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Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Cat Declawing - A Viewer's Story

By February 2, 2011

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The topic of cat declawing, is a hot one. Viewers have many varied opinions about declawing cats.

Here is a recent submission to the Reader Responds - cat declawing section from someone who had her two cats declawed:

"I do most certainly regret declawing my 2 kitty boys! I've always been against it, but got talked into it to "save the new furniture."

Even though I hadn't had any previous experiences with declawing kitties, I had heard the horror stories which caused me to be against it, but not having witnessed the possible negative results personally with a kitty, in a weak moment I conceded to allow it.

Their surgeries were performed Jan. 5th, 2011, and today, Feb. 2nd, 2011, I had to take them back to the vet as they've made it obvious that they're still extremely tender-footed by the way they limp and favor their precious little feet.

The vet gave each of them a shot for pain, some prednisone to bring down the swelling, and a salve for daily pain for the coming week.

The bottom line is that they should never have had to go through all this! They're so sweet and loving, and the guilt I have for their pain never goes away for me, either.

No furniture is worth more than kittie's pain! Never again."

--kittykatkorn

Readers Respond: Tell Us What You Think About Declawing Cats

Note: comments have been closed for this post - please share your opinion here.

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Comments

April 17, 2008 at 10:17 am
(1) Tara says:

Behavior modification is ALWAYS the way to go. Declawing is cruel and inhumane and should be done ONLY if there is a medical reason to do so. Would you pull out all of your toddlers teeth if they started biting (as all toddlers do)? No? Then why break all of your cats toes because he scratches? Cats has a natural need and desire to use their claws. Get a scratching post and use a water sprayer to spray the cat if he claws in inappropriate places. Don’t declaw!!

April 20, 2008 at 9:40 am
(2) ellie says:

I didn’t need to read the article.
I love the water sprayer results (Tara)
along with a firm “NO!” I had total success with a stray inappropriate biter by using the spray bottle..eventually, all I had to do was hold the bottle in front of him and he’d back away..
If your furniture is more important than a cat maybe it’s time to rethink your options. Perhaps a snake would be a better choice (in a cage, of course).Cats don’t scratch to destroy. They stretch muscles and clean nails as well as sharpen them so they can get better traction to run and climb..That’s part of the fun of being a cat (one of my cat’s told me that!it’s his story and he’s sticking to it!). It’s not nice to mess with MoNa(MotherNature).. Oh! and if you can’t tolerate “destruction”, definitely don’t have kids either..LOL!
DEclawing is abusive (at the very least).”Abuse an animal-Go to Jail”

April 23, 2008 at 10:37 am
(3) Carol Reading says:

Why get a cat if you are going to declaw it, claws are an integral part of being a cat. For those who consider getting this barbrous procedure done, don’t get a cat! I can’t understand how vets can perform this cruel operation. Thank goodness it is banned in my country, Australia.

April 24, 2008 at 2:36 pm
(4) Kathy Heidman says:

I got my cat from Petsmart when she was 6 years old…She has been declawed by someone else at 6 months of age (not by me) All four of her claws are gone..She looks deformed but she is happy. she cannot go outside at all unless supervised. She will sit on our back deck and enjoy the birds. Without having all four claws off, I don’t think my husband would allow the cat in the house. We have leather couches and he was never used to animals in his childhood home. However, I always had a cat in my childhood home and after my children moved out I needed a little friend..Zoi is great company. I have mixed feelings about declawing as you can tell. I could never have it done but someone else did it for me and I gave her a good home.

December 25, 2009 at 9:41 am
(5) Leslie says:

I had adopted 2 adorable “sister” cats from the Humane Society, Star(fish) and Angel(fish). After a few years of living with scratched furniture, torn carpet (despite numerous scratching posts) and scratched friends, I decided to that I would look into having them declawed.

I thought I had done a great job researching the subject. I scoured the Internet to understand the pros and cons of declawing in order to make an “informed” decision. And for every strong argument against declawing, their appeared to be a solid and sound response dispelling the negative articles. I thought I had a legitimate reason because Angel was scratching visitors (and drawing blood) but truth be told, the driving reason was to protect my carpet and furniture.

I took Star and Angel to the vet to have them declawed using the “laser” technique because I had read that it was less painful and there was a quicker recovery. I spoke with the vet to find out risks to the cats. I had the preliminary blood work to done. I had a “recovery room” at home with special litter and nothing for the cats to climb up on or, more importantly, to jump down from. I thought I had done everything to ensure my cats’ safety and successful recovery.

2 weeks later Star died. She had had problems from the surgery from the start. She may have bitten at her toes on the drive home from the vets because when she arrived home, her paws were all bloody. I took her back to the vet right away and they applied more “glue” to re-seal the wounds. I immediately I regretted my decision after seeing my cat bleeding unnecessarily.

After bringing Star home for the 2nd time, this time with a cone to prevent her from biting at her toes, she appeared to be recovering. Initially she was eating and drinking, but then she started to withdraw, spending more and more time by herself – which was very unlike her. Star had always been a very social and loving cat – always wanting to be petted or picked up and carried around the house. By the time I noticed she was not eating, I took her back to see the vet. They thought she was just dehydrated and wanted to keep her overnight to give her fluids through an IV do some blood work. Within 6 hours, I received a call requesting permission from the vet to perform CPR on my precious Star “because she was turning purple” (that is a quote). Within 3 minutes I received another call telling me that Star had died.

The vet cannot give me a good explanation as to why my Star died. They claim it was probably due to a heart condition. Whatever the medical reason, I have to live with the fact that she died because I decided to have her claws removed.

Prior to the surgery, I understood that thousands and thousands of cats undergo this type of surgery and “successfully” recover and many do not appear to experience any negative side effects. What I didn’t understand, is that you are potentially risking the life of your cat to have this procedure done. The odds may be very low that your cat will not survive the surgery, however the price you pay is extremely high when this happens.

Looking back, I wish I had been less selfish and pursued other alternatives, like the plastic nail protectors or even more frequent trimming (trimming was always an ordeal with my cats, which I would gladly take on now if I only could).

So in answer to your question – Yes I feel it is wrong. What I’ve learned from my experience is that claws are an essential part of a cat. They are a body part. To remove an essential body part for the convenience of an owner is wrong and you are putting your pet’s life at risk to do so – I understand that now but I paid a very expensive price. If you don’t want the entire cat, consider another pet that doesn’t have claws or get a cat that has already been declawed.

I can only hope that at least one person who reads this chooses not to have their precious cat declawed. In this way I will feel that Star’s death served some purpose.

December 4, 2010 at 10:55 am
(6) Jan G. says:

I wish that this barbaric “procedure” would be banned in this country (USA) as it has in so many others. I have3 seen first hand the effects of this torture from my mom in law’s two cats. They can’t walk normally, are very anti-social, and forget about them running. They also have absolutely no muscle tone in their shoulders, backs, and front legs. I tried to talk her out of doing it, but got nowhere. I really feel sorry for all declawed cats, whose owners were too lazy to train them, or to use nail caps which is what I do.

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