While most cats will likely try to avoid nail trims, using a good pair of clippers can make the process easier for both of you. The best cat nail clippers have sharp stainless steel blades and comfortable handles that allow you to make quick trims while holding a squirmy kitty. To help you choose the right clippers, Bustle consulted Dr. Ryan Rucker, DVM, and spokesperson for Zesty Paws.
Types Of Clippers
Cat nail clippers usually have scissor- or plier-style handles, and it’s best to choose a pair with stainless steel blades. “Completely stainless steel is preferred for surgical procedures for sanitation and sterilization reasons,” Dr. Rucker tells Bustle. Regardless of the handle type, the blades snip nails in a similar way, so your choice depends on what’s most comfortable for you and your cat.
Scissor clippers are easy to control, so you can take your time making a cut, though they may be too small for large hands. Pliers are comfortable for most people to hold and have a spring-loaded handle, so they’re helpful for cats with thicker nails that are prone to splitting, but beginners might be uneasy with the quick cutting action.
What To Avoid
When browsing for cat nail clippers, you may also come across a guillotine-style clipper, but Dr. Rucker recommends avoiding them. “The guillotine style in general cuts vertically, which may be a little off-putting to cats. I think it’s easier to come from the side of the nail with cats and this is a little more difficult with the guillotine type.”
How To Trim Your Cat’s Claws
Whichever clipper you choose, you'll have the most success with a relaxed animal. Experts recommend nail trims when your cat is sleepy, like after a meal. Dr. Rucker also suggests using a calming aid if your cat shows signs of agitation. To avoid snipping the quick, you should cut only the white part of the nail, not the pink part. “I like to hold the clippers at a 45-degree angle pointing towards the tip of the nail. This prevents you from inadvertently snipping the quick,” says Dr. Rucker.
Read on for the best cat nail clippers, in a variety of styles to best fit you and your pet’s needs.
1. A Pair Of Scissor Clippers With Angled Blades For A Precise Cut
These scissor-style nail clippers have a stainless steel blade that’s angled at 20 degrees, making it easy to see where you’re cutting. Reviewers love the precise cut of the angled blade, and the design also helps prevent any accidental paw nicks, so these clippers are a good choice for beginners. The handles have a rubberized, nonslip coating for a comfortable grip, though some reviewers note these clippers might be too small for large hands. Overall, the nail clippers have earned a 4.7-star rating with more than 8,700 Amazon customers weighing in.
One success story: “These utterly changed my cats’ life and mine for the better. They’re easy and comfortable to handle and clearly more comfortable for the cats, who used to squirm relentlessly and now hardly seem to mind getting their claws trimmed. The tiny blades curve outward away from the paws: I think that’s what makes the difference.”
2. These Plier Clippers With More Than 18,000 Five-Star Ratings
If you prefer the spring mechanism of a pair of pliers (which may require less force than scissor handles), these nail clippers are a hit with pet owners on Amazon, earning more than 18,000 five-star ratings. The lightweight handles have a nonslip grip, and the stainless steel blade has a safety stop to help guide you and avoid cutting too deep into the nail. The clippers also come with a nail file stored in the handle, so you can touch up any frayed edges.
One success story: “These are AWESOME! They keep you from cutting the nails too short. The blades are sharp and they cut the nails like butter. They are not clunky and odd to work with. My cat didn’t like it but it took me all of 2 minutes to trim his nails.”
3. The Budget-Friendly Cat Nail Clippers
If you want to spend a little less, these small cat nail clippers are an affordable, easy-to-use option. The scissor-style clippers have a stainless steel blade and soft-grip handles that many reviewers find comfortable to use. Plus, this brand donates a portion of profits to local shelters that help abandoned animals find a forever home. Another plus: This popular grooming tool has a 4.7 overall rating on Amazon, with feedback from more than 16,000 reviewers.
One success story: “These cut so smoothly, easily (without needing a lot of pressure), and so cleanly with no splintering at all. Just mad at myself I waited this long to get them. I truly didn’t expect such an affordable pair would perform this well.”
4. These Expert-Recommended Nail Clippers
Dr. Rucker is a fan of these nail clippers and uses them in her practice on both cats and dogs. The clippers have stainless steel blades and curved plier handles that are easy to grip and don’t require a lot of force. But unlike the other plier clippers on this list, these don’t have a safety stop and might be more challenging for first-timers to use. Though Dr. Rucker uses this larger option for all of her patients, beginners might prefer the brand’s smaller size for their kitties.
One success story: “I am a retired dog groomer and I can tell you these are great nail clippers - you can use them on small dogs and cats, too. Just be sure you know where the quick is because these do not have the guard that helps you not to cut too short.”
Also Great: This Set That Includes A Grinder & Plier Clippers
Though not a clipper, per se, this electric grinder is a good option if you'd rather smoothly grind the nails instead of cutting. The diamond drum bit has three ports with different nail sizes, as well as three speeds. An optional LED light under the grinder helps to find the bloodline and prevent over-grinding, and the device is exceptionally quiet, according to the brand and many reviewers. The built-in battery lasts 10 hours after a three-hour charge, with a USB charging cord included. In addition to the grinder, this set also includes a pair of plier nail clippers, and though the brand doesn’t provide any additional specs on the blade material, reviewers found them to be sharp and comfortable to use.
One success story: “The noise level was great [...] My cat was not scared at all. The light helped me to be able to get close but not too far down his nail.”
Dr. Ryan Rucker, DVM, and spokesperson for Zesty Paws