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My arms...her claws...my sanity...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
When I first got my cat I decided to "do the right thing" and leave her claws well enough alone. It wasn't a problem when she was a few months old, as I could just catch her at a sleepy moment and clip the sharp ones down a bit. Never hurt her once as far as I could tell. Then as she grew older she became less tolerant of having her claws trimmed. And less, and less, and less, until we come to tonight (seven months later) as I sit here with both arms stinging from having been scraped up by our last encounter. Those claws are still needle sharp because I couldn't get a single one. Even with another person helping me, she starts yowling and clawing and biting just about as hard as she can to the point that it's impossible to get anything done. I don't even want to know what would happen if I tried to attach softpaws.

Her other misgivings can be let go, but these claws have to be dulled. And I have no idea what to do that won't make her hate me more than she already seems to. Suggestions?
post #2 of 19
Some people pick up a sedative (acepromazine) from their vet to calm the cat before nail clipping (or grooming, bathing, travel, vet appointments, etc.)
post #3 of 19
Giving a sedative every couple of weeks for nail trimming may be a bit risky. What if there's ever a complication? You could try talking to you vet and asking them to sedate the cat, trim the claws and attach softpaws for you. This way if the cat has a reaction there's someone there that can provide emergency treatment.
post #4 of 19
There is a special device you can use if your cat is out of control when you trim their claws. They have sensitive pads, and if you handle them incorrectly, you can just set them off.

The website is www.klaw-kontrol.com
post #5 of 19
oh wow that is cool! wish they had one for dogs
post #6 of 19
100% nylon, Poe would rip it to shreds in a matter of minutes unfortunately. It sounds silly but something like that really needs to be made out of Kevlar, but then it'd be way too expensive for anyone to afford it. hehe.
post #7 of 19
Where did you get your cat? If a shelter, sometimes they'll do it for you if you bring the cat in. (ours does)
post #8 of 19
No offsense at all meant, but I think the Klaw Kontrol thing is a bit silly. It's a duffle bag with holes cut in it. I do understand how it would help keep you from getting scratched, but you could still get bitten AND I know my guy would be so freaked out from being in it that it would make the situation much worse. Also, what prevents them from just pulling their paws inside so you can't get to them? When clipping I think their instinct is to pull away, so I could see myself digging into the "zipper holes" to find a paw only to end up with worse scratches - cause I can't see them coming!

If you have to control that cat, just use a towel. LOL
post #9 of 19
I admit I'm a bit baffled. Usually if their claws are cut on a regular basis from kittenhood, they get more tolerant over time. Our cats certainly don't like their claws cut, but they don't fight like that. We often touch and caress their paws to keep them used to having their paws handled.

Also, it is much easier to try to cut one or 2 at a time when kitty is sleeping/not quite awake. You may only get one or 2 at a time, but you can get them all.

The other thing I wonder is if maybe kitty is more frightened by having 2 people try to hold him rather than you just tucking him with his back into your tummy and hold him under the front paws with your left (right) hand while clipping with your right (left) hand.

I also don't let them jump right down right after clipping. I hold them, talk gently to them, kiss their head and tell them how good they were, then let them down gently.
post #10 of 19
Have you ever heard of clicker training? www.clickertraining.com has articles and books that explain how it works.

If you can tolerate leaving her claws long for a little while, you can start again at the beginning and try to make the claw clipping a positive experience for her - clicker training is a great way to do that.

This page http://www.clickertraining.com/community
has some groups that cover cat clicker training issues.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I admit I'm a bit baffled. Usually if their claws are cut on a regular basis from kittenhood, they get more tolerant over time. Our cats certainly don't like their claws cut, but they don't fight like that. We often touch and caress their paws to keep them used to having their paws handled.
That's what has me confused, too. My experience doesn't really jibe with anything I have read on the board. As with everything else, it has to be assumed that her behavior somehow relates back to me, I just can't figure out what. All kidding aside, could it be that she senses that I expect trouble and just gives it to me?

I don't think the strait jacket thing would really help. It would take her five seconds to figure out that it's something bad.

