Declaw Horror Stories-Part

Sassy’s story
Five years ago, I had my female calico, Sassy, spayed and declawed at the same time. According to the vet, it was preferable to do them both at once since the cat would only have the anaesthesia risk once. She was 6 months old when we had the procedures done.

She spent two days in hospital and when I picked her up, she was so happy to see me. I received her in her cat carrier, so I did not actually see her walking around at the vet’s office.

I got her home, and let her out of her carrier. Imagine my horror when I found that the only way she could walk was on her entire front legs. Picture yourself as a cat, and then bend your elbows and “crawl” around with your entire forearms pressed to the ground, not just your hands. I immediately called the vet’s office, and was told not to worry – that she was still really sore and that this would go away on its own in a few days. As long as her paws weren’t bleeding, don’t worry about it, is basically what I was told. My other cat had also been declawed a couple of years before, but never ambulated this way after the surgery. I let it go for a few days, and when STILL no improvement, I called the vet’s office and DEMANDED to bring Sassy in. She said “No problem”, so I took her in. She then looked at Sassy, and told me that some kitties are super-sensitive to the surgery, and that obviously Sassy was one of them. She told me to “massage” her paws and proceeded to show me how to do this. (It looked awfully rough, and the poor kitty yelped every time the vet or I did this to her!)

I felt so bad. I started second guessing myself as to whether I had done wrong by having the procedure done. I didn’t even have a good reason for having it done, except that my other cat was declawed, and I was afraid that this one would tear him to bits if I didn’t have her declawed too. (Oh – and she was scratching at the furniture – big deal).

Almost a month after she had her procedure, she finally started to walk on her feet, rather than her entire front legs, but I noticed that she walked very “gingerly” and her paws looked terrible. They were deformed! She used to have cute little tiny paws and now they looked big and flat and “mushy”. Plus she walked on her FLAT feet instead of almost up on her toes, like most cats do.

I took her back in for another opinion, only this time, to an entirely different vet in another office, in another end of the city. He first described to me that this was not an unusual thing to see after a declaw procedure, and that Sassy would likely always walk this way. He told me that the procedure is not without risk. If I had thought for one minute that this would be the end result of the surgery, I would have never had it done. He took some x-rays of her feet to make sure that a small “nub” of bone wasn’t left over, sometimes when this happens it causes a cat extreme and excruciating pain. Nope – x-rays looked perfectly normal, and unfortunately Sassy was one of the kitties who didn’t do so well after a straightforward declaw procedure.

I took her in for a third opinion, and this time no x-rays, but just confirmation by the vet that what I had been told was consistent with what he was seeing.

Even today, FIVE YEARS LATER, Sassy will shake her front paws violently, as though she is in pain, or has touched something really hot. This can happen while she is walking, or sometimes even when she is sleeping. I talked to yet another vet about this, and he told me that sometimes when a nerve is nicked during the procedure, this can be the end result. This was not, in his opinion, all that uncommon. He compared what Sassy was feeling to someone striking their elbow on a table, and hitting the “funny bone”. That terrible tingly feeling. Ouch!!

If this isn’t enough to turn you off, imagine my horror when my normally docile kitty turned into a biter. She is still a love considering all she has been through, but if she feels threatened or if she is scared, an attempt to reach out and pet her may result in an angry bite. I believe this is attributable to the declawing as well. Once a cat loses her main means of defense (front claws), what else does she have but her teeth? And who can fault her for this considering we did this to her.

As a result of all this, I no longer believe in declawing. I cannot see how this procedure benefits a cat in any way. So many people out there say well – if I didn’t declaw the cat, then it was going to an animal shelter because it was too destructive. What a terrible excuse. If this is an argument, why are so many shelters filled with declawed cats? I have a new kitty who has so far had no problems using a scratching post. I will not declaw her. I do not want to have to risk this tragedy again, ever.
April 26, 1999
Calie’s story
This is about my youngest baby who is now 11 months old, she is my Little Calie Girl. A beautiful golden eyed calico. I have two other furry, four footed, feline family members who reside with us in our home. Calie was a rescue baby that came with us when she was about five weeks old, a happy little kitty full of spunk and energy who loved playing with her other adopted brother and sister. Calie is my third cat to be declawed as I had no real problems with my other two. I always thought it was only the claw that was removed, the procedure was never explained to me, if I had known what I know now, this would have never happened and I would not have this terrible story to tell all of you. It began when I took my baby girl to be spayed and declawed three months ago at our family vet who has taken care of our feline family the past four years. She was given the routine blood work to check for abnormalities before the surgeries. As the others, we picked her up the next afternoon as recommended. Calie came out with a little bandage on one of her paws. I can remember telling my husband, “Our other kitties didn’t have a bandage on.” I had this bad feeling already in the pit of my stomach. I brought Calie home putting her in her bed where she would be most comfortable. I was to take the bandage off the next morning but she did that herself during the night. Her foot was all bloodied in the morning. I have no idea how long she was like this. A few days had gone by, she just did not seem to improve at all. I could see she was in severe pain. For the first few weeks I carried her everywhere, she did not want to walk at all, I even would bring her food and water. My Calie Girl would just lay there drinking or eating her meal. She stayed in my room for two weeks where she was most comfortable barely being able to walk. This just did not seem normal. I called the vet, take her in and drop her off, picking her up later that day. He left a message telling us he could not find anything wrong with her and prescribed pain medication. I tried that without any success. By this time I am in tears. Another visit to the vet with one of my other cats and again I questioned about my poor Calie. I told him she can barely walk, sits up like a prairie dog and when she does walk she is not walking on her toes or her paw but walking on the entire lower half of her leg, it is utterly bending up forward at the knee! He seemed shocked and amazed. This is about where we stand now, my Calie is miserable, I feel absolutely terrible for doing this to my little calico bundle, not of the happy little baby she use to be. Now I carry her most of the time, she mews at me and still purrs while I am petting her beautiful coat as to say, ” I forgive you.” Her vet is to consult a few other vets then get back with me about what we can do, if anything. She may have to be splinted in order for her leg muscles to strenghten so she may walk upright on her paws again, I don’t know. Right now it is a wait and see situation. I am hoping so very much, My Little Calie Girl will be able to walk the happy walk she use. With this I will close in pleading, please do not have your kitty declawed, educate yourself on declawing, don’t do what I did, thinking it was a simple procedure, don’t take that chance of the same thing happening to your friend, your family. As we work with My Calie Girl I will keep you posted.

April 21, 1999

September 9, 2000

Calies Story Continue…

Calie had a terrible experience with her declaw procedure. Her vet consulted an Orthopedic Specialist concerning her difficulty in walking after declaw. With love and care, Calie recovered after 6 months of walking with a lot of discomfort. I am so relieved she has returned to as close to normal as possible. I will never have another one of my babies declawed after this frightening procedure.
On this note I wish to dedicate my story to Calie’s Veterinarian who also attended to my other cats. Dr. Dan Wells was killed by a hit and run driver, who was arrested a week later and found out he was on probation for hit and run and drunk driving. Dr. Dan Wells was a man who was devoted to the health and wellness to our four pawed friends. He was sincerely respected in the community, his warm, kind ways will be missed by all. His practice is being carried out by fellow veterinarians in search of one whom will be able to continue and carry on Dr. Well’s dream.
A Breeder’s story
I have been a breeder of top Himalayan and Persian(Himalayans are a color variety of Persian) cats for twenty three years. I have always discouraged de-clawing of kittens and cats purchased from me. After living through the horror story which follows, de-clawing is now forbidden in my sales contract.
Eighteen months ago Janet, bought a beautiful, cream, hybrid (color-point carrier) kitten from me. The kitten was checked by her vet and found to be in robust,good health. Unbeknownst to me, Janet declawed the kitten when she was under a year old. After having her front claws amputated, Janet never clipped the kitten’s back claws again. The kitten scratched her face and put a hole(corneal sequestrum)in her eye. Janet’s veterinarian didn’t treat the eye properly and because the eye infected, eventually it had to be removed. Still the kitten’s back nails are not clipped and, lo and behold, another corneal sequestrum appears in the remaining eye. Janet has a veterinary opthamologist insert a contact lens into the remaining eye. Thousands of dollars later the cat seems to be recovering when a massive infection becomes systemic and the cat dies. Janet is devastated, I am devastated and this beautiful cat is dead. All this because an unsuspecting owner de-clawed her cat.

De-clawing is a vicious and terrible mutilation. DON”T DO IT!

Our cat’s nails are clipped every ten days. They are wrapped in a towel, back nails are clipped first, then front claws. In addition, we keep wicker baskets and barky logs in every room. Our cats prefer these scratching surfaces. We also use spray bottles, turned to “stream” and filled with water aimed at their faces to train our kittens away from scratching undesirable surfaces. Anyone who won’t employ these training techniques should be discouraged from owning a cat. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DE-CLAWING!!! NO DATE
Kneader and Patches’ story
If only I had understood! Declawing is an unnecessary cruelty and this is my shameful story.
I declawed my wonderful cat Kneader. Never again! I didn’t ask about the procedure. I assumed that because it could be done, there was no reason not to have it done. I hope when I meet Kneader at the Rainbow Bridge he will have been given back his claws and he will forgive me for putting him through such pain.

Patches’ story begins as a sad one but her life will be as happy and safe as we can make it. We were able to rescue this wonderful cat, Patches. She was a stray………….found wandering…..defenseless on the streets of Sault Ste Marie. She had been declawed. She had been at the Shelter for several weeks. No one had called to claim her!

We will never know the story of how Patches ended up at the Shelter. Perhaps, like me in the past, her family didn’t understand. Perhaps the family didn’t realize the serious situation they had placed their pet in. Perhaps they didn’t understand that aside from the pain and suffering of having deformed limbs, the danger of having a declawed cat “escape” from the house is always present. Believe it or not, some people think it’s just fine to let declawed cats run free!

If the declaw issue is one that means the difference between sharing or not sharing your life with the wonders of a cat, then in all conscience, there is only one recourse! Call a Shelter!
Rescue the ones that have been “dropped off”. Rescue the ones who have been found as Patches was… lost, terrified, unable to fend for herself, unclaimed.


Be prepared to guard and protect your pet.
Be prepared to groom your pet faithfully (as they can’t do it properly themselves).
Be prepared to “scratch” your pet while grooming as well.
Be creative and provide bumpy, loosely woven, hard materials for your pet to “claw”. Something that they can get their pads into so they can get some sensation of stretching and pulling they need to keep their forelegs strong and limber.
Be prepared! Post a note on your back door warning callers about not opening the door, checking for the cat….ringing the bell first.

Lastly, if you have small children…………………don’t even think of having a declawed cat as a pet.

Please visit my site, a tribute to Kneader and Patches. There are important links on my site for you to learn more about delcawing, spay/neutering etc.
Gracie (aka Linda)
“Better inside and fat than outside and flat!”

Pogo’s story
Well this is a story about Pogo a 8 Month old cat. On February 2,1999 Pogo went in to get neutered and declawed. We dropped him off February 1, 1999 and the vet’s would keep him ’til February 4, 1999. Two full days, just in case. Well I missed him terribly those 2 days and my daughter did, too. So Thursday came and we picked him up he looked great. The vet explained that he would be a little quiet and like usual should be kept away from jumping and we should change his kitty litter to paper and we did for 2 weeks (just in case). They used this special glue instead of stitches or whatever. He was doing good, ’til about 3 weeks or so after his “declawing”. He started walking like on eggshells. When he had to stand for a long period of time he would stand like a kangaroo…. When he would eat he would lay down on all fours and put his head in the bowl. I felt so bad for him and what I did to him. The day I saw him doing that with his bowl I called the vet, I told them I could be there in 10 minutes and they squeezed me in. The doctor saw him, felt his paws and he said “all seems fine, maybe he bruised his toes jumping down from somewhere” and gave him anti-inflammatory pills for 4 days. Well it so happened that in four days he needed a booster so when we came in for the booster I told the same doctor that those pills did nothing. He followed by feeling his paws again gave him a booster and gave us more pills this time “prednisone 5mg” but we had to wait ten days after the booster. Well I felt real bad for Pogo, it was quite evident he was in pain or discomfort as he still walked on eggshells but I could not give him medicine till ten days. Well 4 days passed and Pogo seemed to walk around less and less and I got angry. I called the vet and told him he needs to do something now , we were bordering on abuse….. so Pogo went in that day to get some x-rays and I am waiting to see what will happen as he has to stay overnight….so I’ll have to get back to you…..

March 14, 1999

Well here is the ending sort of to my story…..

Well the next day I get a call at work from the Vet who tells me that no they did not x ray his poor paws because he visually checked his paws and the cuts they made on his paws healed beautifully and there is no sign of infection. The vet told me he has been doing this for 25 years and has never had to redo it. So he told me there is no sign of nails left behind to give Pogo an infection so the pain that Pogo is feeling will have to go alone. The vet said that Pogo is 11 lbs so he is pretty big for 8 months and so he is putting lots of weight on his front paws maybe that is the cause for his pain. In the end the vet said “nothing could be done” He said we could give his some Prednisone 5mg “probably will not do anything” but I told him I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. So it has been a few days he has been home and he still walks with difficulty..

The vet said it could take up to 3 months after the declawing to start walking well……. It’s sad…….Pogo used to run around crazy and wild…..Pogo now just lays down everywhere… we don’t get to see him often…..It’s sad…..

Thanks for listening……and I would suggest to anyone if you really don’t have to *********DON’T*********
N. Chevalier NO DATE
Rushy’s story
I still feel very bad about this whole situation.
When Rushy was six months old he came into our life. I immediately took him to be neutered and declawed. I knew that declawing was not pleasant for a cat, but I never knew just how horrible it could be. For at least a year after his declawing Rushy did fine. But all of a sudden one day I saw him limping. One of his little toes was horribly infected and swollen. I immediately took him to the vet. Rushy was very frightened,in a lot of pain and he had to wear a bandage and take medication for a while. We didn’t know what the cause was but we were glad he was going to be alright. Not long afterwards the very same toe was swollen and infected! We went back to the vet and had him treated and then came home and tried to figure out what he was getting his paw stuck on that would cause that type of injury. We had no luck. After two more visits for OTHER infected toes our vet x-rayed Rushy’s paws and found the problem. When the original vet amputated Rushy’s toes, she didn’t get the entire nail bed. This allowed his claws to grow partially back–underneath the skin! So, whenever Rushy walked, ran or jumped the partially grown claw would irritate the skin that grew over the knuckle and cause an infection. Poor trusting Rushy ended up needing to be re-declawed to take out the nail beds completely. I feel bad that he experienced 2 unnecessary operations and several painful infections because I was not educated about the horrors of declawing.
Mel — 1-30-99
I know that some owners take their kitties to be declawed and they heal up fine and they feel there cat goes on normally through the rest of its life. I thought this too. I was wrong. Read on to educate yourself that not all of these surgical procedures go over smoothly. What I thought was going to be a simple thing turned out to be two weeks of torment for me and my kitty. I do not feel this procedure is worth the hassle. The suffering on the owner and the animal itself isn’t worth a piece of material that does not live. Material things do not matter as much as a living breathing thing does …
The Personality Change …

I would just like to state that my kitty before suffering this hell had an attitude that was unbreakable and like no other. People loved that about her. Since her surgery she has grown acustom to being “loved on” and around anyone who has a hand to pet her. I feel as if her “natural” behavior was just stripped from her like a medal.
The Story …

On January 19, 1999 I took my kitty to the vet to be dropped of for what’s considered a normal declaw. Happens everyday right? Kitties go home and everythings fine right? Well upon dropping her off they assured me it was a simple procedure and I signed a paper allowing her to undergo drugs and testing to assure she could take the drugs. They told me to pay when I picked Mama Kitty up and it would be an over night stay. I said okay, I said my good bye’s and then I left to go to work.
I called constently checking up on kitty and to make sure she was okay. They told me she was fine and things were looking good. Well time came to get off work. I went home to a quiet motionless room. Sad I decieded I had nothing better to do than sleep. The next morning as soon as I got to work, I called to check on kitty and then since I felt ill I went home. Shortly after noon I called again to check if things were good to see if it was fine for kitty to come home. They said I could and I flew to the vet.

