How to Cut Cat Nails with Human Clippers

Do you have a cat that you need to trim the nails of, but don’t want to spend money on professional grooming? You can do it at home with regular human nail clippers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut your cat’s nails with human clippers.

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All you need to get started are some basic human nail clippers. You’ll also want to have a little styptic powder on hand in case you accidentally cut the quick, which is the blood vessel inside the nail.


Acrylic or plastic nail clippers work best for most cats. If your cat has very thick nails, you may need to use metal clippers. human nail clippers will also work, but they may be too big for your cat’s nails.

Styptic Powder

Styptic powder is a quick-acting, easily accessible product that can stop the bleeding within seconds. This white powder is made with aluminum sulfate and will likely be found in the first-aid aisle of your local drugstore. Some styptic powders also contain phenol, which acts as an antiseptic to help prevent infection.

To use styptic powder, first clean the area around the nail with soap and water. If the nail is long, you may want to trim it before applying the styptic powder. Once the area is clean, apply a small amount of powder to a cotton swab or cotton ball and press it against the bleeding nail for 10-15 seconds. You may need to apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Nail File

If your cat will allow it, gently file their nails with a nail file to help shorten them. You can find nail files specifically for cats, or use a human emery board. Only file a little bit at a time so you don’t overdo it and make their nails too short.

The Process

You will need the following items: a pair of human nail clippers, cat nail file, and styptic powder. The first thing you need to do is hold your cat’s paw in your hand and look at the nails. You want to find the quick, which is the pink part in the center of the nail. You will want to avoid cutting this.

Prep the Area

Gather everything you’ll need to safely trim your cat’s nails. You’ll need a pair of sharp cat nail clippers, styptic powder or gel (to stop any bleeding in case you accidentally cut the quick), and a friend to help you restrain your cat if necessary. It’s also helpful to have some tasty treats on hand to reward your cat for being a good sport.

Cut the Nails

Cutting your cat’s nails is an important part of maintaining their overall health and wellbeing. If the nails are left too long, they can become embedded in the skin or catch on things, causing pain and injury.

While it may seem daunting at first, cutting your cat’s nails is actually a fairly simple process. All you need is a pair of sharp nail clippers and a little bit of patience. Just follow these steps:

File the Nails

Use a nail file to shorten the nails if they are extremely long. A nail file will also help to smooth out any jagged edges on the nails.

Apply Styptic Powder (optional)

If you cut your cat’s nails too short and they bleed, don’t panic! Applying styptic powder to the nail will help stop the bleeding. You can find this powder at most pet stores.