My kitty is sticky.
March 28, 2012 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Please help me remove glue from a cat with luxurious long fur. Complication: she reacts violently to human touch.

An infestation of drain flies led to the deployment of one of these glue-stick traps, which worked wonderfully well until the cat got stuck to it.

Mina is a lovely long-haired black cat, in the foreground here and looking appropriately hunterly here. I stole her out of an alley when she was three weeks old, and had to bottle-feed her. She's a nasty little feral hellspawn who loathes human contact. I am the only person who can handle her without risk of injury -- and even then, I get bitten a fair amount.

The trap got stuck to her belly and the right side of her head. It came off without much of a problem, but now the fur on her belly and along the side of her head (including the ear and whiskers on the right side) is very sticky, with bits of dust and paper and things stuck to her.

It took rubbing alcohol to get the glue off my skin. How do I get it off the cat? Is there a magic cat-unstickying soap? Should I tie her down and shave her belly? Please hope me... and my evil man-eating vicious hateful killer sticky cat.
posted by cmyk to Pets & Animals (33 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried deactivating her? (Search YouTube for more awesome videos than I could possibly link to.) a well-placed binder clip made it possible for my roommate and I to put claw tips (don't ask...) on her cat.

My next step would be to cut out the gluey hair.

Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 3:42 PM on March 28, 2012 [12 favorites]

Try oil. My mom always used that to get the most resistant stickiness off of anything. Just be careful of what oil you use because she'll probably try to lick it off. My mom used Skin-So-Soft by AVON, because she had a stockpile.
posted by DoubleLune at 3:43 PM on March 28, 2012

How to deactivate a cat. Synopsis: Most cats will go limp when you grab them by the scruff of their neck, in the same way their mothers carried them around as kittens.

Shave the affected areas (but not the whiskers). It'll grow back.

On preview: phunniemee beat me to it!
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:44 PM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh, and where rubber or work gloves for protection.
posted by DoubleLune at 3:44 PM on March 28, 2012

Please don't use chemicals or oils.

My very awesome vet would shave your cat with one of those shavers you can get for $20 at the drug store. Use an attachment so you're not shaving down to the skin. Don't worry! It grows back!!

Also, try Feliway. Did WONDERS for our bottle-fed scaredy cat.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 3:50 PM on March 28, 2012

She has lots of fur and it's coming up summer in the northern hemisphere. Just cut the sticky parts off, avoiding any concern that oil or whatever will be licked up and get her sick. Be sure not to cut the skin. You could also shave her. Don't cut the whiskers, though.

I would be tempted to stick catnip all over the sticky parts of her, though.
posted by jeather at 4:04 PM on March 28, 2012 [9 favorites]

Grabbing the back of the neck as everyone said. Try olive oil to get the glue off if you like, but honestly the easiest and least stressful way for you and the cat would be to quickly cut it off. You can get small blunt curved scissors designed sharp to cut hair easily but no pointy bits to poke them with. I use these for great effect to remove mystery stickiness and grass seeds from my long haired dog.

Other option with your cat if the clip doesn't work is to basically swaddle them like a giant burrito in a towel with the offending part sticking out and the legs all safely by their side and trapped under layers of towel. Wrap more firmly than you think, you'd be surprised what they can wiggle out of, and be prepared to be sworn at in cat the whole time. This can take practice but it's handy to be able to do to give tablets and the like or trim nails.
posted by wwax at 4:11 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use wwax's method--towel-swaddling and blunt-tipped manicure/eyebrow scissors (either way, you buy them in the beauty aisle of the drug store)--to trim the incredibly gross long fur off the hind legs of our long-haired cat. But I don't know how you'll be able to get to her belly if she's swaddled. Maybe you could wrap like a mummy, instead of a burrito, and leave the belly exposed.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:47 PM on March 28, 2012

Response by poster: I scruffed her firmly and sat down with her on the bathroom floor to do some experimental clipping. Good news: she 'deactivates' when I scruff her, though she still growls and hisses. Bad news: she somehow got the glue everywhere, so by the time I am done with her I am going to have a very patchy and pathetic-looking cat. (I'll take pictures.) I couldn't wear gloves because it's impossible to see the glue in her thick fur. I have to feel for it.

After about twenty minutes of this she got too tense and landed a blow on my hand, so we're taking a break. Once she calms down and I coagulate we'll try again.

The one part I can't figure out is her face. The right ear and whiskers got a pretty heavy dose of glue, and I think I'll have to use a liquid of some kind to dissolve it there. I have pet shampoo, olive oil, and the old Metafilter favorite, butter. (Well, margarine.)

For the love of god, if you have any good (or bad) Sticky Cat Jokes, please share them. Morale is low and the troops are mutinous.
posted by cmyk at 5:26 PM on March 28, 2012 [26 favorites]

It sounds pretty miserable for her but removing it from her face could be dangerous for you. Cat bites are no joke. I would consider just leaving the glue there - it will wear off in time.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:38 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

cut the fingertips off of rubber or leather gloves. then you can feel it but most of your hand is protected.
posted by desjardins at 5:43 PM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

Use butter on her face - not too much but a bit will be a treat so she might forgive you by this time next year.

