Paws, Claws and Gauze

Pussycat Pedicure

Chester is a bona-fide scaredy cat. “Run away” should be his motto. He has scared himself chasing his own tail. Strangers, their pets, loud noises, the anticipation of danger; you name it and Chester will always default to the first option of “flight or fight.” That’s a good thing, because Chester has a great set of claws.

Chester isn’t a mean cat. He doesn’t hiss, flash his fangs or show off his feline talons when scared. He uses his claws on his scratching post, which he’s destroyed, and kneading the family room rug, that so far has survived. By the way, he did get a new scratching post for Christmas and loves it.

The only time he’s gotten me with his nails is when we play the curtain game. He hides in the family room behind the sliding door drapes while I poke at him. He’ll shove his paws, sometimes with claws extended, under the fabric trying to get me. He’s succeeded a couple of times drawing blood. That’s on me, not him. I knew the possibility of feeling like a caught mouse playing this game and I have a greater sympathy for rodents who are snared by those razor-sharp instruments.

Having said all that, there are moments where we remove the flight option for Chester and that’s going to the vet. The main reason we take him there is to get those nails trimmed, something he won’t allow us to do so under any circumstance.

The key to successfully accomplish getting Chester a pussycat pedicure, is to place him in the cat carrier which is made of hardened plastic, a carrying handle and a metal gated door. The concept is simple, pick up said cat and gently place him in the carrier. In a perfect world, Chester would do this willingly and there would be no fatalities. We don’t live in a perfect world.

Usually my wife, Genifer, and youngest daughter, Lily, will handle the operation. Despite their expertise in this area, Chester can sense that something is amiss and he goes on heightened alert. Thus begins the psychological battle between human and cat.

The initial part of Mission Pedicure is to distract Chester while Genifer brings the cat carrier from the basement to the first floor bathroom, which are opposite each other in the hallway. Once the container is in the powder room, Genifer closes the door so Chester can’t see it. Part II is to ease the skittishness in Chester by playing with him, talking calmly or simply ignoring the cat. Eventually he’ll feel more at ease and join them in the room they’re in. Part III is to walk over and slowly pick him up. Part IV is to walk him to the bathroom and place him in the cat carrier. That’s the plan anyway.


“It’s not the claws of the cat that bothers me. Rather, it’s the fact that I gave him a reason to use them.”

Craig D. Lounsbrough

Chester’s sixth sense kicks in between Parts III and IV. No fool, the tabby quickly figures out what’s going on. That’s when the fur flies and sometimes human blood is spilled. For a small animal, Chester exhibits the strength of a tiger. Lily has to do her best not to let go of the thrashing cat at the same time she’s trying to avoid needing a withdrawal from the county blood bank.

Imagine you’re deep-sea fishing, you catch a great white shark and you get it to your boat. Now you have to remove the hook from your newest 2,000-pound lashing best friend who comes equipped with rows of razor-sharp teeth. That’s what it’s like to get Chester in his crate. Have fun.

Once secured, the rest is easy. The cat meows a sad song, is placed in the car and driven to the vet. Once there Chester gets his nails clipped. How they do that, none of us know. When Genifer asks how the procedure went, they always say he was no problem. What!?

When Chester gets home, he’s released and rewarded with treats. A month or so later, rinse and repeat.

Chester returns home from his beauty treatment and is not happy. But check out those paws, ooh-la-la!

Now you might be asking yourself, “hey dude, how come you let your daughter and not you, get lacerated trying to put that wild cat into the crate?” My answer – one: at this moment, it’s her cat, not ours and two: wisdom.

Today I got the opportunity to be a part of the roundup since Lily was at work. So much for wisdom.

The first thing Genifer said to me was change out of the nice sweater and shirt I was wearing because Chester might tear them apart. That made me feel better. I asked her if I should wear gloves. She said no because it would tip the tabby off. I put on an old sweatshirt and we went through the same routine as noted above. When it was time for me to pick up Chester, I put him over my shoulder like I usually do when I hold him. He was fine until I started walking towards the bathroom. I could feel his muscles tighten and I was praying he’d keep his nails from extending in both his paws and legs while avoiding becoming shredded cheese.

I got him in the bathroom and the cat carrier, which was standing on its end with the open gate facing the ceiling. I asked Genifer which way I should but Chester in. She said head first. In a lightning-fast move, I dropped Chester as instructed into the container, except I wasn’t supposed to “drop” him, but “place” him inside. As soon as the cat was secured, Genifer scolded me for my assisting gravity to deliver Chester into his holding pen. I nodded my understanding of what she said, but inside I was glad I had avoided a need for several rolls of gauze.

As usual, Chester made his sad meow sounds, went to the vet, got his pedicure and came home for his treats.

It only took a day for me to be in Chester’s good graces again.

False Narrative

I remember holding Chester the first and only time Genifer attempted to clip his nails. It lasted 10 seconds max as he struggled to get out of my arms and went into flight mode, disappearing somewhere in the house.

I wondered how other people are able by themselves to get their cats nails snipped, so I went to the internet for answers.

What I saw were explanations with photos of how to trim cat cuticles and I was skeptical. After what we’ve experienced in our home, I can only conclude I was reading fiction. It might as well have been written under the guise of fantasy because what they said and what was happening in real life were completely different.

What was more irritating were the photos.

The images always showed smiling cat owners clipping the nails of their compliant pets. This was not a representation of reality. I firmly believe the pictured felines were either tranquilized with enough drugs to put down an elephant, or were worked on by a taxidermist.

And I thought social media was bad.

No one is this happy clipping a cat’s claws. This animal must be drugged or dead, no other explanations.

Now that I’m a pro at corralling an unwilling cat for his pedicure, I have just a few suggestions to help you when you try to do the same.

  • Wear a suit of armor. Assuming you don’t have one in your closet, you can buy it on Amazon for $800. This will protect you, but might scare your cat to death.
  • If you do scare your cat to death because you wore a suit of armor, you can bring your feline to the taxidermist and never worry again about getting mauled while clipping pussy cat’s claws. You can tell the animal stuffer what pose you’d like kitty in to best accomplish faux nail clippings. Bonus, you can also take pictures of yourself smiling while trimming your dead docile cat’s cuticles. These photos will be used for delusional articles on how to give your feline a pedicure.
  • If you have the ceiling space, buy a two-seat helicopter and a high-powered tranquilizer gun. This will allow you to get a good angled shot to sedate your cat before “placing” him in the cat carrier. Your choice if you want to fly or shoot, but you’ll need a partner for whatever aspect of this you’re not doing. It’s an excellent spousal bonding exercise. P.S. – don’t be one of those neighbors who likes to show off their wealth. Something simple like a Curti Zefhir is all you need, not a Bell AH-1 Cobra with missile launchers and a 20mm cannon. The idea is to humanly calm your cat down, not obliterate it.
Using a tranquilizer gun from a helicopter is an effective way to sedate your cat before clipping its nails. This photo is a representation of how that might look. Of course, it’s silly to think you’d have elephants in your home.
  • Just let them grow. Your cat’s nails could become so long, they might lead to your pet turning into a YouTube influencer hawking cosmetic products. Wouldn’t you want your little friend to be the next Jeffree Starr, pulling in millions of dollars? Let me answer that. Yes!

The above suggestions are a public service of The Chester Chronicles. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Consult your veterinarian first. Furthermore, any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of these suggestions, without the express written consent of The Chester Chronicles is prohibited.

You’re welcome.

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