When I got there, gave them my name, and Kitties. They brought her out, and informed me she would not eat anything. So it’s been a day in a half with no food or water for her. She immediately started “crying”. She would not stop meow’ing at me. They told me to give her a pain pill twice a day (Torbutrol), to replace her litter with shredded paper, to keep her in a “quiet” area and not allow her to jump. They gave me a 15 minute speech of “after declawing care”. The whole time kitty was whining from her carrier. Then came the payment. They said with hesitation it was $128. I looked at her and said wait a second. Before I could finish she started saying that she spoke with me on the phone yada yada, and went into this long explantion again. Kitty still whining I said look whatever tell me how much so I could get my kitty home where she felt comfortable. They had told me originally it was $120 even. When I signed the paperwork I was given that as my quote for everything. When I called to check up on her they included a $5 charge for a de-wormer pill since she ate a flea which gave her a worm? In any case it came to $125. And that was my now new quote. Well I ended up paying $128. Anyway, I finally I got to leave. Kitty whined the whole drive home as well.

When we got home and I took the top of the carrier, she flew out of it like a bird would a cage. She landed in the hallway where she walked around in a drunkin stooper. I noticed she had a piece of her paw like hanging from the right side of her left paw. Just kinda attached there, by what I had no idea. She also seemed to hold that left paw just a bit. She then disappered under the bed where she hid for 2 days. She would slowly creep out to grab a bite of food. But she would not touch her regular food. I had to go buy some of the moist canned food. Finally by that following Saturday she would come out if no one else was around. I got a glimse of her paw. I thought the left one was where she might have a problem. But it was her right paw swollen as big as a puppy’s paw would be. I was concerned and called the vet. Closed at 1 and no emergency care # to call. I had no choice but wait till Monday (01/25/99). I got no sleep that night or Sundays as kitty was out of pain medicine and limping where ever she moved to. She even sat holding the right paw up.

That Friday I quit my job in order to take the next week off to give kitty as much TLC as I could and to recover from the cold I had at the same time.

Monday morning I called and got an appt for 11:00 am. When I brought her in I explained what she was doing and that her right paw other than looking swollen had what seemed to be a hole. I also asked what was with the little piece hanging on the side of her left paw. The vet told me that apparently it was glued on wrong. I followed with what was glued to what. She explained they went through kitties “peds” in order to remove her first joint and that they used tissue glue to put the “peds” back on so they can heal up. I (uneducated in this matter) said ok with a blank expression. The vet then squeezed kitties right paw and a pinkish bubble oozed out and she told me it looked like an infection. The vet then went on to say she would give kitty a shot to sedate her a bit to clip off the piece of paw they glued on wrong and clean her paws up so they could get a better look at her. When they returned kitty was so out of it she was laying half in the carrier and half out. Not through the front either, she was laying in the carrier from the side of it. How that was comfortable I don’t know, but she didn’t budge. The vet’s helper placed her all the way in and the vet continued to explain all the meds they were giving me. I got more pain killers (Torbutrol) I also now had to force drops in her mouth twice a day along with the pain pill, and then soak her paws in Chlorhexiderm twice a day as well. Breathless I said okay and that was that. I ended up shelling out another $44 bucks and was informed my previous fee of $128 was showing unpaid. Apparently the dumb lady I spoke with on the phone didn’t even know how to do that much, which leads me to believe she did over charge me or include something she shouldn’t have. I argued with the lady at the desk and she assured me a bill would be sent to mark that as I paid already. I gave the additional $44 for the meds, rescheduled for a follow-up on the next Friday and went on my way to get kitty home and comfortable.

At home kitty went back into her hiding stage but only for about 12 hours. When she came out she layed down beside me on the floor where I could see both her paws. I noticed her right paw had a hole the size of a pencil eraser where her “ped” should have been. I have no idea what they did to her on that visit, but I don’t feel it was good. Later that night my bf helped me to soak her paws in the solution they gave me. Her left paw started bleeding like we just sliced her foot open. An hour after the paw soaking I looked at her left paw and what would have been a pinky toe had no ped either. I have no idea if this is normal or what. They told me it was. 1-29-99

Shani, Simba and Nermal’s story
First of all I was against having my cats declawed from the very beginning. After arguing with my husband about the cats for 2 years I decided to look into declawing. Some people I’ve known most of my life have declawed cats and their cats have always been well cared for and healthy. The thing is that I thought declawing meant they were going to remove the claws, nothing else. The word declawing is in itself misleading because it should be called de- toeing.
I was very worried about this declawing but the vet tech reassured me that my cats would only suffer temporary pain and everything would be normal after that. They de-toed my cats and sent them home the same day with heavily bandaged front feet. I was told I could remove the bandages the next day or bring the cats back in to have the bandages removed. The first thing I found out was that Simba was not about to use the litterbox after having been declawed. He started using the carpet in the family room instead. Then I noticed that they were walking differently than they had ever walked before. I could see they were clearly in a great deal of pain and I called the vet’s office to ask for pain medicine. They refused to give my cats any pain medicine because they said my cats would walk on their paws and damage them since they wouldn’t be able to feel the pain. My cats continued to limp for weeks and were walking in an unnatural way. Shani eventually seemed to get better but Simba did not. I had to go into the vets office for another matter and while I was there I asked to make an appointment for Simba. I was told to bring him in the next morning. When I brought him in I was surprised to find only the vet tech and no vet in the office. She briefly looked at his paws and said “I don’t see anything wrong” , she seemed angry that I had wasted her time. I then had to show her where there were scabs and a lump in his paw. She agreed to give him an antibiotic shot in his paws and she told me that sometimes cats regrow deformed nails inside their paws and he might need a second operation.

In the mean time I had switched Simba back to his regular kitty litter as I was told I could do so after a week. I had to retrain him to use the litterbox by confining him to one room. To this day we still have occasional problems in getting him to use his box because the family room is now scent marked. The carpet is completely ruined.

Simba’s limp began to get worse again so I decided to get a second opinion. My new vet said both of Simba’s paws were infected inside and he would need to do a second operation to remove more bone. It appeared that the paws had been infected right from the start and so had never healed properly. They were still scabbed over after 3 months. Apparently, because the wounds never healed kitty litter had worked it’s way inside one of his paws. Thankfully the vet did not have to remove too much bone from Simba’s feet and he can still walk. My new vet kept Simba overnight and removed the bandages himself. He also sent Simba home on an antibiotic to prevent any further infection from happening as would likely be done with an amputation on a human. I was not charged any additional amount for this extra care either.

Three of my cats were declawed. Of the 3 it took Shani 3 months to recover, it took Simba 6 months to recover and while Nermal was younger and recovered more quickly her paws look disfigured with loose skin hanging off of them. Also one of the reasons I adopted Nermal was because she was a very loving purring kitten. She tends to be very nervous now and spends a lot of time under the bed though she is still loving with me. I can’t help but wonder if de-toeing caused this behavior difference. I can clearly see that my 3 cats walk flat on their feet compared to Shelby who is not declawed. Also, while other vets have denied this is a possibility my new vet said that cats may develop osteoarthritis as a result of being declawed. Only the future will tell me whether or not my cats will go through further suffering as the result of being declawed. Given a chance to do it all over again I would never declaw a cat.

Shelby has a sisal rope scratching post, has her nails trimmed regularly and I would use soft paws if needed.
K. Lynn–1-30-99
Furpurr, a vet tech’s story
I have 5 cats. Two are declawed and 3 are not. If I could go back in time, I would give my babies their claws back, but I can’t. I feel very guilty for doing it when it wasn’t necessary. Not only that, but I’m a vet tech. I feel I should have known better. I feel that all vets and vet techs should know better, but it blows my mind that the majority of them that I have worked with declaw their cats. At the time, it was my first job at a vet clinic. Looking back at what happened now, having the experience of 3 other vet clinics under by belt, I know that the first place where I worked was an absolutely horrid place! How I could be so stupid and nieve I don’t know.
My first vet clinic job was at a very small practice solely owned by an older vet. His techniques and equipment were archaic. He never used gas anesthesia, he used expired drugs (He’d say, “Back when I started practicing there were no expiration dates..they are still good! Not like they automatically go bad on the exact date on the bottle), and his surgical packs were NOT sterile. The instruments were put in a metal ice cube tray with drapes folded and placed on top of the instruments, then autoclaved. In school (to get my vet tech license) nor in any other practice, have I seen it done this way. After autoclaving the “pack” they were placed in a cupboard stacked on top of each other, many times with the instruments exposed.

The ear crop patients and the declaws stayed in the clinic for 2 nights. The cats toes were sutured together after the claw was removed, and weren’t even fully awake until the next day. They got their bandages removed the day after surgery, and they would stay that day too to “stay quiet” in the confined area and so we could “observe” them. The cats recieved no pain medication. After their bandages were removed, most of them freaked out and flopped around in the cage and climbed up the bars etc. Many of them broke open their sutures. The cats would shake their paws when you walked by, and you’d get splashed with blood drips. The assistants began putting newspaper over the cage doors so that we didn’t get bloody all the time. If we didn’t, we spent a lot of time cleaning up blood spatters off the wall across from the cages with a bucket and sponge. The cats would calm down eventually, and sometimes would be standing there looking at me with pools of blood around their paws. I always ran and told the doctor about the poor bleeding cats. He’d humor me and come back to the kennel. He’d take a look and say, “He’s fine. When I began practicing, we didn’t even suture the toes. Believe me. They are fine.” The toes would stop bleeding finally after the cats calmed down. I’d move them to a clean cage. Then I’d clean the cage as best as I could. All the “cat” cages had layers of caked on dried blood that I couldn’t remove no matter how much I scrubbed. I worked to get the fresh blood off, but most of it had been there for years. I was also responsible for cleaning all the blood spots off of the cats so the owners didn’t freak out the next day when they came to pick them up.

I had a cat when I lived with my parents. We got her from an ad in the paper as a declawed adult. I had to find a home for her when I moved out of my parents house and in with my severely allergic, asthmatic best friend. When my best friend moved out, and my fiance (now husband) moved in, the first thing I wanted was a cat. We got two. I assumed that since I didn’t want my furniture destroyed, I’d have to get them declawed. My mother gave us the living room furniture, and she wasn’t an animal person. I knew I’d never hear the end of how my stupid animals destroyed the wonderful furniture that she so graciously bought for me. Oh how I wish that I were more educated then! As a poor college student, I let the doctor declaw my two babies since he didn’t charge me anything to do it as his employee. I thought that’s how all cats were declawed, and that at least I’d be there to comfort them and keep them from banging around and opening their sutures. (an advantage that I wouldn’t get elsewhere)

Well the surgery went okay, but the next day when we removed one of my kitty’s bandages, she was in so much pain that my docile little angel BIT me! I was shocked, but I understood her pain. I did my best to keep both of them quiet, and they recovered remarkably well. (they were both only 2 pounds though)

Even though they both recovered well, and they still have no difficulty walking etc after 3 years now, the male cat has extra flaps of skin that makes his front paws look deformed.

After working at other clinics I have seen that the older doctor’s techniques where very, very wrong. None of the other clinics allow cats to bleed like that. If they do begin to bleed, they re-bandage the paws immediately. One clinic where I worked gave pain medication and the cats seemed MUCH more comfortable than any other place I have worked.

Bottom line is that I switched clinics. The second place that I worked was a cat only clinic. They discouraged declawing, although they’d still do it if the owner insisted. I learned all kinds of valuable techniques for training, and most of all I learned that it is totally unnecessary to put cats through that surgery. Cats and people’s furniture CAN be in the same house without ill effects. I vowed that if I got another cat I’d try out the training skills that I had learned. I now have 3 cats complete with claws and BEAUTIFUL furniture. IT CAN BE DONE. I cannot believe that I just happened to get 3 cats who just happened to be non-scratchers or “easily trained”. I know it was because of the simple training that I did, and the scratching places that I offered them. My newest cat was a STRAY. He even uses the scratching areas.

I can’t give my first two fur babies their claws back, but what I can do is educate people. The first doctor that I worked for is BY FAR the WORST vet that I have ever heard of. Why did people go there? His prices were CHEAP. Know what’s even cheaper? A $5 cardboard scratching pad at pet supply stores. Then there’s no need for a painful surgery, they get to scratch, and you have no regrets. Give them a chance.

If you need training tips check out lisaviolet’s links, and I’ve also written training info at

PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Declaw Horror Stories-Part

Pew’s story
Okay, so I’ve never had a declawed cat. Even before I knew what it was, I would never had done it. But recently, something happened that almost broke my heart.
My vet has cats at his office. One, who is a couple of years old, was declawed because he ruined a woman’s hose and the vet was worried about liability problems. So, he amputated Pew’s claws.

Last month, I found out that Pew was in a lot of trouble. See, he bit an elderly man. And this elderly man ended up in the hospital. Cat bites are much more dangerous than cat scratches. So, Pew was in a cage at the vet’s office, not allowed to run around as he had been.

The vet asked me if I wanted him. I said yes. But, my husband was with me and said “no, it wouldn’t be fair to our cats at home”. And he was right. It wouldn’t have been.

I did find out, though, that Pew has a few problems which will make him difficult to rehome. All which could be directly attributed to the declawing surgery. He bites. He doesn’t use the litterbox. And he has bad knees.

My vet is a good vet. But he’s not an animal behaviorist. He’s had four cats since I’ve been going to him and all have been declawed. The first one, Zipper, was a biter and needed to find a new home. The middle two took the surgery without any problems that I had ever heard of. And then there’s little Pew. So, we have two out of four declawed cats with problems with most likely stemmed from the surgery. Not a very good batting average, if you ask me.

I found Pew a new home, but the vet didn’t want to let him go. It’s understandable, Pew is a good cat. One of the things about declawing, is even if the surgery goes well, you don’t know how the cat will take it. If the cat will have litterbox problems or start biting or have physical problems because if it.
Please, for the sake of your cat, don’t declaw.
Why I Won’t Declaw
My story is not about my cat. I was at an animal adoption agency wanting to adopt a cat when I noticed an adult cat with only three legs. When i asked the handler that worked there what had happened, she said it was due to a botched declawing procedure. The cat apparently had been in so much pain after the operation, that it began to chew at its own leg. The cat had chewed so much of his leg off, and there was no other choice but to amputate. The cat that I adopted does have a scratching problem, but after reading the previous stories, I will not have this done to my cat. If you are serious about owning a cat then take the time to research about the subject. It is precisely that effort that has changed my mind.
Ramona & Baxter The Cat–2-18-00
Arthur’s story
Arthur is a beautiful fluffy orange cat with the sweetest of temperaments. When I found him, I was living at home and was told by my mom that he would need to be declawed to stay. Had she known the mutilation that would occur and continue to occur, she would have never made the request (nor would I have followed it).

