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This is why you should trim your cat’s hind claws

Cut on PastaQueen's nose

I woke up this morning to a cat crawling on my face, as I do many a morning when I am sleepy and the cats are hungry and we battle it out to see whose superlative will win. Today Java Bean’s back leg stepped on my nose and he dug his claw into my skin and left a two-inch long cut under my right eye.

It HURT. It was bleeding. I grabbed some toilet paper from the bathroom and applied pressure for 10 minutes. Then I cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide. Then I Googled “how to prevent scarring” where I learned that I should keep the wound clean, moist and avoid direct sunlight.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get a bandage on this thing, but I’m going to the drug store to see if recent innovations in bandage technology have provided a solution. I’m not that vain of a person, but I’d rather not have a scar on my nose for the rest of my life. If I do, I’m going to have to come up with a story about a knife fight. I also won tickets to the Journey concert at the State Fair on Sunday, with Heart opening, and I really want to go, direct sunlight or not. If have to wear a veil over my face to get there, so be it.

Also, please refrain from commenting on my skin, my pores, or the fact that I don’t pluck my eyebrows. I really don’t give a shit about any of that, and the only reason my skin looks a bit oily is because I put some Vaseline on the wound to keep it moist. Thanks.

UPDATE: 10:35am

I took a cue from the stoners and abused wives of the world and discovered that a big pair of sunglasses will cover up most facial wounds. Only a centimeter of the end of my cut curls out from under my big lenses. I don’t know what the cashier at CVS thought of me wearing my shades inside, but when I took them off in front of the pharmacist he thankfully did not recoil in horror. Instead, he recommended a liquid bandage, which is basically clear nail polish with some anti-bacterial ingredients. I applied that to my cut and covered it up with a piece of gauze I cut up to fit the wound. Then I taped it on with some cloth tape. It seems to be holding and now I have plenty of time to practice that knife fight story involving some bitch with long fingernails who got fresh with me.

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77 Comments

Linda Stutte • August 14, 2009 at 9:49 am

I fell of my bike five weeks ago and really tore

up my knee. The docs told me to put neosporin

on it and leave it open to the air. I did this and

the smaller wounds (like yours) didn’t scar at all.

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Sophie • August 14, 2009 at 9:54 am

Hey there, long time reader, first time commenter here.

That looks really sore, especially being right under your eye. OUCH! I agree with keeping it moist to help it heal. I don’t really have any advice as to how to prevent scarring other than keep the skin in good condition so I guess moisturising is a good plan.

I guess if you get a bandage it’s best to stay out of the sun anyway due to the risk of some rather interesting tan lines!

I have no idea how you would bandage it but I reckon the knife fight story is a good idea for while it’s bandaged/still healing. Get better soon!

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anji • August 14, 2009 at 10:03 am

I swear by polysporin, get the strong one.

Last year martin had a freak out nightmare during a PTSD episode in the middle of the night, he started to kick his feet. Problem was, my cat was still under the blanket and got a swift kick. He freaked out (the cat) and struggled to get out from beneath the blankets. In his struggles to get out, he used my calves, back of my thighs and ass to get out. (I was sleeping on my stomach)… I had four, 7 inch long scrapes (cuts actually) on the thighs and and several others in other places. *ahem* I swear by polysporing. I have no scars at all….

Hope it heals fast!!!!!

P.S. The cat no longer sleeps under the blanket, unless I’m the only one there. Heh.

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Alecia • August 14, 2009 at 10:26 am

Agreed, polysporin is great for healing! I have multiple melanoma syndrome, which leads me to lots of skin surgery so I am almost an expert on scaring (and an esthetician, your pores actually look really good) but once it has healed a bit, is no longer an “open” wound, there is this stuff called biodermis. You have to order it on their website, but it is GREAT for healing/preventing scar tissue. They are all silicone based products that are designed just for that purpose. I have had amazing luck with their stuff.

