She's also a volunteer, and we go during the day. There is so much going on I don't think I've ever seen this cat asleep. This shelter keeps them in pens with 8-12 cats per pen. It's just such a bad set-up for working with her. I could wear heavy gloves, but I'm so worried about stressing her out. And the woman is really hesitant to do it. I don't think a vet could even do it without sedating her, which would be terrible too. I'm thinking maybe heavy gloves and trying to wrap her in a towel like you suggested. I don't know if it's a bad thing to let her bite the gloves as much as she wants during this though.
Oook. Do NOT try to wrap this kitty! Sometimes you can do it...with a cat who is used to being restrained, and having their claws trimmed.
With this girl you'll quickly end up with a screaming ball of extremely angry cat...and likely a few bites.
Speaking from experience working with a cat similar to what you're describing, the best way to do this is to go very slowly.
1. Start by just petting and touching her paws. If you can bring treats in touch her paw and then give her a treat. have any and all volunteers do this, ideally it would happen a few times a day, every day.
Do this until you can pick up and gently hold one paw at a time...I'd suggest focusing on her front paws only and not worrying about the back paws for now.
When she has no problem with her paws being held move to step 2.
2. Hold her paw and practice extending the nails by gently pushing on her paw pad. I find the best way to manage this is with kitty on a table/counter, and me standing next to them and leaning over them to hold the paw on the front paw farthest from me with the hand closets to them. So if we're facing to the right I'd use my left hand to hold their left paw. (To do the other paw I turn the cat the other way, and use my right hand to hold their right paw)
When you can extend two-three claws in a row without having a mad kitty - using treats to help the process along - move to the next step.
3. Put a few yummy treats down right under kitties nose, then work quickly. Hold the clippers in your opposite hand (right hand to clip the left paw, ect), push out one nail and trim just the very tip. STOP.
The NEXT DAY, do the next claw on the same paw.
Every day do one more claw, when you've done them all start over from the beginning. Only trim the very pointy tip, one slip and you're starting from 5 steps behind where you were to begin with! Go slow, and if kitty isn't ready for the next step don't hurry them.
With kittens you can use the 'suck it up' method, of just restraining them gently and 'getting it done'...with adult cats who haven't been taught from kittenhood to tolerate this it simply won't work and will make trimming MUCH harder in the future.
It seems like a lot of work, but the truth is that this will take each volunteer about 10 seconds a day. Even once you get to the 'hard' steps of actually trimming, since you'll only do one nail it'll go super quick.
It seems like lots of work, but in the end having her used to this sort of handling and grooming will make her that much more adoptable, and much nicer to cuddle in the mean time!