There's a very funny story I read years ago about a guy whose cat gets coated in honey. He shaves it and ends up trapped in his house with the cat up a tree, laying in wait with a bottle of honey just for him. The story is in an anthology called "Very Wild Animal Stories" by James Playsted Wood and is sadly out of print but if you can find it you'll identify with the protagonist!
posted by leslies at 5:45 PM on March 28, 2012

this is just what you need
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:00 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

oh yes, this is indeed the time for "Ode to a Buttered Cat"!

A possible extra concern: do you have the package that bug trap came in, something with a list of ingredients? Perhaps --- while you're taking time out to coagulate and suchlike --- check to see if there are any warnings about ingesting the stuff. Maybe even call to double-check with your vet. (And maybe the vet has a good suggestion on de-sticking a cat....)
posted by easily confused at 6:07 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would leave the glue on her face. Cat fur renews itself pretty fast.

My cat got into the paint when I was painting the house. I washed it off her paws and tail, but couldn't get to her face and whiskers and ears before it dried. She went around looking like a stormtrooper for a few weeks but the paint gradually flaked off a bit, and then after about two months, I think all the fur that was originally there had shed and been replaced with fresh fur with no paint.

The face isn't such a big deal (unless maybe it's around the cat's mouth) because she won't be licking it so much. I am glad you shaved the rest though - licking that over and over probably wouldn't have been great for her health.
posted by lollusc at 6:52 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh my god, y'all. Anybody want a deranged, ragged, and somewhat sticky cat?

The towel burrito really, really, really did not work. Screaming and full-body convulsions to free herself. When the dog is trying to break the bathroom door down to protect me from the cat, it's bad news. I am never doing that again.

The best way to do this, apparently, is to scruff Mina, hoist her up into the air, and then frantically clip for the 30 seconds of limpness I get before she gets cranky about it. The remaining fur is on her lower belly and the inside of her hind legs, which will be the most difficult part.

I'm leaving the ear alone, as the fur there is short and it will hopefully grow out quickly. There isn't any on or near her mouth, and it looks like half of the gummed-up whiskers got yanked out somehow. Maybe they're in the towel.

There weren't any poison warnings on the trap package, and judging by the fight Mina put up it's a safe guess that she is not under any adverse chemical influences, other than an unholy amount of adrenaline.

It would probably be easier if I had another set of hands to help, but as it is I've managed to get two dustpans full of sticky gloppy fur off the cat, and she only drew blood the one time. That's better than I expected. I may try olive oil and a bath for the belly/legs part. Or maybe I'll leave her here and flee the country. I'm not sure which will be easier.
posted by cmyk at 7:40 PM on March 28, 2012 [13 favorites]

I used to volunteer in a vet's office in rural Kansas. We'd regularly get farm cats in for grooming with mats and burrs and twigs making up 95% of the existing coat.

One cat was such a fighter that we sedated him so we could safely shave him. He responded by making the most god-awful sound I've ever heard emanating from any living animal - it was like a police siren mated with a yodeler who was watching Titanic. At a decibel level that competed with a rock concert. For over two hours he warbled non-stop, which was the amount of time it took to shave this cat from head to tail.

It still haunts me.
posted by vegartanipla at 8:01 PM on March 28, 2012 [47 favorites]

I once had to wash linoleum glue off my cat. He was the stupidest, most docile cat ever and it was still miserable. I think shaving is still the way to go. It's really hard to keep a cat scruffed, soap it, rinse it, and keep the soap out of it's eyes without losing a limb. And, at least with linoleum glue, it doesn't work a damn anyway. And then you have a wet cat.

You're mostly done! You're awesome! And if you can't get through it, you can take her to the vet and make them finish it.
posted by freshwater at 8:21 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

The best way to do this, apparently, is to scruff Mina, hoist her up into the air, and then frantically clip for the 30 seconds of limpness I get before she gets cranky about it. The remaining fur is on her lower belly and the inside of her hind legs, which will be the most difficult part.

cymk, I know this shows that I am fundamentally a terrible, terrible person, but I would pay to watch video of this. Do you have a second person there to clip while you scruff? (This is all reminding me of Dogs in Elk.)
posted by gingerest at 10:43 PM on March 28, 2012 [9 favorites]

(I am sorry I got your name wrong.)
posted by gingerest at 10:54 PM on March 28, 2012

Response by poster: See, this is why I love Metafilter. You guys are helping this be A Hilarious Misadventure, instead of The Worst Day Ever.

You know how sometimes people just get stuck with a cat, when neither they nor the cat even like each other, but the cat is fundamentally unadoptable so it's either that or the cat would get killed? Yeah. I'm the sucker who keeps the damn cat, and then has to remove glue from its violently writhing, hissing, shrieking body.

I cannot offer video, but it's probably for the best, because when the cat starts shrieking I start in with this maniacal laughter and then remind her, quite sternly, of everything she has ever done wrong that she got away with. That time you disemboweled a possum? Revenge. That time you broke my desk trying to get to a fish in a bowl? Revenge. That time you ran up to me, bit my toe, and ran away? REVENGE!
posted by cmyk at 11:09 PM on March 28, 2012 [70 favorites]

Omg, cmyk you're cracking me up.

