Of course, treats are the go-to positive reinforcer, and that’s exactly what’s used here, along with petting and reassuring. In the above video, Petco shows you how to teach your cat, over the course of a week, to associate the process of claw trimming with enjoying a treat.
It’s simple, really. Prep your cat for a clipping: hold it in place, then gently squeeze its paw to reveal the nail. But instead of breaking out the clippers, give them a snack. The idea is, after a few times, they get used to this process and understand they will get something out of it. When it’s time to actually clip the cat’s nails, ideally, he or she is a lot more relaxed.
I inadvertently tried this with my cat. While I didn’t condition her over the course of a week, I always give her treats while I’m clipping her nails, to distract her more than anything, but that seems to do the trick, too. Of course, after one paw, the jig is up, and I have to allow her a short break before coming back to the other paw, again rewarding her with treats. It’s worth a try if you have trouble getting your cat to stay still. Check out the full video for more detail.
How to Cut Your Cat’s Nails [Petco]