The low-cost surgery was performed by a retired vet who was recommended by the Animal Welfare League.

After about two years, I noticed strange, convoluted forms growing through Arthur’s little pads (what was left of them, anyway). I took him in to our regular vet who told us the forms were his nails growing back. Apparently, the first vet did not remove all the “bits” and the cells were regrowing. Our vet performed the second painful surgery, hopeful that it would be the last.

Arthur is now five and a few more of his pads have the deformed growths. The vet did not think a third surgery was wise, as there is not enough of the little pads left to be cut into.

So, Arthur walks around on grotesquely curled, mangled claws which protrude from his mutilated pads. He is so sweet that he never complains.

I know he is in constant pain, because he sits with one or the other paw held up. He walks on his “wrists” and rarely runs.

I try to help when I can, by kissing his little feet and helping him down from the bed or couch or perch.

I would do anything to reverse the mutilation I caused. I am heartbroken every day.

Please please please don’t declaw.
February 29, 2000
Eileen’s story
Nothing would ever convince me to declaw a cat. Not even our couch, which I tell people is upolstered in Shredded Wheat. (What WAS I thinking when I got corduroy?) I just wish people who are thinking of declawing could see the cat coming up from the anaesthesia.

A vet I used 10 or so years ago let me back into the hospital to see one of my cats after surgery and that’s when I saw a declawed cat. He kept pulling the bandages off and licking the clotting gel off his paws and they kept bleeding. There was blood all over the cage and on the cat, who looked miserable. He couldn’t stand up and moved around the cage on his elbows.

They finally had to cauterize the wounds and put an e-collar on him. Vets here usually keep declaws for 2 days after surgery, sometimes longer. They have to be sure they’re healed enough so they won’t bleed after the cat is home.

I hate e-collars. I tell them not to use them and if they do, I take them off the cat and hand them to the receptionist when I pick the cat up. We keep post-surgical cats on the couch with us when they get home, which is usually when they’re “up” enough from the anaesthesia. I can care for them post-op and they’re much calmer with human contact at home and aren’t disoriented and scared like they’d be in the vet’s cage.

However, e-collars do have a purpose. They help to keep bugs off the plants we put outside in the summer.
Best, Eileen NO DATE
Ramona’s story
My story is not about my cat. I was at an animal adoption agency wanting to adopt a cat when I noticed an adult cat with only three legs. When I asked the handler that worked there what had happened, she said it was due to a botched declawing procedure. The cat apparently had been in so much pain after the operation, that it began to chew at its own leg. The cat had chewed so much of his leg off, and there was no other choice but to amputate. The cat that I adopted does have a scratching problem, but after reading the previous stories, I will not have this done to my cat. If you are serious about owning a cat then take the time to research about the subject. It is precisely that effort that has changed my mind.

Ramona & Baxter The Cat
February 18, 2000

Razzerz’ story
I had gotten Razzerz as a kitten back in 1986 and he was such a healthy spunky little kitten. One bad habit he had was scratching the furniture though. Back then I didn’t have a computer and I’m not sure if all the information available now on the net was even there. All I had was was a standard cat care book to base my decision of declawing on. It seemed the thing to do, but I really wasn’t convinced. So, I observed some declawed cats of a couple of friends. They acted just fine. I made the decision to have it done. That was such a big mistake and nearly cost my Razzerz his life.
The vet was all too willing to declaw along with his neutering. He did tell me what I would have to do after I bring him home, but offered no alternatives or explanations as to what it all really entailed.

I chose the bathroom as his recuperation room and cleaned it to the hilt. I then laid freshly washed sheets down on the floor to prevent any chance of infections. I picked him up at 5:00 in the afternoon and took him right home. I spent some time with him in the bathroom and made sure he was comfortable. At 7:00 that evening I went in to check on him and for some reason, call it telepathy, I just knew something was wrong. He was just laying there, looking rather comfortable, but something just didn’t seem right. My vet was closed so I was able to get another vet in my area to agree to stay open until I got there.

This vet wasn’t too happy when he saw how well Razzerz looked, but stuck with my story that something was wrong. He ate his words when the thermometer read 105. He told me that his paws were probably infected and that given the time frame that I had him, he must have had it at the original vets and was sent home that way. I didn’t have him home long enough for him to run up that kind of fever. He advised me to take him back to the vet that did the declawing, who would assuredly provide care for free.

The vet did just that. As it turns out, the tissue on his paw pads was dying. I don’t recall the name for it, but he had to have portions of his pads removed to prevent this condition from spreading. My cat was finally cured, after a month of treatment. I had him looked at by yet another vet who agreed that he was over this condition. He also said that the cause was probably due to the failure of the vet to use sterile equipment. I

I did try to press charges, but at the time, cats in my state were considered vermin. But in my attempt I did learn that not only was this vet a “farm vet”, but he hated cats as well.

Razzerz remained as sweet as ever and even continued scratching as though nothing ever happened. The only reminder of the horrible thing I had done was that occasionally he would put his paw down the wrong way and get a shooting pain.

If I had all the information available to me now on the net and in books I never would have had it done. And I certainly never will have it done or condone it. There are plenty of alternatives. I hope anyone reading this will look at the picture of his paws and think twice about what they are doing.
Pistachio’s story
Pistachio does not belong to me, but rather, a young woman who adopted him from the vet I work for. I am very, very much against the procedure and always try to let people know that declawing is unnecessary, at best. I am not allowed to say much else. I have heard many stories about declawed cats having an aversion to correctly using litterboxes. The reason is this: declawed cats feel uncomfortable and often painful when digging through litter. Their little maimed toes just don’t feel right. So they go outside of the box, in and on places that don’t require painful digging.

While I pretty much believed that this was true, I never witnessed the phenomena firsthand. Until Pistachio. When Pistachio was adopted from us, my colleague was discussing the appropriate time to neuter. Ms. Jones said, “I am going to declaw.” So my colleague went on, because most people do and most people who adopt from us do too. This is one of the main reasons I hate doing adoptions. So a few months later, I saw that Ms. Jones had made an appointment for a 4 PAW DECLAW, which is so much more disgusting than just a front paw. It seems to show such a complete lack of compassion and consideration for the cat, as the owner wants not ever to feel even one claw on their cat….all must go, no matter what the cat goes through.

When I called to confirm the appointment, I left a sort of different message…I said, “And if you would like to make a change of the 4 PAW DECLAW, please give us a call at…”

When she came in, I played dumb, and asked if it was just a front paw. (You take what you can get.) She said no, a 4 paw. I couldn’t help it…I cringed. At that point, she did what no one else has ever done. She “told me off” about the fact that it was a “personal decision” and that if I had a problem with it, I should keep it to myself.

Pistachio needed extra painkiller after surgery. He went home.

Very shortly after that, (maybe a couple of weeks to a month) Ms. Jones brought Pistachio in for urinalysis. You see, Pistachio has been urinating just about everywhere except the litter box. He’s done it on the couch, on rugs, everywhere. Of course, there is nothing physically wrong with him. His urinalysis is fine. The doctor advises Ms. Jones of things to do to change the behavior. A week later, nothing has worked. So the doctor prescribes Amiltryptyline, which is a drug that is used to treat anxiety. She labels the problem “anxiety” and there is no mention of possible causes. But to me, the cause is clear. Ms. Jones is at her wits-end and totally dismayed by the problem because the drug has not really helped. What’s next, euthanasia? For I have seen more than one person who has made the decision to euthanize their innappropriately-urinating cat because they refuse to live with a cat who urinates everywhere. This poor cat has been through so much at the hands of an owner who made “a personal decision” that actually did not concern her own person in the least. .
Freddy’s story
This happened not long ago at the hospital I work at. We very rarely do declaws. Maybe four a year. Most people we can talk out of doing it. Frankly, I’d prefer to refuse to do it. Whatever. Anyway-these people insisted on having their cat declawed while he was anesthetised for castration. We did the surgical technique rather than just doing it with clippers. That way you don’t have to break the bone, you go in between the bones. Also used Iso gas anesthetic and pain medication instead of just injectable. Despite all these precautions, he woke up and just started yowling and hissing and then escalated into what I can only call screaming. He started doing backflips in his cage, urinating involuntarily, banging his head and his poor bruised, bloody feet. By then the bandages were off and there was blood everywhere. I wondered what could be wrong, then realized he was screaming in pain. We re-anesthetised, re-bandaged, checked his feet, gave more pain meds.. and when he woke back up he did it again. That time the doctor decided he’d had enough and just held him till he calmed down. It took him a good hour to be even remotely aware and even longer to stop crying. Every time I think about that poor cat and his mutilated feet, and that horrible noise he was making, it makes me physically ill. I thought that was an isolated incident, but some people tell me it’s not uncommon.
How tragic that this goes on every day and millions of cats suffer for it.
November 6, 1999
Kidder’s story
The wonderful cat that owns us is named Kidders. Kidders was a cat that was going to the pound if a home wasn’t found for her. She was 3 months old when she came to live with us. When she was of age I took her to be fixed and declawed. I didn’t know at the time what they do to “declaw” a cat. I would have never done it if I did. I had asked the vet if I should be giving her any thing for the pain. I was informed that cats don’t feel that much pain with this surgery. After bringing her home, Kidders would not put her front feet down. I called the office back several times and was finally told that I could give her baby aspirin and the amount for her weight. I told them if cats can’t feel that much pain then why is she walking on her hind legs. She walked on her hind legs for over 3 weeks. I will never have another cat declawed. I will use the money from having the cat declawed to buy post and other things for the cat to scratch on. I believe vets should have to tell people what is going to happen to their cat not just say “declaw.” Kidders doesn’t get along with other cats. She bites my daughter. I believe that she wouldn’t feel so intimidated if she still had her claws. Please think again and get all the information before you declaw your beautiful loving cat.
Tracy & Kidders
October 31, 1999
Mr. Twink’s story
This happened many years ago. It was a very difficult way to learn about declawing. I had rescued this tiny black kitten, from some children who though it would be fun to see the kitten go round and round in a preheated dryer. I took him from them and home. I fed this kitten for weeks with a doll baby bottle. I was young and hadn’t ever had a kitten before. We became very attached to each other.

About a year later I had a 16 pd neutered black cat and a problem. I had to drive back to the Midwest and would be gone 10 days. I decided to board Mr. Twinks at the vets, thinking he’d be safe there.

Boy was I wrong. As soon as I got to town I went to get him, didn’t even stop to unload the bags. After waiting for 45 minutes, I was beginning to get angry. Why the wait, just bring me my cat. More waiting another 15-20 minutes. At last they brought him to me wrapped in a blanket. I was shocked he hardly looked like the healthy cat I’d left. He had obviously lost weight and was listless to the point, that when they gave him to me,(after I paid the bill) he just barely raised his head and a tiny meow came out. They said he’d caught a cold, he’d be OK. Gave me antibiotics, which they charged me for. I took this now 9 LB cat home. I set him down on the sofa and he didn’t try to get up. I got water and his favorite food and sat beside him. He wouldn’t eat then I saw that his paws looked strange. I took a good long look and saw they looked mangled, and then I saw the stitches. I still had no idea what was wrong with my cat. I called the vet several times and got a run around. So I took Twinks to my Mom and got to the vets at 5 minutes of closing. They didn’t want to let me in the door I force the issue. A very large male like over 6ft and more than 200 lb., their animal handler, told me they had declawed Twinks because they couldn’t handle the cat. He had clawed someone in the office. After a lot of investigation, I found out that he had clawed a tech, while they were mangling his paws.

It took nine months for Twinks to heal and many trips to a different vet. Who told me what had been done to Twinks. The worst part is it made Twinks a very mean cat who would bite and draw blood even on me, if I had to do anything he didn’t want done.

All I had tried to do was see he was safe. I gave no permission to declaw him and keep him drugged. Please be careful if you must leave your cats and please don’t declaw, I doubt you’ll like the results and I know your cat will not.
October 28, 1999
Abigail’s story
This story isn’t about my cat, it’s about a cat who belonged to neighbors of mine at a previous apartment. They had adopted a kitten they’d found in a cardboard box on the steps of an elementary school (the wife was a school teacher), a beautiful little brown and grey spotted tabby. He was a very young kitten, and a flying ball of fluff. I met him several times, as he often darted out of his apartment when the door was opened. I asked about him a lot because he looked a lot like my cat at the time, a spotted tabby tomcat named Tatsu.
He was adventurous and rambunctious as little kittens tend to be, but this family didn’t seem to know much about kittens. The husband in particular wasn’t always as gentle as he should have been with a small kitten, or as wary of the kitten’s hyperactive behavior. The kitten scratched them a few times, probably in play, as kittens are wont to do. They complained that the kitten was mean, and used his claws too much when they tried to play with him. When he was old enough, they had him declawed both front and back. They thought that would solve their problems.

Well soon they started complaining that the kitten would bite them when they tried to play with him. When I asked what they’d done to try to curb his behavior, they said they yelled at him. I asked about toys, and they said he didn’t have any.

A few months later, the wife found out she was pregnant. When she said that they were awfully sorry they’d have to get rid of the cat (because he was biting them so much and didn’t want this “mean and dangerous cat” around their baby) I gave them the number of a rescue group from whom I’d adopted two cats. Last I heard, they’d surrendered the cat, who was now classified as a special needs animal.

Now I have two cats who are declawed, both by previous owners. These two cats are my most fearful when it comes to interacting with other cats. Any of the other cats can bully them or push them out of the way. In both cases, the cats will panic and bite in a confrontation with either humans or cats. The other cats, who still have their claws, are not as prone to panic and play with each other. The declawed cats, Shoken and Basia, do not play with other cats, and get nervous when others approach. Basia is basically living in isolation because she is terrified of other cats.

I can’t help but believe that both of these cats would be more confidant and playful if they hadn’t been senselessly mutilated for the convenience of their owners. I also believe that the kitten who belonged to my neighbors would have been a happy and loving animal if his people had taken the time to train him and educate themselves rather than taking the simple but brutal steps they did. He bit them for the same reason that Basia bites me, he felt defenseless and he had no effective means of intermediate warnings of distress.

I would never have a cat declawed unless it was a medical necessity for the health of the cat. I’d rather live with a healthy happy animal than a scared and scarred one.
October 15, 1999
Magnolia’s story
One of our cats was declawed when we got her. Horrible, we thought, but it was already done and didn’t seem to bother her at all. She didn’t really get along with the others all that well, but claws weren’t that much of an issue as they just hissed at each other, so she finally settled in. All our cats are indoor only, occasionally outdoors in a special pen and carefully supervised.
So, what’s the problem, you might ask. Well, last week we took her in for a checkup and mentioned to the vet that she’d been walking funny. Just a weird little hop and then shaking her feet. He examined her feet and told us she had adhesions from her declaw surgery. Since we’ve had her for four years, this surgery was fairly old and healed. I had never heard of adhesions from declawing, but the vet said it is fairly common in older declawed cats. He said it’s making her feel like electric shocks on her toes, and it really hurts.

