It is nail trim time at my house, and it’s not pretty.
I usually have help at nail trim time but this month I’m on my own, and the cats seem to know it. Manny the two-year-old was snoozing on my lap, Penny the deaf cat was crashed in the chair next to me, Jelly the Maine Coon was on her tower, and TJ the sook was cuddling with my foot. It was the perfect moment for a nail trim. The cat nail clippers are usually kept in a pencil cup in the living room for quick and easy access. I slowly leaned over to retrieve them, and Manny woke up. He watched as I picked up the clippers, his pupils getting huge. I went to turn him on my lap to start, and he rocketed off of me like his tail was on fire, leaving a pretty decent sized scratch on my thigh.
Ok, I’ll try a nail trim on a different cat. TJ was still hugging my foot, so I reached down for him. So far so good. I sat him back against me and pressed his paw to expose his nail. Between his long hair and my old eyes, I guess I took too long trying to line up the clippers, and the boy got tired of waiting. Have you ever been head-butted by a toddler? It’s a pretty similar experience when a 13-pound cat throws his head back into your nose. I found the sinus ice pack mask, then next cat.
Penny, the deaf cat, had slept through everything so far so I thought, “Hey, this should be easy.” I knew I would have to be quick, however, because she is a polydactyl with long hair. (Extra toes!) I grabbed my glasses and moved in.
A lot of people assume deaf cats are quiet. Yeah, not so much. Because she cannot hear, she has no volume control. When I reached out to pet her before taking a paw in my hand, I guess I disrupted a major dream because she let out a yowl that scared the dogs two counties over, not to mention Jelly who had been so peacefully sleeping on the tower. Jelly was now puffed up like a blowfish, and I had teeth marks in my hand.
I knew better than to disinfect my hand before attempting to trim another cat, as the alcohol smell would back them off. I stuck a tissue to the scratch on my leg, dabbed the puncture wounds on my hand, put the ice back on my nose and went looking for the other three cats.
Tank. Ok, now THIS one would be easy. Tank is my great big boy of 12 years who loves having his toes rubbed. Specifically, he loves you to rub between his toes. He sprawled out on the bed and held up each foot in succession; my biggest issue is the drool that was pooling on me from his absolute adoration of pedicures. My confidence boosted, I moved on.
Peanut, my quiet little girl, was walking up the hallway toward me. “Hey, little girl, can I trim your nails?” was met with a long stare, two blinks, and her turning around and walking steadily back down the hallway and straight under the bed. I guess that was a “no.”
I had one cat left, and so far my success rate was not exactly stellar. I peeled the tissue off my leg wound and took off my Lone Ranger mask ice pack. (That might have had something to do with Peanut’s response) Mooney May is my anxiety ridden cat that has her own room. I entered quickly and quietly.
Apparently so did Manny, TJ, and Penny, right behind me.
The melee that ensued took almost 10 minutes to sort out. Mooney climbed up my back to my shoulders; Manny tried to chase her up and slid down my arm, Penny was shouting MEOW in what I’m sure she thought was her inside voice, and TJ had once again been reunited with the love of his life, my left foot. I’m pretty sure I saw Jelly the pufferfish shoot by the door on her way under the bed with Peanut.
I got 1 out of 7 cats nail trim, which means I still have 108 toenails to go. Well, Penny has a few extra, so let’s say 110. Factoring in band-aide runs and clotting time, I think I should be done by Labor Day.
Tips for Nail Trim:
- HAVE SOMEONE HELP YOU. Having a second person to hold and give treats can make the process much, much easier!
- START AS YOUNG AS POSSIBLE. From the moment that kitty comes into your house, you should start rubbing its toes and clipping even just the tiniest tip off of the nail. If the sound of the clippers seem to startle them, try clipping uncooked spaghetti while holding the kitten. They will become used to the sound without the fear of being restricted.
- GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO SCRATCH ON. This just saves everything- your hands, your couch, your carpet, and it helps maintain the nail health.
- DON’T TRY AND DO THEM ALL AT ONCE. If kitty gets agitated, stop. You never want to push them to the point of panic.
- USE CLIPPERS THAT ARE SHARP AND EASY TO HANDLE. Everyone has a preference, find nail trimmers that are the easiest for you and give you the most control.
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