The lever is supposed to be stiff. It will also scratch the edge part of your chip that contacts the cover - that is also normal.
That sounds like what the pins are supposed to look like. The link below is a large image of a motherboard with an lga1155 socket - the image is large enough that you can zoom in.http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/chipsets/intel/Z68/_DSC5633.jpg
The socket in the picture is exactly what mine looks like. If you're unsure, post a photo.
The cat hair and dander worries me more than the pins. Maybe get some canned air and make sure the socket is clean.
My cat knocked a stick of ram off the table while I was building my pc. They can be little terrors.