This is not my cat - ingrown nail - nice photo and cat - photo by caitlinburke (Flickr)
It is time for me to trim cat claws. I am ashamed to admit that my old lady cat has an ingrown cat claw. This happened because I became distracted and sloppy regarding watching my cat for signs of health problems. She is healthy but she is old at 18 years of age. That is somewhere near the top end of cat age unless the cat is exceptional.
A few months ago I started to notice that she made a noise when walking on hard surfaces. In the past this was caused by a piece of wood cat litter being caught between her toes. I would remove it and all was well.
This time, very belatedly, I regret to say, I noticed that her claws have grown too long. One of them has turned all the way around and is rubbing on the side of the paw pad. She does not appear to be in discomfort but appearances can deceive. The "clacking" sound as she walks on hard surfaces is the sound of the nail hitting the surface first. The length of the nail also pushes the toe upwards slightly. This is visible from above.
In any event it is time to trim cat claws and remove the ingrown claw (only one is actually turned under). Her claws wore down with use until recently. Overlong claws are definitely associated with older cats as they are more sedentary, using their claws less. This prevents the claw being worn down with use.
Vigilance is required as overlong claws can puncture paw pads, which can lead to an infection.
Trimming claws can in fact be a routine for cats of any age as it blunts the claw. People who are a bit frightened of claws will benefit from this. Trimming claws looks relative straightforward but there are potential obstacles.
Firstly, my lady cat (Binnie) is a bit grumpy these days and doesn't like people fiddling around with her claws. She is going to uncooperative, I know. Secondly I am dealing with one or two extra long claws complicating the matter. Thirdly, I can't find the cat nail clippers - can I use human nail clippers? The answer is no. Of course, human clippers will work on cat claws but they tend to crush and cut the claw preventing a clean cut. The edge of the claw is liable to be left ragged as the layers of the claw are exposed. Also without the proper equipment what is a slightly tricky process is made more difficult.
So it is off to the veterinarian to buy some cat nail clippers. There is one within walking distance. As I know she will resist, I intend to employ my girlfriend to restrain her with a towel. I think assistance is useful in mini-operations such as this but it clearly depends on the cat. Some will accept it placidly, others will complain from the beginning.
A decent level of precision is required to avoid cutting off too much of the nail and cutting into the area of the nail that is alive (the "quick"). The simple answer is to cut off the very end of the claw, about 2 millimeters. Although the quick of the claw is visible.
Well there you have it. Work to do. The reason why I am going to do it myself rather than give the job to a vet tech is because it isn't that difficult and I will be doing it regularly from now on. I had better get proficient at it as fast as possible.
Ingrown cat claws are something that can be a little hard to spot. It is one of those things that should be part of a check list for the older cat. Checking for fleas and mites when grooming a cat is another, I think.
Here is a video on trimming cat claws: