May 5, 2009

Reader Question: Declawing Cats

Sarah writes:
As a cat person, I thought I would get your thoughts on declawing. I adopted a little 10 week old rescue kitty this past weekend. I love cats and my 3 year old daughter has been asking, so I thought...why not? The last time I got a kitty (16 years ago) declawing was regularly done and now I am finding that it is Not Done because it is inhumane. What do you think?


I think this is the kind of thing I don't want to Google. As I understand it, this is the kind of topic that makes people wish they'd talked about something uncontroversial like vaccinations or circumcision.

When I was little, it was the norm for pet cats to be indoor/outdoor or just-indoor animals. It was common for an indoor-only cat to be declawed: the feeling was that an indoor/outdoor cat NEEDED claws for self-defense, but that an indoor-only cat would only use them to defend itself against the household's furniture.

By the time I was an adult, many shelters were asking cat-adopters to sign papers saying they wouldn't let the cats outside at all. We were apartment-dwellers at the time, so that was no problem. When our cats ripped the fabric off the back of two chairs, I asked the vet about front-claws-only declawing, which I'd heard was a nice compromise between Declawing and Not Declawing. From the way my vet reacted, I quickly understood that it was no longer considered a nice compromise.

These things to seem to PENDULUM AROUND. First it will be "Mutilation wing-clipping foot-binding crippling" and then it will be "Braces appendix electrolysis tonsils." Sometimes we screw with Nature and sometimes we don't, and whether a particular procedure is in the "Screw With" category or the "Don't" category depends on the time and place and person.

(Speaking of which, wouldn't there be a BUNDLE to be made in clinics that performed Currently Unfashionable Procedures with no Embarrassing Disapproval?)

So anyway, my cats have all their claws. But this is not because I feel strongly about Not Declawing, but rather that I prefer to go with the norm. If the vet had instead said, "We recommend neutering and declawing for all indoor-only cats," my cats would have been declawed in addition to having their reproductive organs surgically disabled.

65 comments:

-R- said...

I don't know much about cats or declawing, but my sister is a vet, and her cat is declawed. Or at least his front paws are declawed.

Laura said...

SoftPaws! They work great, and no declawing is needed!

www.softpaws.com

Today Wendy said...

Also, if you're not declawing, they sell these awesome little claw clippers that are like a tiny pair of scissors. We actually managed to train my cat to sit still and enjoy getting them trimmed (this is the only time she ever gets treats) and while it was a bit frustrating when she was a tiny kitten (needed 1 person doing the trimming and 1 person back-catching the kitten when it launched), now she'll sit in my lap and purr while I do it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's pretty controversial. I grew up with declawed cats, but my current cats are not. I volunteer with a shelter that make people sign a paper that they won't declaw the cat, although we take in cats that are already declawed. Declawing essentially lops off the last joint of their finger. Some cats are okay with it, but other get all freaked out and then won't go in the litterbox b/c the litter bothers their toes now (really, there are all kinds of horror stories that fervent cat lovers can tell you).

If you get a young kitten and get them used to getting their claws trimmed early enough, it's usually not a problem. And SoftPaws do work (and come in pink and other fun colors!).

Nowheymama said...

Ooh, are you currently accepting reader questions? I want "Swistle On Potty Training," please.

Yeah, I don't have pets, so no opinions here.

Lora said...

I cut my cat's nails with regular fingernail clippers once a week or so. Just don't cut the quick.

her claws are never sharp enough to hurt anything

Tess said...

I haven't heard anything about it being inhumane, but my vet stated it can change the pet's psyche to not have claws (biologically thinking...they are completely instinctual, and don't understand why they no longer have claws). That is how it was explained to me anyway. There are pleanty of products out there to clip the claws yourself, I have even seen claw covers (that looked kind of like acrylic nails). Your reader should talk to her vet and do what she feels is best for her cat. I have my cat's claws trimmed about every two weeks at the vet's office, and have never had a problem. She still makes scratching motions, but nothing happens because she doesn't have the claws to do anything. I hope this helps!

Whimsy said...

Absolutely chiming in on trimming the clawsies instead of doing the whole DE (of declawing - ha). Also another LOVE for the claw covers.

You, Swistle, are BRAVE again because you're right: this is a topic akin to breastfeeding and sleep training. Yikes.

