Autism: My Sharp Cat

22 Mar

My son and I spent most of the morning, and part of the afternoon trying to cut Finn’s nails. They have to be done – but we have had no luck in convincing her of that.

I got Finn 5 years and 5 days ago. She was brought home to fill a hole left in my life after my 16 year old cat, Chiku, died. Finn was advertised `free to good home` on Craigslist. My husband and I went to pick her up at night, at the house with the wagon wheel out front. It wasn’t difficult to find.

She lived with a couple that seemed really nice. They had had her since she was a kitten, and at that point she was 5 or 6 years old. The couple was getting transferred out of town for work, and they bought into a strata with a huge book (52 pages, I think they said) of rules. They had already bought the place when they found that pets weren’t allowed, and so they had to give her up.

The couple lived in a nice home with nice leather furniture. Within that home, Finn (called Muffin at the time) was allowed to sit on one specific chair, and no other furniture. She had a large plush blanket with a picture of a horse on it, which she had claimed shortly after arriving in their home. The horse blanket came with her.

When we brought her home, Finn was understandably nervous. Upon getting her out of her crate, she ran down the hallway to one of our bedrooms, and hid inside. I brought her horse blanket, crate, food, water, and litter box into the room for her while she settled. It was a year before she came out of that room, which ever since has been known as `Finn’s Room.` An entire year!


During that year, my son and I would try to visit Finn in her room. For a while I had my computer in there, and Finn would tolerate me sitting at my computer, while she sat on `her` bed. If I got too close, or tried to pet her, she was really fast, and would lash out. She was kind of like a shark – sharp, dangerous, unpredictable… Siamese.

It took me by surprise the first several times she actually ventured out of that room. She decided it was time to come and visit, and would walk down the hallway to the kitchen to visit while we were in making or getting supper. It was not only surprising, but also quite scary, for she would still lash out if we got too close – though she would permit, and actually encourage, several seconds of petting.

Shortly after our second anniversary with her, she started to visit more, and even spent some time outside on our back deck that summer. She would weave between our legs while we were in the kitchen, purring all the while – but we still had to watch closely, or she would swat at or bite our feet if we were there a moment too long (or she got slightly too excited.)

By the third year she was coming out into the living room, and at three and a half years I brought `her` chair into the living room, where she relocated herself. I am glad that she moved with her chair, though it wasn’t quite expected – she had a bed in the room, and I was bringing the chair out to have more places for people to sit when they visited; but this way Finn spends way more time with us, and that has to be a good thing.

Five years later, I can quietly sit by Finn and pet her for a short time without her attacking me. She loves to get attention, and will loudly purr while I am playing with her, or petting her. I still have to watch very closely as in a moment she will go from purring to swatting – and she is very quick, and very sharp.

Only since I haven’t been able to get close to her enough to cut her nails (or even get her into a crate to take her to the vet) her nails are now very sharp. So sharp that she has been cutting herself scratching her belly, and her neck, and her eye… so somehow, I have to cut her nails.

I am guessing we will have to invest in full body armour to succeed at this task… hawking gloves perhaps?

My son and I spent most of our morning trying to cut her nails. I got one cut, and the very tip of another. Obviously we weren’t too successful. I wish I could make her understand that we are trying to do this to protect her from herself – but that might take another 5 years.


Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Experiences of an Autistic


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3 responses to “Autism: My Sharp Cat

  1. grace to survive

    March 23, 2017 at 5:04 am

    I’m not sure this will work with your cat because mine is quite docile. But when petting Molly I often play with her paws and she stretches out her claws because it feels good. Being an inside cat that is aging the scratching tower doesn’t keep her nails trimmed anymore so I have to snip them every month or so but she becomes alarmed at my cutter etc. So I stroke the paws and urge the claws out in between cutting times so she doesn’t always associate it with the snipping process. And when she is splayed out on my lap I can get away with it usually. Your cat sounds like a lot more of a challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Walkinfaith925

      March 23, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Thank you for the response. My cat doesn’t like her paws touched – but my son and I did manage to get this done over three days! I tried many things, but what worked was I found some really thick rubber work gloves. I wore those, so when she slashed at me, it didn’t hurt. She isn’t mean, but she is defensive. My son distracted her with a toy, and I cut nails as she had them out in pounce mode. I managed to get just about all of them, and she is now healing well. When it was done, she was happy and purring. If I had her from a kitten, I would have worked to get her used to me touching her paws – but she was 6 when I got her, and wouldn’t let me near her for a year. Anyway, this worked, and she seemed to like the attention. We will keep it up.

      Liked by 2 people


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