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How to Apply Cat Nail Caps?

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Nail caps are not just a cosmetic thing for cats. Cat nail caps are safe and effective against excessive and destructive scratching. While your vet can put them on your cat for you, for a small fee of course, you can also do it yourself at home. But how to apply cat nail caps properly so that they don’t fall off easily?

You need to follow a step-by-step process in order to apply cat nail caps properly. This includes getting the cat used to holding still for a minute with her nails extended, picking the right size nail caps and learning how to trim a cat’s nails. Also knowing the right amount of glue to be used is necessary to avoid any problems while removing the nail caps. But above all, you’ll need lots of patience! 

Sounds simple right? Still, let’s take a more in-depth look at each step. This guide will help you understand how to apply cat nail caps properly all by yourself.

How to Apply Cat Nail Caps

First of all, if you haven’t yet decided if nail caps are right for your cat, this article will help you make an informed decision.

The following steps cover every aspect of cat nail caps application and will show you how to do it correctly and safely. Keep in mind that the application process will depend on how well your cat behaves and how familiar you are with applying cat nail caps.

Generally, the entire process should take 15-20 minutes. Here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Get Your Cat Used to Being Still

Work on getting your cat used to holding still with her nails extended at least a week before you buy the nail caps. Then continue to the next step.

This will make things a lot easier when you start applying (and removing) the nail caps. Some cats might not like their paws being held while others will let you get away with it.

So start slowly by petting the paws lightly with one finger and gradually hold the entire paw once your cat is used to the touch.

Step 2: Trim Your Cat’s Claws

This is an important step and you will have to repeat it every time you apply new claw caps on your cat. Any type of nail clippers for cats like guillotine or scissors will be fine.

Once you have the clippers, get your cat in a comfortable position and start trimming her nails.

When applying cat nail caps, you should trim the nails slightly longer than you would normally do. Kittens can skip this step.

If your kitty isn’t a fan of nail trimming, start by clipping just a few nails at a time. Take your cat to a vet or a professional groomer if you don’t feel confident about trimming her nails at home.

Step 3: Get the Right Size Nail Caps

Cat nail caps come in different sizes that are designed to fit kittens, small, medium and large cats. Depending on your cat’s weight, find the right size nail caps for her. Generally, most average-sized cats will need medium size nail caps.

You can also choose the color of the nail caps if you wish. However, if you never used nail covers before, you should pick clear nail caps. They are easier to apply and are a better option for the first couple of applications.

Step 4: Keep Everything Ready

Now that you have picked the best cat nail caps for your kitty, check and see that you have everything you need. Different nail cap brands have different offerings. But all of them should include these:

  • Nail caps and adhesive,
  • Applicator tip,
  • Instruction manual and
  • You cat’s favorite treat.

So be sure to check for these and make sure they are intact and ready for use.

Furthermore, read the instruction manual. It may contain specific manufacturer’s guidelines on how to apply cat nail caps.

Step 5: Ask for Help (if Needed)

By now, you should have an idea if you really need someone to give you a hand with this. It will be a lot easier if you have help, especially if this is your first time applying nail covers on your kitty.

So ask a friend or a family member whom your cat trusts and feels comfortable around. Pet and praise the cat during the entire process to make her feel relaxed.

Since cats can sense our moods and feelings, it is important that you and your helper are calm and encouraging throughout the process.

Step 6: Start Applying the Nail Caps

Take a nail cap and gently pinch it at the opening. Doing this will make it easier for you to insert the glue. Then gently squeeze the glue into the nail cap until 1/3 of the nail cap is filled with it.

Make sure that you fill only one nail cap at the time so that the glue doesn’t dry up.

Gently squeeze it again to evenly distribute the glue and release any air bubbles. If the glue oozes out from the cap, it means you have used too much.

Use a paper towel to remove any excess glue. With your other hand, take your cat’s paw and using your thumb and index finger gently squeeze it till her claws are exposed. Gently slide the nail cap filled with glue on the extended claw.

Repeat the process for all the remaining claws.

When you are done, observe the cat for a few minutes before releasing her.

This will give the adhesive time to completely dry and prevent the nail caps from falling off right away.

