Confessions of a former declawer - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Confessions of a former declawer

Five cats have graced our home, two in Pet Heaven, three still making our lives wonderful.

I never had cats growing up, but had heard of declawing. My partner Brad had cats, and his Mom always did an all four declaw. So when we adopted our first boys, Phantom and Phoenix in 1998, we did a front declaw (humane society wouldn't allow all four) and never had an issue. Did a front declaw on our girl Phoebe Jean in 2003 as well after Phoenix died. All were done at about 3-4 months of age.

My sister Diana aka White Kitties began to educate me on declawing after adopting her girls Fern and Fergie, and I began to look into it. I was a bit offended initially that she was telling me I shouldn't do it for any future cats! In my mind, all our cats were fine and had never had any issues. I did observe though that nothing in Diana's house was damaged or torn, thanks to diligent claw trimming and scratching posts.

When we adopted our new Bengals Phineas and Phaelan last fall, I decided I did not want to do any declaw, and convinced Brad as well. The clincher was interacting with the boys as kittens, and seeing how they used their claws! Hanging from cat trees, playing with toys, etc. It was amazing, and something we had never observed before. I felt that front declawing these beautiful purebreds would be like buying a Ferrari and replacing the front tires with spare donuts.

I apologize to Phoebe Jean regularly for taking her front claws away. We trim the boys claws regularly (Phaelan is not very cooperative) and have scratchers around the house, and after three months with Bengal kittens, have yet to have anything damaged.

So that's my story...never again a declawed cat in our house, and I now enjoy educating others on why it's totally unnecessary.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 07:35 PM
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Good for you!

My husband and I used to drive a big truck to NYC twice a week where we delivered regularly to this warehouse in Brooklyn. There was a cat living in the warehouse with a death warrant on his head because he was pooping in there. A guy on a lunch truck used to give him cartons of milk. Anyway, we got to know the cat and he was such a sweetheart. With winter coming on and threats of death from warehouse workers, we decided to take him home with us to California. Or I should say I decided. I still can't believe my hubby let me get away with it. We took him to a local vet to have him checked out first and had him bathed and vaccinated. That's when we found out he had been declawed. The poor cat didn't stand a chance out on his own. He couldn't even catch a rat, though believe me, from what I've seen of NY rats I think he was the one in danger.

We figured later that he must have been someone's truck cat that had escaped because he got back in our sleeper and his entire attitude changed from poor, sweet little cat to king of the road and he didn't want to share the sleeper with us! I've never seen a cat with such strong right hook. We should have named him Rocky but he got stuck with the dumb name of 'Big Apple.' He was a biter too, and I've heard from others that had declawed cats that they had the same problem. You would be petting him and he would bite you for no reason. And if you weren't petting him but he wanted you to pet him, he'd bite. He was a funny cat.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David C View Post
My sister Diana aka White Kitties began to educate me on declawing after adopting her girls Fern and Fergie, and I began to look into it. I was a bit offended initially that she was telling me I shouldn't do it for any future cats! In my mind, all our cats were fine and had never had any issues. I did observe though that nothing in Diana's house was damaged or torn, thanks to diligent claw trimming and scratching posts.
Glad I could help! Fern and Fergie were happy to have a paw in the saving of their new cousins' claws!

~Diana, happy mom to Fern and Fergie
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 07:57 PM
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Good for Diana for educating you, and good for you for educating others. We had cats growing up, but none was ever declawed. My parents are from Europe and they just viewed declawing as cruel. I was older before I understood why, but I would never even think to declaw a cat. About the only thing Muffs and Abby scratch (aside from their posts) is a rug I keep in my front foyer, which doesn't bother me because I don't much like the darn rug in the first place.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 10:23 PM
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I completely relate to your story. I used to declaw too, just as a matter of course. Never thought anything of it. None of my cats now are declawed and they never scratch inappropriately and they are so much happier with their claws.

Rachael with Thurston, Sully and Ninja.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 10:36 PM
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My sister in law is completely set on declawing. She claims that with her allergies and 'fine furniture' it's the only way she can have a cat. We've argued nearly to the point of violence. It always reminds me why I live so far from my family....ugh.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 10:52 PM
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My parents have always had our cats declawed (all four) and so when I found Monkey it was part of the deal of keeping her. Either declaw her or find her another home (we found her at about 3-4 weeks old) so I choose to declaw her.. I didn't know what it really meant so I just went with it.

When I rescued Dexter, I did my research on it and wow... I felt so guilty. Dexter has all of his claws and so will any other cat that enters my home.

Definitely will never declaw again.

Monkey (DSH) - June 23, 2004
Callie (DSH) - July 20, 2005
Dexter (Maine Coon mix) - August 10, 2008
Stark (German Shepherd Dog) - April 10, 2009
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 11:14 PM
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Thank you for your post, and yey for keeping the claws!

As mentioned by Susan, in Europe, where I grew up, declawing is considered animal abuse, hence non of our cats were declawed. I moved to Canada a couple of years ago, and when I found out that declawing is an actual word, an actual act, I was shocked. In my anger towards people who did declaw, I used to make an extreme comparison: "if your baby cries, will you take out the vocal chords because it's so painful to your ears?" Not fair really, but I was just very upset.

I want to thank you for your thread in that I never realized that a lot of people are just not educated in this matter, I am glad that you don't declaw anymore though!
(Gorgeous cat on your avatar by the way!)
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 12:59 AM
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I've heard that "a few cities" in the US now make it illegal to declaw... now if we can only turn that into "all 50 states", I'd be happy!

Whenever somebody adopts from the rescue group I volunteer with, they have to sign an agreement not to declaw. And if they even mention it, we "pounce" right on the issue and tell them all the alternatives - clipping, SoftPaws, teaching to use a scratching post, etc. We even show them how to clip claws, even if we have to do it on another cat than the one being adopted, if they seem nervous about it. MOST cats really don't mind it, especially if you're quick enough. And most get used to it if you do it often enough.

There are rare times when it's needed, for medical reasons. One of the cats in our program has an ingrown claw that is now starting to grow sideways in her paw! So she's scheduled to have that one toe amputated next week (was gonna do it this week, but she had to get over her URI first). It's causing her pain anyway, and she's starting to favor that foot.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 01:02 AM
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I've been clipping Dex's nails since he came home. I would also play with his paws constantly and still do. Now he's a pro and just sits there for me while I clip away.

The rescue group I use to volunteer for has a strict no declaw policy as well, as it should be.

Monkey (DSH) - June 23, 2004
Callie (DSH) - July 20, 2005
Dexter (Maine Coon mix) - August 10, 2008
Stark (German Shepherd Dog) - April 10, 2009
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