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Linda Sherwood • August 14, 2009 at 10:29 am

I cut my face at the top of my nose right between the eyes. It required stitches. Today, several years later, you can only see the scar if you are REALLY looking for it and know where to look before hand.

To prevent scarring, I used Vitamin E. You cut the capsule open and apply the gooey stuff inside directly to the healing cut/scar. It keeps it moist, and it seemed to work for me in minimizing the scar.

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Danielle • August 14, 2009 at 10:29 am

Since I work on a website all day, I know that people will say almost anything when they think they’re anonymous. Sadly, your request to the peanut gallery to keep their smart-ass comments about your face to themselves was necessary.

Your answer to queries about your injury should be “You should see the other guy!”

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Trenches of Mommyhood • August 14, 2009 at 10:29 am

Ouch!

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Poppy • August 14, 2009 at 10:30 am

Actually, my only comment would be that you have lovely skin!

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Jess • August 14, 2009 at 10:39 am

Ouch! I’d be sure to coat my nose in neosporin and you could do the liquid bandaids!

My dog likes to scurry all over the bed and he’s scratched me before – it’s such a pain!

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K • August 14, 2009 at 10:55 am

I’ve also tried the vitamin E for scarring, and had good results, although I’ve since heard that the oily stuff in the capsules is probably what helps, not the vitamin E itself.

I’ve also tried Dr Palmer’s Anti-scarring serum, which does seem to speed up healing – although it is deeply annoying, since it’s very sticky and does NOT absorb into your skin, so it is prone to rub off on everything you touch. Which might not be so problematic on your face; my scar is on the back of my hand.

From the experience gleaned from many years of clumsiness, I would say your cat-scratch is probably going to heal perfectly and not leave a scar. Faces heal well by comparison with other body parts, as do hands. I don’t have a scar from the time the gerbil bit me on the nose!

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Lisa@picklesandcheese • August 14, 2009 at 11:00 am

Happy Healing! I think the sunglasses make you look like a movie star and I like your getting in a fight story…technically you wouldn’t be lying…it was kind of like a “cat fight”.

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beth • August 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

PQ,

I think what you’re using is just fine, but there’s a product called “Mederma” that works well too.

Happy healing.

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Camevil • August 14, 2009 at 11:55 am

I have back claw scars all over my legs. So, if you find a good treatment, please please share since this cat from hades is a repeat offender.

You do look pretty badass with the glasses and bandages, though. Like you got into a fight and won.

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cc • August 14, 2009 at 11:58 am

I have heard that lavender oil is antibacterial and good at preventing scarring. I don’t think it works on existing scars.

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Mary • August 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

My God! Your hair has gotten long!!! I like it.

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jennywenny • August 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Oh dear owy. You look totally awesome in the sunglasses though!

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Tina • August 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I had almost the exact thing happen to me about 2 years ago. Except mine when across my cheek, across, my eye, and through my eyebrow into my forehead. I bawled thinking I was going to have massive facial scars since cat scratches are known to be tough to get to heal. I used butterfly stiches (those sticky things you use instead of stiches) to hold the wound closed and kept it clean. No scar except in my eyebrow (where I couldn’t get the strips b/c of the hair).

It will go away. :)

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Zandria • August 14, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Oh, my gosh! Craziness!!! :(

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Ruby Leigh • August 14, 2009 at 12:42 pm

In response to:

“Also, please refrain from commenting on my skin, my pores, or the fact that I don’t pluck my eyebrows.”

I will comment, but only to say “You look great!” REALLY! and unless you live in LA – no one I know really cares

Furthermore your hair looks great too!

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NGS • August 14, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I second the recommendation to check out Mederma. It’s supposed to help scarring.

I hope it starts healing soon!!

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Merrry • August 14, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I guess I’m naive, but it seems rather sad that you should have to tell people to refrain from commenting on your eyebrows.

Hmmn…. maybe I should start spreading rumors about the /real/ reason for the scratch… a kick-boxing duel with Diet Girl? or you made a pro-vegetarian comment around primal Mark? or hmmn…

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Lori • August 14, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Owie!!!

You should wear a t-shirt that says “You should see the other guy”.

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Lori • August 14, 2009 at 12:54 pm

You should submit this to http://www.romeothecat.com

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Diane, Fit to the Finish • August 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm

My daughter had small surgery and some stitches. After it healed, the surgeon recommended Mederma for 3 months and you can hardly see the scar.

He also said keep it out of the sun for 2 years!! Seriously, 2 years!

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cloudy • August 14, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Jackie O?

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Lynn C • August 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Ok, seriously? The sunglasses look is VERY sexy!

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Rebecca • August 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Oh dear. I second (or third or whatever number I am) the vitamin E remedy for scarring. I had some major surgery about 7 years ago and ended up with hundreds of stitches but you can hardly see the scars now at all. The plastic surgeon who performed my surgery recommended massaging the scar lines with vitamin E oil and it seems to have worked.

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Sara • August 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

I feel your pain.

While posing for a pet-inclusive family Christmas card picture several (eight to be exact, because I couldn’t continue writing until I quantified it) years ago, in her haste to remove herself from the situation once she was unhanded, our tabby cat dug the claws of her right back foot into the underside of my forearm. The resulting bloody gashes were un-bandageable and they stayed red & angry all through their healing time…which was extensive as I recall.

When asked what happened, I tried several colorful lies in place of the truth but found that telling people I’d strangled a hooker or got hurt during a rash of smash & grab car stereo yielded horrifed looks as often as it did laughter so eventually I just told the truth.

Despite copious amounts of neosporin, daily care and lots of wishing…I still have two faint scars. I wish you speedy, blemish free healing!

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Sara • August 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I feel your pain.

While posing for a pet-inclusive family Christmas card picture several (eight to be exact, because I couldn’t continue writing until I quantified it) years ago, in her haste to remove herself from the situation once she was unhanded, our tabby cat dug the claws of her right back foot into the underside of my forearm. The resulting bloody gashes were un-bandageable and they stayed red & angry all through their healing time…which was extensive as I recall.

When asked what happened, I tried several colorful lies in place of the truth but found that telling people I’d strangled a hooker or got hurt during a rash of smash & grab car stereo yielded horrifed looks as often as it did laughter so eventually I just told the truth.

Despite copious amounts of neosporin, daily care and lots of wishing…I still have two faint scars. I wish you speedy, blemish free healing!

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Kelly • August 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Thank goodness Java Bean missed your eye! Drew (kitty 1 of 4) decided it would be a good idea to get on the back of the toilet once while I was on it, and when he MISSED, he dug his claws into my rumpus rear and dragged down. Ouch. Luckily, that one was easy to keep out of the sun :D

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ragtopday • August 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm

My cat did something similar to me many years ago, except every claw on her paw was out and it really looked like I had been swiped by a cat (which I had – and it was stupid of me to pick up a cat when she was hissing at another one!).

At the time my job involved meeting the public everyday and I was very concerned about my appearance. I have no idea whether it did any real good, but I was diligent about opening up those caps of Vitamin E and rubbing the liquid inside on my scratches. Whether that or my relative youth, I’m happy to say that today I am the only one who can see my scars, and even then I have to look super, super close.

Good luck – hope yours go away soon!

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girlrunningaround • August 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Looking at the picture made me cringe. The same exact thing happened to me, in the same exact location…THREE days before my wedding. Yeah. Nice.

The cat was crawling across the headboard of my bed and fell onto my face.

I put Neosporin on that sucker every hour for the 3 days leading up to the wedding and by the time we exchanged vows it was unnoticable (and I have no scar!). If that’s not a good advertisement for Neosporin, I don’t know what is!

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Dyan • August 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Today must have been designated “Get an injury from a cat day” because I got bit by a feral kitten this morning.

Tetanus shot.

Animal control has come out and set traps for the poor little guy.

Seems there are 3 kittens under my deck.

