Table of Contents
You hear a mew coming from the living room and notice your cat struggling to escape from the blanket on the couch. Their claws have become embedded in the knots of the afghan. Or perhaps the two of you were snuggling, and you felt a scratch across the arm when you got up to answer the phone. Your cat wasn’t aggressively trying to snag you, but you’ve noticed their claws poking out. It’s that time again: you know you need to trim your cat’s nails. Good thing we have the best cat nail clippers for you to choose from to get this task done.
Cat Paw Health
Cat nails grow throughout their lives. And while you may cringe at the sight of your kitty kneading the side of the couch, that scratching serves an important purpose. Cats sharpen their claws to remove the old, used-up outer layer of their nail. It’s a different kind of shedding process. (You’ve probably noticed semi-transparent nail casings around your cat’s scratching post)
Without this normal process, the chitin’s rough layer grows, leading to an ingrown claw or nail. Have you ever had an ingrown toenail? It’s every bit as painful for a cat, especially as that sharp hook starts digging into their soft toe pad! Left untreated, a wound forms, leading to infection.
Long Claw Complications
Unfortunately, the problems presented by unchecked cat nail growth don’t end there. If you don’t follow a routine of nail trims, your cat’s nails will achieve dangerous lengths. Eventually, your cat won’t be able to retract the nail normally. This can result in:
- Snagging fabrics, possibly tearing the nail
- Pain when walking
- Unintentional scratches to YOU
Keeping one of the best cat nail clippers on hand ensures your kitty stays comfortable and healthy at all times. You’ll keep their paws soft and gentle – something BOTH of you will appreciate.
Types of Cat Nail Clippers
There are four main types of cat nail clippers. You’ll need to take time with each one to get comfortable and find the style that feels best in your hand. You’ll also need to decide what works best for your cat. Some clippers create more noise than others, and if you have a jumpy feline, you’ll want to choose a quieter model.
- Electric/Dremel-Style: If you have experience with power tools, you’ll recognize dremels. These cat nail clippers operate on batteries and use varying sandpaper grits to shape your cat’s claws. It’s a slow process and one that comes with A LOT of noise.
- Guillotine-Style: Guillotine-style cat nail clippers have a defined window you insert your cat’s claw through before closing the grip to close the blade. The process is simple, but lining up your cat’s nails gets tricky.
- Professional: Also known as plier-style or “regular” cat nail clippers, these top the list for veterinarians and groomers. Spring-loaded, the grip rests comfortably in your hand while stainless-steel blades do the cutting.
- Scissor-Style: If you have a kitten or small cat, scissor-style cat nail clippers may work the best. Mimicking a scissor motion, they come in the smallest sizes.
In a pinch, you CAN reach for human nail clippers. You need to hold them sideways to make a proper cut, though. The downside is that they have a tendency to crush the claw rather than making a clean cut. There’s nothing wrong with this option, but make sure the blade’s as sharp as possible, and stop if you notice the clippers are damaging your cat’s nails.
Choosing Cat Nail Clippers
The best cat nail clippers make this part of a cat’s hygiene run smoothly. If you’re struggling with your clippers, crushing your cat’s nails rather than clipping them, or not making cuts, you and your cat will end up frustrated. The internet and pet stores are FULL of clipper options, so make sure you look at all of the following before you make your choice:
- Blades: If you can’t cut, your cat nail clippers are worthless. Look for stainless steel blades. They’ll last the longest and stay the sharpest.
- Ease of Use: You want the clippers to be comfortable for YOU. Look for soft grips and a size that fits your hand. Even if it’s only a few minutes out of your day, you don’t want to cramp your fingers.
- Safety: A locking mechanism for the blades is a must. It’ll protect you from accidents (after all, you opted for quality blades), and it’ll prevent the blades from blunting when you put the clippers away.
- Sound: It’s a blow against dremels, but cats HATE loud noises – especially as they come close to their feet. You don’t want to choose a cat nail clipper you can’t get anywhere near your cat.
- Weight: Some of the best cat nail clippers out there weigh a TON. Be kind to yourself, and don’t abuse your wrists.
What About Accidents with Cat Nail Clippers?
At some point in time, you’ll accidentally trim a nail too short. Some cats have dark-colored claws, making it difficult to find the line of the quick. Other times, your fluffy friend moves. (It happens to everyone at some point) And the following ALWAYS happens:
- Your cat yowls
- You yelp and drop the cat nail clippers
- There’s bleeding
- You panic
First, let me promise that you haven’t done as much damage as you think. Nails like to bleed – A LOT. And the toes have TONS of nerve endings. They’re like fingertips and extremely sensitive. (Think of them like raptor claws from Jurassic Park) And that’s why your kitty reacts that way.