Now we have this poor baby scheduled for more surgery on her feet, to free the adhesions. If I could just give her claws back with this surgery, it might be worth the pain she’ll have to go through (again). But it will only restore, hopefully, her comfort in walking. It is going to be as traumatic as the original surgery, with bandages and pain meds, as well as the risk of infection and bleeding. The vet says it needs to be done now before she is any older and it gets any worse. She is eight years old.

This sweet little girl has never hurt anyone and the whole thing makes me sick, but she is slowly but surely losing her ability to walk.

Anyone who wants to copy this letter to convince someone not to declaw, please feel free. I wouldn’t want to see this happen to another cat.
October 11, 1999
Shena’s story
I took two healthy 9-yr old cats in for declaw surgery last week. Today, I have one living cat and am beside myself with heartbreak.
I did not do this out of cruelty, because I hate cats, or because I am a lazy owner. I clipped my cats claws, provided scratching posts, and still faced the specter of stuffing coming out of new furniture and shredded carpet at my feet. I would hear my cats scratching elsewhere in the house and race to the site with a water bottle, but this was less an effective training device than a too-late exercise in frustration.

When I decided to declaw, it was after talking to many other friends with happily declawed cats who could still climb and defend themselves, and who faced none of these problems as owners. It was after reading a vet’s brochure recommending front declaw surgery for any cat spending over 50% of their time indoors. It was with full confidence that I was opting for a very minor procedure. At no time was I dissuaded from this view when I called to arrange it, neither did I think to ask any questions that would have shed a different light.

A small question crossed my mind when I was told it would require a two-night stay, but instead of translating into a full warning bell, I felt that this hospital was being especially caring and conscientious and that they would be practically recovered when they came home. After all, a spay is a much more serious surgery than a “declaw,” right?

I received the call Thursday morning saying both cats were “fine” and could come home Friday.

My cats came home Friday, at which point I was given the post-op care instructions and ONLY THEN discovered that what had actually been performed was a removal of the first digit of every one of their toes. I only need to think about this happening to my own feet, to understand the seriousness and painfulness of this surgery. My heart ached to know this is what they went through, but now it was too late. Still I comforted myself with knowing that according to my friends all their cats breezed through it.

While one cat was alert and of normal temperament, my other cat did nothing but lie stretched out on her side in the middle of the floor. She would get up, find a new spot, and flop back down the same way. I found it very disturbing, especially compared to my other cat’s fairly normal appearance. I was worried enough to take her to the emergency clinic that evening, where they found she had a slightly lowered temperature and recommended a full blood count. They also felt she would be OK through the night and I could take her back to my normal vet in the morning, which I did.

Saturday morning, within 2 hours of taking her to the vet and leaving her there, being told she was “dehydrated,” leaving her there believing she’d be OK, she was dead.

I have no idea what happened. Ruling out kidney and liver failure, the vet offered the hypothesis that my cat had a “weak heart” or a blood clot caused an embolism. I did not approve the final indignity of an autopsy and will never know. What I do know is that my sweet & loving cat’s last days were filled with confusion, pain, and a trauma which resulted in her death, from a decision I made lightly based on misinformation.

Had I read all that I now know, prior to making this decision, this never would have happened and I would not be crying over my lost family member. I hope that other people who find this site are getting the same message. “Declawing” is such a deceptive euphamism, that I practically believed I was having my cats manicured. Ethical vets should be phrasing it for what it is…”digital amputation.” People then could think about how it would feel to go through the same experience – losing all 10 toes at the first knuckle – themselves. The fact that a cat is amazing in it’s ability to adapt and accept the fate we have the power to deal it, and still love us(!), should shame us all the more, not justify the continuation of a cruelty. No more declawing for my cats, ever.
May 18, 1999
Precious’ story
When I decided to have my cat Precious spayed and declawed my vet said it would be best to do both procedures in one operation. When I went to pick up my cat from the surgery I was horrified to find out that she had ripped all of her stitches out the night before and had not been found until I came to pick her up which was at 10 a.m. and the vet’s office opened at 8 a.m. . I was told that she would be taken back into surgery to see if the vet could repair the damage she had done. I later found out from another vet that if my cat had been found at 8 a.m. the damage would have been minimal. This just goes to show you how negligent the people who actually take care of your animal after surgery can be. Once I was able to bring precious home I had to keep her on tranquilizers for a couple of days to make sure she wouldn’t tear out her stitches again. When my cat started walking again she would limp terribly. I took her back to the vet and was told that she would get over it in a week. When a week went by and she was still limping I took her back again and was told that she may have to have her toes totally amputated because of damage done during the surgery. Well, needless to say that the veterinarian who performed my cat’s operation didn’t know what he was doing and I am no longer a client of his and I tell everyone I can not to go there. My poor cat can no longer be picked up without meowing because of the pain , she can hardly walk and she hibernates in my closet which she never did before having this surgery. Precious is no longer playful and happy. She is definitely not the same cat that she was before this surgery. I hope people rethink having their cat declawed and do a check on the vet who will be performing the surgery.
Kelly, March 12, 1999


Declaw Horror Stories-Part

Simba and Selina’s Story
I stumbled across your website by way of, and I wished I had found you years ago. I read most of the posts on the site and can say I’ve heard some similar stories about why someone had a cat declawed: damage to the furniture, fearful of the cat around the baby, etc. But the thing that struck me the most is the lack of knowledge about the procedure, because, I was in the same position: I thought declawing meant, just that — declawing. I had no idea that the cat had a joint removed! After all, who would do that to an animal?

I found my first cat (actually, he found me) in the parking lot of my apartment building complex about 7 years ago. He would follow me around the lot, meowing after me. I wanted to take him in right away; my wife held out only until she laid eyes on him (and hopped out of a moving car to scoop him up). We brought him upstairs and I posted a sign by the elevators in the lobby. No one called to claim him. We took him to the vet and found out that he had been declawed and neutered. Now, who would leave a declawed, i.e., defenseless cat out on the street? We think he was either abused or at least had it rough for a while, because he would duck, and shy away when you went to pet him (he has since gotten over this).

We named him Simba (yes, The Lion King was a recent influence) and have loved him ever since. We wanted to add to our family and so, the following year we got a kitten, and named her Selina. Apparently my wife and I were still blindly ignorant about declawing, because when we took her in to get her spayed, we had her declawed as well. (She had been clawing at the furniture way too much, while completely ignoring all her scratch toys. Also, while fighting with Simba –who was much larger than her at the time– she had scratched him up pretty good, without even trying. ) Not knowing what ‘declawing’ really meant, I agreed to go through with it, even though I didn’t really like the idea. I mean, what’s a cat without her claws? My vet didn’t say anything to either enlighten or deter us, maybe he thought we knew more about it than we actually did. But Simba seemed fine without front claws and I was more worried about him getting cut up on a regular basis than I was about the furniture getting carved up.

Well, I don’t ever want to do that again. I wish at the time, I knew people who had more knowledge about declawing, or that the Internet was as developed as it is now. Maybe then I would have found some other way. Luckily, though, both cats are happy and healthy in other ways. They don’t walk funny or bite and are quite happy clawing at the couch. I brush them regularly so they don’t have to work as hard keeping themselves clean without their front claws. And we have only had two incidents outside of the litte box in all those years. They are both indoor cats but we screened in the terrace so that we could let them go outside to lie in the sun. We’ve had some very good years together. All in all, we’ve been very lucky. I just don’t think another cat should have to lose it’s claws because their owner didn’t know any better. July 11, 2001

GreyKitty’s Story
GreyKitty was a sweet loving cat we picked up as a stray. He’s gone now, and, after reading the stories here, I’m glad for him. Ironically, his affectionate nature led to his mutilation.

We adopted a baby, and they were together so much that my wife convinced me to have him ‘declawed’ so he wouldn’t accidentally hurt the baby. I was aware of what was done, and was against it, but had no idea of the brutality involved in the procedure, or I would have drawn a line in the sand about it.

In spite of all, his recovery went well, although looking back, he may have started whizzing in the wrong places then. He never showed any obvious pain from walking, and never tried to bite, but then maybe he didn’t have time to really show any problems. GreyKitty was always adventurous, refused to be housebound, and didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear’. (Or ‘off the counter’, but that’s another story.) I felt like he was apprenticing as an engineer, since any repair work was inspected minutely. He also acted as ‘lifeguard’ during baths and showers. This was disconcerting to some of our guests who hadn’t gotten warned about our ‘Peeping Ex-Tom’. In all, a cat whose motto was ‘Claw your way to the top – that’s what the drapes are there for’.

After his operation, he was no more willing than before to stay in, and I expect this led to his undoing. A fox got him, I guess, since there are a pair of them in the area, but I’ll never really know. MacLir NO DATE

Stormy & Sunshine’s Story
I adopted Stormy when he was approximately 6 months old at the persistance of my sister. He was a stray who stole my heart. My husband automatically fell in love with him. Because he scratched my couch, curtains, rugs, etc; I felt he was a good candidate for declawing. The vet really didn’t want to do it, but he did at my persistance. The vet kept Stormy for an additional day for ‘observation’. When we picked him up from the vet, as expected, his paws were bloody and bandaged. He recouperated very well, but it was a sad sight to see the dried blood that had satuated his paws. He also had some additional bleeding and we were instructed to put shredded paper in his litter box. That was in 1993 — he’s adjusted very well.

My cat, Sunshine, is another story… We adopted her through the SPCA in 1994. A few weeks prior to the adoption, Sunshine had been declawed at three months. To this day, she has a stumpy look about her. She’s healthy and loving, but her paws look like gloves with fingers missing. After reading several horror stories, I think I’m going to try something different with my two kittens that we adopted last week. After viewing your website, I’m planning on going to the petstore to buy a Turbo Scratching Wheel. NO DATE

Taffy’s Story
I was eleven years old when whe adopted Taffy. It was the summer between fifth and sixth grade and I had finally convinced my parents to let me have another cat (our cat Buffy, was 9 years old at the time). We adopted Taffy from my sister’s boyfriend’s family. They had a large number of barn cats (basically their own feral colony in their horse barn), and a calico had a litter that was about 8 weeks old.

I picked Taffy–the runt of the litter of course. A light brown colored tabby, who was so small he fit in the crook of my little arm. Taffy was wonderfully sweet, and loved to be held and cuddled. He was a master at using the litter box. I’m sure my mom had Taffy declawed (front only) with his neutering. I remember not being able to pet him or play with him for awhile. This was around 1990, before the net, or before this surgery was widely understood by ‘normal’ people. I don’t think my mom had any clue what the procedure entailed; she loves Taffy as much as I do, probably more.

Taffy almost instantly become terrified of…well, everything. Definitely a scaredy-cat now, he has developed a tendency to throw up…almost daily, but at least a couple of times a week. It’s anxiety from being defensless I’m almost positive (he never threw up before he was six months old, save for a few hairballs). And he’s become a biter, as has almost every cat whose story I have read. Buffy was also declawed, and had terrible litterbox issues (we took her to a cat behaviorist, but nothing ever seemed to work).

I have recently graduated from college, and moved into my own apartment. I am waiting awhile to get my home truly ‘settled’ before I bring a cat into it. But my fiance and I are definitely anti-mutilation. Taffy still lives at my parents’ house….and they are constantlly frustrated by his throwing up. He is a wonderful and loving cat, even now at the age of almost 11 years old, and I just feel bad that we will never get to know exactly how wonderful because we mutiliated not only his feet but his sense of *who* he is. Please don’t do this to your cats….they can’t tell you how much it hurts them. Karen and Taffy NO DATE

KiKi’s story
Fluffy was an adorable male kitten. He was given to us by a neighbor, whose cat had a litter of kittens. When he was 8 weeks old we had him neutered, and because we had small children, we had all 4 paws declawed. He stayed at the clinic 2 days and came home a little sore, but doing well. Fluffy recovered well from his surgery and is now owned by my cousin. Fluffy is 6 years old. You would never know he ever had anything done.

We got KiKi about a year and a half ago. She was 9 weeks old. We couldn’t afford to get her spayed or anything at that time. She was strictly an indoor cat. She didn’t scratch us, unless we were playing, but she scratched everything else. I would clip her nails very short and that seemed to help alot. As she got older though, it became very difficult to clip her nails, and I ended up with some pretty bad scratches. When we were able to get her spayed, we also decided on a 4 paw declaw, since she was so adamant about not getting her claws clipped. She stayed at the vet for 2 days. When she came home she limped everywhere, and she cried. After about a week I noticed she had quit eating and drinking and her litter box was basically dry. She wasn’t acting right either.

I took her back to the Vet. She had lost 2 lbs and was dehydrated. She was also in immense pain. They kept her 3 days and gave her IV fluids and pain meds, and antibiotics. She is very sensitive to pain. When she came home she was eating better, but still limping. That was in February 2001. This is May 2001, she is just now starting to run and dart around like she used to, but she is very skiddish about jumping and goes up and down stairs slowly. She still favors her front paws and will hold one or the other off the ground from time to time. We feel so bad for our little KiKi. If I had known what it entailed and how she would react, I never would have done it. She is no where near the active kitty she was before her surgery. Since she is not as active, she is gaining a lot of weight. She uses her litter box just fine, but has trouble burying and scratching in it. There has been no increase in biting, she still ‘playbites’ as she did before.

When I kept her claws real short, she never scratched, it was only when they got longer and she was trying to sharpen or shorten them that she scratched. I should have looked more into alternatives, or even having the vet trim her nails monthly instead of the pain we put her through.

Mama’s Sorry KiKi!!! Please study the Alternatives before you De-Claw. It’s not worth the pain. Sherri NO DATE

Casper & Charlie’s stories
Casper is just about 7 years old, white w/orange ears. Charlie is 4 years old, long black/white hair. I have had many cats before them. I had both of them neutered and declawed at the same time at 6 mos. of age. Casper had his glued, and Charlie’s stitched and bled alot. I really didn’t think much of the declawing until I read this Website and adopted a male neutered orange tabby named Tigger. We were thinking of having his claws removed, because of new furniture. Our cats are too frightened to go out and there is traffic where we live. I am not going to get Tigger’s claws out I have decided upon ready all of these HORROR STORIES!! I will get a post, clip his nails, and make it work out.

All of a sudden the last 4 months Casper has been biting and drawing blood. I thought it was due to kids charging in on the cats, (my kids are grown). When Casper’s favorite buddy came to town last December – youngest son, he growled at him. He just likes my husband. I thought it was his age. He likes the other cats, though. Charlie has always been skiddish since I got him at 6 weeks old. He doesn’t like to be held at all, ever – even as a kitten. The cats sleep with us. Tigger is funny and he does bounce and play with the other cats, very sweet and affectionate.

I am not going to take that away from him. So, Tigger will have his claws and I will make sure he doesn’t end up mutilated like the other 2 I have. Sherrie Kelly NO DATE

Jericho and Trouble’s stories
Hi, my name is Mary and I have been the owner of many pets through the years. It has been 8 yrs. since our German Shepherd passed away, and our daughter’s two cats went to live in a very big house devoted entirely to them. I was unable to keep them because of work, and she went off to college, and our vet found just the perfect home. We had these cats declawed. They were bother and sister. Two distinct different pesonalities. Jericho Tyler was layed back, and trusting. Trouble Maker, a female was a mishief maker. Our animals all had middle names. I had never had ‘indoor only cats’ before, but due to the lose of my cat Screechie, I refuse to let them go out. Screechie met a terrible fate with a much bigger wild animal then he. He had all his claws. Encon believed it to be a fox or wild dogs. We live out in the country.