It's a little early for me, but I'd LOVE to hear the Swistle Version of Potty Training.

Karen said...

I worked in a vet's office and have personally watched the procedure. And I surely wouldn't do it unless there was no other option. But hell I'm sure there are lots of things I would say that about if I had an up close view! So to each their own.

Anonymous said...

When I adopted my (indoor only) kitty I had to sign an agreement not to declaw her. However! She was stubborn as all get out, not afraid of the water bottle being sprayed at her etc etc and even trimming her nails didn't stop her from constantly tearing up my furniture. Finally, when she was around a yr old we declawed her. She doesn't know that she is declawed, she still scratches in her litter box & at her scratching post. It only took about a day for her to recover and it was totally worth it! Any trauma she might have gone to paled in comparison to the trauma of my expensive new couch being ruined.
- Megan

Megan said...

Another vote for soft claws!!
Somewhat of a pain, but so worth it! I put mine on the cat at home, but I knw some vets will do it for you if you have a fighter!

Pickles and Dimes said...

I know this is such a touchy topic and to each their own.

When I adopted my first cat, she was already declawed when I adopted her (front claws only). When we adopted our second cat 8 years later, we had her declawed so she wouldn't have an unfair advantage. We thought about the SoftPaws, but you literally cannot touch her paws without her trying to kill you, so that was a no-go.

g~ said...

WE declawed (front only) our cat and she is just as feisty and mean as she was beforehand. After 11.5 years as a completely inside cat, she got all lippy on us and started urinating on our clothes (YEESH!) It was either outside or the pound. So, outside she went and she is ABSOLUTELY loving it. Everyone comments on how much happier she seems to be. And after the first few go-rounds with the other area cat (as in, fights, heard LOUDLY at NIGHT), she doesn't get crap anymore because she is VERY good at using her teeth. That being said, I'm not sure I would declaw another cat but then again, I will probably never own another cat because I have determined that I am not an animal lover. Nice to know after the fact, huh? Now, onto deciding (after two kids) if I *really* am a kid person.

Anonymous said...

Cats have claws. They can scratch stuff. If you aren't ok with that, don't get a cat or adopt one that has already been declawed. If you are afraid of the cat ruining your furniture, than don't get a cat. Is the state of your couch really that much more important than the health/happiness of the cat?

Declawing basically amputates the first joint of their toes - otherwise, the claws will grow back. You wouldn't cut off the first joint of a two year old's fingers just cause they kept scratching you, would you?

If you train them well, you can easily clip or trim claws and there are a huge number of devices out there to help with the process. Get a scratching post, teach them to use it, or resign yourself to less than perfect furniture. (besides, it will have cat hair on it anyway.)

Pets are a commitment. Please don't get a pet if you are't willing to accept the negatives with the positives.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- How about neutering/spaying? It seems to me that involves the same issues, and yet is generally supported.

d e v a n said...

Our cat is indoor/outdoor so he has all his claws, but I don't think declawing is so bad. I don't know, they get pain meds and all so it can't be any worse than docking their tail or ears, or getting spayed or neutered.
I've never given it that much thought before I guess.

Jeninacide said...

I never knew it was a controversial thing to do until AFTER I had both of my cats neutered/declawed (front paws only). He is an indoor/outdoor cat, and one time he was even attacked by a large animal (we were guessing bobcat? raccoon?) and he went missing for a MONTH. We (sadly) assumed him dead, but low and behold he showed up on the doorstep 4 weeks later. So, he managed to survive in the "wild" for a long time without any claws (he was a tad emaciated, though). So, I think it is a personal preference thing. Obviously there are tons of happy/healthy declawed cats out there.

Jewels said...

My indoor cat has all his claws and I don't bother to trim them so they're long and lethal. I guess I didn't get it done because I thought of declawing as inhumane, but I WAS happy to have him neutered-- a fact which wildly offends my boyfriend.

Kristine said...

