We should trim cat claws carefully or not at all. Cat claws are wonderfully useful tools for the cat. They have a wide range of uses including, climbing, getting purchase on the ground for efficient running, defense (yep they are great defensive weapons), kneading (when a kitten - this stimulates mother's milk flow) and catching and grabbing hold of prey and digging etc.. Cats scratch to remove an outer layer from the claw.
They are retractable making them useful when required only. The Cheetah's claws are in fact semi-retractable so are out more than usual probably because this cat needs them more than usual to hunt at great speed and turn with dexterity (see Cheetah speed)
The claw itself is made of a hard protein called keratin and it has a soft interior called the quick and blood vessels and nerves supplying the claw.
To trim cat claws safely without cutting into the soft interior and without fuss is not easy, in my opinion. Sometimes we get lucky and our cat gets used to it quickly by most often a cat will not settle for a sufficiently long time to allow us to trim cat claws with accuracy. And accuracy is needed is we are to avoid cutting into the soft interior and/or shattering the claw and yes to avoid us getting scratched a bit in the process.
I've just seen a product for which I am not getting commission, which seems to get around the weaknesses of the conventional approach of using nail clippers. Even specialist claw clippers with depth restrictors can be problematic if we are honest. They need some expertise and most of us don't have the time or patience to practice to acquire the expertise.
Anyway, the product is called PediPaws. It uses a depth restriction system but uniquely it files the claw down using what seems to be a little grinding wheel driven by a battery. It looks a nice product with which to trim cat claws. Particularly so as it seems almost impossible to hurt our cat (or dog) when used. In other words it is fool proof and our cats should accept its use more readily. It is made in the USA so I would expect it not to be available elsewhere - is it?
With a new product and procedure, especially one that makes a bit of noise, I'd try and introduce it gently to help my cat get used to it.
I think if I could lay my hands on one I'd buy it. They are cheap by UK standards at under $20 USD.
The picture of the colored claws shows an alternative to the need to trim cat claws. It is sticking plastic covers over the claws (SoftPaws). They are quite popular in America as far as I know. I am not sure about them myself. I'd rather our cat use his paws normally but hopefully a little less destructively and the gentle filing down by the PediPaws device, I think, is one answer.
Also see Trim Cat Claws
There is no doubt that the preferred thing to do is to trim claws.
Trim Cat Claws safely to cat anatomy
Photo of claw sheath heading picture: by Alice Wiegand, (Lyzzy) under a Wikimedia commons license.
Photo of SoftPaws covers by .robbie and published under a creative commons license.
A safe way to trim claws.