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De-Claw Questions

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 

I am new here and new to cats was hoping to get some feedback on de-clawing a cat.

I have 3 little kittens that I ended-up with (see new cat on the block "new here" post) and everyone has been telling me I need to de-claw my kittens. My vet highly recommended doing it since I have nice furniture he says they will ruin it and it's better to do it now than later. Bunch of my friends told me I need to do it. So the first two that I got ended-up being fixed and de-clawed on the front only. Marbles (my middle child) has had no issues at all with de-clawing his front paws but Gizmo (my first child) came in with HUGE paws to a point that I almost had a heart attack. The vet told me some cats react this way and it will take few weeks to heal. Well I could not believe what I saw when I picked them both up from the hospital and head a very hard time dealing with that. I was so worried about Gizmo being able to be a normal cat and have his paws normal again. I must have taken him to the vet 3-5 times a week for two weeks straight. The vet would just give him a shot of antiflamitory and antibiotics and sent him home. Gizmo didn't seem to have any issues running around but he started to chew on his paws and removing hair right around the pad to a point that he made it bleed. It was only one paw that had such problem the other one did get to a normal size pretty much within a week. At that point the vet put him on pain meds and told me to give it to him for another 10 days, which I did. He is all good now no issues that I can tell but now I am very worried to take Twinkie in to de-claw. She is so tiny and doesn't seem to be scratching anything at this point so I am not sure if I should do it or not. She does love to do that thing with her paws when it almost looks like she is stumping which can hurt as she scratches me but other than that she is fine. I guess I wanted to get everyone's opinion on de-claw or keeping claws. I do have a very nice furniture, which I don't want to ruin but I also don't want to wait until she is big and it will be tuff for her to get over it. One of my friends de-claw all 4 but my vet highly disagreed with that. He said only fronts should be done and never touch their back claws. Also he said they don't do anything with his back feet anyways and I could see that. So at this point I have mixed feelings weather I should de-claw Twinkie or not. After having such a hard time with Gizmo's paws I am very worried to do it again on another kitty. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 59
Please don't declaw her. Here are some articles with excellent information.


post #3 of 59
There are so many alternatives to declawing. Please consider htem - the procedure can lead to lifelong problems, as well as being very painful and stressful for hte kitty, as you have found out.
post #4 of 59
oh please dont de-claw ............as you had so many problems with Gizmo..........you wouldnt like that for Little Twinkie.......check the links out posted by Jenny82...........I have 3 kitties ALL with claws, I have a leather suit, soft rugs and lots of other clawable items..........my kits have plenty of scratch toys and we have even made our own, so it needed be a costly thing...........please re-consider..........
post #5 of 59
the vet told you to declaw because you he wanted your money please do not declaw Twinkie, cats CAN be trained to scratch other surfaces than your "nice" furniture, but whats more important, your furniture or your cats toes? As you have found out, declawing is an awful surgery that can really be harmful to a kitty, I hope Gizmo is doing better
post #6 of 59
Noone on this site is going to tell you anything other than let the cat learn to sratch on things it is supposed to like its scratching posts. Declawing can cause more harm than good. A really great alternative is softclaws www.softclaws.com
I have used them and loved then and several other members swear by them to. Do a search for soft claws to read about them here!
post #7 of 59
You've landed on a decidedly anti-declaw site, so there probably won't be anyone here who will advocate you declawing your remaining kitten.

Unfortunately, since your vet didn't bother to tell you about the alternative training methods for keeping both your nice furniture and the cats' claws, it's too late to make an informed decision for your first two. Even more unfortunate is that poor Gizmo is one of the ~30% with post-declaw complications.

Please educate yourself on the procedure before making the decision for Twinkie. Here's another article about what declawing entails and the alternatives:

post #8 of 59
It is illegal to declaw here, everyone has cats with all their claws, and the vast majority of them also have nice furniture Buy some surfaces for your cat to scratch on (both upright posts and flat mats), and it is really quite easy to train a cat to scratch on them instead of furniture.