We got a cat from a shelter where we had to sign something that said we wouldn't de-claw him. And then we got another cat. And then they started tearing up our furniture, so I bought the soft paws. And then I realized that I was spended every evening glueing plastic cover thingies back on the damn cat. So we talked to the vet and the vet said declawing was fine, so we got them declawed, and then the original cat was all "MY PAWS HURT, I will walk on my elbows!" And the vet gave him a shot of something and we did kitty physical therapy until he would walk normally again. And then we got 2 dogs and the cats started peeing on everything in sight. So we talked to vet again and the vet said, they fight with their back claws, so they'd be fine outside. They've been outside ever since and very happy. The end. If I had it to do over again I would either commit to only cats or only dogs and not try to have a mixed household. Also, I think declawing the front only give more options later in life if you do have to kick them out for peeing on your breand new couch so mcuh that you have to actually throw it away.

Hillary said...

I was all for declawing, but my sister convinced me it was evil and inhumane so we left the cats claws. We trim and I let her have a couple wicker baskets to tear up, and my furniture is fine.

Of course, when my sister was visiting and saw the cat's torn up baskets, she asked, "Why didn't you have her declawed?" Ugh!

Laura said...

I am in the same boat as Pickles and Dimes - 2 cats, 8 years apart. Front declawed the first one because I was still in college and my parents wouldn't let us come home for the summer if the cat had claws...Would have probably at least attempted to train the second one, except after watching them fight for a week, decided that number two was going to kill number one if I didn't front declaw him as well. I realize that there are people who share anonymous' point of view, but in my personal experience neither cat seemed to be bothered by the declawing - even 24 hours after the procedure they seemed completely fine. Now that I'm pregnant, I'm glad that I had it done. I wouldn't want the cats to scratch the baby, and I wouldn't want to give up my cats - they're family too! Now let's just hope the kiddo's not allergic...

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why anyone would think it acceptable to amputate a cat's toes! This
http://clawsforever.ning.com/group/advicebureau/forum/topics/this-is-what-a-declawed-human is what it would be like for YOU!! Why do you get cats when you know they come with claws? Get yourselves a cuddly toy.
Neutering is a completely different thing and apart from stopping thousands more animals being born and possibly not being homed it benefits either the queen ot tom cat's health in that they are not open to diseases or injuries associated with breeding

Julie said...

Imagine cutting your fingers off after the first joint. You could still function, and the pain would go away, but think of how differently you would handle objects, or pick things up. Think how the skin at the end of your fingers would be exposed and more prone to getting poked without fingernails covering it. This is how it is for cats, and they can adapt, sure, but it changes how they function. They have to dig in litterboxes with their exposed pads, and if that becomes adversive or painful to them, they can stop using the litterbox alltogether. It's kind of a trade off. You risk issues down the road if you declaw, but you have to be willing to train them to a scratch post and regularly trim their nails from a young age if you don't. I personally have 2 cats from a breeder and she only sells cats to people who sign off that they will not declaw. The only problem we've had is they seem to like the carpet on the stairs, but they've never scratched anywhere else besides their scratch post. I personally wouldn't declaw.

Allison said...

I have a non declawed kitty who does occasionally use my couch to sharpen her talons. I also have three kids. I decided after kid #1 to get an inexpensive (though not ugly) couch and it's honestly been the best decision ever. I have enough reasons to get frustrated wtih my kids and my pets as it is without adding spilled sippy cups or claw marks to the list. I'm sure when the kids get older I'll upgrade, but it's the best solution all around right now. Problem solved...at least for the time being! Also, we have two leather recliners that the cat doesn't bother (since she can't sharpen her claws) so that's another option I guess. Leather's easier to clean also.

katt said...

Declawing is banned in 25 countries as it's animal abuse.It cripples cats physically and mentally.It's the most painful procedure a cat can endure, it wakes up in agony,the medication the vet has to give to dull the pain,is the same strength a doctor would give a terminally ill patient !Many cats have litter tray problems after declawing as it hurts their stumps too much to dig, many turn to biting because their natural first defence has gone.Some people say their cats are fine, but all cat lovers know that cats hide their pain as it's a sign of weakness.And now it's known that because a declawed cat can't exercise properly by stretching up and digging in the claws, that many develop arthritis in later life.Cats need to scratch to keep their leg, shoulder and back muscles healthy and strong. Declawing is supposed to be a last resort procedure for serious scratching problems,especially not done routinely to kittens.It's so very easy to train a cat to use a scratching post,so why take a perfectly healthy animal and have it disabled. Paws NEED claws !!! And yes, I do know what I'm talking about as I'm a retired vet nurse but thankfully, I live in England, where declawing is banned.

Swistle said...