And while you’re positive your favorite feline hates you and needs to rush to the hospital, they’re fine. Keep styptic powder handy for those accidents. Styptic powder helps that bleeding clot. And it’s painless to apply (though it can get messy your first time). If you don’t have the powder, cornstarch works equally well.
NEVER use silver nitrate! While it WILL aid with clotting, it burns. Your cat won’t appreciate you coming near them with a silver nitrate stick. And they might avoid the clippers for a good time to come.
Cat Nail Clipper Care
Even the best cat nail clippers wear out over time. If you’re struggling to cut, see the clipper crushing rather than cutting, or hear vocal protests, you need to consider the possibility of problems.
Stainless steel blades need sharpening. If you have connections where someone can refresh that blade, you may not need to replace your cat nail clippers. (In the case of electronic clippers, it’s the sanding drum you replace)
However, if that isn’t possible, it’s time for a new set. On average, cat nail clippers last several years with proper care. That means cleaning out the claw dust, not “tossing” them in a drawer, and checking all of the screws and springs for wear and/or rust.
Best Cat Nail Clippers
Once you find the best cat nail clippers for you and your cat, setting up a routine in your household becomes a cinch. You won’t have to sneak up on your cat and hold them down (this never works, by the way). Instead, you can make trimming your cat’s nails a positive experience. You’ll keep your cat’s nails a suitable length, ensuring their paws stay healthy and comfortable. (Not to mention you’ll prevent snags on your favorite blankets and clothes)
Best Electronic Cat Nail Clippers
Electronic, dremel, or pet pedicure cat nail clippers splash across commercials and internet sites as the best cat nail clippers for senior cats. These battery-operated devices come with different caps wrapped in varying sizes of sandpaper grit. You carefully shave down and shape your cat’s nails with a guard in place to prevent the dust from going into the air. There’s a learning curve to using these cat nail clippers, especially if you’ve never operated a dremel machine before.
And there’s the fact that these cat nail clippers are often terrifying for cats. They’re ALWAYS loud (regardless of advertising), and they produce vibrations against the foot as the grit’s friction on the nail goes to work. You’ll have your work cut out for you, desensitizing your cat to the process. However, your odds of going into the quick are fairly slim, which is a positive vote in their favor.
Hertzko provides another rechargeable electric cat nail clipper. You get three different guards over the grinding top, though, allowing you to find the size that works best for your cat’s nails. If you have a cat with exceptionally long nails, you can also remove the guard entirely (but don’t bend down too close – you want to protect your eyes from claw dust). The stone’s easy to clean and replace, and you get a cover to protect everything when it’s not in use.
Downsides? You only have one setting with this dremel. And the tip will wear down, eventually, so you’ll need to replace it.
Professional groomers flock to the Oster name, and that holds for their electric cat nail clipper. Cord-free, you can use the clipper wherever you want. You can adjust the safety guard to suit your cat’s nail size, assuring you won’t go too deep when you start your shaping. The Grinder comes with a coarse stone, two coarse bands, and a fine band, giving you the freedom on how you want to work on your cat’s claws. And with two settings on the rotary motor, you can keep your kitty as comfortable as possible.
The downsides? Unfortunately, this grinder isn’t rechargeable. You’ll have to swap out batteries as they wear down. People also noted some of the nail dust escaping, so work on a towel and consider getting some safety goggles for yourself.
Zerhunt’s electric cat nail clipper comes with a diamond bit grinder, setting it apart from other dremel-styles. You’ll never have to change out the tip, no matter how frequently you smooth down your cat’s claws. A protective cap keeps dust from entering the grinder while it’s charging with the USB cord, and an easy light-up indicator lets you know you’re good to go. The kit comes with four different openings for the grinder, but you’ll want to stick with the first one for cats. And you get a handy regular nail clipper and nail file, to boot!
So what are the downsides? You’re still working with a dremel-style, which means your cat needs to have a lot of patience with the trimming process. And while it’s supposed to be quiet, most people found it too loud for their cats. Not to mention it didn’t hold a charge very well. As for the clippers, skip them – they tend to fall apart when they work at all.
