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Thread: kitty conundrum

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    kitty conundrum

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    I figure I'm pretty cat-savvy, but I'm becoming a bit flustered at not being able to help this situation.

    It's a bit superficial, but I got a new leather couch. My cats are fine, but my mother's cat, which I've inherited, has razor-sharp claws and he's scratching it all up. It's not even 4 months old and it looks about 4 years old from all the scratches (he's not purposely scratching it, but rather uses it as a launching pad when he's gone kitty-crazy).

    I clip my cats' claws no problem, but this cat is SUPER skittish and the one time I did manage to hold him down, he went as one would say "ape poo". I was afraid he was going to tear my eyes out. And it's mostly his hind claws that are doing the damage, and I'll NEVER be able to hold him down to do his back claws.

    I won't be able to put those soft claws thing over it for the same reason. I can't afford to keep taking him to the vet to have them clipped, and besides, he'll get even more skittish if I have to put him into the kitty cargo to the vet (it took him months just to let me touch him without him jumping).

    I've tried putting towels over the couch, but they just slip off and really, a claw goes right through the towel. Double sided tape? I think that'll damage the leather. I'm really not sure what else I can possibly do other than admit defeat and have my $2600 couch destroyed in a year.

    I would love to re-home him (he's not MY cat, and my mother won't take him back because she's not in the country all the time), but I doubt anyone will take him.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2010
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    Have you tried an actual couch cover? We ended up having to buy one at Bed Bath and Beyond (well that's where we found one that would work for our couch). Ours is not leather and most definitely not new. I inherited our couch when my grandparents (mom's parents) both passed away. Our issue was more the cats catching their claws on the material (it's a looser material). The cover has helped tremendously for us. On the other hand this couch is at least 30 years old, possibly older.

  3. #3
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    Maybe the vet can prescribe something that will sedate the cat while you clip the nails? What a pain!

  4. #4
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    Oct 2010
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    My daughter has her boyfriend wrap their kitty in a towel. Then, while her boyfriend holds the wrapped kitty, my daughter exposes one paw at a time and trims the nails. It's a two person job but no one gets hurt, including the cat.
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  5. #5
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    Not a quick fix, but if you are in it for the long term with him, every day I would try to touch and handle his paws. Not for long, just a few seconds and maybe just one foot or two at a time. Desensitize him... Give him a treat or something he likes as you touch his paws or immediately after. It will over time work. When you trim his nails, don't worry about getting them all. Do one or two, and do another one or two the next day.

    I have one cat that was a feral, and she has progressed from not being able to be handled at all, safely, to I can trim nails on two paws before she freaks. Two paws today, two paws tomorrow. She'll also do high fives for treats now!
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  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    I second the towel idea. We used to breed cats & a swaddled cat is a good cat! Seriously - make sure the towel is a full-size one. You just put it over the cat at shoulder level & pick the cat up, wrapping the towel tightly around it's chest. It won't be terribly amused. One person holds cat & towell & the other person clips claws. The big towel is essential as the weight & size of it drapes over the legs you aren't working on & prevents them opening up your arteries.

    Also the waterpistol of god can be useful in training. Hide behind a newspaper & wait until the cat starts - then squirt it quickly & go back to reading behind the paper. Hopefully the cat will think that an all-seeing god has done it & not you. You need to be fast & accurate . . .

  7. #7
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    Feb 2007
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    Can you find a friend to help you? When we first got Hank (who recently died) the person holding the cat wore welding gloves and got a good grip on him, letting only one paw be exposed. The clipper grabbed that paw and clipped, and the process repeated until all four were done. It was not easy, but we too have leather furniture and didn't want it ruined. Over time, it did get easier, though for the six years we had him (we got him full grown; he was a stray who had been living on the streets) it was never easy and he never liked it. You have to watch out for their teeth too, but with two people it CAN be done. See if you can bribe a friend.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger View Post
    I would love to re-home him (he's not MY cat, and my mother won't take him back because she's not in the country all the time), but I doubt anyone will take him.
    From a neutral observer....