My dears, what is with all the comparing to humans, including gruesome linkage? Should we now have photos of what humans' reproductive parts would look like if humans were spayed/neutered, and should we discuss how humans would feel if we ate the same food and nothing but water every day for our entire lives? Such an EMOTIONAL topic!

Jewels said...

Oh, Swistle, you started quite the debate...

thoughts and ramblings said...

I currently have 2 cats that are NOT declawed...but like you...it's not because I felt strongly about not doing it. I just never got around to it and it's never really been a problem. I mean...the kids get scratched on occasion when they piss the cats off too much. They occasionally scratch at the rug or something...but it's rare. they have their scratching post and they use it. They're pretty good.

I don't see why it's such a HUGE deal. Ok..so maybe it's painful...but so is cosmetic surgery..but humans choose to do that too. So are tattoos...how's it any different. All are elective...and they're all done regularly.

Just sayin....

SarahO said...

Sheesh. I'm kinda sorry I asked.

Like I said, it has been a long time since I adopted a cat and back in the stone ages it was something that was just done. Was it a package deal along with the reproductive mutilation? I just don't know. I googled it and found a bunch of information that was just horrible. I just wanted to hear from someone else what their views were, because for me...this is relatively new information.

Nellyru said...

Eh, I'm a vet and I don't have a problem with declawing. I wouldn't agree to declawing every cat that came thru the door, but I see PLENTY of young healthy cats get declawed and wake up from the procedure just fine. With proper pain management, they certainly don't fit the dire picture that some people paint...I can't be SURE but I doubt they are faking it when they are meowing, purring, and batting toys around the next day.
Several things I consider: the age and health status of the cat and the type of home the cat is in.

Jon D (Graco) said...

Our cats were declawed - but that was about 18 years ago. But we just got a kitten last year and the Vet suggested we not declaw - "it's pretty painful" having the claws removed,she said. But she then suggested we have him fixed. I guess removing those things isn't painful? Mayve 'cause there are fewer of them? Don't know. Anyway, we try to keep the claws clipped, but he sure has "defended himself" well from the couch, the recliner, the kitchen table, the leather chair...

samantha jo campen said...

I agree with Nellyru. I was a vet tech for a few years and saw lots of cats wake from the surgery doing pretty well. The younger the better--age and health are important factors. Also the type of declawing is important--lazer is the best. The front declaw is fine but doing all four is almost cruel as they have no traction. It's so sad to see them sliding around and not able to grab on to anything to right themselves. Also only declaw if the cat will remain an indoor cat forever. They can't go outside if they have no claws for protection (also climbing trees for safety as well.)

I also used to work for some rescue groups and the nubmer of cats given up for adoption or abandoned due to claws was insane. If keeping a cat comes down to declawing, then do it. That is way less traumatic and painful than dumping the cat at a shelter. Granted, there are steps to try first like Soft Paws as someone above mentioned. We've adopted all of our cats (adults, not kittens) and they were already declawed so we never had to make that decision.

parkingathome said...

We just went through that decision with our latest cat hereWe are declawers, but it breaks my heart every time.

Alice said...

hee! SO CONTROVERSIAL!!

my cats were both obtained under the table, but i tried to adopt thru a shelter first and i had to sign papers saying that i wouldn't ever let my cat outside AND that i wouldn't ever declaw my cat. they seemed to feel that both were equally horrific.

i have 2 indoor cats now, and both have their claws. they both use their scratching posts and scratching mats and toys multiple times a day........ and i also have a huge hole on the back of my couch, because i work away from home and you can't stop a cat (at least, not my cat) from being naughty when you're not there in person.

incidentally, my parents' cat was declawed (~12 years ago) and she still "scratched" wicker and upright furniture. one commenter was concerned that cats couldn't use their paws or exercise their shoulders and end up with arthritis or whatever without claws, but that declawed cat seemed to be doing just fine.

Mary said...

Both of my cats are front declawed and are totally fine. I work for a major very well known animal protection organization and they are generally against declawing, but I've also dedicated my life to animals and have no problems with it, so I think whatever floats your boat is fine.

Zazz said...

Both my cats have claws, and I don't think declawing is common where I'm from. I have no strong feelings on the issue either way.

