Magic has claws. Long sharp claws. He doesn’t use them on any of the scratch pads we have strategically placed around our home. And he doesn’t use them on us. (Or, similarly, the leather furniture.) But he does seem to get them caught on the fabric of the chairs in the dining room jumping from one to the other as we shoo him out. And these are good chairs.

Getting a cat declawed is generally frowned upon, so we purchased some fancy nail clippers with a safety guard. The safety guard is for him so we don’t cut his nails too short. But it should be for us so we don’t get our hands and arms ribboned. Of course, Magic made his feelings concerning four paw pedicures pretty clear early on.


So when I brought him to the vet for his first visit, I asked if she could also trim his nails.

“No problem,” she said. “We’ll do that at the end. It’ll take two minutes.”

But what she meant was that it will take an additional person and more than two minutes and that it was clearly a problem.

“Sorry,” she said. “You should try a groomer.”

I brought Magic to the Petco. I showed the woman behind the counter his rabies info and handed over the carrier.

“I’ll be back in five minutes,” she said taking Magic into the grooming area.

I was already a fan of her confidence.

The grooming area was in a separate room with tall wide windows; sort of like a car wash where you get out and watch them soap up your vehicle and vacuum it at the end. I stepped back past the socially distanced checkout line and watched the woman put Magic’s carrier on the first table and try to coax him out — for which he was uninterested. But she got him out and quickly understood he was ten pounds of pure terror. She called over a friend. The friend helped for 10, maybe 20 seconds before walking away and coming back with what looked like a clear plastic milk jug. Only it wasn’t a milk jug. It was a space helmet. It made Magic look like a feline Laika — if only for a few seconds — because he was NOT having it. Even through the thick glass I could hear his yowling.

“Don’t put that fucking thing on GET THIS OFFA MY HEAD RIGHT NOW I WILL CUT YOU!”

I couldn’t see all that was happening, but the first woman suddenly pulled her hand up. After examining her finger, she looked at the other woman and they both shook their heads at the same time. The second woman walked away with the helmet while the first woman gathered Magic back into his carrier. We were done here.

“Sorry,” I said watching the woman rip open a bandaid with her teeth through her mask. “Seriously, I am so sorry.”

“No worries,” she said. “Not my first time. Won’t be my last. He’s just too young. You’ll probably have to get him sedated and have your vet do it.”

“Right,” I said. “That’s what I’ll do. Thanks.”

I called the vet and made an appointment. The first available was mid-October.

“WHAT?!” said Phoebe.

Long story less complicated I found a place not too far away called The Cat Practice. I asked if they did nail trims. Yup. So I got him in yesterday and went early to do all the paperwork.

There was another cat in a carrier two seats over from where we were sitting. I don’t know what they were saying to each other, but I imagine it was something like this…

Reading between the lines of all the hissing and growling, I sensed it best to turn Magic’s carrier the other way.

“Excuse me,” said the woman behind the counter. “Other than his nails, is there anything else?”


“We’ll take him back then.”

“Cool,” I said handing over the carrier. “Good luck.”

She disappeared into the first room, came back out, and shut the door behind her. “It’ll just be a few minutes,” she said sitting down again.

I nodded.

And then I heard cat noises. Cat noises I’d never heard before. They were throaty and ancestral. Spectral. The waiting room tilted and everyone held their breath as the sound stopped and the door opened.

“Michelle,” called a woman’s voice. “Can I get a hand back here?”

I lowered into my seat.

“What is that,” said the man in the corner as it all ramped up again. “Is that a cat?”

“Yes,” said the woman behind the counter.



“What’s happening to it?”

“It’s getting its nails trimmed.”


Everyone laughed nervously as I shrunk further into my seat. Magic continued to rage.


And then it was quiet. The door opened and a masked woman in flowery pet scrubs came out with the carrier. She held it out like a victorious gladiator.

“He’s fine,” she said. “He’s just loud. And strong. But he got calmer at the end. We gave him some treats, too. He’s just not used to it. That’s all. But we’ll work with him and he’ll be fine.”

“Cool,” I said. “Thank you. Um, is he, uh, going to be mad?”

“Well, yes. You should probably just let him do whatever he wants when you get home. But then he’ll be fine.”

I gave Magic some extra treats after I let him out of his carrier. I also cleaned out his food and water bowls and filled them fresh. AND I changed his litter so fresh bowl there, too…

So far so good. He hasn’t destroyed anything or peed on anyone’s bed yet. When I tried to get him down from the window in the basement this morning, he pushed my hand away with his paw. It was no big deal, like a wee furry bat. But then he gave me a little nip with his teeth.




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