I have the awesomest paws ever! I love to groom them and keep them pristine, especially the webby part between my toes, where litter and other things sometimes get stuck. There are a variety of scratching surfaces in my home — a couple of cat towers and a bunch of cardboard scratchers — and I use them to keep my claws in fine shape. I admire my paws often. But one thing I never, never tolerate is my paws being touched by human hands! My human is allowed to pick me up, pet me, even squeeze me or hold me upside down. But if she goes anywhere near my perfect paws, especially with those evil clippers, she gets a growl and a good whapping! In spite of making my paws-off rule absolutely clear, however, she persists. How can I make her stop once and for all?
Dear Slappy Sadie,
So no mani-pedis for you? Some kitties are like that. Personally, I enjoy having my claws trimmed, but my roommate Binga is like you, and fiercely protests having her paws messed with. When my human tries to clip her nails, you would think she is being horribly tortured! I know she isn’t… but what about you? Is your human using proper form with those clippers? And as a matter of fact, is she using the right kind of clippers? If she is doing it wrong, I can totally understand your extreme dislike for getting manicures. There are clippers made especially for a cat’s claws, and the best way to do the trimming for most of us cats is for the human to get behind us and then reach for our front paws — it’s less threatening that way. Then she should hold one paw and gently press on it so that the claws are extended before trying to trim them. Your human also needs to watch out for the quick — the pink vein that can be seen running from the base halfway up the nail. (It may be a little harder to see in kitties who have black claws.) She needs to be careful not to cut into that because it hurts and it will bleed. Supposedly your human should have a styptic pencil or powder on hand in case this happens, but in all my human’s years of claw trimming, she has only nicked the quick once — on me! — and it was not enough to make me bleed.
Of course, your human could be doing everything perfectly and you might still loathe it. In fact, I wonder if this is true in your case, since you mentioned hating anyone even touching your paws. Keep in mind that for your paws to be perfectly groomed, you do have to keep an eye on your claws — they could become overgrown and actually start curling around and turning back into the paw pad, and that is very painful! My human usually catches Binga for a nail trim when she is sleepy and is less likely to protest, and I know some other humans with cats like you wind up taking them to the vet to have their nails trimmed! So maybe you want to rethink the paw touching thing. I would much rather have a home manicure than get dragged off to the vet and be at the mercy of strangers.