Vaccines

Vaccines

Provided by the Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell University

Deciding which vaccines your cat should receive requires that you have a complete understanding of the benefits and risks of the procedure. For this reason, it is extremely important that you discuss vaccination with your veterinarian so he or she can help you decide which vaccines are most appropriate. Be sure to inform your veterinarian of your cat’s lifestyle, environment, medical history, current medical problems, and medications your cat may be receiving. Remember, your veterinarian is more than willing to answer any questions you may have and will help you make the right vaccine choices.

Why does my cat need to be vaccinated?
The immune system plays a pivotal role in maintaining your cat’s health. One of the most important functions of this complex system of specialized cells and molecules is to protect cats from disease and infection caused by viruses, bacteria, and a host of other microbes and parasites.

Vaccines help prepare your cat’s immune system to fend off invasion by a particular disease-causing organism. Vaccines contain antigens, which to the immune system “look” like the organism but don’t, ideally, cause disease. When a vaccine is administered, the immune system mounts a protective response. Then if your cat is subsequently exposed to the disease-causing organism, its immune system is prepared to either prevent infection or reduce the severity of disease. Though vaccines play an important role in controlling infectious diseases, most do not induce complete protection from disease, nor do they induce the same degree of protection in all cats. For extra protection, you should make every effort to reduce your cat’s exposure to infected cats or contaminated environments.

Why do kittens require a series of vaccinations?
During the first few hours after birth, kittens ingest maternal antibodies contained in their mother’s milk. These antibodies help protect the kitten from infectious diseases until its own immune system is more mature.

Unfortunately, maternal antibody also interferes with a vaccine’s ability to stimulate the kitten’s immune system. To counteract this problem, veterinarians often administer a series of vaccines, usually beginning when the kitten is around six to eight weeks of age. Vaccination is then repeated at three- or four-week intervals until maternal antibody has waned, usually at around twelve weeks of age. In some cases (e.g., rabies vaccines) the initial vaccine is not given until maternal antibody has disappeared altogether.

Does my adult cat need to be vaccinated every year?
The answer depends in part on the vaccine. For example, certain feline rabies vaccines provide protection for longer than one year, so vaccination with a triennially approved rabies vaccine every three years (after the initial series is completed, and when consistent with local rabies vaccine requirements) is sufficient.

Recent research suggests that panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, and calicivirus vaccines provide adequate protection for several years, so that many veterinarians are now recommending that this vaccine be boosted no more than once every three years.

Unfortunately, far less is known about the duration of protection provided by other vaccines. Until that information is known, annual vaccination with those products-when their administration is necessary-is a good idea.

Are vaccines dangerous?
Not usually. Unfortunately, a perfect, risk-free vaccine does not exist. Vaccines are indispensable in fighting feline infectious disease. But as with any medical procedure, there is a small chance that reactions may develop as a result of vaccination. To maximize the benefits of vaccination while minimizing the risks, it is important to vaccinate only against infectious agents to which your cat has a realistic risk of exposure, infection, and subsequent development of disease. Also, make sure to inform your veterinarian of any problems your cat is currently experiencing, medications your cat is receiving, or vaccine reactions experienced in the past before your cat is vaccinated again.

Reactions may be mild or (very rarely) severe.

Mild Reactions
The following reactions are fairly common and usually start within hours to several days after vaccination. They typically last no more than a few days.

 

  • discomfort at the site where the vaccine was given
  • mild fever
  • diminished appetite and activity
  • sneezing about four to seven days after administration of an intranasal vaccine
  • temporarily sore joints and lameness following calicivirus vaccination
  • Development of a small, firm, painless swelling under the skin at the site where the vaccine was given. The swelling usually goes away after several weeks, but if you notice such a swelling, contact your veterinarian.
  • Lameness, loss of appetite, and fever beginning approximately one to three weeks after Chlamydia psittaci vaccination.Serious Reactions
    These reactions occur very rarely:
  • a serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction within several minutes to an hour after vaccination
  • a tumor called a sarcoma developing at the vaccine site several weeks, months, or even longer following vaccinationWhat should I do if I think my cat is having a reaction to a vaccine?
    By all means, consult your veterinarian. Even though vaccine-related disease is uncommon, the consequences can be serious. Your veterinarian is the person most qualified to advise you if adverse side effects occur.

