My Hands Are Paying The Price For Having The Cutest Kitten In The World

How I deal with my kitten-claw scars, both socially and with a DIY discoloration treatment.
Publish date:
April 26, 2013
cats, DIY, scars, pets, Mederma, onions

Last November, my roomie and I decided to adopt a kitten.

We’d been fostering an adult cat for a few months prior to that, and giving him back left us with kitten-shaped holes in our hearts that needed filling.

I found out that my coworker’s sister found a litter of stray kittens under her porch, so we immediately set a date to meet them all and collectively coo over how small and adorable they were. That’s when we met Dr. Thaddeus Venture: the tiniest, orangest and meowiest of the bunch.

Neither my roomie nor I had ever had a kitten before. Cats were well-tread territory for both of us, and we figured that kittens were just tiny cats, right?

No. Wrong.

There were a few things that I learned about kittens in those first couple of weeks: they’re cute, they’re sharp, and they’re both of these things at the exact same time, all of the time.

Dr. Venture was so tiny that he had to use his microscopic, needlelike claws to gain leverage on any (and every) surface in the house. And by “any (and every) surface in the house,” I mean my hands, exclusively.

As a result, they got torn to shreds.

Initially, this wasn’t a problem. It started out with one or two scratches. People would ask if I had a kitten, and I’d fly into that obnoxious-new-parent practice of roping them into a 20-minute phone slideshow of my perfect baby cat.

As my precious baby cat grew to be a toothy and scratchy teenage cat, though, I acquired more scars. The once cheery questions turned to hushed concern, which turned to breathy relief that the scarring was from a kitten instead of…you know. Other things.

The first couple of times it happened, it rolled off my back. After a serious moment’s consideration, however, that reaction--common to the point of ubiquity--began to piss me off.

It’s true that my hands are super-torn-apart because of a kitten, yes, but that kind of dramatic balking at scarring, and the mere possibility of self-harm, both crushed and infuriated me. I had the buffer of knowing that my scars came from elsewhere, but the comments began to wear on me despite that. I couldn’t imagine how much worse that would feel for someone whose scars were actually a result of something serious.

While angrily schooling people on mood disorders and self-harm whenever they ask about my hands would be preferable, it’s not particularly tactful. Instead, I’m trying Mederma, the over-the-counter cream that my friends swore by to help reduce the appearance of scars.

I spent a whopping $25 on it, which may not seem like much before you consider that it’s the cost of like, five whole thrift store dresses. I have priorities.

To placate my flipping-the-hell-out inner cheapskate, I looked up the main ingredient in Mederma, onion, and made my own extract with these handy methods of extracting onion juice.

Mederma needs to be applied three times daily, but I’m only applying the onion extract twice daily to avoid being fired from my job for making my coworkers cry. Onion is no joke.

For the record, I don’t feel that scars should always be hidden or diminished. I have many scars all over my body that I wear proudly, for a variety of different reasons; each one carries its own tale of triumph, perseverance or tomfoolery.

For instance, there’s the one on my boob from when I was pulling the teeth out of a metal zipper at three in the morning and somehow got myself with the pliers, or the one from “hiding” my friend’s Birkenstock sandal on top of a rather phallic 15-foot tall set piece in high school theatre and hitting another (similarly phallic) set piece when I fell off (it hit me on my bikini line, too--I could almost hear Freud cackling from the grave).

Amongst those and other colorful or cautionary scar stories, several dozen repetitions of “my tiny, adorable kitten was trying to get on the couch and my hand was in the way” don’t really fit in.

Will these methods work? Who knows! My scarring was irritating me enough that I’m willing to try, though, despite what some scientific studies have said about onion’s effectiveness.

Best case scenario: the scarring fades, and my hands look a little closer to normal. “Worst” case scenario: they don’t fade, and I start telling people that my hands look the way they do because I’m a crime fighting vigilante on nights and weekends who makes a point of hitting miscreants in the mouth.

Do you have any scars that you’re particularly proud of? Or do you prefer to fade or hide them?