Kitty’s New Bling


If we have one area of dissatisfaction with our cat, it would be that we were never able to train Darwin to not sharpen her claws on the furniture. As a kitten, she would attack any piece of furniture while studiously ignoring all of the many alternatives that we provided.

Finally Emily and I decided that we would cede a wicker basket and Emily’s old chair to the cat and we would enthusiastically defend the new couches and ottoman with a spray bottle. Darwin was happy to destroy the proffered gifts but chose to consider the spray bottle as a new and exciting game – watching us as she mangled the furniture until we reached for the spray bottle, at which point she would sprint off, with her tail held high giggling all the way. (I just know she was giggling, okay?)

With our upcoming move to a new apartment, Emily and I are considering adding to our furniture collection. The problem that we found was that nothing we liked (leather, loose weave fabrics) would stand up to the cat for very long. Our hearts were heavy as we considered having to leave her in a park (OH COME ON! You actually believe that???). We didn’t know what to do.

I had heard of softpaws in the past but they seemed so dumb, like just another ridiculous excuse for ridiculous people to accessorize their pets. Finally in a fit of desperation (after finding the perfect sofa), I decided to bite the bullet and order a pack. They came in yesterday. Essentially, they’re simply a pack of vinyl plastic booties for her claws and a bottle of super glue. The theory is that we glue them to the cat’s claws and she eventually gives up trying to rip them off, makes her peace with being essentially de-clawed, and we all live happily ever after.

Applying the softpaws was surprisingly easy. I was understandably eager to try them out when I got home, but past nail-clipping experience told me to bide my time with the cat and wait until she had calmed down (we have this whole kitty-loving routine when I get home that she has to complete before she settles down for the night). Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and tore open the pack, prepped a couple of the bits of plastic and grabbed the cat. Surprisingly she didn’t object that much with just a little bit of squirming; I had the 4 front claws of one paw done and had just slipped the 5th over her thumb-claw before she truly objected. I held her down, held the bit of plastic in place until the glue took hold and then let her go. She wandered around a bit (5-ish minutes) and would occasionally try to lick at her paws – of course I stopped her until the glue dried. After a 1/2 hour, though, she seemed to have forgotten all about them and was happily relaxing on the couch. Rinse and repeat the second paw (this time with Emily’s help). Once again, she wandered around, irritated, for 5 minutes and then settled down.

All that is to say that, thus far, the softpaws experiment is a success. Attempts to destroy the furniture have been met with the same motions but lacking the damage. I’d have to that Emily and I are sold.

Darwin still hasn’t made up her mind.

The Verdict

The most expensive photos ever!

Saturday night Emily and I had just settled down into bed when a familiar sound met our ears – the sounds of a cat retching. Darwin had plopped down onto the floor and proceeded to empty her stomach all over the floor. We made the requisite sympathetic noises, mopped up the mess, and went back to bed. An hour later, we were woken by a repeat performance. This time, she didn’t make it off the bed before she started making the groady noises. I’m not sure if I’ve ever woken up and moved so quickly in my life! Grabbing her gently, I put her on the floor, though this time it was a non-event. Later that night, we were woken yet again to the sounds of a sick cat. This time, we were so tired that we didn’t even get up, figuring that we could deal with it in the morning. Finally she settled down, and we were able to sleep the rest of the night. Sadly, the respite wasn’t permanent. The next morning, she threw up two more times. Enough was enough, we packed up the cat and took her to an emergency clinic. After poking and prodding her a bit, the Dr decided that we should get an x-ray, just to make sure she hadn’t ingested anything bad so we left the cat and grabbed some lunch. 20 minutes later we stood, staring at these pictures, freaking out about the dark spots. As it turned out, they represent normal gastric processes, but for a while, we thought she had swallowed a fish or something! (the related question “where did she get a little fish from” didn’t seem as relevant at the time) As it turns out, there was nothing there. So…in the end, we had one night of lost sleep, church skipped, a panicked run to the vet, x-ray photos, subcutaneous hydration (replete with leaking…eww) , antacids, and anti-nausea injection. All for the low, low price of $300!

The next time I’m getting a dog