Friday, April 20, 2012

The Guinea Pig Pedicure

As promised, the guinea pig pedicure. Fair warning: I've been drinking.

I wrassled with a deadly animal this morning. Two of them. They had jaws like clamps and talons like daggers. Those bastards were so rough that my friend Heather needed me to help her tame them. Are you ready to see the dangerous creatures? I'll only show you one at a time. Two might be too much to handle.

Hi, Poppy!

I know. She looks harmless. But you haven't seen the devastation they can leave behind with their little pointy feet. Be warned. Heather is contorted by revulsion over the damage inflicted by the toe scalpels of the guinea pigs.

Or laughing because I am too ridiculous to deal with at 9 a.m.

I was called in to help my friend Heather cut her guinea pigs' toenails because...well, because of the injuries. Those nails needed to be lopped off. She called me in particular because I was pretty cocky about my cat nail cutting skillz. When I was bragging about how awesome I was at cutting animal nails, I forgot three important things:

1. Guinea pig nails are about the size of grains of rice.
2. I don't cut my dog's nails because she bites.
3. Turns out I am NOT awesome at animal nail cutting.

Lest I be forced to admit fallibility, however, I decided to forge ahead. I did send this missive ahead of time to warn her: "You do understand that it is extremely unlikely that I will be able to successfully help you do the nails, right? I mean, I'll give it a go, but do you promise to not sue if I cut off a toe or something?"

Evidently not too concerned, she shot back, "Only if you don't sue when Cow bites a chuck of flesh off your hand."

Allrighty then. We're set to go.

First, however, we had to line up the tools of the trade. Heather found some old baby clippers, gardening gloves, and a guinea pig.

 We sent the 5-year-old in the house to locate some animal control measures...

...and we were ready!

Except with one adult holding a guinea pig and the other adult cutting its nails, who is left to (a) take photographs and (b) make sure the 5-year-old doesn't make mischief?

Problem solved!

Mission Guinea Pig Pedicure had begun!

Heather wore the gloves, but Poppy bit ME.

Interesting fact: Guinea pigs have four toes on their front feet and three toes on their back feet. That is some fucked up shit, y'all.

See those cut nails? I hope you're appreciating my awesomeness.

After returning Poppy to the cage, I asked Heather if she wanted to give nail trimming a try with Cow. She started to turn me down, but after I asked her if I was going to come cut their nails every month for the next eight years, she agreed to give it a go.

She did a lovely job, although I don't know if I have ever seen a more panicked expression on a small animal's face before.

That didn't stop her from gnawing on that carrot though.

This episode was ultimately less exciting that I expected. There was no blood, no guinea pig escapes, and each pig still has all 14 of their toes. AND I was dumb enough to help make Heather comfortable with the process so I won't be invited over to play with the little guys next month.

I'm sorry. I feel like I've failed. I know you like it when I'm a disaster. I apologize for being competent. If it makes you feel any better, I sucked at every single other thing I did today except for when I took a nap.


  1. :giggle: 

    I cut our new kittens nails this week. My very first attempt and I didn't injure him. 

    I was deathly scared because my first attempt at baby nail clipping ended in bloodshed and I've been traumatised ever since.

  2. My stomach hurts from laughing and you need to go on the road with your guinea pig nail cutting business. I am having a hard finding anyone that will touch a guinea pigs toenails over this way! Chum Chum's talons are out of control!

  3. Someone will still need to come over to HOLD the guinea pigs, and also to help with the wine.

  4. My college roommate had a guinea pig and I had no idea you had to trim their nails.

  5. If I ever have to de-talon a guinea pig, I know who to call!!! : )

  6. "Talons of death"  Man, you are so so so funny!  I love it!

  7. I've been trying for weeks to build up the courage to cut our Greyhound's dewclaws. Any advice?

  8. Mastering napping is very, very important. 

  9. Won't they do that at Petsmart or something in the grooming section? I used to cut my cats nails but gave up on it. The just let then use the cat tree.

  10.  Well, sure, if you want to just throw money at the situation.


  11.  Dewclaws freak me out. I would avoid them at all costs. Find a friend who will come over and do it for you. Offer to take photographs for her blog.

  12.  Wine. THAT is what we forgot!

  13.  I cut all three of my kids' fingers the first time I cut their nails. It sucked. Cats are way easier.

  14. First of all, I found myself asking "did they *originally* only have three toes on the back feet?".  Forgive me for doubting your cutting expertise.
    Secondly, for some reason this reminded me of the story about my youngest brother in kindergarten (preschool), aged about 3.  He was famous for having provoked the guinea pig into biting him.  Bear in mind this was a miraculously patient guinea pig that had never ever bitten any of the small children before.  My brother had some tale about hearing that a guinea pig's eyes would fall out if you lifted them up by the tail, and he wanted to see if it was true...
    My poor mother.

  15. I love that you 1) had been drinking before you wrote that, and 2) felt you needed to warn us.

    I hope that's always assumed, whenever I write something.

  16. Love your post! It's good to keep a small bowl of cornstarch if you cut the nail too deep. Then dip the toe in to stanch bleeding.


Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.