    What vaccines are currently available for my cat?
    Panleukopenia: Feline panleukopenia (also called feline distemper) is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease. Signs include extreme listlessness and loss of appetite. Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea are frequently seen, but some cats die suddenly with few clinical signs. A high percentage of cats with panleukopenia-especially kittens-die from the infection. Feline panleukopenia virus is shed in the feces of an infected cat and can survive extremes of temperature and humidity for months to years. The virus is resistant to most available disinfectants.

    Until recent years panleukopenia was the most serious infectious disease of cats, killing thousands every year. Thanks to the highly effective vaccines currently available, panleukopenia is now considered an uncommon disease. Immunity induced by panleukopenia vaccines is excellent, and most vaccinated cats are completely protected from infection and disease. Vaccination is recommended for all cats.

    Feline Herpesvirus and Feline Calicivirus: Feline herpesvirus (the cause of feline viral rhinotracheitis) and feline calicivirus are estimated to be responsible for 80-90 percent of infectious feline upper respiratory tract diseases. Although usually not serious in adult cats, disease caused by these viruses may be severe-and sometimes fatal-in kittens. Sneezing, runny eyes, runny nose, and fever are the most typical signs of infection. In addition to upper respiratory tract disease, lameness and chronic oral inflammatory disease have been linked to calicivirus infection. Both viruses are shed in secretions from the nose, eyes, and mouth of infected cats. Cats become infected by direct exposure to infected individuals, either from sneezed droplets, or from contaminated objects such as food and water dishes.

    Most cats are exposed to either or both of these viruses at some time during their lives, usually during kittenhood. Once infected, many cats never completely rid themselves of viruses. These carrier cats shed viruses either continuously or intermittently for long periods of time-perhaps for life-and serve as a major source of infection to other cats. Protection induced by the currently available vaccines minimizes the severity of disease, but does not prevent disease in all cats. Nonetheless, vaccination is recommended for all cats.

    Rabies: Rabies is an increasing threat to cats. At present, the number of reported feline rabies cases in the United States far exceeds that of dogs and all other domestic animals. Rabies is routinely fatal and is a major public health concern. Because of the potential for human exposure, rabies vaccination is recommended for all cats and is required by law in many parts of the country.

    Feline Leukemia Virus: Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is the leading viral killer of cats. The virus is spread in the saliva and nasal secretions of infected cats; infection is transmitted through prolonged contact with infected cats, bite wounds, and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. Disease caused by FeLV is very serious, and it is estimated that fewer than 20 percent of infected cats will survive more than three years after being infected. Anemia (a deficiency of oxygen-carrying red blood cells), cancer, and secondary infections resulting from immune deficiency are the most common consequences of infection.

    Outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and cats exposed to such individuals are at greatest risk of exposure to FeLV. Cats living in households with FeLV-infected cats or with cats of unknown infection status are also at risk. Kittens younger than 4 months of age appear to be much more susceptible to infection than are adult cats. Indoor-only adult cats with little chance of exposure to potentially infected cats are not likely to be exposed or infected. Vaccination against FeLV is recommended for cats at risk of exposure, especially those younger than four months of age. Vaccination is not recommended for cats with minimal to no risk of exposure, especially those older than four months of age. Because FeLV vaccines do not induce protection in all cats, avoiding exposure to infected cats remains the single best way to prevent your cat from becoming infected.

    Chlamydiosis: Chlamydiosis is caused by the bacteria, Chlamydia psittaci. Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the tissues lining the eyelids and covering part of the eyeball) is the most common sign, but sneezing and nasal discharge may also occur. The bacteria are transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat, and the highest rates of infection are in cats between five weeks and nine months of age, especially those residing in multiple-cat environments with a history of respiratory tract disease. Cats vaccinated against chlamydiosis are not protected from infection but are expected to experience less severe disease if infected. Adverse reactions associated with chlamydia vaccines are more common than with many other feline vaccines, but the reactions are usually mild and resolve completely with treatment. Vaccination is recommended if your cat resides in a multiple-cat environment where chlamydiosis has been confirmed in other cats.

    Feline Infectious Peritonitis: Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) results from infection with feline coronavirus. Many different strains of the virus can infect cats, but most do not produce serious disease: usually less than 1 to 5 percent of coronavirus-infected cats develop FIP.