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kat • August 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Get a bigger bandage that will cover your entire nose.

People will automatically assume nose job.

The sun glasses area great addition to your complete Hollywood makeover! Just walk around like you are on some really intense pain medication.

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theskinnyplate • August 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Yike!! Hope you heal 100% soon.

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Cori • August 14, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Looks like the Cat won!

Or the bitch with the long fingernails.

Whichever you choose.

;)

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Rahim • August 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm

From the looks of it, I think it’ll heal just fine. I’m sorry that happened though. Once it heals, the sun should blend whatever blemish it leaves with the rest of your skin. By the way, you’re cute with or without your sunglasses :-)

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Donna • August 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm

You’re worried about your eyebrows (just fine) and pores (normal) when you have such beautiful brown eyes. Come on! Go with the Neosporin and keep the bandage off to let the air heal it when you’re not going out.

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Sarah • August 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Thank you!

This happend to me about 10 years ago. The cats were playing chase, I was sleeping on the couch and BAM! Then they had the nerve to want to play with me in the midst of my yelping in pain.

I worked in an almost all-male enviornment at the time. I couldn’t even sit down sit down at my desk without someone asking “what the heck happend to your face?” Chicks would have just talked behind my back.

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Beth • August 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm

YIKES! I’ve never had a face scratch like that, but I’ve had many, many cat scratches that drew major blood. I’ve had the best luck minimizing scarring when I let every last scrap of scab come off on its own. Like, obviously I don’t pick at it, but also I’m very careful about accidentally touching it or rubbing it in the shower, etc. It really seems to help!

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kathy • August 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I actually thought your skin looked beautiful. Love, love love the sunglasses!!

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Natural • August 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

just when i get the courage to even think about doing something like this because it would be so easy, i have a change of heart for some reason.

sorry about the scar and are people really commenting about your skin and pores – haven’t read the comments, but gimmie a break people.

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Quix • August 14, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Aww, hope it feels better. And might I say that it is a really cute picture of you (the second one), bandage and all! :)

By the way, my friend had the same thing happen and her cut looked A LOT worse initially and she was fine – so I think you’ll be ok.

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Jessica • August 14, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Oh dear! I hope this heals fast with no scars!!!

Definitely keep it clean…I can’t remember if your kitty goes outside or not but you want to avoid Cat Scratch Fever which can be a nasty infection (my Mom got it from one of her cats, not fun).

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Amy • August 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Tamanu oil is very, very good at healing cuts without scars. I include that in every skin treatment I make up. Centella asicatica, or Brahmi oil from the websiste http://www.fromnature withlove.com is a less smelly alternative.

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Teena Golden • August 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm

You look like Julia Roberts in the sunglasses photo!

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Alisha • August 14, 2009 at 7:47 pm

People actually comment about your skin, pores etc? That is rude. I have had too many run ins with cats scratching my face to count. One night I was sleeping one of the cats was sleeping at the top of my bed. I have no idea what happened but something startled my cat and he did a tapdance on my face. I screamed because it woke me up and in my disoriented state is scared the crap out of me. My boyfriend jumped up like “WTF”. I have so many cat scars the worst comes from my ex-boyfriends evil cat from the depths of hell. He bit me on the wrist which led to a fast spreading infection. I went to the specialist the next morning who said that it needed to be cut open and cleaned. I now have a perfect “X” in the middle of my wrist. It is a really dark scar because it was a very deep wound which wasn’t stitched up. The thing I hate about it is that it looks self inflicted.

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Ang • August 14, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Awwww, that’s a really harsh way to wake up in the morning! I’m so glad he didn’t get your eye. My cat clawed up my back pretty badly when he was a kitten. He was intrigued by the end of my braid, and took a flying leap at it.

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PurpleGirl • August 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Ouch! I’ve so been there, a couple of times. Hope it heals up well! Also, you look gorgeous in that second photo!

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MB • August 14, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Ouch! That is not a good way to start the day. Bad kitty.

