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 She became withdrawn and had a decreased appetite.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
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
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
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
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
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