Cat 1, human way less than zero

Friday, September 7, 2012

In May, after younger son moved from Ireland to the Seattle area, we made the trip to see his new surroundings. One highlight of the visit was an excursion to the Humane Society of Seattle's animal adoption center. As a result, younger son is the obedient servant of a large striped tomcat.

The cat has a big reserve of affection. It enjoys playing with the many toys our son has provided. To make sure the indoor cat gets plenty of exercise, younger son hired the daughter of a friend to make daily visits. There were just two rules:

Don't hit the cat.

Don't let the cat lie down.

As a result, when younger son gets home from work the cat has used up a lot of its energy and is ready to be a loving companion.

The cats claws grew long and sharp over the last few months. Here is the actual after-the-fact email we received. The subject line was "Do not try this at home." Read it and weep. Or laugh, like I did. Here goes:

I had a learning experience this last Sunday. I have learned many things in my life. Such as never, ever make fun of your girlfriend's dress, no matter how solid you think your relationship is. Or if you need storm windows fitted, pay someone to do it. It's just not worth the aggravation.

So you would think I would have known better.

It started last week, when Cat was lying next to me and I noticed I was being poked by his claws. His claws weren't out. They were just sticking out. It appears Cat has enormous claws. As the week went by, I noticed that every time we played, his paws would get hung up on the carpet or bedding because his claws were so long.

I also noticed that he couldn't use his scratching post without pulling it over. The final straw was that he wanted to scratch his face and ears but couldn't because his claws were sticking out.

So I checked with my cleaning lady to see if she could take the cat to get his nails clipped. I then called to make an appointment to have the cat's nails clipped. In total, this little venture was going to cost me $100. So I looked online for information on clipping a cats claws.

I found several articles explaining how easy this task was, and I even found a YouTube clip showing a happy, purring cat having its claws clipped (clearly CGI in retrospect).

So while I was out getting my groceries on Sunday, I bought a cat claw clipper for $5. After Cat had his afternoon treat and was lazing away on the bed in a sunbeam, I chose to act.

I laid out a towel and put Cat on it. Very happy at this point. Petted him until he went back to sleep. Still happy. I then pinched his back left foot to expose the claws and gently pressed down with the clipper.

Not happy.

At all.

Between this second and the next, time stops and Cat freaks out. One second later, I have several bleeding cuts on my hands and the cat is underneath the middle of the bed hissing (which he has never ever done before).

One claw down. Several more to go.

Please remember. This is a big cat. He is not easy to subdue with any amount of force. I spend the next 35 minutes wrestling the cat and clipping its nails.

Net result: I have 29 deep lacerations across my hands, arms and chest. My towel and bedspread are covered in blood (mine). I am sitting against the wall of my bedroom panting and applying pressure to numerous wounds. Cat is under my bed glaring at me, hissing and licking his paws.

Life lesson learned: Pay the $100 to have the cat's claws clipped.

Later that evening, Cat was happily scratching away at his post. He spent the night sphynxed at the bottom corner of my bed glaring at me. Just to teach me a further lesson.

No other news. Hope you get rain from the tropical storm.

Another email a few days later reported that Cat is as happy and playful as ever.

How many times have you or I tackled a job we had no business trying to do? Live and learn.

By the way, the reference to storm windows was a reminder of one of my biggest home-improvement projects ever when the boys were young. That's when they learned to speak Anglo-Saxon.


Yes, live and learn.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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