I have not tried 'soft claws', but have heard good things about them, and they do not hurt the cats feet at all. Alternatively keep the claws trimmed, I do Radar's every couple of weeks - it's very easy to do if you start when they are young they will get used to it very quickly, and their claws will not be able to damage you or your furniture, but there is absolutely no harm done to the cat also
post #9 of 59
Oh Gizzie, I'm so sorry to hear about your poor baby. I'm also going to suggest that you not declaw your little girl, but I'm also going to suggest you seek out a different vet as well. This vet doesn't seem to care about the welfare and happiness of your cats. I don't even want to think of what he would do if some serious illness or injury (heaven forbid) happened to your babies. Will he just use the latest potent vaccine (like the one for FIP) without considering the consequences? Will he just assume that he knows best and not discuss the ramifications with you (as he obviously did with the de-claw)? You're in Chicago. There are plenty of other options around you. Good luck (and you have my support!)
post #10 of 59
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses. I feel so terrible after I de-clawed both my guys. I swear if I knew how Gizmo was going to come home I would not have done it. When the vet handed over Gizzie to me I almost fainted. I kept asking them why no one has told me that this can possibly happen to my little Gizzie or even tell me to go read something before making my decision to de-claw. I am very disappointed with my vet although I really like that clinic they have done a great job with my two dogs and have done plenty of surgeries on one of my guys (he always gets himself injured). I have used them for 8 years and trusted the clinic so I went with what I was told to do best. I have to be fair to my vet though. When I originally asked about de-clawing I asked about all 4 paws because bunch of my friends told me it was best. When I mentioned that the first thing my vet said "oh, no don't do all 4 it's too much for the kitty and will present a lot of complications" Than he proceeded to tell me that he only does fronts for the cats and won't do all four. I think I should be the one blamed for poor Gizzie as I didn't do my research.

Thank you everyone for the links I will be spending some time reading it and I will look into alternatives as well. I really appreciate your responses.
post #11 of 59
Good luck with your research and I am sure lots of our members can help you with other links, like the one for SoftClaws.... ... hints & tips on making scratch mats & toys .......and training kitties you know we are always on hand to help..........

I think we need to get Oprah onto this to make it illegal in your State
post #12 of 59
i have taught sephie and orion to scratch on the post. And i have 2 that are not declawed and 2 that came to me already declawed and there is no problems with their interactions with each other. I thought it could be a problem with a cat being declawed and one not but it's just fine.

Don't declaw the one you have left..i don't see why people do it at all

It must have been real scary for you, lots of loves for him
post #13 of 59
Now that you know first hand how awful and painful and inhumane declawing really is, you should start passing the information around to your friends who think declawing is okay. I know how hard that can be though. I had a very nice woman who was interested in one of my kittens. She gave me vet references and told me all about herself and her love for cats. But the last two sentences were "I know how important spaying is, I had my first cat neutered and declawed when he was 6 months and I promise to have the new kitten spayed and declawed immediately" so I turned her down. I explained the alternatives and I don't know if she even cared to listen because so far she hasn't responded.

Yes we are all very anti-declaw on this site. There is a reason why it is illegal in almost every other country. Read this little story about poor Fluffy. Click Here

Don't beat yourself up over your first two though. You live, you learn. Hopefully you have learned a bunch here and realize declawing should for the most part never be done. What is more important your living breathing happy scratching (appropriately with a little training) cats or your replaceable furniture? Cats scratch, it is something they love and need to do to run and play and climb and stretch.

Also try Soft Paws
post #14 of 59
Not to state the obvious or to be condescending, but cats and dogs are two different animals. The clinic may be great with dogs, but if they are declawing cats (even just the front) I find it hard to believe that they have a cats best interest in mind. There is rarely, if ever, any justification for it. And I'm sorry, but I do blame your vet. Granted, you should have done more homework on the issue (but now you know better ). But your vet should be working WITH you to be a better pet owner and helping you look out for the welfare of your cats. They have the knowledge, and they didn't share that with you. To me, that is very unethical. I would still reconsider going somewhere else for your cats. {{{hugs}}} to you! And don't beat yourself up about it. Its done, just learn from it and move on.
post #15 of 59
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mooficat View Post
I think we need to get Oprah onto this to make it illegal in your State
That's funny... Yes I think that will help.

I have been wondering. When you first buy a puppy the vet usually gives you some kind of reading material on dog's health and what not to do and what to look for and where to go read about it. However the only thing I got for my kittens is a pack from IAMS and one peace of paper that tells you what shots your cats should have. I think vets need to educate their customers especially people like me who has never had cats before. I was very specific that these are my first kittens I have ever had and of course after 8 years going to the clinic they know that as well. So why wouldn't someone tell me what complications de-clawing causes? I am just surprised that vets don't do that. Ah, my poor little kittens they are dealing with my mistakes, which I feel horrible about.
post #16 of 59
I used to take my cats to a regular vet that did cats dogs etc..and i liked them until this new vet clinic opened closer...and they only cater to cats. They are really awesome and you should see this place. Talk about spoiled kitties and things you can buy in there! lol