So I was a good owner and declawed the next two. Trouble Maker came home so docile, I did not know what was wrong. Generally very verbal and pushy. She hissed at everyone and even bit her loving brother. I then took loving little Jericho Tyler to be fixed and declawed. On that afternoon I received a frantic call from the Vet. stating that I needed to come and pick him up immediately. This gentle little being was out of control, and they felt that he needed to be home. The truth of the matter is, they couldn’t take care of him. He refused to eat, eliminate any waste, and did not drink. He just sat and cried at the top of his lungs. I took one look at him and I was terrified. I had one kitten at home that would not let any of us near her, and Jericho………. I proceeded to put him in the front seat of the car with me. I had put soft blankets in his cage. He never minded being caged before. He loved to ride in the car. By the time I reached home which was only 15 min. away from the Vet. this cat had gone absolutely out of it’s mind. He was banging himself against the sides of his carrier and screaming. The bandages had come off and blood was everywhere. I broke the speed limit to get him home. I rushed inside with Jericho in my arms and called the vet. They told me to put cold compresses on his paws and hold them there. I was mortified. I just said ‘Nevermind!!!!’ and I hung up.

I took and wrapped Jericho in my arms and commenced to rock him in my rocking chair keeping his paws above his head, above his heart. I held him like this for close to 14 hrs. I was covered in blood and finally he settled down from exhaution and fell asleep.

From that time on Jericho and Trouble were never the same. Jericho became very introverted and would get on my lap in the evenings and gently paw my breast, and then he would settle down falling asleep in my arms. He never played anymore, just sat around and became fat. I had no idea of the nature of this operation, until I just found this site. And it made me pause and truly look back at that experience.

We are grandparents now and we just saved a kitten from a not so nice home. We got her when she was 3 wks. old and nurtured her to now at 14 weeks old. We have named her Cinquala which is Sioux meaning ‘Little One’, she is part of our family. She has helped me in my depression and is quite the character. The vet told me that they would declaw her when they fixed her, and I said okay without a thought. Your site made me reconsider, and you can believe that I will not allow this to happen to her. We have a scratching pole and she loves to bounce off of us and nip my husband. I talk to her sternly and believe it or not she reacts like a child. My husband is not the stern type. He just laughs. She knows when I say NO it is NO.

Thank you for saving Cinquala from this procedure, and educating me on this subject. Our son fights in Oklahoma for the protection of his daughter from the mother and step father who beat her, and here I was going to mutilate and remove all trust from my Cinquala. It will not happen here. No new furniture in a long time, because grandchildren have blessed us with their presence, and now we have Cinquala. We are not House Beautiful, but we are a home.

Thank you for the Education
Mary Furey NO DATE

Mandy’s Story
When I moved out of state away from my family I was lonely and not used to be away from my cat. My parents did not want me to take my cat, Baby, with my because he was older and used to being at my parents house. I missed having a cat incredibly. I had never been without one before. I met a gentlemen out there who’s daughter was trying to find a home for her cat, Mandy.

Mandy was a midnight black colored cat with medium length hair, five years old. She has big yellow eyes. She was also a polydacty(six-toed cat). They had her declawed. They said she kept getting caught on everything with her toes. I think polydactlys have trouble retracting them. Having a declawed cat is something which I had no experience with before because I was always totally against it. Never even had to weigh the pros and cons. I had never been around it because no one in my famliy ever believed in it. And I always just intelligently figured that it was mutilation and needless pain for an animal.

Mandy did not come whenever I was home at my apartment for about the first two weeks. Slowly she started coming out if I was sitting down watching tv and not making any noise or any moves. She would never even think of coming out if someone stopped by. She would just take refuge in the far corner under the bed, huddled into a ball. She eventually got very used to just me. Besides being anti-social, she would occasionaly urinate on any clothes lying around, or in the corner of a closet.

I am now back home with my parents, and Mandy comes out with the family and the three cats we have here (for a total of 4 now!!!). She still runs and hides a lot(would NEVER come out for a stranger), and exhibits behavioral problems. But she has stopped the urinating! She is also the best escape artist. If you were holding her and something startles her(which if often), she could get away in a second. She moves both her bottom and top half in different directions. I also do think her feet still hurt. Sometimes she’ll lift one paw up. Whoever did her toes and feet did a real hack job. There are scars on them. My vet I took her to even said it looks like they took off too much of the pad. It’s horrific to think that someone would want to do that to their pet. When you take on an animal you need to accept them. Not physically tailor them to your needs. It should be a compromise. Get a scratching post for goodness sakes. Or take some time and work on training them!!!

Thanks for listening.NO DATE

Declaw Horror Stories-Part

Dusty and Smokey’s story
I adopted Dusty and Smokey when they were a year old from the local shelter. They were neutered, UTD on shots and to my husband’s joy Declawed…(We had only been married 3 days). I didn’t let the fact that they were declawed turn me away from them…they are big (15 and 20lbs respectively) and beautiful and in danger of being put down…Okay I’m a sucker for a hard luck story.

If I had only known what was to come! About a year after I adopted them I noticed Dusty was limping…I put him a cage and called the vet…I about died when we got to the vet and he told me that I would have to leave him because he had a nail regrowing! OH MY GOD! I had never heard of this. It was explained to me that what most likely happened is that when they ‘snipped’ his nails they did it at an angle and part of the bone was left in and it tried to regrow. My poor boy! He was left for a ‘re-declaw’ on that toe and to make sure none others were doing the same…I hated doing it…I left with tears in my eyes and returned the next day with tears in my eyes to get him. Thankfully Dusty was glad to be rid of the extra pain.

I notice a BIG difference in my cats…there are 5 that are declawed (all adopted that way!) and 2 that are not (not to mention the non declawed fosters) and the difference! My clawed cats run and play more.

I guess while I’m at this I should also mention the problems of one of my fosters turned personal cat who was turned in for not using a litter box and who was adopted and returned for the same reason…I have a litter box of play box sand just for him! He won’t use anything else…his poor feet hurt him so…especially on cold damp days.

Then there are the two girls…They are fosters…one is an 8 year old front declaw victim…her owner was put in a nursing home…but boy did she BITE like the devil when she first came here…you couldn’t walk into the bathroom with out getting your leg bitten! She has calmed down now that she has her own bedroom and feels safe…but let one little thing threaten her and you are in for blood loss.

Then there is Tiggy…Tiggy is an owner turn in…Such a sweet cat…such a shame we can’t keep her (the owners house had been destroyed and she was living with family so I accepted this). SWEET MY FOOT!!!!!!! She is to this day…4 months after coming here mean as all get out!!! Thankfully she gets along with the 8 year old and they share a room.

Those are the worst cases in my home…I have adopted three other cats since I got Dusty and Smokey…One came declawed…and the other two didn’t…thankfully hubby listened when I told him he didn’t want the new cats declawed (they were adopted before Dusty’s surgery)…it was either they kept their claws or he lost his wife!
October 02, 2002
A message from Cassandra, a vet tech
My name is Cassandra Haskins and I have been a veterinary technician for 6 years.

Even before I assumed this posistion I would never have dreamed of declawing any of my cat’s(I don’t even joke about it with them).Now that I see on a daily basis the horror of declawing, I try in ernest to talk clients out of declawing. I give them every alternitive there is and I make sure that they fully understand the pain they will put thier beloved pet through. I explain to them every detail of the surgery and make sure they understand the behavior problems that may arise from having this procedure preformed. I am pretty sucessful most of the time (much to the dismay of the doctor I work for). Unfortunately I sometimes fail and have to participate in the grotesque mutilation of a cat.

I have to do all I can to fight back the tears everytime I bandage up the poor little feet. Then (lucky me) I get to watch these poor animals wake up from anesthesia howling and crying, flailing around their cage trying thier hardest not to touch anything with thier feet,and biting at the bandages. The declaw cats stay with us for three days before going home, so then I get to watch their sad faces as I try hard to get them to take a bite of food or a drink of water. I have to deal with this on a daily basis and it is one of the hardest things I have to do.

So please,please try evry method to help your cat scratch in an appropriate place, make sure the scratching post is covered with catnip at all times, have a squirt gun ready to shoot the bad kitty for scratching in an inappropriate place, cats can be trained I have two cats and an untouched sofa and remember if your sofa means that much to you…get rid of the sofa before you mutilate your cat. NO DATE
Breanna’s story
Breanna is almost 10 years old and very loving towards the humans, but hates the other cats (and we have 4 others). This was never the case before she was declawed. I have always declawed my cats, but when I got her, b/c she was such a great little huntress (she only went out when we did yardwork), I decided to let her keep hers. Unfortunately, when she was inside she began to claw the carpet and furniture. And yes, she did have her own scratching post available.

Well, the decision was made to declaw her. I took her to a doctor that had taken over for our veternarian. Big mistake! The doc promised faster healing with this new laser declawing. Well, that wasn’t the case because it actually took Brenna longer to heal and she kept picking at her pads, which turned out to be infected. After she finally did heal, she began walking on her heels instead of her toes like cats do. Now she walks funny and only for short periods of time due to pain. No wonder she’s so mean to the other cat! I will probably have to wind up getting her wrists fused so she can walk right. I feel awful about declawing her because she was such an active cat. Since her we haven’t declawed the two new additions and I will never again declaw a cat.
September 25, 2002
Bonnie’s Story
This is not about my cat, but about my mother’s. Bonnie, Is a Himalayan…oh, about 5 years old. She was not declawed right away… as far as I remember she was very loving…but now she’s just mean. She loves my brother, but hates everyone else. She constantly hissing, even if you try to pet her. My mother also has a Persian, Ebon, who’s about 7 years old, also declawed…I haven’t noticed any problems with Ebon. But I always wondered what may have changed Bonnie’s personality. I’ve been looking into getting a Ragdoll and at first wanted to get him/her declawed, knowing nothing of it, but now I DEFINITELY will not get it declawed!!! I’m so thankful for sites like these which educate others of these horrible procedures… poor, poor putty cats. =(
July 28, 2002
Monica’s Story
My story begins when I was twelve years old. My mother bought us a Manx kitten from some friends. She was sweet and loving and very spunky. We named her Spice for her spunky side. Very shortly after we got her, my mother took her to be spayed and declawed. Mom didn’t know what declawing entailed and didn’t know what it would do to her. When she brought Spice home, the poor kitten would only lay there. She wouldn’t get up for food or anything. She never had any medical complications from her ‘declawing’, thank goodness, but she was never the same cat again. She was vicious and mean for the rest of her life. If you tried to pet her, she would tolerate it for a few minutes, and then she would flip over on her back and use her remaining back claws to tear up your arms. She would hold on with her front paws and bite and rake her back claws down your arms. She would lie in wait under beds and couches, only to explode out from under them when someone walked by and proceed to make bloody furrows down your legs. Once, when my little sister picked her up to give her a kiss on the nose, Spice clamped on with her teeth to my sister’s lower lip and refused to let go. My sisters and I bear many scars from Spice’s anger over what had been done to her. It wasn’t until the age of sixteen that I realized the full injustice of the situation, and experienced the regret at turning what could have been a sweet and loving family pet into a nasty, angry ball of fury.

When I was sixteen, I took a part time job at a cat hospital as an animal technician. My job was to feed, change litter boxes, administer medications, and groom. Of all the people in the hospital, I had the most direct contact with the animals, because the vet techs and the doctor only handled the animals for testing, x-rays, and surgeries. I can not tell you how many times I heard the cats come out of anesthesia screaming after a declaw. They would throw themselves around the cages, banging their faces, bandaged paws, everything against the walls and the bars. They would fly into a frenzy, ripping off their bandages and gnawing on the mutilated limbs. There would be blood everywhere, on the cage, on the cat. And the screaming would last for hours. I would try to give them kitty Valiums and would be rewarded with bites. It was then that I decided never to declaw a cat, no matter what.

After seeing the pictures on this website, and reading exactly what happens during an operation, I am even more adamant against declawing. But, I was convinced that I would never do it after I heard the screams. If you were to ever hear your cat scream like that, you could never even think of declawing it. That’s why the vet won’t let you take your cat home for two days, because of the screaming. You couldn’t live with yourself after hearing your cat scream like that, as a result of something you did to it. And, the cats at the hospital never screamed after the other procedures. I never once heard a cat scream after a spay or neuter. Never after resetting a broken leg or any other form of surgery done. They would only scream after they’d been declawed.

Years later, Spice has passed on from old age. I have a new cat. He’s a huge orange tabby with all of his claws. And he has the sweetest personality in the world. He is four years old, and has never hissed in his life. Yeah, he claws the furniture, but furniture can replaced. I could never replace his loving nature if I stole it from him by mutilating his feet. And every time he climbs on my chest and licks my nose, for every purr and head butt and lick, I am rewarded. And I know I made the right decision for his comfort and his well being. Sure, some cats may be ok, but do you really want to take that risk with your pets life? How important is that couch to you? More important than a loving companion, who will love you unconditionally it’s whole life if you just protect it from unneccessary pain? Never declaw your cat! You will never forgive yourself for the hurt you will cause this innocent creature. A lifetime of pain so your couch will look good, now how does that make sense?
July 16, 2002
Chocolate’s Story
I had a cat named Chocolate and I got her at the animal shelter when she was 11-months-old. She wasn’t declawed yet but 6 months after having her I had her declawed. She was lying around for a few days after the surgery. All of those years Chocolate didn’t seem to display any pain or discomfort but at only 9-1/2-years-old Chocolate got kidney failure and I had to have her put to sleep. I wonder if she was displaying discomfort and was very stressed at not having her front claws that the stress caused strain on her kidneys and it failed at a fairly young age for a cat especially since she was an indoor cat only. Well, I got another cat at the animal shelter and I’ve had her now for 1-1/2 and she still isn’t declawed. NO DATE
Snuggles’ Story
I got my siamese cat (we gave him the name ‘Snuggles’ because he loves to snuggle) from a neighbor who had to get rid of him because he wasn’t getting along with the cat she had. I took him in and fell in love with him right away. He loves a lot of attention and affection. My husband and I never had a cat before so when friends and neighbors said we should get him declawed so he wouldn’t use his claws to scratch anything when he got playful, we never thought about what declawing really is. (I had him trained to use the scratching posts). We just automatically assumed that it was just as common as getting the cat neutered.

So just two days ago I brought Snuggles into the vet and had him declawed. I was worried but only because I thought he might not be getting the affection at the clinic that he was use to getting from us. I picked him up early this afternoon and he seemed fine but was really vocal which didn’t surprise me because he was always like that. Only until we got home did I notice that he started bleeding profusely and was walking gingerly on his paws. I brought him back to the vet who said they would keep him in one more night and that he probably pulled a stitch and not to worry. I went home worried because I also got a good look at his paws when he was trying to walk.

I went on the net and looked up declawing (something my husband and I should have done before putting our baby through this) and was shocked at what declawing really is. My husband and I feel extremely guilty and sad and my parents are also upset. Why didn’t the vet tell us what they do to the cats and what the cats have to go through? Right now I cannot sleep…I can only think of my baby in pain and hope that when he comes back home tomorrow that he will not be in so much pain and that he will recover to his ‘old’ self. Snuggles had a beautiful personality and I wish that he didn’t have to go through this pain. My parents want to sue the vet because she didn’t tell us the true procedure and the side effects.