My mother used clicker training for her dog. It seemed to work until she quit keeping up with it, and now he makes my kitty look like an angel. Maybe worth doing some research.
post #12 of 19
Try wrapping her in a towel and only doing one paw a nite till they are all done. That is why I never trim claws on cats when asleep - I train them right from the start to lay on their backs in my lap fully awake and hold them and trim nails.

Yes most of the cats protest the entire time, complain I'm killing them, etc. however, I clip the nails and then after its over give them lots of kitty hugs. They might hate me for 5 mins but who cares

You need to check and clip nails once a week. Do the front first.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by brick View Post
That's what has me confused, too. My experience doesn't really jibe with anything I have read on the board. As with everything else, it has to be assumed that her behavior somehow relates back to me, I just can't figure out what. All kidding aside, could it be that she senses that I expect trouble and just gives it to me?
Is it possible you perhaps cut too deeply one time and it hurt her? Heavens it is so hard to know with these kitties. I sure wish they could talk to us in English.

I actually think the straight-jacket thing would freak them out more (just my humble opinion).
post #14 of 19
I started trimming Zissou's as a kitten, and then she suddenly decided she hated it, then I accidentally cut too far down on one and she hated it even more. She would growl and bite and cry and wriggle. I tried a towel, but then she hated me too.

I guess it was just a phase, though, because now she again doesn't mind it. I just do it very slowly, one paw at a time (the back isn't really necessary unless they're really into rabbit kicking, since they don't get sharp and grow very slow) and coo at her and give her scritches and treats. Classical conditioning and all.

I agree with the general idea of leaving the cat alone awhile, and starting over slowly from scratch. Else have the vet do it.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the responses and support! At least now I don't feel like this is completely unheard of, even if still a bit strange. Guess the only thing to do is try again and carefully keep at her, hoping she'll calm down about the whole thing. She keeps getting claws caught in fabric and carpet when she's playing, so there's no question that it's best for both of us in the long run. I think I will change tactics, and quit trying to sneak up on her while she's comfy.
post #16 of 19
Hhmm, very difficult situation. The only thing that I can think of, is it possible that in the past when you cut his nails, you cut a bit too close or accidentally clipped the vein?

Cutting their nails too close will definitely cause sensitivity and they will remember that for a long time.

I once brought my kitty in to the vet and they clipped his claws without my permission. It was several months before he would let me near his paws.

Personally, I prefer when they are sleeping or very very relaxed. When he is sleeping or anytime you pet him, start touching, feeling his paws a part of the routine, to the point where he will become quite comfortable with you touching his paws once again. In time, that may help.

However, he may never like to have his nails trimmed, so you're going to have to try one at a time. I.E. cut one nail and try another later.

I personally don't like restraining the kitties in any way, it just makes them freak out more, but the towelling technique might work for you.

Hope this helps!
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorina View Post
Some people pick up a sedative (acepromazine) from their vet to calm the cat before nail clipping (or grooming, bathing, travel, vet appointments, etc.)
I tried that with Ferris, and it totally did NOT work. He still panicked and yanked his paws away.

EDIT: I am, however, pleased to announce that as he was coming out of a nap this weekend, I managed to get ONE pinky'toe claw clipped. The piece I cut was almost 1/4 inch long and SHARP!

Now...if I can just get the same claw on the other front paw...
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
I tried that with Ferris, and it totally did NOT work. He still panicked and yanked his paws away.

EDIT: I am, however, pleased to announce that as he was coming out of a nap this weekend, I managed to get ONE pinky'toe claw clipped. The piece I cut was almost 1/4 inch long and SHARP!

Now...if I can just get the same claw on the other front paw...
WOOT! Just keep on being patient, it will probably take a long time, a VERY long time, maybe 3 - four months, but once you build up that trust it will get better and better. Your kitty just needs extra time to know that he can trust you, that you won't hurt him.

Just be sure of yourself when you do it. At the beginning, I was so scared of cutting the vein that it used to take me FOREVER to get my aim (and I use the guillotine type scissors), now I just go for the very tip.

Also you will find that you don't have to trim the back claws as frequently as the front ones.

Keep us posted!

Shanynne
Extreme Kitty Lover
post #19 of 19
As others have said, for a small fee you can get her nails clipped and/or soft claws applied by your vet or local groomer. I would call around. Find a reputable one. They'll know how to deal with her properly without anyone getting hurt. Please keep us posted!
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