Best Guillotine Cat Nail Clippers
As cat nails grow in a hook shape, the guillotine-style is one of the best cat nail clippers, designed to function with rounded claws. The guillotine design allows you to cut the claw at a specific angle, working from the top of the nail down. (You can guess where the name came from) If you’ve never worked with this kind of clipper before, it requires some practice.
Each nail needs to get lined up precisely within the window before you squeeze the grip. Too far, and you’ll go into the quick. Too shallow, and you’ll end up needing to trim your cat’s claws again within a week or so. Whenever you aren’t sure where the quick is located, ALWAYS err on the side of caution. It’s better to have to round your cat up again early than reach for styptic powder and upset your kiddo.
If you have a squirmy feline who won’t tolerate the time it takes to line up every nail “just so,” skip this type of cat nail clipper. It’s better than frustrating the pair of you.
The Resco name has shown up in the pet grooming industry since 1937. These guillotine-style cat nail clippers feature a sturdy grip over powder-coated steel, promising to last for years and years. The blade is micro-honed for perfect cuts every time. You can also purchase replacements, which are a cinch to swap out. (That’s right – no need to buy a new set of clippers!) Best of all, they come with a lifetime warranty.
Downside? If you have an older cat with thicker nails, the blade may not be strong enough to get through the claw.
Best Professional Cat Nail Clippers
Whether you call them “regular,” plier-style, or professional cat nail clippers, these are the most popular models on the market. Resembling a pair of pliers with a spring mechanism in the middle, they’re the simplest to operate. You’ll find them made from metal, plastic, and even wood (though you should skip wooden products – they won’t hold up). Sizes range from gigantic (suitable for dogs) down to cat-friendly. And they require minimal experience to handle, which is why they rank as the best cat nail clippers.
Unfortunately, quality matters. If you grab the first pair you see, you could end up with clippers that fall apart within a few minutes. If you want trimmers that hold up, you’ll need to spend more.
Boshel offers a sturdy pair of professional cat nail clippers with a built-in nail file. The comfort grip won’t slide around in your hand, and the blades are sharp enough to make trimming your cat’s nails a quick task. The guard prevents cuts from going too deep, while the locking mechanism protects the blades in storage. And while your cat may not appreciate the nail file to smooth ragged edges, it’s nice to know it’s there.
Downsides? This cat nail clipper is one of the more expensive on the market. It also has some of the sharpest blades, so make sure you take care during your cutting. (Up to you whether you feel that’s a downside or not)
You can get two different sizes for the CleanHouse nail clippers, but the small one is perfect for cats. The non-slip grip reassures you during the trimming process, and you don’t need to use much pressure to cut. Of course, you get the same safety guard and locking mechanism you crave. Stainless steel blades hold up through trim after trim. Best of all, you get a lifetime, money-back guarantee!
The downsides? The location of the locking mechanism may cause you to engage it while cutting – watch your fingers. Also, the guard requires regular tightening. Make sure you check it before each use.
When you have larger cats, you know the importance of sturdy cat nail clippers. Epica provides clippers with high-grade stainless steel blades that make quick work of nail trims. The shaped handles conform nicely to your hands, easing wrist strain, and they have a rubber coating. The locking mechanism keeps the blades at their sharpest, while the guard prevents cutting into the quick. And, just in case you need it, Epica offers a lifetime warranty on their cat nail clippers (who doesn’t love that?).
Downsides? While fine for the bigger cat set, these clippers don’t work for smaller cats. And, unhappily, the loose guard rears its head here. Always double-check it before you start.
Gonicc provides another combination of a cat nail clipper and a built-in nail file. (Maybe you can use it when you misplace yours?) The comfortable rubber grip ensures your hand stays in position through the trimming process. A simple flick of the finger engages the locking mechanism, keeping the stainless steel blades safe and sound. And they redesigned the clippers to include a safety guard – something older models lacked.
The downsides? While stainless steel, people reported some inconsistencies with the blades. Some found them sharp, others dull. You may need to consider having a way to sharpen them. Also, there were some questions on durability.
When you don’t want to worry about replacing your cat nail clippers for several years, you pick up Miller’s Forge. While the blades are thin enough to make it easy to see your kitty’s claws, they’re sharp and durable, sometimes lasting as long as TEN YEARS! The rubber-coated grip is comfortable and fits any size of hand. And when you’re done, they lock closed to protect those blades.
So what are the downsides? You will find a handy safety guard to help you protect your kitty’s nail quick. But people often found the guard sliding out of place. The same sliding shows up with the rubber grips on the handle.
