Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Wobbly Winston

Winston stretches 

Winston is the most loving, affectionate and cuddlesome cat you could ever wish to meet. He miaous and purrs and chirrups and chats with everyone. I don’t think there is a nasty bone in his body. He is nonchalant and easy-going, almost blasĂ© in his approach to life and loves all the attention lavished on him. There is just one thing he doesn’t really appreciate and that is having his claws clipped.
Because he is an indoor cat his claws don’t wear down very quickly and he clicks across our bare floors like a tap-dancer auditioning for the chorus of a musical. He uses his scratching post and our legs and furniture to free the sheaths but the points of his claws remain as little daggers that catch in clothing and other fabrics, incapacitating him briefly and preventing him from conducting his day in the way he has dictated. So, every now and then, I clip his claws.

With our Burmese cats I could lay them upside down on my lap and take my time over their pedicures. They enjoyed the care and consideration. Maybe it’s something to do with the breed. My father even used to file his little cat’s claws; she had been a breeding queen before my parents adopted her and took a long time to adapt to living in a home but she always welcomed a pedicure.

Winston, our Ocicat, curls up on my lap and relaxes and purrs his noisy, breathy rumbles, looking up at me from time to time with his beautiful amber eyes to make sure I’m admiring him as rigorously as he requires. When I judge that he is suitably tranquil – that is, almost comatose – I attempt to cut his nails. I have always been able to caress his paws, insinuating my fingers between his pads, and he really enjoys that but as soon as he sees the clippers in my hand he becomes uncooperative, tucking his paws away beneath him, nudging the metal with his velvet nose, still droning like a well-oiled engine.

I nip off the tip of one claw and tell Winston what a beautiful boy he is. He stares at me – ‘I know that,’ he says and folds his paw away again. I extricate it and clip another point and inform him how much more comfortable he will be now. He directs another disbelieving tawny look at me and withdraws his foot. The purring continues.

I am anxious to tackle the ‘thumb’ claw, which is curving in towards his leg – I don’t want that to grow very much longer. I manage to disentangle the paw once more and successfully trim his thumb nail. He folds his front leg firmly underneath and looks at me again, a challenging expression in his eyes. I give up on that limb and move to a hind leg. The claws here are shorter and blunter because Winston often nibbles at them. Like a baby he chews his toes but not his ‘fingers’.

Eventually I manage to shorten all the claws on his left side but there is no opportunity to embark upon the right for Winston has decided to vacate my lap. Off he trots, tail held straight and high, clacking on his right paws, silent on his left, wallowing like a sailor home from the sea. 

If you should happen to see a drunken cat seesawing towards you, tapping out Morse code with his right claws, you will recognise him instantly as Winston. Perhaps you might have better luck with the nail clippers;-) 


  1. I know many cats like Winston. I sometimes just do maybe 3 nails a day and not panic the ones that don't like it. It sometimes takes 3 or 4 days to get them all done. As far as a scratch post for cats I have found that the best is a hunk of real wood. We bring in a tree stump or chunk of thick wood and place it on the floor and they go at it regularly. Just be sure it doesn't wobble by placing it on the flat side down. My cats love it and I keep one at the fireplace and one on the deck.

  2. A wonderful tale of a strong-willed yet lovable pet. I laughed and laughed, especially when I could hear him clacking along one-sidely. Same story here only imagine MUCH less cooperation with the same amount of purring.

  3. Hi, jabblog - I came over from Pearl's blog and have been enjoying your Winston posts as well as the material based on prompts. Using prompts is a new avenue for my attempts at writing, and very helpful. I especially enjoy your book blurbs based on pictures; you make me wish those books actually existed.

    Back to Winston - he is a handsome fellow and today's post is a familiar topic, as we have two indoor cats and nail trims are a frequent event. Your description is a delight!

  4. Awww, Winston is such a sweetie :)xx

  5. He is SO beautiful, Janice. I would just love to hear him purring. Our dog tries to purr, but it's not the same thing as a genuine cat-purr.
    You are so brave. I've never tried to trim a cat's (or dog's) claws. Even when I was living alone on disability, and dirt poor, I took my cats to the veterinarian for their pedicures.
    My beloved best buddy, a big domestic shorthair named Herman, could kick like a mule and scratch like a tiger, while "his kitten" Ava (a 25-lb. female longhair fondly known around my neighbourhood as "the killer cat from hell") wouldn't cooperate with anything other than mealtime.
    Congratulations to you and Winston on a good job half-done.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  6. He's a beautiful cat, but it does sound like clipping those claws is a challenge!

  7. So funny. I was just thinking that Winston must be cousin of Scruff's in the personality department. But then you came to the claw clipping bit. Since we have only had Scruffy a month I have only clipped his claws once. Unlike my past cats it was a breeze. Time to do them again so we shall see if he is as cooperative as last time.

  8. this was just great! I give you credit for even trying!! I have never tried to clip either of my cat's claws. You are brave!

  9. A fine gentleman, well met. We also do not approve of clippers but must agree there comes a time when the nails are annoying and we succumb, reluctantly.

    Miss Ming & Mr Macc (aka Chairman Maow)

  10. Envisioning Winston's staggering walk, what a sight that would be.

    I am amazed that you were able to complete one side and you have no scratches. I have tried clipping my Cindi's claws with only minor injuries to myself (she is a rescued stray that has a distrust for anything resembling clippers), now the vet preforms this task.

  11. Burmese cats are a bit of a law unto themselves aren't they? Our cats used to find the carpet was just brilliant for their claws - grrrr

  12. What a fun post. I was right there with you. My old boy (cat) used to be the same way. He was such a cuddler until he saw the clipper.

  13. I wonder what it is about the clippers that Winston dislikes so much. At least he let you do one entire side before leaving your lap.


I appreciate that some people like to give awards but for me your comments are reward enough.

Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments and really appreciate you taking the time to respond to posts.

I will always try to repay your visit whenever possible.