How to safely print a Birthday Paw?
February 16, 2009 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Next week the granddaddy to our kittens is turning 65. As he is always there when needed Siouxsie and Banshee want to do something special. Anyone got any ideas on a safe non-messy way of making a paw print?
posted by Mrs Mutant to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
65? In cat years or something?
posted by scottatdrake at 10:41 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

You mean a cat paw print, right?

Maybe use water on litmus paper? Not sure where you would get a big sheet of it, though.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:46 AM on February 16, 2009

Looks like you can buy a kit for this sort of thing.

Who knew?
posted by scottatdrake at 10:52 AM on February 16, 2009

I might be misunderstanding the question, but couldn't you just put a layer of plastic wrap between the cat's paw and the clay or plaster or whatever, then remove the plastic wrap afterward?
posted by box at 10:55 AM on February 16, 2009

Exactly box that is the kind of answer I'm looking for. I'm afraid I left it a bit late to order something. We live in London, UK by the way. It is probably me but I still find it hard to find particular stuff in shops over here. The print needs to go over to the Netherlands next so it cannot be too heavy. Thankx
posted by Mrs Mutant at 11:06 AM on February 16, 2009

My sister and I did this with her dogs a few weeks ago. We were at Target and noticed a kit meant to make an imprint of a child's hand. It came with a metal frame meant to hold a photo on one side and the clay with print on the other, and Sculpey (polymer clay) to make the print in. You just roll out the clay into the frame, make the print, decorate it however you like and bake for a short time. It worked really well for the two dogs. The clay is not gooey or sticky at all and didn't stick to their paws. Just clean the paws first, our imprint ended up with some fuzzies in it, but otherwise a nice clean print. And the kit was only $9.99.
posted by catatethebird at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2009

If you're using paint keep in mind that most paitns dry faster than others. Tempura will dry really quickly, but might chip but is washable- acrylic takes longer but is thicker and less washable- a really quick drying and plaster-looking effect might be using some gesso paint (which is actually a primer, and super quicker drying and adhesive).

If not paint, you could make a plaster cast.

A nice idea might be laying out a large roll of butcher paper in a small enclosure or a bathroom or a room with easy clean floors. then put a few dollops of tempura paint (water based so incredibly washable) on the sheet/paper/etc and a bit on all your cats paws. let them wander over the paper and create their own paw collage. you might even dribble some treats over the "canvas" so the cats will walk over it more. Youll have a large, colorful, birthday work of art celebrating this cat's 65th.
posted by theMONster at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2009

For the record, my cat's brother, who owns a lovely painter named Arabella and her husband, walks through PAINT paint all the time with no ill effects (so long as you wash it off as soon as you notice the little punk is about to track cadmium red all over the hardwood floor).

With a one-time deal in mind, I can't imagine acrylic would be too terrible to use, just dip, print, and wash it off thoroughly right away.
posted by at 12:03 PM on February 16, 2009

My mom used to have the cats 'sign' birthday cards for me in college this way, she just used a regular non-toxic stamp pad and washed their paws off immediately afterwards.

I can't vouch for cat safety here, or that they won't try to claw your eyes out when you grab their paws. Works though.
posted by troika at 1:10 PM on February 16, 2009

When I did something similar for my squirmy baby 5 yrs ago, I used plumber's putty. I don't know if it is called something different in the UK. It is the stuff you use if you are installing a kitchen sink (we were). The hand imprint lasted in the putty long enough for me to pour plaster of paris in it and let it harden.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:40 PM on February 16, 2009

she just used a regular non-toxic stamp pad and washed their paws off immediately afterwards.

I've done this lots of times with my cats. Use a damp cloth afterwards and wipe until it comes off clean, otherwise you'll get pawprints on the floor (says the voice of experience). Mandy is currently 14 years old and healthy as anything. I've noticed that they don't even lick their paws afterwards (unlike when they get it wet or dirty themselves), so I assume the paw doesn't feel dirty to them (i.e. no residue). Gives a nice clean print too. I like the innk pad because because you can get it on the paw pads for a nice print without getting it all over the fur.

If you don't have an ink pad then watered down acrylic works (spread thinly on paper, use as an ink pad), but it's harder to get a good print and a lot harder to wash off the cat afterwards. Tends to get into the fur. Oh, and I used proper printing ink once too (used for lino cuts and stuff), again by making a thin layer then using that as an ink pad, and that worked nicely.

I've also scanned a paw and printed the resulting image, which looks quite good. Useful if you're making lots of cards rather than just one. My cats don't like the scanning process though and wriggle as the light moves across. I assume it's warm and feel unpleasant. Whereas ink printing didn't even annoy the wriggliest cat I've owned.
posted by shelleycat at 2:33 PM on February 16, 2009

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