Another cat question: Nail Trimming (UPDATE)

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Marta608, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    After three slashed and bleeding fingers I told Sophie it was time we trimmed her nails. Since she was as alarmed as I was at my loud YOW! I thought she'd be agreeable. Long story short, she isn't.

    The nearest vet charges $18 - which admittedly may look very cheap as time passes - but sounds extreme considering that she'll need it at least twice a month. My vet (so to speak, she's really Sophie's vet) only charged $12. Not only are they in the next town over from me, they did this only a week and a half ago! Going there requires at least an hour of energy and as usual with CFS, energy is often as scarce as money.

    Inquiries to other cat-loving friends brought reassuring comments about "toweling" and "scruffing". With the toweling idea, IF I could get Sophie in a towel which I doubt, I cannot figure out how then to get to her paws nor how to avoid her teeth. Are there special towels with paw holes and masks for cats and, if so, how does one line up the paw and the hole and how does the cat breathe??

    As for scruffing, as best I can understand it that takes three hands and, not knowing I'd be the almost-owner of a difficult cat, I only came with two.

    Does anyone have another suggestion that doesn't include another person since I don't have one of those either?


    [This Message was Edited on 01/27/2007]
  2. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    When I want to trim Cleo, first it's suck up time: "Cleo, you want some treaties?"

    She comes running. I give her a couple, and then get her to sit still, trying not to really pet her rather than hold her there. She doesn't like to be touched. Then it's just a matter of patience and more bribes. Very slowly getting the paw where you can get to it, popping out her nail with the "knuckle-paw" squeeze and trimming one or two quickly. Then she gets mad so time for more bribes. And so on.

    The new kitten I talk to and pet while I'm doing it. She hates it and tries to get away but she won't bite and she's too weak to get away. But it still takes lots of time and patience because I hate to traumatize her.

    You could always get a big cardboard box, make a small hole in the side, put her in it and get her paw throught the hole and then do it. Then bribe her and move on to the next paw.

    I've found I usually only have to trim the front claws, the back ones keep trimmed from their activities. That helps alot.

    good luck,


  3. mrdad

    mrdad New Member

    Did I tell ya I moved and can't remember my new address?

    Hope this Pit Bull doesn't get much bigger for this new

    Apartment! (Oh, how's Sophie doing?)

    Your Porchie Buddy,
  4. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    If I ignore Joe's escape claws, all the rest of you have been most helpful. As for JoeDad, he can run but he can't hide.

    Diane, no PetSmart close by, darn it. I'll try groomers today. The thing is, with my other old indoor cats, I just sat them on my lap and trimmed their nails! None of us liked it but it got done. Of course, they came to live at my house when they were only 4 months old instead of 4 years - and they didn't bite as Sophie has been known to do.

    Darkwaters, I agree with you; declawing isn't really a good idea, especially for an adult cat. There MUST be an answer other than that.

    Karen, I like the bribing idea. After all, it often works with me! I've avoided giving Sophie people food but I'm desperate and she loves the smell of chicken. I'd have to figure out the logistics though. With all those hands busy, where do you keep the treat?? I spent sixteen years trimming back claws...... Sigh..... Live and learn.

    I still think an APB on Joe is the best answer. He could sell the pit bull or give it to his son.

    Thanks, everyone!


  5. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    Oh, just keep the bribes nearby, in smelling distance. They'll figure out pretty soon what they need to do to get some more. And Cleo has eaten chicken lots of times, just a little. I also just discovered that my cats like Science Diet food more than IAMS kitten chow, which I thought they loved. I put them out together and they'd finish the Science Diet and start meowing for more and begging without even touching the kitten chow. So I guess they know best what they need. Just FYI.

    Cleo used to eat with me on the bed and I'd giver her little pieces of chicken and at first, she used to try to run off with the drumstick bone. Of course, my brain fog and slow reflexes made it possible for her to get away more than once. Eventaully, she figured out she could get under the bed with it and that gaver her more time before I got the broom. One time, she did it and by the time I got to the bed, only 30 seconds, I heard the last crunching sounds and she had scarfed the whole bone down! I called the vet in a panic and he said not to worry, in all his years, he had never had a cat with a bone impaction so that was that.

    Eventually, she tired of chicken and didn't eat it for a long time but now she's been asking for it again so she gets some. And she'll do anything for her treaties. The Temptations treats are her favorite. And down here, it's cheaper for me to buy a whole bag of Whiskas cat food, separate out the Temptations from the rest of the food (they're part of the mix) and I end up with a whole bunch. Victoria gets the extra food for her dogs and I keep the treaties for bribes and such. Like when I need to leave the house, I don't like to leave the cats out. When I shake the bag, they come running. Otherwise, it's impossible to get them in. I've tried tons of different treaties and these are by far the ones Cleo likes the best.

    Maybe get some Temptations and get them in the habit of responding to the "shaking treaty bag", signifying that now it's time to be good and let mommy trim my nails. Once it's habit, no problem.

    good luck!

  6. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Well, I tried. I got the chicken ready. I got the clippers ready. I got me ready.

    Problem was all the bloody digs on my legs from the cat not being ready. With the chicken in smelling distance and a small piece under her very nose, she did NOT want to be held.

    I know it's not her fault but I must admit I'm frustrated.

  7. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    Sounds like it's going to be a trade off between trauma and injuries.