I was going to suggest the liquid bandaid but couldn’t comment from work. I see that the pharmacy took care of you. Do you need the gauze and tape if you use the liquid stuff?

Love the celebrity Jackie O sunglasses.

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Julie • August 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Ouch! Hope it heals soon. Also, you shouldn’t use hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds…it kills the bad germs AND the healthy cells that promote healing thus slowing down the healing process. Bad deal.

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Shay • August 14, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Oh man, I sympathize with you. I too have numerous scratches from my little kitten. None of them as hardcore as yours. Currently I am displaying a small chin scratch.

Anyway, I am more interested in your response to the cat’s scratch. I love my kitten dearly, but when Mozart messes with me when I am sleeping….I am a bit ashamed to say there may be some throwing of kittenish like animals onto the floor. It semi makes me concerned for when I have children.

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Dillah • August 14, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I’ll refrain from telling you to to stand naked upside down in a barrel of apple cider vinegar while rhythmically massaging flax seed oil counterclockwise into the scar and humming a hymn to stimulate the cells from within, as I know your opinion of unsolicited advice.

Feel better ;)

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Tiffany S. • August 15, 2009 at 12:38 am

I’m sorry – did you get injured?

All I read was that you won tickets to Journey and HEART!!! Whooohoooo!!!!

(PS. The veil thing slayed me)

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Jen • August 15, 2009 at 2:06 am

Your hair is so pretty! You are definitely rocking the stoner glasses. I own a few pairs myself.

TOTALLY because of cat scratches though…not at all for hiding dilated pupils.

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PurpleGirl • August 15, 2009 at 2:43 am

@Dillah – Haha, that’s exactly why I didn’t give any advice either. :)

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Skippy • August 15, 2009 at 2:59 am

Poor you, but I agree – you are absolutely rockin’ those sunglasses!

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Johanna • August 15, 2009 at 7:28 am

“Today Java Bean’s back leg stepped on my nose and he dug his claw into my skin and left a two-inch long cut under my right eye.”

I bet he is really struggling with a bad conscience every time he sees you! Or not!

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Lydia • August 16, 2009 at 1:00 am

You have very nice lower lashes.

Your cut’s going to heal just fine, with all you’re doing for it. Good luck!

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Laura P. • August 16, 2009 at 1:10 am

I’m so envious that you get to see Journey and Heart! I saw Journey when I was in high school but have never gotten to see Heart. They performed in Missouri too, but I was out of town! Enjoy the show!

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K • August 16, 2009 at 2:12 am

Dang, dude, you look AWESOME in those shades! You look like Liv Tyler!

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shauna • August 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

just wanted to stop by and say good luck for you race today. hope it goes well! :) and hope the snoz is feeling better too!

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Daisy • August 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

My cat woke me up this morning by “massaging” the back of my head with his paws. It was fine until he “massaged” away the blanket covering my head. Ouch, some sharp claws!

But I still love the little prick to bits and I bet so do you!

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This Mama Cooks! • August 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

When I saw the post title under the Blogher Ad, I somehow knew it was you – but thought it would be about a piece of furniture and not your face.

Heal quickly, but keep the glasses. You look marvelous!

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Elizabeth • August 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Cat scratch=bad

New sungalsses=awesome

Love your hair, too!

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Joan • August 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Those glasses are awesome… they make you look like Julia Roberts (no, in a GOOD way)!

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Jannie • August 17, 2009 at 5:30 am

You look really great with those shades and that hairstyle. Wonderful picture of you.

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Gina • August 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

Ouch! I get a lot of cat scratches on my arms and legs if I let my girls nails get too long. I usually put neosporin w/ pain relief on it and it heals pretty fast..