Step 7: Praise and Reward Your Cat

Now all that’s left to do is to reward your cat with her favorite treats! You can also use treats while applying nail caps to encourage and distract your cat.

Talk to the cat in a calm and soothing voice. It will help her remain comfortable after (and while) you put the nail caps on.

After all, the calmer your cat is, the easier it will be to apply (and keep on) the nail caps.

How to Remove Cat Nail Caps

Now that you know how to apply cat nail caps, let’s see how to remove them properly. Generally, cat nail caps are designed to fall off as the cat’s nails eventually grow back.

But sometimes nail caps don’t come off by themselves. In such situations, you will have to remove them manually. It is just as easy as applying them. Here is what you need to do.

Step 1: Hold Your Cat in Place

Get your cat to hold still in one place. Make sure she is comfortable at all times.

If your cat is particularly fidgety, you can wrap her in a towel or a blanket leaving the paws free so you can work on them.

You can ask a friend or a family member for help just like we mentioned before. This will help you use both your hands to remove nail caps.

Step 2: Extend Your Cats Claws

Once your kitty is comfy and holding still, take her paw in your hand and apply gentle pressure using your thumb and index finger. Once the claws are extended, the nail caps are more accessible and easier to remove.

Step 3: Trim Nail Caps

Using cat nail clippers, clip the ends of nail caps, just like you would use them to trim their nails. Once you break the seal of the nail cap, you will be left with just a vinyl tube around your cat’s nails.

Trim carefully and only little at a time. This way you will minimize the risk of injuring the quick, which can lead to bleeding and cause pain to your cat.

Step 4: Remove the Nail Caps

Once you’ve removed the tip of a nail cap, apply slight pressure to the base of the cap as if massaging it. This should break the adhesive bond until it is loose enough for you to remove the rest of the nail cap straight off.

If you have used too much glue, the adhesive bond may not come off right away. In that case, it may take a day or two for the rest of the adhesive bond to wear off completely.

However, if this doesn’t break the adhesive, you may have to use a small pair of cat nail scissors.

Don’t try to pry the scissors between the nail and the cap. Doing so can hurt your cat.

Instead, simply place the scissors flush against the top of the nail cap. Then trim the vinyl to make an opening from the rim of the nail cap to the base.

Once you have made the opening just peel away the nail cap. If you are unsure about doing this at home, take your cat to the vet or a groomer and get the nail caps removed.

They can also give you some pointers on how to remove cat nail caps at home next time around!

Step 5: Time for Rewards and Praise

Don’t forget to reward the cat once you are done removing all the nail caps. Doing this can assure her that there is nothing to be afraid of. It will also indirectly train her to stay calm while you remove the nail caps next time.

Furthermore, try to stay calm yourself. Be positive and talk soothingly to your cat during this whole process.

How Long Do Cat Nail Caps Stay On?

Cat nail caps from most manufacturers last about 4-6 weeks. After that time, they will fall off on their own. But if they stay on even after that, you will have to remove them manually no later than the eighth week.

Failing to do so will make the cat uncomfortable and hinder her movement. This problem should not arise if you’ve followed the steps mentioned above.

On the other hand, the nail caps will keep falling off if you’ve not used enough glue. This can also happen due to wrong size nail caps. So double check your cat’s weight and manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the size of the nail caps.

If you want the nail caps to stay on for as long as they should, don’t forget to trim and clean your cat’s nails before applying a new set. Also make sure to use correct amount of glue.

Applying Cat Nail Caps Needs Some Practice

Although applying cat nail caps seems complicated, it is a pretty straightforward and easy process. In fact, trimming the cat’s nails is the toughest part for most people due to the risk of injury to the cat.

But once you apply nail caps as described above, they’re safe and effective against excessive scratching. Knowing how to apply cat nail caps properly can be useful as you train your cat to use a scratching post too.

It will prevent damage to your home and you will no longer have to worry about having scratch marks all over your hands. Plus, you will save money on band-aids!

Share Your Thoughts

Hope this article has helped you understand how to apply cat nail caps correctly. Did you ever try to put nail caps on you cat? How did it go? Did your cat co-operate or did she give you a tough time? Feel free to share your experience by leaving a comment below!