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