    Coronaviruses are shed primarily in the feces of infected cats. Most cats become infected by ingesting the virus, either as a result of direct contact with an infected cat or by exposure to virus-contaminated surfaces such as litter boxes, feeding bowls, bedding, clothing, or toys. A high percentage of cats residing in multiple-cat environments are exposed and ultimately infected with feline coronavirus, but exposure is far less common in households with fewer cats. Even though cats of all ages can develop the disease, most of those that develop FIP are younger than two years. Individuals with FIP rarely survive regardless of treatment. A vaccine to prevent FIP is available, but considerable controversy surrounds its ability to prevent disease.

    Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is another viral killer of cats. The primary mode of virus spread is through bite wounds, so cats that get outdoors and fight are at greatest risk of infection. Cats in households with stable social structures where housemates get along well are at little risk.

    Infected cats may appear normal for years. However, infection eventually leads to a state of immune deficiency that hinders the cat’s ability to protect itself against other infections. The same bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi that may be found in the everyday environment – where they usually do not affect healthy animals – are responsible for many of the diseases associated with FIV.

    Keeping cats indoors and away from potentially infected cats that might bite them markedly reduces their likelihood of contracting FIV infection. Vaccines to help protect against FIV infection are available. Not all vaccinated cats will be protected, so preventing exposure will remain important even for vaccinated pets. In addition, vaccination may have an impact on future FIV test results. It is important that you discuss the advantages and disadvantages of vaccination with your veterinarian to help you decide whether FIV vaccines should be administered to your cat.

    Bordetellosis: Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria that can cause disease of the respiratory tract in cats. Cats with bordetellosis may cough, have a runny nose or runny eyes, sneeze, and occasionally have a fever. The signs of disease are very similar to those caused by feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. Cats are believed to become infected by breathing the bacteria into their noses. Cats residing in or entering rescue shelters and multiple-cat households have the highest risk of exposure, especially if respiratory tract disease has occurred in the environment.

    A vaccine to prevent disease caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica is available. Studies conducted by the manufacturer indicate that the vaccine can reduce the severity of disease in infected cats. Your veterinarian may suggest vaccinating cats entering or residing in multiple-cat environments (for example, shelters, catteries, or boarding facilities) where disease associated with Bordetella bronchiseptica infection is suspected or has been confirmed.

    Giardiasis: Infection with the single-celled parasite, Giardia lamblia, may be associated with gastrointestinal tract disease of either short or long duration. Diarrhea is the most commonly encountered sign of infection. The organism is shed in the feces of infected cats, and other cats become infected by drinking contaminated water, by direct exposure to an infected cat (such as through mutual grooming), by exposure to contaminated litter boxes, and from consuming prey. Giardiasis tends to be a greater problem in some multiple-cat households. Giardia vaccination can be part of a comprehensive control program in environments where exposure to the organism is associated with disease, although the vaccine has not been evaluated for its ability to hasten elimination of infection from multiple-cat environments.

    Which vaccines should my cat receive?
    The decision depends on the following factors:

  • Your cat’s risk of exposure to the disease-causing organism, in part dependent on the health of other cats to which yours is exposed, and the environment in which your cat lives.
  • The consequences of infection
  • The age and health of your cat
  • The protective ability of the vaccine
  • The frequency or severity of reactions associated with vaccination
  • The risk an infected cat poses to human health (e.g., rabies virus)
  • Vaccine reactions your cat may have experienced in the past

 

Ringworms

Ringworm

Ringworm (dermatophytosis) is a fungal infection that can affect the hair, skin or nails of cats, dogs and humans. It is the most common contagious skin infection in cats. In humans, the infection often causes classic ring-like lesions, but these are seen less commonly in cats and dogs. In most patients, ringworm is self-limiting; that is, it will self cure over time. However, because this infection can be transmitted from cats and dogs to other animals and also to people, every pet owner should be aware of the symptoms, transmission and treatment of ringworm.

Where is the fungus found? 
Several different fungi found throughout the world can cause ringworm, however, the vast majority of cases in cats and dogs are caused by Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, or Trichophyton species. The fungus is most commonly found either on an infected animal or in the living quarters of infected animals. Spores from infected animals can be shed into the environment and live for up to 24 months. Humid, warm environments encourage growth of the fungus. Spores can be on brushes, bedding, furniture, or anything that has been in contact with an infected animal or the animal’s hair. Cats can be asymptomatic carriers and harbor and shed the organism without showing signs of infection. Animals thought to be chronic carriers can be routinely cultured to determine if they are actual carriers.

