The Pet Vet says: Cutting cat's nails is a two-person job | February 1, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Living - February 1, 2008

The Pet Vet says: Cutting cat's nails is a two-person job

by Dr. Heidi Strand

Q. We have a 6-year-old cat who HATES having her nails cut. Recently, the place that cuts her nails told us they are going out of business. All the vets won't touch her as she is aggressive and several have suggested putting her under anesthesia in order to cut her nails. To me, this is terrible to do every month. Someone told me to purchase a spray called pheromone (?) and to spray it on a towel, then put the towel in her cage and then put the cat in and she will relax and I can take her to have her nails cut. Can you provide any information on this and if it is used frequently?

A. Trimming a cat's nails is almost always a two-person job, and sometimes it helps to put them on a table or counter where they are on unfamiliar footing. Wrapping the cat in a towel helps. Perhaps the place where you have been having the nails trimmed can show you how they do it? Or they may be able to refer you to someone else who is good with cranky cats.

You can certainly try the pheromone spray - it is called Feliway and can be found at most pet stores. It does help calm cats in certain situations but it sounds like your cat may be beyond calming at this point. I definitely would not recommend having your veterinarian put the cat under anesthesia for every nail trim.

Q. I have a 2-year-old Chihuahua/terrier and he is not neutered yet. Lately he has been really aggressive - barking, snapping, and growling at everyone he doesn't know. I'm afraid he might get loose and bite someone. The one thing that confuses me is that he just started to do this four months ago and before that anyone could hold and pet him. He also is urinating everywhere. Is this behavior because he is not neutered?

A. It is almost certainly because your dog is not neutered that he is showing this behavior. He has just reached sexual maturity and his testosterone levels are peaking. I would recommend that you have him neutered as soon as possible and then get him into a training class for small dogs so that you can help his stop the bad behavior. The longer he is allowed to keep being aggressive, the more difficult it will be to stop.

--Dr. Heidi Strand is a veterinarian for the East Bay SPCA in Dublin. She has lived in the Tri-Valley for 10 years with her family and an assortment of four-legged friends. Questions can be mailed to 315 Diablo Road, Suite 100, Danville 94526; or e-mailed to Her column runs every other week.