I think the difference, however, is that spaying/neutering is beneficial for the entire cat population by keeping numbers under control. Declawing seems to be beneficial to the cat's owner and their furniture which is maybe why it's so controversial.

But, isn't a cat better off in a good home with no claws than fully clawed in a shelter (or worse)?

April said...

I'm a veterinary technician and I can tell you it is not at all like removing a human's finger joints. That's just something people say to make it seem more awful than it is. This is a minor, standard procedure, and the vet I work for is fine with doing it. I'm not sure which 25 countries consider minor aenesthesized surgery "abuse," but neither of the 2 I've worked in have. There are many, many, many, many cats looking for homes, and so if someone wants a cat if it just has a minor procedure done (such as neutering or declawing or fur-trimming), that seems fully reasonable. We don't have to take cats exactly as they are in order to be cat owners. If we did, we'd have to let them reproduce and let them have fleas and not make them wear collars.

tina said...

I don't know how Anonymous can be a cat owner if he/she won't accept that a cat has reproductive organs and that's the way cats are. Maybe people who would sterilize a cat should get a stuffed animal instead. Why would anyone get a cat when they know cats come with reproductive organs? This is an issue of cats' health and happiness.

Or maybe I should get my toddler neutered, since it will be for his own good, protecting him from diseases and the world from overpopulation.

I don't see how people can have this both ways, that it's okay to make SOME changes to a cat but not OTHER changes.

Nellyru said...

Actually, ANATOMICALLY speaking it IS like taking the finger off at the first joint...but I wouldn't say it's EXACTLY the same as doing it to a person...I mean, dude, we're not exactly talking about beings that will vacuum the house, drive the car, make dinner, or paint beautiful artwork if they AREN'T declawed.
And once again, I am NOT CONVINCED that Fluffy is awake and purring and batting toys around the recovery cage the next morning "to hide the pain"...mostly because proper use of pain control keeps them comfortable (notice I said "comfortable" and not "comatose"-because they don't NEED to be THAT drugged afterwards to be kept comfortable while they heal.)

Heather D. said...

I used to be way on the side of not declawing and am no slouch when it comes to being educated about animals (vet tech, zoology degree). I had a fantastic cat for 16 years who was not declawed. She was great about not clawing what she shouldn't, but then again we had crappy newly married furniture. All was well until later in her life she fish-hooked my daughter's face with her claw - went clear through all layers of skin and needed stitches. My daughter has a U shaped scar on her face now. Not the cat's fault and is a pretty dang rare occurrence, but it did happen.
Now I have 2 cats who are declawed. They ARE just as happy as my clawed cat was. I do not ever let them outside. Period.
If you get an experienced vet who uses modern techniques such as laser cutting of tendons followed by proper pain management, in my opinion, it is not inhumane. If you get an old fashioned vet doing it with a pair of dog toenail clippers - yeah, that is inhumane. If done well by a good vet, you won't have the problems described above. I have issues with LOTS of the statements made recently...
Either way, it is the decision of the owner and if they feel like they made a good, educated decision regardless of which decision it is, then they have done what is right for their family.
Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

All "pros" for declawing are for the owner's benefits.

Spaying/neuturing help control the animal population. There are already so many cats and kittens abandoned and looking for homes.

kris said...

Anonymous said...
All "pros" for declawing are for the owner's benefits.


well duh! it is not an equal partnership....we OWN them. that is the way it is, we feed them, take care of them and that is just the way it is. we litter train them because it is to OUR benifit, not theirs. they don't give a, well a shit about where they...shit. we do, it is to OUR benifit. same as spay/neuter, it is for us, not them that we do it. it may benefit them some too but we do it for us. who the heck wants to live with a cat in season..or males pissing all over to mark their territory. i am all for declawing to make them better pets for people so people will keep them and not dumb them somewhere when they start ripping up the furniture and everything else. the pain goes away and they live nice happy lives instead of being dumped somewhere to fend for themselves or being pts.

Angie said...

Soft paws! They are kind of a pain to keep putting on, but nicer than declawing. We bought leather furniture when our cat was 12, and put softpaws on him to protect the furniture.

Stacia said...

well duh! ... it is to OUR benifit. same as spay/neuter, it is for us, not them that we do it.Well, no, spaying/neutering is not just for the benefit of humans. I think plenty of people above have already made the point.

