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What To Do If You Overcut Your Cat’s Nails

 by danielle on 23 Aug 2014 |
7 Comment(s)
Clipping a cat’s nails is no easy task. Keeping a struggling cat still while trying to get the clippers around the right nail and making sure not to take off too much is challenging to say the least. Inevitably, accidents sometimes happen. 
If you cut the quick of a cat’s nail they won’t be happy. The quick contains highly sensitive blood vessels and nerve endings, similar to the pink part of a human fingernail. Bleeding, pain – and possibly a scratch for you – will result from accidently trimming the nail too far.  
Try to keep a hold of your cat if you do interfere with the quick. Squeeze the tip of the claw to reduce the flow of blood, being careful to not to apply pressure to the entire paw which will have the opposite effect and increase blood flow.
It is advisable to keep styptic powder or a styptic pencil in your grooming kit as this can be used to quickly contract the blood vessels of an open wound. If you do not have access to styptic products, rubbing the nail with cornstarch or over a dry bar of soap can also help.
Whilst painful, an overcut nail is not a serious injury and should heal relatively quickly. However, your cat’s suspicions of the nail-cutting process are likely to be longer lasting. It may take time and effort to convince them they are unlikely to suffer further pain when they see you coming towards them with the clippers.
To reassure them, we recommend regularly massaging your cat’s paws when they are relaxed and giving them a treat to create positive associations before attempting another clipping session again. 



angela - Comment
angela17 Jul 2018Reply
Today was the first time since I've owned my cat (8 years) that I have cut her nail too short and made her yelp and bleed. I sobbed after for about 30 minutes. Thank you for this advice. She is a sweet girl and she seemed to forgive me pretty quickly, (headbutts) however...I had a hard time forgiving myself. Thanks for the article. I worry about her being in pain now every time she has to use that paw, to scratch the litter or walk, etc. So awful. Glad to know it should heal quickly.
Steven - Comment
Steven17 Jul 2018Reply
I just had the same situation with my boy. He is handling it FAR better than I am.
Kelly - Comment
Kelly17 Jul 2018Reply
Same exact thing just happened to me...clipped my baby's nail too short, she yelped and screamed, I looked and there was blood. I yelled for my husband to come into the room and he applied pressure to the nail while I sobbed my eyes off and stuffed her with treats 😂she was so happy and probably immediately forgot about the incident, while I'm still shaken!
Melissa  - Comment
Melissa 22 Jan 2020Reply
I just did the same with one of my girl cats. She is fine with me and playing with the other cats, but my fiancee just yelled me for it and made me scared because he said it would cause an infection and such. I also sobbed for like 30 minutes. I feel so bad and I used cornstarch to stop the bleeding because i dont have a styptic pencil.
Katrina - Comment
Katrina01 Jun 2020Reply
I accidentally just did this. I am more mad and sad than my cat. I will never trim them again.. she'll have to go to a groomer. I feel so bad!!
Anja  - Comment
Anja 05 Jul 2020Reply
I had the same accident and I was so scared I was bawling my eyes out and I was so scared for my cat my baby boy and thanks for this advice because it was bleeding and I was so freaking mad you got all over my floor and stuff like that and I’m so glad that this helped.
Mike - Comment
Mike21 Jul 2020Reply
I cut my 5 week old kittens nails because they were getting very long There was some blood not a lot less then a drop on the edge is it ok or does he need a vet?
Sara - Comment
Sara23 Jul 2020Reply
I cut a 6-8 week old kitten's nails too short. About 3 of them. 2 of them bled really badly. I used corn starch and applied pressure on the spots I cut too short. The bleeding has stopped. Is there anything else I should do? Also, can you apply tea tree oil to prevent infection?
Carolyn - Comment
Carolyn20 Sep 2020Reply
I have cut my cat's nails his whole life and never had a problem (though I did worry each time I would possibly cut too short). I brought my daughter's cat to the vet I had used for other problems and after I picked him up I saw he was limping. The pad of his foot was swollen and I could see they cut his nails (I did not ask them to). You cannot see the nail at all. I think they cut it too short and they are not owning up to it. They asked that we return so they could give him pain meds...and they charged me!

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