    You're going to have to do what darkwaters said. Wait until she's been asleep for awhile and do one, maybe two if you can get away with it, at a time. Then come back the next time she sleeps. It will be a slow start but eventually she'll be trimmed. So make it a daily ritual to get at least one.

    best wishes,

  8. mrdad

    mrdad New Member

    ---does this me that Iam now "uninvited to your Prom" in
    the Spring?

    OK then, send me the Kat!!!

  9. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    Imagine having half your finger cut off. They don't just remove the nail, or it would be able to grow back. I didn't know this and I had my first 3 cats declawed. Now I'm disgusted with myself and will never do it again.

    I have 2 cats now with their claws. The use their scratching post and I trim their front claws with nail clippers if they need it. There are things you can put around the house to discourage them from scratching. They are scratching to spread their scent. I used lemon oil on the curtains for awhile and that stopped it, they hate the smell. This worked really well around the house, there are other things but I can't remember. You could google for natural cat repellant.

    I didn't put the oil on the UGLY chairs, however, and, of course, they don't seem to be going after them all that hard. I was kind of hoping they'd tear them up really bad so I had a good excuse to get rid of them. No luck, yet! I may have to get another cat!

    best wishes,

  10. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    You all helped and this is what I did: I got out tiny pieces of chicken and put them nearby. I got the little clippers and me down on the carpeted floor and called Sophie - who didn't have far to come. I told her how WONDERFUL she was and how much it was going to help me if she let me trim her claws and what good treats I would give her..

    And then I sat on her.

    Well, not all my weight but she's definitely lower to the ground.

    After each snipped nail, I gave her a tiny piece of chicken on her very own napkin. We did this ... *sigh*... six times. The last time, remembering how JoeDad would do it, as a 2-fer. I did not do her dew claws (yet) nor am I touching her back claws since Karen said I didn't have to. I considered us very lucky to get done what we did. Sophie muttered and even growled some but she did not bite!

    Who Ray!!!

    And Joe, there is nothing that could prevent me from taking you to my prom. Of course you realize there will be three of us going this year.

  11. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    The vet did ask if I was planning on having her declawed (and I admit I did threaten Sophie with it after the holes she dug in my legs). They use laser surgery at that clinic which she claims is not as traumatic as other methods but, of course, still removes the first "knuckle" of their "fingers". She said she wouldn't kid me (well, I hope not!), it's still painful in spite of all the pain meds. There is especially true for an adult cat like Sophie who is at least four.

    As great a concern is that sometimes, due to the pain, they stop using their litter box because covering their waste often hurts their paws until their paws heal.

    That said, however, I do believe that if it meant the difference between a cat sitting abandoned at a shelter or being tossed out in the cold, I'd seriously consider declawing the front claws by a very reputable vet.

  12. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Oh, don't quit. It was just getting fun!

    You mean b.a.t.h.?? As in getting her w.e.t.? Um, never unless she should accidently slip and find herself immersed. If that happened, I would run like the dickens because she would be one mad cat.


  13. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    That was how my vet put it to me. I really don't mean to pass judgement, I did it, too. But I only did it because I thought it was the thing to do - I didn't even have a good reason. If I had known exactly what was going to happen, I would not have had it done.

    I am certainly not putting down anyone who feels they need to get their cat declawed, I was merely putting out my own thoughts about my own experience which, obviously, won't apply to everyone. So it was mostly aimed at people like me, who just have it done without thinking, or without a reason that would warrant maiming an animal.

    You're right, I'm sure the cat would rather live without claws than be put down.

  14. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Linda, Sophie loves - and uses! - a cardboard scratching box that I got at the pet store for about $7. You're suppose to be able to hang it over a door knob but she wasn't interested in that. When I put it flat on the floor and sprinkled it with the catnip that comes with the box, she loved it and scratches nowhere else. She even spends time sitting on the box as if it's her "place". You might want to try one. It's by Four Paws and called a Super Wide Catnip Scratching Post. I don't know where they get the "post" and Super Wide is only 9" x 20" and 2" deep but it works for many cats.

    Darkwaters, I suspect that link is funny so I'll go check it out as soon as I've had breakfast. And for the record, I am NOT planning on bathing Sophie. I may be crazy but I'm not nuts.

    Blueski31717, as I said above I think everyone has to do what's best for their cat and themselves. I love animals but I'm not a person who thinks animals are more important than people. Still, animals trust us so compassion is important. I think that if a cat can be trained to use a scratching post, it's better not to declaw. Neutering is necessary unless the owner plans to breed the animal.

    You need a hug? (((((())))))

  15. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    Hey, let's all start making funny videos and putting them on youtube so we can share them. And yeah, start with Sophie getting a bath!

    Then I'll do a "life with a chronic fatiguer" video starring my broken body, my husband and Victoria.

    I think the cfs video could be a big thing one day. May even get on Oprah!

  16. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    When I give Sophie a bath I shall be sure to video tape it for all of you.

    Meanwhile, don't hold your breath.


  17. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Linda, I'm glad you found a good source for the scratching thing AND I hope it works. I think cats use it more for the feel than what we want them to use it for - grinding down the nails. Use a lot of catnip on it, which should come with the box if it's like mine. I'll check out that website for sure. Thanks.

    Georgiac, it sounds like Georgia has a good Mommy too. Unfortunately, Sophie has no back fence but at the rate I'm going with the nails, I might get her a piece. Hey! Maybe not a bad idea! We could patent it. One old piece of board with a cute name and we're in business. Ah! An old square wooden post! "Scratching Post". Whaccha think?