I don't see the need to declaw. We spent money on two large sisal scratching posts and we leave out a cardboard box, and the cats are happy with those and leave the furniture alone. We've had 6 cats, none of which have destroyed the furniture, and it only took a small amount of time and effort to get things that way.

Two of the 6 were inherited from my mom who had them declawed - one cat has mangled paws because of the declawing, and both still scratched her furniture. Even without claws they damaged furniture anyway. Declawing just didn't make a difference. What did make a difference was spending a little time training them to use the posts instead of the corner of a chair.

Sam said...

I worry about a cat that is declawed and then accidentally gets outside and has his/her ass handed to him/her due to the lack of weapons. Can I say "ass" here? I don't remember. Sorry!

Barbara said...

The following is a list of countries in which declawing cats is either illegal or considered extremely inhumane and only performed under extreme circumstances.

England
Scotland
Wales
Italy
France
Germany
Austria
Switzerland
Norway
Sweden
Netherlands
Northern Ireland
Ireland
Denmark
Finland
Slovenia
Portugal
Belgium
Brazil
Australia
New Zealand
Yugoslavia
Japan

The US has a lot of catching up to do!

jac said...

Ah, controversy. Swistle, you are on the EDGE! For the record I live in Australia, it is illegal here, and I've never seen a declawed cat in my life. It's now also illegal to dock dogs' tails, by the way. This isn't considered weird, hippy or particularly controversial; and this is a farming country, with quite a pragmatic view of animals on the whole. It's just... not an option.

J. said...

I'm a vet in Australia. We don't declaw cats, dock tails, crop ears or remove dew claws unless it's deemed medically necessary. I've personally never seen it done and have never done it. I can imagine that most cats would do mostly fine with good post-operative pain relief, BUT you'd have to be sure that your vet was really good with that.

Spaying and neutering confer health benefits. Perineal hernias (bum hernias) are exclusively a problem of entire males; females get uteruses full of pus; males also get prostatic enlargement causing constiptation... No one enjoys doing enemas!

A few months ago, a Doberman that was imported from the US was brought into our clinic, and all the nurses' reactions were along the lines of HOLY HELL THIS DOG IS DEFORMED! -- he had cropped ears. But that's a different CONTROVERSY altogether, breed standards!

My opinion is that it's an additional anaesthetic procedure (or prolonging one that would already be done if declawing is done at the time of spay/neuter), which increases the risk of adverse effects, even if this risk is very low to begin with. It also does cause pain, which then has to be managed. So I think it is unnecessary and I'm glad we don't do it here.

brzeski said...

Give the kitser a chance before you automatically declaw. He might not be a naughty scratcher, and it won't ever be an issue. Happy no-problem!

Siera said...

Having always had a cat in my home and being a cat lover I wouldn't declaw a cat. It's a part of them and who they are. Cats use their claws for more than just scratching. They use it for balance and jumping and hanging onto things. How do you think cats get up into trees? I had a childhood cat who liked to go in and out the windows during the summer months. In the middle of the night you could hear her trying to get in the second story window and she'd be hanging onto the side of the house with her claws waiting for you to open the window to let her in.

If you can't deal with a cat in it's nataral state, then you shouldn't have a cat. I have a one-year-old and I have a cat. My fiance and I decided to adopt a cat while I was pregnant. We choose a cat who had a docile demeanor and my son hasn't been scratched yet.l And he will go up to her all.the.time. and bug her and she still hasn't scratched him. We are teaching him to be gentle with her at every opportunity and one day I am sure he will be scratched when he really pisses her off and he will learn to respect her space and her boundaries.

As for the spaying/neutering that's contraceptives for cats. It is good sense so more kittens have to be born and be subjected to the Declaw debate. It's contraception for animals.

Shannon said...

Everyone seems to think that spaying is for the benefit of the cat population, but I don't think this is true in some cases. Most cats are indoors only. If your cat is indoors only living as an only cat or with same sexed cat siblings then getting it spayed/neutered really only benefits the owner. No cat in heat, no tom's spraying inside or yowling to get out. If declawing is abuse because it's only for the owner's benefit then... maybe spaying/neutering can be as well in some situations.

Misty said...

*People are nuts.
*I want to hear about Potty Training Tooo!
*Wish I could have a cat. :(

Kristine said...