How is ringworm transmitted? 
Ringworm can be transmitted by direct contact with fungal spores. These spores can be found on a infected animal, on infected grooming equipment or brushes, in a contaminated boarding facility or cattery, or in the environment where an infected animal has visited. Because ringworm spores can survive for long periods in the environment your cat can contract ringworm from just about anywhere other dogs or cats have been. Fortunately, most healthy adult cats have some natural resistance to ringworm and never develop symptoms from the fungus. Young cats under a year old are most often infected. Cats with a suppressed immune system from diseases or overuse of steroids are also more susceptible to contracting the disease. Senior cats, free-roaming cats, and those who are under stress, malnourished or have other diseases such as parasites or viral infections also appear to be at increased risk. In addition, genetic factors may play a role, as Persians appear to be more susceptible to ringworm.

What are the signs of ringworm? 
Cats with ringworm may have skin lesions which can appear different depending on where they occur and how long they have been present. The classic symptom is a small round lesion that is devoid of hair. The lesion will often have scaly skin in the center. Small are often found in the lesion. The lesion may start as a small spot and continue to grow in size. The lesion may or may not be irritated and itchy. Lesions are most common on the head, ears, and tail. In some infections, the fungus will not be in a circle and can spread across the face, lips, chin, or nose and look like an autoimmune disease or other generalized skin disease. Occasionally, the infection will occur over the entire body and create a generalized scaly or greasy skin condition. Hair loss may be mild or severe. In some cases the first sign may be excessive shedding, and hairballs may occur when large parts of the body are affected. Scratching at the ears is also common. Ringworm can also occur in the nails, often causing them to grow malformed.

How is ringworm diagnosed?
Ringworm cannot be diagnosed by simply looking at a lesion, but at least one of several testing methods must be used. One method is through the use of a specialized black light called a Wood’s lamp. Several species of the ringworm fungus will glow a fluorescent color when exposed to a Wood’s lamp. However, it is estimated that up to half of the most common species of M. canis do not fluoresce under a Wood’s lamp, and T. mentagrophytes does not fluoresce. Other substances may fluoresce and cause a false positive reading. In addition, a healthy animal may have spores on his coat but may not have an active infection. So, this is not the most accurate method.

Another method for identifying ringworm is to pluck hairs from the periphery of the lesion and examine them under the microscope. Between 40% and 70% of the infections can be diagnosed this way.

The most reliable way to identify a ringworm infection is by collecting scales and crust from the skin and coat and performing a fungalculture. Your veterinarian will commonly use a toothbrush to collect the sample of hair and scales from the cat to culture. There are special culture mediums designed specifically for identifying ringworm infections. Your local veterinarian can easily perform this routine culture.

Cats with ringworm should always be evaluated for underlying disease(s) that may have made them more at risk for this fungal infection.

How is ringworm treated?
In healthy shorthaired kittens and cats with small isolated lesions, the lesion is often treated with a topical cream containing an antifungal such as miconazole or thiabendazole. In addition, it is important to treat any underlying conditions, provide good nutrition, and prevent the spread to other animals and humans.

In more severe cases, a combination of oral and topical treatments is generally used. Often the lesions are clipped so the topical treatment can reach the skin. Many veterinary dermatologists feel that all longhaired cats must be shaved completely to achieve any success with ringworm treatment. Care should be taken not to irritate the skin when clipping, as this may cause the infection to spread. Also, realize that the clipped hair, clippers, and any grooming instruments that come into contact with an infected animal will harbor the spores and must be heat or chemically sterilized before being used on any other animal. The recommended topical treatment is lime sulfur dips. These dips have a bad odor and can temporarily turn the coat a yellowish color, but they are extremely effective and should be used if recommended by your veterinarian.

Alternatives to lime sulfur dips include miconazole shampoos and rinses, and enilconazole (available in some countries). Oral antifungal agents are generally recommended for any cat with severe generalized lesions, for longhaired cats, and in cases where the nails are infected. Oral antifungal agents may also be recommended when there is no response to topical therapy after 2-4 weeks of treatment. Itraconazole is the preferred drug of choice, and terbafine may also be used. Griseofulvin is another alternative, but has a higher risk of adverse effects.

Treatment is generally continued until there have been two negative cultures a week apart.

Some veterinarians have recommended using Program® (the once-a-month flea pill) at a higher dose to treat ringworm in cats, but it has been shown to be ineffective against ringworm.

