Simba and Selina’s Story
I stumbled across your website by way of About.com, 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 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
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
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
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