Trimming your pet's nails is no fun—for you or your pet. And cats, who are not exactly known for their overwhelming cooperativeness, can make the process even more difficult if they are unwilling. A high-quality product for trimming your cat's nails can make all the difference between an irate cat with a nicked nail bed and an easy nail trim with a cat who still likes you after it's over. The market is flooded with clippers, trimmers, and grinders that all claim to be the best option, but the reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all option. Before you pull out your wallet, check out our breakdown of what to look for as well as our top-recommended products for giving your cat's nails a much-needed trim.
What to consider when purchasing cat nail clippers
Size: Most kittens' nails are much thinner and more fragile than a full-grown Maine Coon's, and most clippers are not designed with both in mind. Kitten nails require very thin, very sharp blades with a nail guard that prevents too much from being cut off. Larger cats can still benefit from a nail guard, but look for one that can be removed or will accommodate more of the nail being cut. You may also require a spring action in the handle that can assist you in cutting through thick nails if you have a larger cat.
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Sensitivity: Some cats simply are not going to be perfectly docile when getting a nail trim. If that is the case for your cat, opt for something that is easy to hold in one hand and that has a built-in safety guard to prevent slip-ups if your cat is wriggling around. The best option for sensitive cats is a nail grinder, which completely protects your cat's nail bed since you can't mistakenly cut too far up the nail.
Safety: Don't ever forget that nail clippers and trimmers are made of sharp blades. If you have children with curious fingers, buy a clipper with a locking mechanism for storage so that there is no risk of accidental injury. And unless you are very practiced at trimming your cat's nails (or your cat has light-colored nails that make spotting the quick easy), choose a product that has a safety guard to protect your cat from a nicked quick.
Although these clippers are made with small cats, especially kittens, in mind, they work for average-sized cats and other small animals as well. They have a curved and angled design, which makes clipping easier since it allows you to see what you are doing. Like knives, dull blades are more dangerous, and these clippers are wicked sharp, meaning you can make precise, clean cuts. These clippers are compact with a rubber grip, making them easy to use and comfortable to handle. They also come with an instructional manual to aid you in trimming your cat's nails.
Pet Republique makes affordable and reliable nail clippers for small animals. The blades are stainless steel and extremely sharp, so slicing through your cat's nails should be a breeze, and a built-in safety guard helps prevent you from cutting into the nail bed. The rubberized handles are small, so you can only ever get a thumb and a couple of fingers through them for leverage, but that is plenty enough for small cats' nails. These clippers also have a lock for safe storage. Best of all, Pet Republique donates 15% of its profits to the American Animal Rescue Society.
Although ominously named, guillotine clippers are some of the easiest to use. They truly work like a guillotine (or a cigar cutter for a less morbid association), and the sharp blade makes cutting a breeze. It's important to make sure you stay above the nail bed with these since they have no safety guard, and if the blade is not kept sharp, this style of nail clipper can crush the nail instead of slicing through it. However, keeping the single blade sharp is easy since it is replaceable. We also like the handle on these clippers, which is designed to fit any size hand and has a rubber grip for nonslip handling.
Gonicc Nail Clippers are some of the safest around. They not only have a built-in safety guard for when you are actually in the process of clipping your pet's nails, but they also have a very effective locking mechanism for storage. These clippers have a built-in spring mechanism to eliminate strain when cutting through the nail. They are designed for animals of various sizes, although they may be a bit much for small kittens. The other features that make these clippers great are the stainless steel blades, guaranteed to not lose their edge any time soon, and the hidden nail file that can be used to smooth out your cat's nails after trimming (or in lieu of trimming if all they need is a bit of filing down).
These affordable clippers are a great option for people who may need a little assistance to cut through thick nails. They are spring-loaded with extremely sharp and thin blades, which means you can see precisely where you are cutting and do so with ease. The handles are designed with all hand sizes in mind, and they are covered in rubber grips, although they are not fully attached and can occasionally slide off. A safety guard can be pushed into place, but we like the option of not using it for longer nails. Overall, these are a great value if you are looking for a spring-action pair of clippers.
The Best Budget Cat Nail Grinder
If you're skittish about using a traditional pair of clippers to trim your cat's nails because of the risk of cutting the quick, consider a nail grinder. The Petlibro Grinder is remarkably affordable for a nail grinder, and it takes away all risk of accidentally nicking your pet. Instead of slicing through the nail, a nail grinder sands it down with a rechargeable motor. The handle is ergonomic and a good size for all hands. The motor is also quiet, so it shouldn't startle cats who are sensitive to loud noises. Perhaps best of all, this grinder can truly take on nails of any size, so you can use it throughout your cat's lifetime.
The Dremel Pet Nail Grooming Tool is the most expensive item on this list, but it wouldn't be here if it weren't worth every cent. The rotary tool at the tip quickly and efficiently sands through the nail, and, if it breaks, a two-year warranty has you covered. This tool is built to last, however. It's made of high-density plastic and a durable 60-grit sanding band that should last a while (although extra bands are included). It has a rechargeable battery pack, meaning you can use it with or without a cord, although the charging process takes about three hours. It can also be used with two speeds depending on your pet's preferences and tolerance. Finally, it works just as well on a kitten's nails as it does on a Great Dane's, so this is truly a lifetime product.