This site and others are helpful and the public should know the truth about declawing. Please don’t do it…if you love your cat, then you don’t want it to suffer and it would hurt you emotionally to see how much it is suffering. My husband and I will never support declawing and we will be sure to let every cat owner know what we have learned to late about declawing. NO DATE
A Hindsight View on Heartbreak of Declawing – Monroe’s Story
I didn’t know any of this negative stuff about declawing cats. After reading the entries here, I admit having to wonder how much the declawing procedure affected a cat I no longer own.

In my younger, dumber days I adopted an adult male cat name Monroe from the Humane Society, fully intending to keep him forever. He was a couple of years old and had been declawed by his former owner. Although the reason for his surrender was not really clear (common in shelters), I considered the declaw feature to be an added bonus.

What did I know!

The endearing qualities of this cat including hugging, kneading, and bed-burrowing were sadly outweighed by his refusal to use the litterbox reliably. He would sometimes even go into our bedroom closet and leave ‘gifts’ in our shoes! We investigated his behavior with our veterinarian to rule out causes like FUS and such. We concluded ultimately that he must have been demonstrating his disapproval of our other male cat. After 2 years of this behavior we surrendered Monroe and he was adopted by a lady who was to keep him as an only pet. We were all sure this was a happy solution for him because we thought he would be less stressed out in this arrangement. As I had been on adoption day, this nice new lady was very happy to find such a loveable companion.

More ‘cat experience’ coupled with your declawing stories leads me to wonder, in hindsight, whether Monroe had problems that stemmed from his declawing procedure. Perhaps it WAS a tomcat dominance issue, but he had gotten along well with the other cat in most observable respects. And the poor litterbox habits didn’t ‘begin’ around any traumatic event that I can pinpoint. If he continued this behavior in his new home, which I will never know, did he get passed around again? When I myself adopted him, had he been surrendered to the shelter because of this same problem? It occurs to me now that there is no way to calculate how many times a cat may be put through ‘home hopping’ conceivably as a result of post-declaw ‘syndrome’.

With the crisis of overpopulation and overburdened animal shelters, how will these statistics ever be amassed? Our other cats, the aformentioned second male (now over 20 years old), and a 10 year-old female, have never demonstrated any behavioral problems. Incidentally, they are not declawed. The female had at one time taken to scratching my favorite antique chair in the front room. My solution was to install a door in the entryway to that room to keep her out. She has a lot of other rooms she can explore, and this way I have no stress about her scratching the chair. A good compromise I’d say. I wonder whether something similar could have been done for Monroe before I adopted him. Perhaps it would have helped him keep his home. For me, this has all been food for thought, and I would certainly never declaw a cat of mine. Thanks for reading. NO DATE

Dhalia, Ritty Pants and Gravity’s Story
I have three beautiful, sweet, affectionate Persians, and all three are de-toed. I had to have my youngest one, a flame-point named Dhalia, de-toed because she had a congential heart defect which meant many surgeries to correct her problem. All those surgeries meant lots of itchy stitches on her chest- and she would scratch away at those suckers all day when she still had her toes. There’s no excuse except complete ignorance for having my sweetie Ritty Pants de-toed, I thought I was being a good mommie. My vet told me it would prevent future problems between us.

Thinking back on it- what problems would we haved encountered? I never see my kitties try to pick on the furniture with their paws (I call it ‘sharpening their paws’). I do see them ‘sharpen’ on the metal runner for the sliding glass door to the screened in patio though- so what? Anyway, it’s just stupid furniture. I wouldn’t have my toddler’s bladder removed because he wets the bed!

But one of my babies, Gravity, was just rescued that way- de-toed. I’ve had Dhalia and Ritty Pants since they were tiny little kitties, and they are still VERY sweet and never have any problems with strangers, the litter box, or even having their little feet touched; but Gravity, the kitty I found, seems to have a lot of issues with his paws.

I’ve noticed that Gravity has nightmares he actually acts out! He’ll meow SO loud while he’s still asleep that I get scared he’s hurt himself on something and I go running to check on him. What I find him doing in his sleep is extraordinarily disturbing. He will be licking his front paws, or chewing on his toes, and he doesn’t stop until I pick him up and start coddeling him. His front legs also twitch a lot like his paws tickle or itch- or maybe still hurt! And if anyone touches his de-toed paws- that person better watch out for those teeth! He will bite and draw blood. The only time he doesn’t have nightmares are the nights when he sleeps with me in my bed and snuggles up real close under the blankets. He always seems somewhat skittish, and is very wary of anyone but me.

I feel so bad for him. I wonder what he dreams of when he chews on his feet. Does he invision the surgery, and the pain following it? I pray that his feet don’t STILL hurt after so many years. I can’t even possibly imagine the horror. You know, some people have to be given a drug called Ativan before and after they have invasive surgery to keep them from having any memory whatsoever of their potentially traumatic experience. Animals have memories and emotions also. It’s about time that people take them into consideration.

Even before reading all the posts here, I had a suspicion that his problems were from his de-toeing surgical experience. Now I’m absolutely positive. I will NEVER have another precious baby de-toed. NEVER! And I will be sure to tell everyone I know, cat owners or not, about the devastating effects de-toeing has on cats, and their parents who love them.
Jessica W. NO DATE


Declaw Horror

Chloe’s Story
My cat Chloe. She was about a year old when I rescued her from ‘Strays’. I let her tear up my couch and loveseat. She even scratched the woodwork and refrigerator. I bought two scratching posts, lots of CatNip and she still scratched everything else. She had toys and I played every morning and evening with her. I moved to a new apartment and felt I had to get her de-clawed in order to keep her with me. I hesitated but felt it only right as she also clawed me from time to time; although not deliberately. She loved to use her little ‘hook’ claws.

Well, I got her de-clawed a little over a week ago-things seemed to be fine/giving her anti-biotics two times a day/using pain medication. However, today when I held her she started bleeding all over me. I took her back to the vet. He said she had to stay over the weekend; he would glue puncture wounds in both feet. Only her right foot was bleeding but both had puncture wounds. Chloe had been pulling and biting at her feet. I thought this normal as they were probably itching her and she had always pulled at her very furry Maine Coon feet with her teeth even prior to surgery. Well, evidently she was actually biting her feet. Anyway that is what the vet implied.

I can pick her up Monday but I worry that this behavior will continue and I’ll have to deal with Chloe injuring herself. I feel very guilty because this was elective; it wasn’t mandatory that she be de-clawed. I miss her and cry knowing that I put her thru this ordeal because she was acting like a cat! This is a terrible, terrible guilt trip and may even be severely disabling to Chloe. What will I do, I wonder, if she continues to bite herself and damage her feet? There is no answer now. I just have to wait to find out what the end result will be. This is awful for my beloved Chloe and me.
May 17, 2003
An Animal Activist’s Story
I am an animal activist and run a cat rescue organziation for several years now. The story about my 4 cats, who I declawed 10 years ago still hunts me to this day . Back than I owned 4 cats, lived in a big City and considered myself an animal lover, little I knew, that I knew nothing about the realty of the animal world. I decided to declaw my cats Pitch, Diva, Theo and Max, after being reassured by my former vet ( He had all his cats declawed!) that this will be a common procedure and nothing to fear! No problem( his words). The next day, I picked them all up, all covered in blood, all confused and in pain.

Theo died that day in my arms-he never recovered from the horror that I exposed him to. Diva and Max seemed fine, but what do I really know how they feel. They ‘acted’ normal, but Pitch became my problem cat. He started urinating everywhere ( and did it for the rest of his 12 year life) He was always in a ‘bad’ mood-in pain!! for the rest of his life. He used to be a sweet and loving cat before the declawing and became a moody unhappy cat afterwards.

It took years for me to forgive myself for being so uneducated, if I had known than what I know now, those special friends of mine would not have been suffered. Today I am running a cat rescue organziation and in the memory of my own experience advocate ‘DO NOT DECLAW’ wherever I go, telling my story. All our adopters have to sign a NOT DECLAW agreement and I pass on info with every adoption. Thank You for your site! Declawing is torture and most of the time I encounter people being uneducated about it! DO NOT DECLAW, there are soo many other alternatives and you may want to consider a different pet for your family, if you can’t deal with the claws. May 13, 2003
Felix’s Story
I took Felix to get declawed on a friday morning. Picked him up the next morning. He had no bandages. When I got him home he was very depressed. Didn’t eat throughout the weekend. On Monday afternoon when I got home from work, his two big toe incisions were open, he looked miserable.

I took him to the vet right away. He had to be sedated again and restitched. This time he was bandaged for two days. After the bandages were removed,the paws were still raw looking and draining serosanguinous fluid. If I could turn back time, I would NEVER have declawed Felix. I just pray that he will recover and will not have long term complications as other cats have experienced.
I am so sorry Felix!!!
oMay 8, 2003
Wizdom’s Story
I just finished reading some stories that you have on your web site and I had to go get my cat and hold her for awhile as I cried in guilt. I have two cats, Snowball and Wizdom. I had Snowball first and she is now six years of age and Wizdom is three years of age. When I first brought Wizdom into my house she was a kitten and Sonwball around three years. They got along great and then my husband and I got a divorce and I moved and could not take the cats. I found a home for both of them but they were seperate homes and the cats were seperated for two years.

I got Wizdom back first and a few months later Snowball. They did not get along anymore, and Wizdom would attack Snowball all of the time. When I asked the vet what I should do, he told me to have the cats declawed. I have never believed in declawing and refused. Things just kept getting worse between the cats and I felt I had no other choice because I could not give my cats up one more time. I took Wizdom first because she was the aggressive one. I also had her spayed because she was having other complications and the vet told me it would be best to have it all done at once. I called the vet a few times that day to check up on her and they told me her paws were still bleeding and she would have to stay and extra night so I went down to see her and she was a mess and all she did was cry. When I brought her home she bleed for several days and when I called the vet he said it was normal for older cats.

Needless to say I WILL NOT get Snowball done because I see what it has done to my Wizdom and the guilt kills me. It has been about four months now and Wizdom has a hard time walking down stairs and is always holding her one paw up. I hope people take what you say serious and value and love their cats enough to think twice because I now wish that I could take that day back that I took a piece of my Wizdoms life away.
May 2, 2003
Moka’s Story
I was ignorant to the dangers of declawing and found myself getting a kitten that clawed everything. I tried everything to get her to stop clawing the wrong things. She just loved to claw everything and ruined just about anything she got her claws into. She was very energetic and crazy as a cat can be. I loved her to death! I am a cat person. At 6 months I took her to a local vet, not knowing much about him, I got her declawed and spayed. I picked her up and she seemed frightened. I was told she woke up and banged her head on the cage and hurt herself. I took her home and she stayed away from me. I was so sad I began to regret taking her to that vet.

A day later, Moka seemed very odd. I looked at her and her eye looked infected and she was walking horribly. It turns out that the ointment they put in her eyes during surgery, caused complications with her eyes. (I was told by another vet that they don’t use ointment, it causes problems) Her paws were infected and I was out more money. I was so upset at the incompetence of this vet that I spread the word about his practices and made sure none of my friends went to him.

Today, Moka is great, except for one little quirk. Moka seems to act like she has a broken paw. She will sit up and lift her paw in the air and sit like that. She rotates her paws as if it is painful. I am sure it is from being de-clawed. I thought it was from the terrible vet too, which is likely.

I adopted another cat, Saki less than 6 months later, I also de-clawed her. She seemed to be well the next day. So, I am sure there are terrible vets out there. If I got another cat, I would not declaw her. I have learned a lot about the dangers and have been lucky with my cats. If I could reverse it, I would. I feel bad everytime I see Moka lift her paw like a little dog waiting to shake your hand. I know it was a terrible thing for her. She is a very shy cat now, but very lovable.

I would warn those who are ‘Pro de-clawing’. I would also advise them to look at this site. Moki is now almost 2 years old and still acts like her paws are bothering her. Saki is as normal as she can be after being abandoned, but nothing wrong with her paws.
December 18, 2002
Pepper’s Story
Sadly to say, I learned about this horrible mutilation after Pepper was already declawed. I worked as a vet assistant in the surgery/exam room… yes assisting with de-clawing. My first surgery was a 6 month old kitten in for declawing….. not sure of what to expect, I put the kitten (already under anesthesia) on the operating table and the doctor used regular guillatine-type nail clippers and as he pushed up to expose the claws clipped each one back beyond the cuticle. (which is the bone) He proceeded to clip all ten in a matter of seconds just as if he was trimming their nails.

I watched with my mouth wide open and tears in my eyes because this poor kitten meowed slightly with each amputation!! I yelled at the doctor saying, ‘ Oh my god, he’s not fully under anesthesia, he can still feel it’ The doctor’s inhumane response was, ‘ I can’t wait, I’m behind schedule’ He wrapped up this poor kittens paws and laid him aside to perform yet another mutilation. When I left for the day, I sat in my car hysterically crying knowing that Pepper was just declawed by that ‘butcher’ two days prior. And yes, Pepper never used the litter box after that and I thought it was because I got another cat and she didn’t like to share the box. Since then I did get two kittens after her and they are happily scratching their itchies. I am a professional groomer and try to educate and tell my customers not to de-claw by this story. At least 3 out of 5 took my advice, and when they come in for their grooming, there’s NO CHARGE for clipping all 20 claws!!!!
Terri (in memory of Pepper)XOXO
December 12, 2002
Stanley’s Story
A friend rushed over here with her cat in his carrier, along with his litter box and food one day, saying “PLEASE take our cat. My husband thinks it’s possessed by the devil and wants to drown him.”

Inside the carrier was this absolutely beautiful pure white cat that was about one year old. He was with me for 10 years and was the sweetest most intelligent and loving cat I’ve ever had. As my friend dashed back to her car, she said over her shoulder, “BTW, he’s declawed, so you won’t have to worry about him scratching your furniture.”

In those days, all my cats were outdoor cats, and I worried that Stanley wouldn’t be able to defend himself against the neighbor cats. He was accepted by my cats instantly. And he turned out to be able to defend himself against neighbor cats.

When he was about 9 years old, he started having heart attacks! Between the vet, homeopathy and changing him to raw food, he lived another 6 or so months. Then his lungs began to fill up… congestive heart failure.

The vet said it was CAUSED BY HIS HAVING BEEN DECLAWED…… BECAUSE the muscles that run across his chest, from his right paw to his left one ALSO stimulate the heart muscle when a cat kneads his scratching post, a tree, etc. Without claws, he will still knead, but there are no claws to snag on the tree and give that “pull” or resistance that is needed to fully exercise the heart muscle.

He was a very active cat….. climbing trees, jumping over fences, etc. but that did not give his heart the kind of exercise he would have gotten had he still had his claws.

Nature made cats perfect…. they need all their body parts in order for everything to work like it’s supposed to.

It absolutely killed me when I was told he would need to be PTS, because of his lungs constantly filling up with fluids. I took a home video of his last day so I could remind myself years later how much agony he was in. I felt so guilty that I had not found a vet who could CURE him, and I needed proof of how bad it had gotten, because having my best friend PTS was a devastating choice, and I felt like a murderer.