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Jaime • August 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

sorry if someone else has recommended this already, i didnt read all of the comments.

coco butter stick it is great for healing and smells yummy. i had a mole removed from my shoulder about 4-5 years ago ,and i was told to use merderma, that stuff STINKS. im a very smell sensitive person so i had to stop using it.

i got the coco butter stick idea from my friend that is a point (dance) person. she uses it on her feet to prevent scaring. the stick itself costs about a dollar and smells like cookies. I unfortunately didnt keep up with the applying it twice a day and i have a horrible scar on my shoulder.

hopefully yours will heal ok. i have been scratched on the face before and i have no evidence of it.

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bobbie • August 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

neosporin or polysporin helps the skin cells migrate faster and that helps reduce scarring. however, you need to watch out for cat scratch fever. it’s very common from cat bits and scratches. if you notice any pus or red streaks you should see a doctor. good luck and post photo in a few weeks so that we can see the results.

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Meredith • August 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm

When I saw the photo of your scratch, I thought, ouch! I’m glad the claws missed your eye. Then I thought, nice eyebrows and pretty skin. I plucked the heck out of my brows senior year of high school and they never grew back in. That is many years of eyebrow pencil ago. Then, of course, Brooke Shields and her beautiful, full, brows became the norm. Your eyebrows look great! Keeping the scab moistened is the best thing to do, too, you’re right about the vaseline. Oh, I found your site linked off a TWOP forum for the reality show about Ruby, the Georgia woman trying to lose weight. Did you know someone on the forum mentioned your site as a good read?

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moonduster (Becky) • August 19, 2009 at 11:02 am

Oh, ow! That is one nasty looking scratch he left you! Yikes!

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Laney • August 20, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I swear by vitamin E. Some bitch errr my best friend threw a spool of thread at my face and it left a deep gash on my nose. Yes, I said it gash. It was it was a bloody hole on my nose. I kept out of the sun and put vitamin e on it twice a day. Sticky and smelly stuff bit it didnt scar at all. If you cant stomach the vitamin e STAY out of the sun or it will scar. My arms are proof of that.

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Kristen • August 24, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I had one very similar to that! My cat freaked out one night when sleeping on my bed and ran up my face. I see about 500 kids per week as a music teacher and all were deeply concerned…so I just said it was a pirate attack.

Heal quickly! :0)

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Quieto • August 28, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Late comments here:

I agree with the other commenters, please imagine a quiet wolf wistle about nice face and hair.

Much more importantly, Keep up the vitamin E and hydration of the wound site. Aloe would be wise also.

I’ve a got a couple scars from unpleasant surprises. Most notable involves body surfing off an old mustang moving at speed. Trust me, it’s no fun to find out where that car is by hearing its’ engine pass under you.

Lots of vitamin E and aloe put things back together. The stuff works.

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Mike Crain • October 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

My cat did the same thing to me although nowhere near as long as your scratch when she decided to run on to my face while I was asleep. I had scratches on my cheek and a really deep one on my nose which left a slight scar but the cheek ones healed up without any scarring. Apparently while I was still asleep the moment she dug in I grabbed her really hard and threw her into a wall which I don’t remember and am only speculating because I only remember her on my face with the pain and then her looking at me all freaked out next to the wall and I didn’t have time to check on her because I was actually running late for work. I guess you get automatic self defense mechanisms like that when you’ve lived like I’ve lived. When I got home she freaked out and ran under something at the sight of me and it took a while to get her to calm down. It’s been years and now sometimes she’ll sleep near me but I think she’s still scared to go around me while I’m sleeping. I definitely wouldn’t of done anything like throwing her into the wall while I was fully awake because I’ve had a cat before who was freaking out and screaming hanging by her hind leg from a ladder who I was trying to free dig into my arm so hard blood literally ran out like a gushing faucet and I didn’t even raise my voice at her and remained calm.

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Dar • May 18, 2010 at 3:35 pm

This happened to be just this morning. Was asleep, minding my own business, before waking up with a stinging pain. 3-4 inch long slash horizontally across my forehead along with a scratch pretty similar to yours across the bridge of my nose. I’m terrified to go back to sleep because all I can think about is what would have happened if she got my eye :P

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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