. On the business end, there is a metal ring through which the nail goes. As you squeeze down on the handle, a sharp blade slides over the ring to clip the nail.
  • If neither of those work, there are always human nail clippers. You hold and use them just like on your own nails, and surprisingly, human nail clippers are often the easiest to operate, with the Guillotine-type a close second.

Work on your technique

Consider your cat’s personality, and work on a technique as stress-free as possible for both involved. However, a few things will make the experience manageable and (almost) pleasant.

  • Squeeze it: Cat claws retract, so you’ll have to gently squeeze the paw to expose them.
  • Top-down: The correct way is to trim the nail from the top downward. The blade should come from above the nail, go straight down and leave a neat cut. If you trim from side to side, the nails can splinter and cause discomfort.
  • File it: While most cats might not tolerate it, you can also smooth out any roughness or snags with a human nail file. 

What to look for in quality cat nail clippers

Anti-slip handle

The mere thought of trimming your own nails and the clipper jolting sideways is nightmare-inducing. Imagine, then, how your cat will experience it. For that reason, good-quality cat clippers have a handle with anti-slip grips. These can either be non-slip plastic or ridges in the handle to prevent slippage.

Blades that stay sharp

It will cause more trauma to your relationship with your cat than actual harm, but blunt blades on clippers are never good. Instead of cutting through the hard nail cleanly, blunt blades essentially crush through the nail with force. Good-quality cat clippers have blades that can either be sharpened, replaced or made from a material that remains sharp even after many clips.

How much you can expect to spend on cat nail clippers

They’re relatively inexpensive, with a simple scissor-type retailing for $5-$10. Larger clippers suitable for both cats and dogs sell for $10-$15, while pet nail grinders cost $20-$30.

Cat nail clippers FAQ

Should you trim your cat’s nails?

A. There is heavy debate over whether you should trim a cat’s nails, but when it becomes an obvious problem, you have to step in. It is more an issue with indoor cats who don’t have the natural environment to shed old claws so that healthier ones can grow. However, trimming the nails can speed up the shedding process, letting stronger nails come through.

How often should you trim the nails?

A. While it varies depending on the cat’s age and activity, you should aim to trim every three to four weeks. Keep an eye on the nail growth and trim when necessary, instead of sticking to a rigid schedule.

What are the best cat nail clippers to buy?

Top cat nail clippers

JW Pet Gripsoft Deluxe Cat Nail Trimmer

JW Pet Gripsoft Deluxe Cat Nail Trimmer

What you need to know: These guillotine-type clippers are easy to use and made from sturdy materials.

What you’ll love: The spring for the blade is hidden in the top handle, so there is no worry about catching loose hair or fibers. The blade is made of stainless steel and cuts through nails quickly and easily.

What you should consider: While the handles are plastic, they don’t have an anti-slip coating or textured grip. 

Where to buy: Sold by Chewy

Top cat nail clippers for the money

Pet Republique Cat Nail Clipper

Pet Republique Cat Nail Clipper

What you need to know: Made of stainless steel with an easy-to-use scissor action, these clippers trim nails effortlessly.

What you’ll love: The plastic handles are textured on the inside for improved grip and the blade stays sharp for a long time.

What you should consider: The finger holes in the handles are relatively small, so people with larger hands might struggle. 

Where to buy: Sold by Chewy

Worth checking out

Resco Original Cat Nail Clippers

Resco Original Cat Nail Clippers

What you need to know: These heavy-duty cat nail clippers are made of solid steel and chrome plating.

What you’ll love: The guillotine-type clippers are easy to handle and the cutting action is smooth. The blade is replaceable when it becomes blunt.

What you should consider: You must grip the handles tightly in your palm, as there are no textured ridges or anti-slip covers.

Where to buy: Sold by Chewy


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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.


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