I guess it's too late to recommend outsourcing? Nosy goes to the groomer when he needs a shave. That way, I get to keep all the blood inside my body, and he only blames me for the car ride.

I am a giant coward.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:48 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is hands down the funniest thing I have read all week. (Sorry, sticky cat, I sympathise, I really do, but your plight is kind of hilarious. I can't wait to see photos). Anyway, I have found that the burrito thing works much better when you're sort of half-sitting on the cat. That sounds a lot worse than it really is - what I tend to is kneel with the burrito-cat between my legs and squeeze gently. Having a wall behind you makes it harder for the cat to back away. But yeah, this is probably something a vet could help you with. Is the cat due for any other procedures (dental work, etc) which would necessitate sedation?
posted by embrangled at 2:11 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where are the pictures??
posted by desjardins at 5:53 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is clearly the right place for the story of Neil Gaiman's lemon-scented sticky bat.
posted by MsMolly at 7:19 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hope it all worked out in the end, following this thread has been a hoot. Sorry the burrito thing didn't work out, it can take a bit of practice and strength to do and trying it for the first time with a half feral cat was probably not a great suggestion on my part. If she's looking ragged, can you bundle into a cat box and get her to the vets, though trying to get an angry cat into a cat box is a job in itself but they can always sedate her and give her a quick shave to even things up a bit. Also photos if you've taken any, though you might just want to black the whole experience from your mind and not have any evidence it happened.

PS I used to have a half feral cat that would run up and bite me on the leg when it wanted feeding. It too was very hard to love, so you are not alone.
posted by wwax at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh god, now I'm picturing you waking in the middle of the night to see a raggedy-furred partly-sticky pissed off devil cat (complete with glowing red eyes, of course) glaring malevolently, plotting your demise..... sharpening its claws.....
posted by easily confused at 1:56 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: The malevolent glaring and demise-plotting are pretty much standard, and have been since she reached adulthood.. but the raggedy and sticky bits are new.

I absolutely will not take her to a professional to have things evened out. No groomer within their right mind would handle it, because she would require sedation like vegartanipla's fighter farm cat (was it black? If so, that's basically Mina), and I am not going to spend that kind of money to soothe the vanity of an animal that frequently bites me. She can run around all pathetic and raggedy until the fur grows back. The sight will make me feel better.

I haven't got all of the sticky fur off her hindquarters yet, because of all places that one is not allowed to touch this cat, the vulnerable belly and back end is the worst of all. Flipping her upside down and going for the belly is an act of war. It's not as bad as the fur on her face and chest, so I'm sure that the scruff, lift, and frantically clip method will work. Eventually. This could take days. When she gets angry from this horrific treatment, I close the scissors and let her bite them. CLANG. HISS. CLANG. SNAP. CLANG. They do not give the satisfaction that my squishy and blood-filled flesh would.

What I need is the feline equivalent of a backboard, or something where I can immobilize the little devil - then she can howl as much as she wants, and the dog and my neighbor's chickens can join in for all I care - the problem is that I have to handle this entirely on my own. Anybody I know well enough to call for help knows the depraved acts of violence that this cat is capable of, and all of them have politely declined out of a wish to keep their limbs whole.

I really don't blame them. I wouldn't get near enough to poke her with a stick, if she wasn't my cat.

I'll work on pictures, but it may be some time, as the cat is in hiding right now. Nursing her injured dignity, no doubt.
posted by cmyk at 3:12 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

A similar thing happened to the late Mister Christofur*. He ran around for a 15 minutes with the fly paper thing stuck to his belly because I was kind of laughing at him.

I cut out most the glue from his fur because I was worried the glue was toxic or poison and used a small bit of canola oil on a paper towel to loosen up the glue on the parts too short to cut (he was thankfully not a long hair).

And just so you know, the 'fur was sweet lap loving hug giving baby and he still turned into CatoHell when I was working on him.
posted by jaimystery at 4:14 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: It's done. The cat has been deglued and released. My god, the nightmare is finally over. You all get best answers in my heart, and favorites, and spousing. The jokes kept me sane. And the Buttered Cat song. Yes, I was sitting on my floor humming the ode to the buttered cat while my own devil-spawn cat was howling and screeching and trying to attack me.

I took pictures - here you go. Doesn't she look fantastic now? Ahahaha.

The feral hellcat lives to face another day, scraggly as all get-out, humiliated, and still sticky on the ear. But she's not got a glue trap stuck to her belly anymore, and that's what matters.
posted by cmyk at 4:33 PM on March 29, 2012 [14 favorites]

Glad you both survived - haven't laughed this hard in a while. And those pix - if she checks the internet you are toast!
posted by leslies at 5:46 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why have you not added the brilliant tag you used on that photo set to this AskMe?
posted by gingerest at 7:45 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love that last photo.
posted by futz at 7:41 AM on March 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

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