If you’d prefer a basic design for your cat nail clippers, Safari has the answer. The rubber-coated grip allows you to use minimal pressure to make your cuts while providing a soft cushion. The stainless steel blades stay super-sharp, no matter how many trims you make, and they’re protected with a locking mechanism. And the safety guard gives you peace of mind against going into the quick.
Downside? Considering there aren’t any bells and whistles, these cat nail clippers are on the pricey side. However, they hold up in the durability department. I can vouch, as these are the clippers we use, and they’ve lasted for years without a problem.
Best Scissor Cat Nail Clippers
If you have a kitten or a cat that tips the smaller side of the scale (or I suppose DOESN’T tip the scale?), then the scissor-style is the best cat nail clipper for you. Fashioned after a pair of scissors, these trimmers match the tinier claws of your itty-bitty kitty.
You’ll find non-slip grips of various forms to ensure you won’t drop the tool while you work, and the blades come in as many metals as you can think of. (If money’s no object, gold-coated blades DO exist. I’m not reviewing any of them, but you CAN find them)
You need to keep in mind that scissor-style cat nail clippers aren’t designed to fit into the palm of your hand the way other styles are. So if you battle arthritis in your fingers, consider looking for smaller sizes in the other styles; you don’t want to put undue strain on yourself.
H&H’s cat nail clippers come in two different sizes, giving you a little more maneuverability with your trimming chores. The carved design makes it easier to reach between delicate kitty toes, while the sharp blades ensure a clean cut each time. The ergonomic grip’s comfortable, with equal sizes on both openings.
Downside? Unfortunately, if you have large hands, you’ll find your fingers cramped into these scissors – even with the medium size.
Sometimes, getting between tiny toes is the trickiest part. JOYFUYU provides the answer with their curved scissor-style cat nail clippers. Set to match perfectly with your cat’s claws, the heavy-duty stainless steel blades snip through the nail at just the angle to avoid the quick. The soft molded plastic is easy on your fingers, and the clippers themselves are a cinch to clean.
The downsides? You’ll need to carefully store these scissors to protect the blade, as they don’t lock closed. And there’s no safety guard, so watch carefully to make sure you don’t cut into the quick. (Though the curved design should help)
JW Pet Company takes small to heart, creating a cat nail clipper with the smallest design. With stainless steel blades kept to a minimum, you get the most precise nail trim possible. In addition, the grip comes wrapped in soft non-slip rubber so that you won’t drop the clippers. All in all, you get the most efficient cat nail clipper possible.
We use these clippers, and they actually work for all of our kiddos – even our oldest, with his large, thick claws. We haven’t had any trouble with them, and they’ve proven sharp as any others we’ve tried.
So what are the downsides? With such a small size, people struggled to get the clippers closed in the first place. Other people felt too much pressure was needed to cut – something difficult to manage with clippers this bitty. If you have a kitten, though, these are cat nail clippers for you. Though, once again, there’s no locking mechanism or safety guard.
Pet Republique breaks from the standard scissor-style tradition for cat nail clippers. You get a safety guard to help you avoid the quick when trimming those little kitty nails. The padded ergonomic handle also eases some of the strain on your hand when you sit down to the task of tipping those cat claws. Finished? The blades lock closed to keep the stainless steel in top shape. Best of all, Pet Republique donates 15% of its profits to the American Animal Rescue Society! (You have to love doing good deeds with your chores!)
Downsides? These are still scissor-style cat nail clippers, which means they’re small for people with larger hands. Also, while we love having a safety guard, some people felt it got in the way of the trimming process.
If you want to give yourself a little more room to maneuver, Shiny Pet does the trick. The plastic handle has a non-slip coating to keep the cat nail clippers confidently in your hand the entire time. The stainless steel blades have a slight angle to make the cutting process easier. As a result, you’ll have no problem seeing the nail the entire time, minimizing accidents.
The downsides? Unhappily, people found the blades dulling faster than with other cat nail clippers. Also, you lose out on a locking mechanism or safety guard again.
Time for a Trim?
When you have the proper tools, it’s easy to keep your cat’s nails healthy. The best cat nail clippers allow you to prevent unhealthy problems, such as ingrown nails, snags, and scratches. And when you have the best clippers, nail trimming time isn’t a chore. You’ll fly through the task in moments. You’ll find yourself breathing easier, and your cat won’t mind half as much as they did in the past.
It sure beats the frustration both of you had when they stuck to your favorite sweater!