I just wanted to add that my now outside cats - who are both front only declawed are entirely capable of climbing trees, they climb the 6 ft privacy fence (on the flat side AND the braced side) several times a day. And both have held their own in a neighborhood cat fight using their back claws - just as my vet said they would.

Now, if I'd known they were going to end up being outside, I wouldn't have declawed them, but it is what it is. And they're fine.

Linda said...

These are fun to read! Can we talk about circumcision next? :)

Swistle said...

HA HA HA. FAT CHANCE.

beth said...

Another vote for a Swistle post on potty training.

Pleeeeze?

Jen said...

wow - i'm with misty. :)
bring on the potty training talk!

Bring A. Torch said...

Having spent time with a [mutant] [evil] Siamese both pre- and post- surgery: My guess is that it's not pleasant for the cats themselves to be in such a state of hormonal craziness. It felt to me like it would be abusive not to have her fixed.

Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe this conversation is over, but I'm going to add my 2 cents anyway. Our cats were declawed before we got them. I've had cats with claws before, and I can tell that my current cats are somewhat disabled. They don't do the regular cat stuff; they clearly have problems with balance. I do think this is sad, and wouldn't declaw unless absolutely necessary.

OTH, I've never been able to get cats not to claw my furniture. All that stuff about training them easily? Maybe my cats were dumb, but that never worked for me.

cherylc

Val said...

hi,

I tried soft paws on my crazy cat. He still shredded by couch and scratched by diabetic legs. So he got declawed - all 4. Then he got declawed again - the claws starting growing back. I'm going to hell and until I do, I'm totally feeling the guilt. Unfortunately, I had to do it. Not for the couch - who cares, but for my legs. My doctors were either get rid of the cat or declaw him. I feel that pet parents are the same as human parents. Parents for life. The second declaw was much more extensive and his recovery was much longer. Again - I'm going to hell. He's doing much better, but I still feel so guilty. Me bad.

Becky said...

My husband and I decided to adopt a cat from the local Humane Society back in the day when we were still apartment dwellers. Our landlord would only allow us to have the cat if it was front declawed. We didn't know it was a controversial procedure at the time - we both had declawed cats growing up - so we didn't hesitate to proceed with the adoption. We chose an adult cat who had been at the shelter for several months, and was likely *thisclose* to being put to sleep. I like to think that a long, happy, claw-less life is preferable to being euthanized.

Astarte said...

After working at a vet for a relatively short time, I can definitively say that there are certain things that I will never do unless absolutely necessary, and this is one of them. They do recover, but it's a terrible prodecure, and it causes them a *lot* of pain. But, if your cat is tearing up your house all of a sudden, or you get a new landlord, or some other extenuating circumstance comes up, it's still preferable to ending up at the shelter, definitely.

fav.or.it said...

I have had several cats - both with and without claws... facts - none of the declawed cats knew they were declawed. They scratch their scratching post, play with their toys and upon one briefly escaping, climbed a tree. I felt guilty about declawing until I observed their behavior and found that there is absolutely no difference. I will admit that the declawed cats were more enjoyable during play, unable to scratch me and therefore increasing the play time. I found that the younger the kitten when declawing, the less they seemed to notice that anything had changed. Personal choice on this one.

sent from: fav.or.it

brightfeather said...

I love cats. Unfortunately, I can't have one unless it's declawed. Cat scratches are particularly hazardous to someone with my condition. I'm prone to infection, and from the knee down, my legs just don't heal well. And cats' claws are swarming with bacteria. If I ever do get a cat, the sucker is getting its claws taken off as a kitten because I can't have it otherwise.

I mean, a friend of mine's puppy accidentally scratched me back in November, and I'm just now starting to get scabs over the scratches.

Dan said...

Just had my little kitten front declawed. She really wasn't a bad clawer, but my wife and kids had a hard time with her when she did scratch and were surprised when I mentioned I wasn't sure I wanted her declawed. I was going to do some research, but the past two weeks she got really bad clawing the furniture and got my leg a couple times pretty bad, so I just went along with the declaw at the time she was spayed. I asked the vet about the decision to declaw, and they said it was simply a personal decision so I didn't think it was that big of a deal. Now I feel really guilty and wish I never had it done. My kitty is doing great - you'd never known she had anything done to her 3 days ago, but I still feel terrible for trusting my vet and not my gut and researching this more.