How can ringworm be controlled in the environment?
Because the ringworm fungus can survive for such long periods in the environment, it is critical that an effective cleaning plan be used in all infections. Spores are very light and are carried in the air, so wherever there is dust and hair, there may be spores. Whenever cleaning, avoid sweeping and other types of cleaning that may actually spread spores through the air. Vacuuming, damp mopping and using a Swifter-type mop are generally recommended. Carpets should be steam cleaned and disinfected. Heating and cooling ducts and furnaces should be professionally vacuumed and filters replaced if a culture from the ducts comes back positive. Furniture and drapes should be vacuumed and the vacuum cleaner bags should be disposed of promptly. Housing units that contain wood or rusty metal should be re-painted. After vacuuming or mopping, clean with water and a detergent solution. Then, use bleach diluted to 1:10 with water and left on for at least 10 minutes to kill most of the organisms. All grooming tools, bedding, kennels, cat carriers, and cages should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with bleach, as well.

How can ringworm be controlled in catteries?
Some of the most difficult cases of ringworm come from catteries or small breeders, particularly those with Persian or Himalayans. Eliminating ringworm from these units can take months to years of diligent treatment. Remember that it will take a complete commitment to properly eliminate ringworm from a cattery. The owner must be willing to devote a large amount of time and make some difficult decisions if success in treatment is to be achieved.

There are several different approaches to controlling and eliminating ringworm in a cattery. The first approach includes total depopulation of the cattery, decontamination of the facility, and repopulating with only animals that test negative on three consecutive cultures performed at two-week intervals. The second approach is to treat the entire colony and facilities with appropriate topical medications, systemic therapy, and environmental cleanup. The colony is isolated and breeding and showing are interrupted. The third option would be to treat only infected kittens. This third option is only suitable for a breeder that produces kittens for the pet cat market and usually is not recommended for most breeders. Breeders will need to work very closely with their veterinarian to develop the best program for their facility.

Cultures should be performed on new cats coming into the cattery or returning from a show or a breeding. They should be quarantined and dipped once with lime sulfur. Since dogs and humans can carry ringworm into a cattery, both human and canine visitors should be kept at a minimum.

How is ringworm prevented?
Ringworm is a disease where an ounce of prevention is truly worth more than a pound of cure. If you have cats in your home, be very careful about bringing a new kitten into your household. Cat shows, kennels, and grooming facilities can also be a source of infection and caution should be used when exposing your cat to these places. Breeders of Persians and Himalayans need to be especially cautious about bringing any new animal that has not been cultured into their facility. If any sign of ringworm is seen, make sure you isolate the infected cat and seek prompt veterinary attention.

Is ringworm transmissible to people?
Yes. Ringworm can be transmitted between cats and people. Persons with suppressed immune systems, such as those with HIV infections or AIDS, and those undergoing chemotherapy may be especially vulnerable. Persons should wear gloves when handling affected animals and wash hands well afterwards. If you contract ringworm, treat with an OTC anti-fungal, such as Lotrimin.

Plants Poisonous to Cats

Poisonous Plants

Provided by The Animal Planet

Some plants are more toxic than others, so we suggest that you be particularly aware of the dangers associated with these common houseplants.

  • Lillies (Lilium spp). Although the toxin involved has not been identified, one bite of a leaf or a taste of the pollen from a plant in the lily family can cause lethargy and vomiting within 12 hours of ingestion. If not treated, your cat may go into kidney failure.
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta). Once exclusively an outdoor plant, the sago palm has recently begun making an appearance on windowsills and coffee tables. The entire plant is poisonous to cats, but the seed pod, sometimes called the nut, contains the greatest amount of toxin. Just a few nibbles can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures. If left untreated, cats can experience liver failure.
  • Calcium Oxalate plants. These include dieffenbachia, philodendrons and Chinese evergreens to name just a few. Insoluble calcium oxalate, microscopic crystals that look like needles, is present throughout these plants. One bite and the needle-like crystals shoot into a cat’s gums and tongue. Symptoms include drooling and vomiting. To reduce irritation, give your cat goat milk or other calcium-containing substances, such as yogurt. If enough mouth swelling occurs, breathing could become difficult, but this is rare.
  • Dracaena. Over 40 species are included in this family of popular houseplants, including the red-edged Dracaena, the dragon plant, and the Dracaena Janet Craig. Cats that eat the long, skinny fronds that are typical in the Dracaena plant family will vomit, sometimes with blood, become depressed and lose their appetites. Kittens can get a little wobbly and appear to be drunk. Luckily, these plants are not usually lethal and symptoms should disappear in 12 to 24 hours.
  • If your cat decides a houseplant is put to much better use as food than as decoration, your first step should be to call your vet. She will want to know what plant ended up in your cat’s stomach. Use a smartphone or digital camera to take a close-up picture of the plant and email it to your veterinarian for identification. If you’re not sure which plant your cat has gotten into, get your pet to your vet as quickly as possible so that the vet can observe any symptoms for clues.