He could no longer lay down to sleep, because the pressure of anything on his lungs was too painful. In the video, he would try to lay down, but he immediately got up again. He kept falling asleep while standing up, but shortly after falling asleep that way, he would fall over with exhaustion and that would put pressure on his lungs again, and then he would sleepily try to stand up again.

It was heartwrenching to see his agony, and so I dug his grave before tearfully taking him to the vets. When I got to the vets office, I was told I had to sign a paper saying I requested he be PTS. I almost fainted…. I know I screamed…. it was bad enough to have to take him there, but to actually sign the papers was a nightmare…. I was signing his death sentence….. that was the worst day of my life.

Not only that, but because his circulation was so bad, the vet warned me it would take several minutes before the poison or what ever they use to put them to sleep would reach his heart. It seemed like a very long time before it reached his heart and when it did, he let out a sound that sounded like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! At that point I was a basket case and asked the doctor if he could PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE reverse the procedure, but of course he couldn’t.

I’m crying a bucket of tears as I write this… even though it all happened almost 9 years ago. It’s painful for me to recall. But if my writing about it will save another cat from that agony, it’s worth it.
Connie December 12, 2002
Smokey and ThornArrow
My story isn’t as bad as most, but if I had realized what declawing truly meant, I never would have caved in.
When my (now) ex-husband and I separated, I moved back into my parent’s house with my two cats. Smokey was two and ThornArrow was one at the time. Both loved playing a lot. ThornArrow often did flips up to 3 feet in the air and would play with HotWheels cars in the kitchen, turning them onto their wheels so they would go further.

After being at my parents for a couple of weeks, my Mother said the cats (who stayed in my room) had to be de-clawed or find someplace else to stay. (I didn’t have the finances built back up to be able to move out – the third option).

I bowed to her demands – I could never give up my babies! Smokey came back from surgery and did 3 and 1/2 foot leaps into the air, shaking her paws the whole way. She was in so much pain, she was oblivious to the world around her, only calming down if held in my lap with me talking to her constantly. Blood was literally splattered over the four walls in my room.

Both cats have forgiven me for the torture, but neither is as friendly to strangers as they once were (they now run and hide), ThornArrow no longer does her leaps or plays with cars on linoleum, and I have seen Smokey to be limping or just sitting holding one paw up – as though it hurts, a lot.
October 22, 2002
Roscoe and Jaspurr’s story
I had Roscoe and Jaspurr laser declawed about two months ago and it has been nothing but pain and suffering for them. I chose to do it with the laser because the vet said ‘it was less bleeding, less painful, and less swelling.’ What she did not tell me is about all the complications that go along with the surgery.
Jaspurr got a high fever, her toe was infected, she lost two pounds, and she became dehydrated. The pain medication made her severely constipated. Then, I just noticed this past Friday that she was holding up her paw and only walking on three paws (this is two months after the surgery date.) The vet took x-rays and did not find anything objectively wrong with the paw. I wonder if it is nerve pain?

Roscoe’s story is the worst. He layed on my bed for the entire first month because he was so ill. His one day in the hospital turned into 5 days because his paw would not stop bleeding. When he finally came home with me, he did not urinate for two days, so I took back him to the vet. They told me that he has hepatic lipidosis. This means that he has stopped eating, so his liver enzymes were elevated. I had to force feed him 4 times a day for three weeks. Then he developed severe diarrhea and dehydration. One of his toes also got infected even though he was on Clavamox and Zenequin (antibiotics to prevent infection). Roscoe has finally started to venture out of my bedroom. He also lost two pounds and will still not eat on his own.

Behaviorly, they never stopped using the litter box but they hiss at each other all the time.

The best part of this story…the vet charged me for every treatment with each complication. The laser surgery for both cats was $1000 and I have spent over $2000 in complications. The vet’s response to all this is that this has never happened before, it is rare, and the office manager even asked me if I use any chemicals in my house. If it is so rare, why did 2 out of 2 cats have complications?
Please forgive me for what I have done?
Krista, Roscoe, and Jaspurr, October 19, 2002


Declaw Horror Stories-Part

Nina and Nala’s Story
My husband and I were newlyweds when we decided to get a cat of our own. We got Nala when she was six weeks old. We watched her grow from day one and were already attached to her when we picked her up. A couple of weeks later we decided to get her a playmate who we named Nina. They quickly became best friends. They slept together, ate together, bathed each other, watched birds out the window together….they were inseperable.

Nala was very playful and scratched everything in our house. We decided to get her and Nina declawed since they were strictly indoor cats. We dropped them off at the vet’s office for the surgery. About three hours later we found a message on our answering machine from the doctor for us to call her. My husband quickly returned her call and I could tell by his voice that something was wrong. He got off the phone and told me the heartbreaking news…Nala had had a reaction to the pain medication they used in the declawing procedure and had died. They had kept her and Nina together the whole time while trying to restart her heart.

As soon as I saw Nina they following day, I knew we had made a terrible decision. She was in pain and her paws looked horrible. Even worse, she was so disoriented and sick that she could not keep down her pain medication. She had to recover without it. Nina quickly became aware that Nala was no longer around. She went through ‘pet loss anxiety’ and the vet had to order special medicine for her. She became withdrawn and had a decreased appetite. She finally came through the ordeal, but it took 3 months. Even today, her whole personality is different. She is not the outgoing, playful cat she used to be. She hardly ever plays and she is very timid with strangers. She is also very clingy to me.

In the last couple of months, she has also developed a very painful back condition which the vet cannot seem to cure. And she is only a year old…. The bottom line is that if I had known all that can happen during a declaw surgery, I could have saved my husband and I a lot of heartache. Not a week goes by that I not think of Nala. I am sure not a week goes by that Nina doesn’t think of her either….NO DATE

Womp’s Story
My mother had a cat named Womp. Mom was disabled and not able to get out of the house much, and she loved having the cat for companionship. My mother had never had a cat declawed and thought it was unnecessary; unfortunately, in his play Womp began drawing blood from her — she was on blood thinners. Rather than get rid of the cat, my father took him in to have him declawed. My parents didn’t notice any unusual behavior after the surgery. Womp was, of course, a completely indoor cat.

But one day he got out. My mother watched helplessly as he was killed by a pack of stray dogs. Womp had run to a tree and was trying to climb it, but couldn’t save himself without his claws. Mom never had another cat declawed. Because of that tragedy, I would not have either, but I didn’t know what cats go through when they are declawed. Thank you for the information… I’ll pass it on whenever I hear someone consider declawing their cat. NO DATE

Meow’s Story
Hi my name is Ruth, our story begins 9 1/2 yrs ago when my 15 yr old son brought home this 6 week old kitten he got from another kid at school, so of course I said we would keep him, he is all black and very sweet.

My son named him ‘MEOW’. We knew nothing about cats really, we always had dogs. We had him about 1 year when we had to move and the new landlord said we had to get him declawed so he wouldn’t destroy his house or we could not move in. So we did, what a big mistake!!

His paws hurt forever, he was so sore and was limping, took him back to the vet and they said this would go away with time. Well, it did not go away he still can’t jump up on things without severe pain, his feet hurt him all the time, and he will not let anyone touch his feet, he still limps and bites at us because he’s almost always grouchy and we have to buy shredded paper to put in the kitty box or he won’t, I mean can’t, use it because his paws hurt so much. And now that hes getting older 9 1/2 years, the vet says he thinks hes getting arthritis in his toes because of the declawing, he is in a lot of pain most of the time.

It breaks my heart to see him so inactive and sore. But we will love him forever, thank God cats are so forgiving, if someone did that to me I would never forgive them. We now have 4 more cats and they all have their wonderful claws. NEVER again will I get a cat declawed for any reason!! NO DATE

Sammi’s Story
My story is about Sammi our 5 month old kitten. We share our house with a total of 4 cats, Sammi being the latest addition. Jeanna, Kiki and Maggie have all been neutered and declawed with no problems whatsoever. We took Sammi in 3 weeks ago to have him declawed simply because we thought that was what you do with indoor cats, fix them and declaw them.


As I said, we’ve had no previous problems with the declawing procedures. I found this website just 1 day too late. While he was in for the surgery I was reading up on it, and to my surprise found out what a horrible mistake we had made. Since the surgery our previously spunky, friendly, playful and sweet kitten has become reserved, shy and hides under the bed most of the day. He also stopped using his litter box for a short period of time.

Now, 3 weeks later he still limps and shows signs that he is in pain. We’ve taken him back to the vet twice to no avail. They say he’s fine and that it may just be psychological or an exposed nerve ending that they can do nothing about. I am of the opinion that the vets should be obligated to warn owners of the potential dangers and possible negative outcome of the declawing surgery. Had I known then what I know now, I would NEVER have declawed any of my cats. I will never do it again, I assure you.

Thanks for reading, and please if you are thinking of declawing your cat, read the rest of the articles and think twice about what you are putting your poor cat through.
Wendi & Sammi NO DATE

Edgar’s Story
I got Edgar from a group of women that rescue animals from pounds and put them up for adoption through Petsmart. He was about two years old when I got him, very loving and affectionate. He wasn’t very active, so he never got in trouble. Just a perfect cat. All of the cats I’ve had before have been front-declawed, and I guess I’d never noticed any side effects. I may be mistaken now, when I think about it…they were all declawed when they were young and one in particular is very shy. I always assumed it was her personality, but maybe I was wrong…

Anyway. So, I took Edgar to the vet to get him declawed. It’s always just been natural in our family…you get a cat, you get him declawed. My vet recommends to me that I do a four-foot declaw. I’d never done this before, but he assures me that it’s very common practice and that the cat will recover like nothing happened.

I’ve basically lost my cat. He’s still affectionate, but only when I’m the only one home, because any noise or movement scares him. He basically just hides in the litter box. If I hold my hand funny he runs away…

I told the women I got Edgar from what had happened…they were so appalled that the vet recommended all four. He was such a good cat. I wish I had known earlier what the real effects would be. At least in the future I’ll know better…no declawing at all! When I think about it, I wonder if my veterinarian just wanted the extra money a four-foot declaw would provide over a two-foot. Vets like him don’t deserve to be able to practice. NO DATE

Max’s Story
I knew Max for only the last hour of his life.

Working as a Vet Tech, I had never seen a declawing and as it happened, I never would. When Max came in, he was a beautiful healthy young cat. He was brought in by his owners who had payed dearly for a new imported leather couch and didn’t want their precious investment damaged. (for clar: the couch)

Within 10 minutes of sedation he had minimal life signs and was completely blue. He was pronounced dead after 20 minutes of vigorous revival techniques. I was told by the vet that ‘some cats just can’t deal with the sedation and die’. This happened many years ago, but I still think of Max. How can I forget how I felt giving him chest palpatations, straining to hear a blip on the monitor while tears ran down my face. What a waste of a precious life! Just like in a human operation, there are risks in anaesthetizing or even just sedating a living body. EVERY TIME is a risk.

With all the alternative options available now, I consider this a mutilation diguised cleverly as a minor elective surgery. It’s an unacceptable risk! Don’t gamble with your cats life just to mutilate the one protection they have against gravity. Think about the pounds per square inch…cats literally walk on their toes. If you take the toes away, they are crippled. It’s called physics! Cheers Max, see you later on the other side of the rainbow bridge.
November 5, 2001

Another rescuer’s Story
I have been doing feral cat trap neuter and release for a little over 3 years now. In that time I have found many cats who either escaped or were dumped after being declawed. I can tell you now they stand NO chance of survival.

If a cat escapes it will in many cases end up with feral cats. This is because the ferals have found a food source. The starving house cat has to fight his way into the colony. He has no choice because he is hungry. They will not make it in. I have seen declawed cats beaten up horribly by strays. They have no defenses. In the process trying to fight for food and repeatedly losing they contract a variety of diseases including FIV and leukemia. If that doesn’t kill them the infections from bites and scratches will. Not only are they always beaten but their immune systems are weak because they never make it to the food.

I actually saw one who would get thrown around so much that he would be literally spitting out dirt by the end of the fight. Luckily I was able to catch him and he is now in a home. However, many of them were dumped because of bad habits that resulted from declawing. Now they have spent their last months being beaten and starving. Most will be killed in shelters a few will live the rest of their lives in a cage.

Those are great options for what was once a fuzzy sweet kitten looking for a good home. So now some person has great furniture. All it cost was a few months of torture and death. Even if you believe your cat will be indoors only I assure you sooner or later they will probably escape. Either they will sneak out, the carrier will open on the way out of the vet, your house guest will leave a door or window open…. something will happen. I am not saying that people are bad owners. None of my cats are outdoor pets however several have managed to get by me. In one case they actually broke a window one night and escaped. No precautions short of bars on the windows could have stopped that and I never would have guessed it would have happened. The point is that even if the risk is relatively small the consequences are too horrible for it to be an option at all. Trust me. Most people couldn’t see the things that I have. NO DATE
Foxy and Izzy’s Story
I have always been an animal lover and this time I have two cats, Izzy a black and white tiger kitty with green eyes and Foxy a beautiful calico with amber eyes. Izzy came into my life when she along with her brothers and sisters were dropped off at my mother’s house. My mom found homes for 5 kitties, all except Izzy, my mother already had 3 cats and 2 dogs so even though I was in college I said I would take Izzy.

She was the sweetest kitty and never scratched anything but her post until one day…. Izzy was locked in a room by my roomate while I was at work because her boyfriend didn’t like cats and they went out and left her there….

By the time I got home she had destroyed about 6 feet of carpet in trying to dig herself out. My roomate and I had to pay $500 for new carpet to be installed and our landlord said we could only keep Izzy if we had her declawed, if not we hd to move out immediately. You see, our landord had in the contract no pets but made an exception, which she regretted. Unfortunately my roomate and I had her front paws declawed. Izzy spent 3 days away from us at the vet’s and when we got her back she was not bandaged. She walked tenderly for about a week and then started running and playing like normal.

I always thought she was not harmed by the surgery but after reading this site I realize that she was affected. Izzy throws up on a weekly basis, she is always upset afterwards because she does not like making a mess, I think she is doing this because of anxiety, it usually happens after a stanger comes to the house or she hears an argument.

The argument is usually between my husband and me over our other cat Foxy. We adopted Foxy from a shelter when she was 2 months old. She chose my husband, after he picked her up she held onto him and any time he would try to put her down would cry. We took her home and she was very loving and well behaved. At about 7 months old we decided to get Foxy declawed because she was playing with Izzy and scratched her belly hard enough to make Izzy bleed. Izzy was fine and not upset with Foxy but we were worried it could happen again. At this time, I did not realize Izzy’s anxiety problem was because of the declaw, I thought she was just finicky with food.

Foxy came home with bandages taped around her front paws and pain medication. After a day I took off the bandages and because it was taped I had to use scissors to cut her fur off. My poor baby cried so much I started crying and had to wait for my mom to come over and help me. Her feet looked fine and once again after about a week of walking tenderly she started to run and play like normal again. She was still very loving and loves to be cuddled.

A success story?

Not at all. 😦

About a month afterwards Foxy started urinating on a rug in front of our front door. We keep throwing away rugs and she keeps destroying the replacements. My huband and I have been arguing over it or about a year now. Other than doing that she is still playful and loving but nothing we have tried has helped. At first I thought maybe she didn’t like the litter or it was clean enough, I have tried every brand and clean it out every day. She even has her own litter box because I thought maybe she didn’t like sharing. If I had only known what a horrible effect this would have on Izzy and Foxy before I had them declawed I never would have done it. 😦 I feel horrible that I have let them down. They give such unconditional love and I have scarred them for life….

