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