Claws Claws Claws

It's not all fun and games at the MyNWX household. Nope - in fact, sometimes it can get downright bloody.

I suppose that's the risk with four animals in the house. No matter what you do, no matter what precautions you take, there are bound to be "injuries." We don't belive in declawing a cat - and I will tell anyone you shouldn't - so that's three little furballs who have no compunctions about using their knives to their advantage (well, two, but more on that in a bit).

Some people trim their cat's nails - we are not some of those people. If you would like to come over and trim the nails of our Bengals, then by all means we'd love that. Us though? We bleed enough. No need to actively look for it.

We did trim Ruby's nails though and do the same for Misaki. Both of them were never a threat to cause damage scratching - which is different than saying it never happened.

But this post is all about claws, the point being to introduce to the world what exactly is causing all those red marks on my arm. I keep telling everyone, they AREN'T track marks from heavy heroin use, but I'm not entirely sure that guy at the grocery store believed me when I handed him my debit card...


Ruby was always good about letting me trim her nails. Despite her size it was a one-person job. Admittedly it probably should have been done more often, but we knew it needed to be done when her footsteps on the hardwood sounded like an Under Armour commercial (click-clack, click-clack).

Occasionally one of us did get scratched, but it was usually if she backed away from something and stepped on our foot. Ruby was almost always very, very mindful of where she was and her size - she was sensitive that way.


Would you look at those cute little paws?! Given Misaki's background as a show dog, she is used to sitting through nail trimmings and the like, but that doesn't mean she enjoys it. Working her nails is a two-person job: one to hold her still and the other to work the nails. She doesn't like it, she squirms a lot, and she plays it off like she's being tortured. Despite what the neighbors may think, she's not.

Her nails we work with a Dremel tool, shaping and smoothing them nicely. We wanted to do this with Ruby, but the sound of the machine would have freaked her out; no way that was going near her foot. Misaki will also deal with nail clippers if we don't get the Dremel on there often enough. She doesn't like either one.


Lilo was a stray, as I've talked about before. Her original owners had her declawed, but we're pretty sure she doesn't fully realize it. She has adapted, using her teeth more when wrestling with the other two cats, but she still uses a scratching post like she has her claws and will wrap the toes of her paw around you finger, stretching her fingers (are they fingers on the front leg? I had no idea) around your hand and following the same motions that would normally extend the claws for grip. It's cute, but at the same time a little sad.

You can even feel the emptiness inside her fingers. It doesn't seem to hurt her, but her paws are always cold. Not sure if there is a relationship, but there probably is.

This is an example of the crazy Lilo at play. Click on the picture for a bigger version - in her left front paw you can see her fingers are all extended, but no claws. Poor girl.

Of course...I hate to say this, but she's a little bit crazy. If she did have claws she'd be scratching on everything in the house, not just the scratching posts (like the other two more regularly). She will use legs, heads, leather furniture, televisions - literally anything - to simulate scratching on with her clawless paws. Is this because she doesn't have claws? Would she do that less if she did have claws? Maybe, I'm not sure. But still, there is a part of me where when she does something like this I can understand why someone had her declawed.

Again, that's not condoning it or saying I would have done it myself - not a chance in hell and I'd tell whomever did this to her that - it's just an observation.


Ah yes, here we have the first of the two serious sets of claws in the house. Sera is the most vicious; her claws are as sharp as a razor blade and will slice through just about anything like a hot knife through butter. That includes paper, my skin, glass, titanium, and probably diamonds. And no, that's not a joke.

Would you check those things out? She doesn't halfass it either. When it comes to using her claws, she goes all the way. If you are playing with her that's something you just have to understand - Sera isn't going to be more careful around your hands. If she's swinging at something and your hand is in the way, you will bleed.

Her claws are so fine, so sharp, that you won't even notice it at first. You may feel contact from her paw, but when you look down you won't see much, if anything. However, like with a very sharp razor blade it takes a few seconds. Look down in a minute and there will be blood everywhere. And because of the sharpness of her claws - she must have a knife sharpener hidden somewhere she breaks out while we are sleeping - it won't even hurt. Well, until you clean it out...then it hurts like hell.