Anybody reading this, please do not take the chance that your kitty could develop any physical or emotional problems from this surgery, you will regret your actions if you go ahead and declaw. I am very lucky that at least physically my cats are not yet showing any signs.
September 4, 2001
Bart, Mally and Nona’s Story
The first year after I got married, my husband and I adopted 2 kittens. We loved them both too much to choose, so we took both of them home on the same day. The male (a gorgeous orange and white DSH), we named Bartholomew, which shortened to ‘Bart.’ The female (a deep blue DSH with a peach spot over her right eye), we named Maleficent, which shortened to ‘Mally.’

We took them in for all of their shots and things. For a while, it seemed that we were at the vet’s office 2x per week. We loved our new family members, though, and we wanted to ‘do the right thing’ for them. We didn’t know we were hurting our kittens, but we were. We over-vaccinated (they are both exclusively indoor cats). We fed them inexpensive commercial pet food (our vet told us that the more expensive brands were no different and gave no benefit except reduced stool). We also had both cats front-declawed.

We never thought about the declawing procedure as being something out of the ordinary. We trusted our vet, and our vet discussed declawing as though it were not only normal…but also necessary for the health and happiness of indoor cats. We never even TRIED to train our cats to a post because the vet had us talked into a declaw after the first round of shots. Both of my adoring, loyal, and sweet cats had their paws hacked off at the tender age of only 12 weeks. I took them there. I offered them up for this procedure. I felt GOOD about having it done to them. I thought I was doing a good thing for my cats and myself. I never questioned it for a minute. I thought of the ‘surgery,’ as a manicure more than anything else.

When we picked our kittens up from the vet’s office the next afternoon…they were still heavily drugged and sleeping. Their paws had been cleaned up and unwrapped. We could see the ends of the stitches, but didn’t know that they had been bandaged and heavily padded to soak up the seepage and blood. We were patted on the head, praised for being such conscientious (and well-paying) owners, and sent home with our kittens. Both cats healed. My Bart and Mally were fortunate. They didn’t have the trouble with walking that I’ve read about in other declaw stories.

Mally bled like mad at first, and I had to take her back in to have the bleeding stopped. Bart’s beautiful white paws looked mushy, flat, and shapeless after the procedure. Bart also became a biter, but was eventually trained out of it. Other than that…my two babies healed well and even enjoyed an activity that my husband and I always called, ‘pretending to scratch.’

After all of this, we decided that we regretted having Bart and Mally’s claws removed without having even TRIED to train them on a post or something, but we still had no idea how dangerous and far-reaching declawing can really be. We adopted a 3rd cat when Bart and Mally were about 1 year old. We named her Nona after Wynonna Judd because she ‘sang’ whenever we played country music on the stereo. She was an all-black shorthair. She and the rest of her litter had been abandoned as strays. The vet estimated Nona at about 6 weeks old when we took her home. I’ve never in all my life loved an animal like I loved Nona. She was plump and soft and calm. She was affectionate beyond belief, and she took so much joy out of being touched and held and played with. Her ‘happy purring’ was audible from the next room, sometimes, because she’d get so loud. I love Bart and Mally…but Nona was my special girl.

I talked to our vet about training Nona to a post because I was hesitant to have her declawed, but the vet said that if she were allowed to keep her claws, she would hurt Bart and Mally. I believed him. Of course I believed him. He’s the doctor, right? Nona did NOT heal like Mally and Bart did. The vet called me the next day, saying that she was having ‘complications’ and would need to stay at the vet’s office for two days. I went to visit her, of course, and this time, I saw the bandages. My tiny kitten was wrapped up to her shoulders in casts. She had a high fever, and her ‘sockets’ (translation: the hollow ends of the stubs that are left after the vet cuts off your cat’s fingers) were oozing. I held her and cried and apologized to her. She was so happy to see me. I couldn’t take it back though. She’d already gone through it. Nona eventually stopped bleeding, and we got to bring her home. She had trouble using her litter pan – even with the special litter. The scratching just hurt her too much. Her feet hurt her so badly that she gnawed at her toes no matter how hard we tried to pay attention and stop her. She bled everywhere.

It took a MONTH for Nona’s paws to heal. The rest of her never did. She didn’t play anymore. She didn’t sing anymore. She growled and hissed a lot. I couldn’t coax her into playtime. She stopped eating almost altogether. I couldn’t even get her to eat tuna. She didn’t sleep with ‘the family’ anymore. She chose to separate herself and sleep on a chair in the living room. So…we had this beautiful, loving, cat. She had a sweet personality and wonderful joy about life. Her enthusiasm for play was actually dog-like at times. Then…we got her declawed. After that, she was always sick. She was always depressed. She walked gingerly on her feet, which means that she didn’t run or jump anymore – at all. She wouldn’t use a litter pan, anymore, and took to urinating and defecating on the floor. She wouldn’t play. She wouldn’t tolerate her companion cats. She became a terrible biter – even biting Bart and Mally unprovoked.

For three and a half years, we struggled. We read every book. We tried flower remedies. We sacked our vet and found another – WONDERFUL – veterinarian to help us. We tried all of his suggestions. I know more about the various offerings of litter and the varying types of litter pans than anyone would EVER hope to know. I’ve read libraries full of books about how to help a depressed cat, an aggressive cat, or a cat that doesn’t use the litter pan. Nothing helped. Her happiness in life was over, and it was all our fault. In the end, it was decided that Nona was causing so much distress to the other cats that she needed to live somewhere else. Mally became an obsessive groomer because she was so upset about Nona’s waste smells all over the house. Bart started to urinate and defecate wherever Nona had (just to keep it even, you see). Through more than 1000 days, we lived with this day in and day out. We should have INVESTED in Nature’s Miracle. I cried so many times. We’d spent every spare cent we had on the cats (we were NOT wealthy people) – trying to fix whatever ‘it’ was. My home smelled terrible. Our clothing stank, no matter how often I washed it.

We had three cats that we adored. One was a nervous wreck (Mally). One was becoming aggressive and hostile (Bart). One was the cause of all of it (Nona). I know, without a doubt, that Nona became the way she was because of her declawing. For the 3 months that she was in my home before her declawing, she was the most incredible animal you could ever hope to meet. After her declawing, she never recovered. The pain of it was too much for her. The anger from not having her claws to scratch with, jump with, and climb with kept her depressed and isolated. She just couldn’t recover. Her physical healing process took such a long time. I don’t think she remembered how to find joy in daily things anymore after the physical pain was gone. I had to let Nona go to save my sanity, my home, and my other two cats. We adopted her out. That’s all I have to say about that.

I IMPLORE you not to have your cat declawed. Sure, you could get lucky. Your cat could be fine. But if you’re not lucky…you could lose your pet. It’s not worth any benefit YOU might receive to harm your animal in such a painful way.

My husband and I divorced last year. Bart and Mally still live with him. My ex-husband loves them so much, and he takes excellent care of them. They are happy, healthy, and doing very well at 7 years old. I recently adopted a 1 year-old stray kitty cat. Her name is Kismet. She will NEVER be declawed, over-vaccinated, over-medicated, or abused. I introduced her to her food dishes, her litterbox, and her sisal rope scratching post on her first day at home. Kismet still likes to scratch the couch, but she’s learning. A water bottle and one short month of patience after she moved in…she scratches almost EXCLUSIVELY on her post. It takes a little effort to train a cat to scratch on a post…but not much, and it’s actually part of your JOB as a pet owner to put out that effort. If you don’t want to put out that effort…why’d you get a pet? Love your cat for being a cat…or don’t get one, ok? A cat is a family member…and will be in your family for 10-20 years. Cats pee. Cats poop. Cats get hungry. Cats like to jump and be in high places. Cats like to get between you and the phone, you and the paper, you and your books, or even you and your spouse for attention. Cats meow and cry if they don’t get their way. Cats will wake you up at 3am if they feel that you should be petting them instead of sleeping. Cats like to hide under the bed when you vacuum or invite strangers/children over. Cats will vomit if you feed them table scraps. Cats like to sit on windowsills, and they will knock over the pictures and knick-knacks that you’ve placed there in order to make room for their sunbathing. Cats scratch. A sofa is an inanimate object…and it probably won’t be around for even half as long as your pet. Your sofa does not love you. Your sofa does not feel pain. Keep perspective. Do your best to train your cat. Accept that cats will scratch because they are cats. Ok?

One last thing: If your vet tells you that declawing is minor, normal, or healthy for your cat…take your cat and RUN out of that office. Vet shop before you choose a lifelong veterinarian. I made a poor choice in my first veterinarian, and I ruined my cat’s life because of that choice. Bart, Mally, and Nona never once scratched up any of my furniture. They never destroyed a quilt or a curtain. It still wasn’t worth it. Not even close.
August 6, 2001
Roxy and Bizkit’s Story
My husband and I adopted our cat’s, Roxy and Bizkit, in 1999. They were two months old. They are great cats, very happy and playful! Should I say they were. We had just purchased a new home and thought we were doing the right thing by declawing them, because no matter how many gadgets we bought for them, they still got excited and scratched the furniture and rugs among other stuff. They were difficult to brush or bathe or give vitamins or occasional medication too because of getting scratched.

They have been slaughtered for two horrible weeks now and they have just began to eat own thier own without a medicine dropper which I also used to keep them doped up so they would’nt feel most of the pain that I realized I caused them. We also had to give them antibiotics and pedialite for infection, pneumonia, and dehydration. Of course we were never advised of such risks.

Now the two cats that have rarely ever been apart, even at the vet, act as if they hate each other with their hissing almost violently at each other and making a litter box of thier convenience any where in the house. With all that I have spent to make sure my cats were taken care of and healthy unlike so many that are not in this world, now it is going to cost me my home because of the litter box problem. If you have any suggestions please let me know. I do not want to give up my family or my home. I love my cats!!

Sincerely, GUILTY & SORRY
July 30, 2001


Is Your Declawed Cat In Pain And What To Do About It-Paw Project-Utah



Here is the pain guidelines we use for the study of declawed shelter cats, and that you can use for your own cat(s):
1. Loss of normal behavior
1. Decreased ambulation or activity
2. Lethargic attitude
3. Decreased appetite
4. Decreased grooming
5. Expression of abnormal behaviors
6. Inappropriate elimination
7. Vocalization
8. Aggression
9. Decreased interaction with other pets or family members
10. Altered facial expression
11. Altered posture
12. Restlessness
13. Hiding
2. Reaction to touch
1. Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of declawed paws
2. Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of non declawed paws
3. Physiologic parameters
1. Elevations in heart rate
2. Elevations in resp rate
3. Elevations of body temperature
4. Pupil dilation
*based on published AAFP and AAHA feline pain standards

We want to touch on the loss of normal behavior this week:
* Pay attention to the level of activity your cat is showing. If they stop playing as much and are sleeping a lot more than normal, that could a sign that they are in pain.
* If you start finding mats in their fur, when they normally don’t get many, that is a big indicator that your cat might need some medical attention.
* Monitor their food and water intake. Decrease in appetite is a red flag that something is going on with your cat.
If your cat is showing any of these signs, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.


We sometimes get messages from people who are in need of The Paw Project’s help, but they do not have a branch in their state. They own declawed cats that they would like examined to determine whether or not they need some medical attention from their declaw.

If you find yourself in this situation, here is what you can do:
* Find a no declaw vet; The Paw Project is currently working on a comprehensive list of no declaw vets in each state, but you can call local vets, or reach out on social media to try and find one. You can see the list of the states that have PP branches here. If there isn’t a vet that doesn’t declaw close to your area, you can still go to a vet that you trust.
* Give the vet the checklist Dr Doub uses when she evaluates declawed cats; you can copy and paste it to an email to your vet or print it out:

Age at present and gender and BCS:

Indoor vs outdoor (if known):

Age at declaw:

Type of declaw performed:

Previous health issues:

A.Physical Exam:

Temperature:     Pulse:          RR:       Weight:
* Dental:
* H/L:
* Abdominal:
* Musculoskeletal:
* Integument/Hair/coat:
B. Picture of declawed paw pads zoomed in if not perfect ovals, examine for erythema, abscesses and calluses as well as any other irregular wear.

C. Video:
1. Batting feather toy
2. Landing from a 3 foot high jump
3. Running
4. Reaction to toes being touched, declawed versus not
5. Reaction to toes being gently squeezed, declawed versus not
6. Reaches out with paw to touch human when caged
7. Observed “making muffins” or trying to extend paws on horizontal surface
8. Reaction to dorsal spine being palpated
9. Overall demeanor around humans
**document normal gait of feline to document presence/absence plantigrade stance

D. Signs of pain-please circle ones observed during study/video/at home:

1.  Loss of normal behavior
* Decreased ambulation or activity
* Lethargic attitude
* Decreased appetite
* Decreased grooming
2.  Expression of abnormal behaviors
* Inappropriate elimination
* Vocalization
* Aggression
* Decreased interaction with other pets or family members
* Altered facial expression
* Altered posture
* Restlessness
* Hiding
3.  Reaction to touch
* Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of declawed paws
* Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of non declawed paws
4.  Physiologic parameters
* Elevations in heart rate
* Elevations in resp rate
* Elevations of body temperature
* Pupil dilation
E. Radiographs of all 4 feet including lateral and cc views of declawed paws with carpi and tarsi, please label xrays with marker before sending to server. The radiologist will answer these questions for each paw declawed and nondeclawed for each patient provided using nonsedated lateral and dorsopalmar views:

1.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of partial P3 regrowth or improperly removed bony fragments?
* Presence or absence of at least one fragment
* Number of fragments per foot
* Fragment size
2.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of chronic draining tracts or abscess/excessive lucency around P2?
3.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of distal paw pad callouses/soft tissue swelling?
4.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of P2 remodeling?
5.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of subchondral sclerosis on distal P2? If so, please grade severity (mild, moderate, severe)
6.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic signs of P1/P2 joint space pathology (osteoarthritis of the interphalangeal joint)?
7.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of new bone formation on P2 including osteophytosis or periosteal proliferation?
8.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic evidence of acute angle hyperflexion of P1/P2? If unable to evaluate, please indicate N/A
9.     Does this patient exhibit radiographic signs of plantigrade/palmigrade stance or carpal/tarsal pathology? If unable to evaluate, please indicate N/A

Other things to look out for and make note of:

Non radiographic complications include: radial neuropraxia or paralysis secondary to tourniquet use, infection, wound dehiscence, protrusion of the second phalanx, tissue necrosis from improper bandaging, and palmigrade stance. The source of a declaw related lameness is a detailed orthopedic and neurologic examination assessing the presence of infected wounds with or without protruding bone, pain on palpation of specific portions of the manus, and neurologic deficits. Claw regrowth may be managed by careful excision. Chronic draining tracts may be explored and necrotic bone or embedded cyanoacrylate tissue glue may be excised. Neuropraxia is often, but not always, reversible.

F. Class IV therapeutic Laser-on contact small ball, contact Dr. Doub for settings.

If the vet is not familiar with what treatment to follow, Dr Doub can look at the findings and determine the proper medical plan for the cat.