    If the plant is toxic, your vet may suggest inducing vomiting at home or giving your cat activated charcoal capsules. Activated charcoal, which can be purchased at a pharmacy, binds to toxins while still in the stomach, preventing absorption into the blood stream.

    It’s a good idea to have activated charcoal on hand for emergencies, but you should never attempt any home remedy without contacting your veterinarian first. Making a cat vomit or swallow pills can be tricky, and activated charcoal capsules are not as concentrated as the liquid version used by veterinarians. Getting to the vet should be your priority. If something as toxic as a lily is ingested, expect your cat to be placed on intravenous fluids for a couple of days to flush out the toxins.

    The ASPCA’s Web site has a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants. The center is also staffed with veterinarians available to answer questions if you suspect your cat has ingested a poisonous substance. The 24-hour emergency poison hotline number is 1-888-426-4435. A fee is required but may be well worth it for your peace of mind or your cat’s life.

     

    Nail Trimming 101

    Nail Trimming 101

    Provided by ASPCA

    Make manicures enjoyable and easy for both you and your cat
    Does your kitty disappear when the clippers come out? Do you have to wrap her in a towel to give her a manicure? According to our behavior experts, calm, enjoyable nail-trimming sessions are not only possible—that’s how they should always be! Check out the following tips for getting kitty to relax while you trim, turning nail-clipping sessions into enjoyable together time.

    Setting the Mood
    Ideally you should introduce your cat to nail clipping when she’s a kitten. Choose a chair in a quiet room where you can comfortably sit your cat on your lap. Get her when she’s relaxed and even sleepy, like in her groggy, after-meal state. Take care that she isn’t able to spy any birds, wild animals or action outside nearby windows—and make sure no other pets are around.

    Make Friends with the Paw
    Gently take one of your cat’s paws between your fingers and massage for no longer than the count of three. If your cat pulls her paw away, don’t squeeze or pinch, just follow her gesture, keeping in gentle contact. When she’s still again, give her pad a little press so that the nail extends out, then release her paw and immediately give her a treat. Do this every other day on a different toe until you’ve gotten to know all ten.

    Get Acquainted with the Clipper
    Your cat should be at ease with the sound of the clippers before you attempt to trim her nails. Sit her on your lap, put a piece of uncooked spaghetti into the clippers and hold them near your cat. (If she sniffs the clippers, set a treat on top of them for her to eat.) Next, while massaging one of your cat’s toes, gently press her toe pad. When the nail extends, clip the spaghetti with the clippers while still holding your cat’s paw gently. Now release her toe and quickly give her a treat.

    Never Cut to the Quick 
    The pink part of a cat’s nail, called the quick, is where the nerves and blood vessels are. Do NOT cut this sensitive area. Snip only the white part of the claw. It’s better to be cautious and cut less of the nail rather than risk cutting this area. If you do accidentally cut the quick, any bleeding can be stopped with a styptic powder or stick. It’s a good idea to keep it nearby while you trim.

    Time to Clip
    With your cat in your lap facing away from you, take one of her toes in your hand, massage and press the pad until the nail extends. Check to see how much of a trim her nails need and notice where the quick begins. Now trim only the sharp tip of one nail, release your cat’s toe and quickly give her a treat. If your cat didn’t notice, clip another nail, but don’t trim more than two claws in one sitting until your cat is comfortable. Be sure to reward her with a special treat afterward. Please note, you may want to do just one paw at a time for the first couple of sessions.

    Clipping Schedule
    A nail-trimming every ten days to two weeks is a nice routine to settle into. If your cat refuses to let you clip her claws, ask your vet or a groomer for help.

    What Not to Do

  • If your cat resists, don’t raise your voice or punish her.
  • Never attempt a clipping when your cat is agitated or you’re upset. And don’t rush—you may cut into the quick.
  • Don’t try to trim all of your cat’s claws at one time.
  • Do NOT declaw. This surgery involves amputating the end of a cat’s toes and is highly discouraged by SNAP Cats. Instead, trim regularly, provide your cat with appropriate scratching posts and ask your veterinarian about soft plastic covers for your cat’s claws.