Sera doesn't spare anyone either. Moochie will not use his claws when wrestling with Lilo because he apparently understands that makes the fight unfair; Sera doesn't care. She'll rip anyone up, and the sound her claws make through another kitty's fur is rather disturbing. Moochie and Lilo each turn up with scratches on their head and neck at least once a week. We know where they come from, even though Sera won't acknowledge it.

The odd thing, though, is she has never scratched either dog. It's not because there haven't been opportunities, it's just that she seems to think they aren't enough of a threat to even bother with. Sometimes (sorry puppies) we think it may make the dynamics of the household so much smoother (no kitty chasing, for instance) if Sera would smack the dog just once, but she won't do it. In the end, probably better - I don't want to have take Misaki in for stitches.


Moochie's claws are the ones that usually leave my arms looking like a heroin addict. It's not that he's trying to hurt you, it's all about love. See, when Moochie is happy - like sitting on your lap while you rub his belly - he makes bread. This harkens back to manipulating the flow of milk in mom as a kitten, but as an adult kitty - and as a Bengal with monstrous claws - it means some serious damage. The color version of this picture above was a little washed out, but it's the best one I could find of him putting his claws into my skin.

Notice the extension of the claws. Immediately after the click on the camera, those claws contracted down the length of my arm towards his body, then re-extended and repeated the whole process over. And over. And over. And over.

When loving up the Mooch it's all about how much pain can you stand. We keep telling him you shouldn't hurt the ones you love, that despite what 2Pac said love is not pain, but the concept seems to be a little too abstract for him.

So if you ever come over, you have been warned. Moochie on your lap may be cute at first, but it probably won't stay that way.

Most of my shirts have snags in the belly because of Moochie's claws. Oh well...you have to accept some things when your pets are a couple generations removed from climbing trees and hunting their own fish in Southeast Asia I suppose.

Check out this picture above. See Moochie doing his thing with the toy and the scratching post, with the crazy look in his eyes? This may be amusing to watch, but keep your distance. If you try and take the dangly toy from him, to bounce it around and play like with a normal house cat (whose claws are maybe a third of the length, sharpness, and strength), you are quite likely to scream with pain and need some Neosporin and a bandage.

Of course, there is not a warning on the package when you buy a Bengal. (Of course not - they don't come in packages! Well, unless you count a package of crazy fur...) This is a lesson learned by trial and error - mostly error. Just stay a safe distance away and enjoy the frenzy from the safety of the couch.

All of our kids (or pets, as some people like to call them) are extremely proud of their claws. They will taunt you with them, cleaning them obsessively and flexing their paws to show you exactly how amazing they are fully extended. Like in this picture above, with Moochie showing off.

See that look on his face? Can't you just hear Clint Eastwood saying, "Go ahead, make my day"? It's part taunt, part threat, and part promise. You want no part of any of those.

Now that you know the truth, can someone please tell my boss to stop leaving those pamphlets for kicking the habit on my desk?


  1. Very funny! We were the opposite here in our family. When Zuko's two kitty brofurs were still with us, we'd cut their nails. At first, it took both of us - one to hold down an 8 pound cat and the other to trim. After awhile, they seemed to just resign themselves to the torture - but it helped reduce the sharpness of the claws. Our one cat had extra toes so we really had to stay on it or the claws would grow into his pads.

    As for Zuko - groomer around the corner and that is where we go. :-) His nails are dark so it is hard for me to see where the cuticle is and my first attempt created a bloody mess. Leaving that to the pros for now on.

  2. Ah yes, thank good needness for the whitish nails of Misaki (and Ruby was also). Not sure what I'd do if it was so dark you couldn't tell where the nail ended. Thankfully, I've avoided actually creating bloody messes...I can just imagine the sound that would come out of the dog. Yikes!

  3. Should say "thank goodness"...apparently I need more coffee...

  4. What beautiful animals! Thanks so much or sharing this!


  5. Anytime. :) If you keep coming back you'll get pretty animal fix at least once a week. :)