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How do you deal with very aggressive behavior while clipping?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Stats on the cat:

11 Year Old
Egyptian Mau mix
Recently adopted (in October), then moved across country
Lives with 3 people and one other cat (her 7 year old daughter)

Okay, so this should explain a little bit more: I adopted these two cats from a friend. Both can be very loving at times, but obviously the younger of the two has dealt with the stress better. She is always with the family, always purring, always meowing, playing, etc. She's slept on the bed with me since I adopted them both. Bottom line - she's doing great!

HOWEVER - the older gal had a hard time dealing with all of the changes. Part of the reason her previous owner adopted her out is because she is a stressed out kitty as it is - he owns a ton of animals, and the other ones being around seemed to get to her. She would eat too much food too fast and end up spitting up all the time. He wanted her to have a happier, less stressed life as a senior. She can have that with me, she lives in a big house now, no other animals except her daughter. They get along most of the time - sometimes they play, sometimes Mama will let little one know she's had enough fun and whack her. It was only after the cross country move that she started to come out of her shell with me though. Now she'll sit in bed with me while I'm reading, and she likes to get pets. She has some odd aggressive behaviors though. Sometimes with no warning at all - she will lash out, bite and scratch and hiss simultaneously. I usually just regard this behavior with leaving her alone until she comes out and deliberately "asks" for pets. She seems to adore being brushed.

Newest situation though - young one will let me clip her nails without a question. Mama cat will NOT let me even try. The last time she had her nails clipped was at the vet two months ago. I wouldn't even bother but her nails seem unnaturally long and they are starting to grab onto things. She has a lot of scratching posts that she does use, but still the nails seem too long. Yesterday I tried and failed yet again at clipping her. I decided to have some help with it - I tried to hold her still while another person clipped. She actually BARKED. She was growling, screaming, hissing, and digging into anything with her back claws. She lashed out somewhat dangerously - trying to bite and claw, etc. I'm not sure what do with her - Any ideas on how to get this done without giving her more stress and giving me more punctures?

I read the "towel" theory - any other tips will be greatly appreciated too!

post #2 of 12
I'm not sure, as I'm guilty of not clipping very often. I did want to let you know that I have a cat that barks too. I understand completely!!

The towel method has worked for my squirmers but not sure about an agressive one. I'm sure others will have some advice for you.
post #3 of 12
Okay, well I don't have a cat quite that aggressive but I have two suggestions:

1) Is there a groomers or a vet nearby that you can take her to? Our puppy wriggles too much, plus her nails are black so I will not clip them... I'd rather pay than risk hurting her.

2) You can try to slowly get her used to it. Maybe just hold her for a little bit with the clippers in your hand. Let her smell the clippers. Hold the clippers to her nail to let her feel it. Give her a treat. Maybe clip one... give her a treat. See if by taking it very slowly and doing this daily she'll eventually get used to it?

Good luck either way!
post #4 of 12
I'm a wuss when it comes to howling/hissing/biting during nail trimming time. I defer to them, but haul 'em to the vet for a nail trim. It's too stressful on me and them. I'll gladly pay the $$ to take them in.

With my older cat who's declawed on the front, I can't even touch her paws. Wrapping her in a towel traumatizes her and scares her to death, so it's just so much more peaceful to take her to the vet.

My younger kitty bites. It usually takes DH & I both to get her nails clipped. ANd it takes us a couple of days to do it.

post #5 of 12
I was just washing my babies' paws today. They really had a fit over it so I decided to burrito wrap them just so I can get all fours cleaned. It worked so I'd imagine it should work with clipping. I've never had much problem clipping their nails. Have you tried doing it while your cat is asleep or barely waking up? I heard some people said putting a dab of pure vanilla extract under te chin helps calm the cat. Never tried it.
post #6 of 12
My cats are all pretty good for it, except the older boys. But I can still do it on my own.

Though some of the cats at the rescue, it can be up to a 3 person job.
Some people have said I was mean for doing this, but I don't think it was mean, and it needs to be done for peoples safety anyway. And paying $15 a cat at the vets is not an option, we don't have enough money for food, let alone grooming.
I have someone either hold the head in a towel, or hold the scruff in one hand, and a towel in the other infront of the cats face, incase he wants to bite. then someone else is holding his back legs and I work on the front ones. Though very rarely do I come across a cat that is this bad.
Most I can sit on my lap and hold the back legs down under my one leg, and hold the front legs in one hand, while clipping with the other.

Maybe doing one claw a day would work.. it's not long enough to stress her, but it happening everyday may make her more used to the idea of it.

All my cats have had their nails trimmed since they were kittens, except Nacho and Orion. And they are the only ones I have problems with. Sometimes I just need to do their claws over 2 or 3 days.
post #7 of 12
Ok try this. Wrap her in a thick towel (do back feet first so you don't get hurt with the "rabbit kicking"). Use two people. one will hold, one will clip one foot at a time.

Secure the towel tight around her body and then grab the back of her scruff (neck) and hold her still like that. Most cats sorta "freeze" when the scruff is held. I've had to do that with some cats when being washed - and they just freeze in place and you can wash them/rinse them.

I would do one foot a day to start and see what happens.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help guys! We're working on it, will let you know how it all pans out.
post #9 of 12
I use what must be a rather strange method to clip my cats' claws. It seems that they are actually a lot more calm if i do it by myself than if i get my husband to help hold them. I get them to lie down on the floor and i kneel with my legs on either side of them, and my feet crossed in the back so they can't back out of my hold. I pet them a little and talk to them until they calm down. Then i clip each claw on the front legs. They are usually fairly accepting of this, and i play with their paws a lot so they are used to me extending their claws. Then i roll them onto each side in turn to check the rear claws, but those claws are often fairly dull and if they are, i just skip them. I use the same position if they need to be pilled - it works well for me.

By the way, scratching posts don't dull the claws or shorten them. The scratching action removes the old dull sheaths from the claw, revealing new sharp sheaths underneath. You've probably found the old sheaths in the debris near the scratching post.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Again, thanks. I have seen the old claw sheaths everywhere! I think I'm going to try a mixture of all the suggestions so far. For right now, I'm just trying to get her used to the idea of me holding her paw. It's going slowly, but it's going!
post #11 of 12
Marcie doesn't like getting her claws clipped. She yowls, puts her ears back, bites (not hard), claws...etc. I clip her after I get home from work and I am wearing my double knee heavy weigh carhartts and a thinck sweatshirt. I sit down crosslegged on the floor and hold her in my arms like a little baby. She throws her tantrum and I don't feel a thing and we are all happier after we are done with the clipping.
post #12 of 12
We do it while the cats are asleep. They'll open their eyes, but they're usually too comfortable to move.
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