    It sort of sounds like mom needs to be part of the solution. If she committed to care for the cat and then deposited him with you, she should be able to help you deal with his issues. That would include helping with the nails (or helping pay for someone to help with them). Perhaps a vet tech could come to your home to help? Lots of petsitters will come and help also (and they may be less expensive than the vet).
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  9. #9
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    i have a cat like your cat.
    first the nails.
    With Nutmeg, I started by doing front nails. back nails were so much harder. but she LOVES dessicated chicken, so she gets a treat whenever I do her nails.
    Now she is 3 years old and she is PERFECT when i do her front nails. We still have a little song and dance with the back nails, but I no longer think one of us is going to get hurt and when we're done, she doesn't run away. She waits for her treat. It CAN be done.
    It sounds like the leather sofa is very convenient for a launch site. Would you consider moving stuff around so that the couch is no longer the prime launch off area?
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  10. #10
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    I have a semi feral cat who absolutely refuses to let us to trim her claws. She is polydactyl and HAS to have her claws trimmed because one of the extra claws curls into her "palm". We take her to the vet for a pedicure once a month or so. For some reason she'll tolerate having a stranger do it. It's twelve bucks, but that's a lot cheaper than antibiotics for us after she bites us. In your case, it might be cheaper than a new leather sofa.

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  11. #11
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    Apr 2008
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    +1 on treats.
    Start small: give a treat after touching the cat's paws. Then the next step might be to touch the claw with a clipper before the treat.

    I would gradually increase the duration of paw/claw touching and then nip one claw before the treat.

    Find out the treat that this cat likes best and provide that ONLY at manicure time.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    thanks, everyone!

    all suggestions are good. I suppose a water gun *may* work, though I doubt it'll do anything while I'm away. He has this horrible thing where he would scratch at the bedroom door and meow ever so annoyingly after my alarm goes off. I've been throwing bottle caps at the door, and he's stopped scratching, though he still meows.

    I can do the towel, but I'm just afraid it'll work only once. As soon as he sees the towel the next time I'm sure he'll run and hide. I guess my only choice really is to try and desensitize him over time by touching his paws. *sigh*

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    8
    Rub fish oil on his paw pads every couple of days? Doubt there will be any left-over for him to spread around the house. Then do it and try to clip one or two nail. Gradually work up.

    I think cats are supposed to dislike moth-balls. You could set bowls of them around the couch. And there is this thing called a 'tattle tale' that you can put on your furniture. It's motion-sensitive, and emits a loud shriek when disturbed. Maybe get two or three.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    152
    Too bad I don't live close to you...I would do it for you for free!! I used to do vet tech, and worked at a Cat-only hospital, so I've gotten my fair share of feral cats.

    As for your couch situation - I would get rid of the couch (sell it of course), and use the money for a vet tech to come over and clip nails.

    If you have an established relationship at the vet hospital, you can ask one of the vet techs that you feel comfortable with and see if she will be willing to come to your house and have a little extra money on the side. Make her cookies, bake a pie, a small candle, etc as well. Explain the situation to your vet that it's more hassle than it's worth just to clip the nails.

    Lastly, if you are able to get the nails clipped after all of this happens, of course it'll grow back quickly, so what should you do in the meantime - put foil on the couch. Cats HATE the foil, and will not jump on there. It scares them (the noise). No mess.

    Second to last - if this cat is very skittish, you can give it some calming stuff. Feliway diffuser is good, effective, so is catnip. :-)

    best of luck!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    someone suggested those survival blankets -the ones that look like foil. I might give that a whirl by getting a few of them.

    What I'm actually afraid of is that the sound of the foil would make him bolt, thereby putting in another scratch/gouge on the leather. *sigh* I think I may just have to admit that my couch is going to have a very short lifespan.

    The funny thing about feliway is that I used that quite a bit when he first came here and now assosicates the sound of a spray as something to be afraid of?!

 

 

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