We got a whole kitten care pamphlet deal and we bought a book too since we knew nothing about kittens until we found sephie.
post #17 of 59
oh, it should be okay *most* cats recover from the surgery and grow up to be just fine, please don't blame yourself, although I think most of us wish you would have come here to ask about de-clawing first! Just don't let poor Gizmo's suffering happen in vain, spread the word about how bad De-clawing is!
post #18 of 59
Please don't feel too bad, it wasn't as if you wanted to put your kitty through that, you were acting on the advice of your vet, who is a person you trust to give you the best information.

I would keep using that vet for your dogs if you are happy with the care your dogs receive, but find another vet for your kitties, preferably one who specialises in cat care. I have 2 different vets, one for my cat, and one for my bird. The vet I take the parrot to is an avian specialist, and I would not take my cat to him or the parrot to the cat vet, so I wouldn't consider it odd at all to have a vet for a cat and a different vet for a dog. It is perfectly normal for vets to know one species better than another, so I would look around for a vet who is also a cat lover specifically for your cats
post #19 of 59
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your support. I wish I had known about this forum 4 months ago I would have known a lot more and left my poor little Gizzie alone. Marbles doesn't seem to have any problems at all but I he still should not have been de-clawed but I am just glad that he was ok. He could not understand why Gizmo was so grouchy and didn't want to play with him. You all are right I leave and I learn. I will be looking into alternatives for Twinkie I just feel bad that the other two didn't have that chance.

I bought two climbing trees with scratching posts and Twinkie always goes there to scratch I really have not seen her scratch anything in the house so far. Ever since she saw the tree, which had before I got her she has been scratching on the tree only. I have been cliping her claws only because she has been scratching me when sleeping. She moves her little toes during her sleep and scratches me. She loves to sleep right next to me that's how she ends-up scratching me but nothing big as she is not doing it on purpose.
post #20 of 59
Sounds like Twinkie is kneading you.

My Duke USUALLY only uses the cat tree we made for him or the cat house thats carpeted that we also made for him. Sometimes he's a little bratty and will scratch the side of the bed if I don't get up soon enough in the mornings to feed him. Usually a firm 'NO' will get him to stop, but double sided tape works wonders. You can buy a roll from just about anywhere, especially during gift wrapping season, but get the wider rolls that look like packing tape. Just stick it to the surface your cat may be scratching. They HATE sticky stuff. It feels gross on their paws and they'll avoid it at all costs. Though we didn't use this on furniture (we didn't really need to) we had great success using it on the table.

Remember, if you have ANY questions, ask away. No question is to small or stupid or whatever other reason that people are hesitant to post.
post #21 of 59
if they are still kittens, they are like kids, they will try to scratch other places but just say NO and take him to his scratchpost. Gabriel paws at the post eventhough he is declawed.
Sephie is almost 2 and he sometimes claws my rug ..not carpet, the rug ..we just tell him NO and he knows ..i mean they know they aren't supposed to do it.
When he was little, a water bottle did wonders for that kind of thing. I don't let them on the counters or the table. NOw all i have to say is GET DOWN and he knows what that means.

Smart and sneaky at the same time
post #22 of 59
I'd be interested to hear who your vet is, so that I can warn the adopters at our shelter against patronizing them. One of th above posters is right: the only reason a vet would ever recommend a declaw is to get his or her hands deep into your wallet. The procedure is gruesome and unecessary and has the potential to cause MANY more problems than it fixes. Unfortunately, unless you find a better vet to help you now, you might potentially also be looking at a future full of biting cats, shy and/or aggressive cats, cats with arthritis or phantom limb pain and cats who urinate and defecate outside of the litter box, all of which are unfortunately common side effects of a declaw I'd personally enlist the help of some better animal-professionals to help you deal with those problems as/before/if they happen to ensure a good relationship between you and your cats for the rest of their lives. Also, always feel free to consult with us here at TCS. A lot of us have experience with these side-effects and can help you deal with them, should they occur. We don't man hard feelings, but from now on, you can count on us to help you gather info before doing something that could cause problems later down the road.

As for the name of this vet (I'm also in Chicago and I'm staff at one of the rescues in the city), you can PM his or her name to me by clicking on "Private Messages" in the upper right of the forum navigation banner at the top of the page.
post #23 of 59
Hi Gizzie!!!

Welcome to TCS! We have a great bunch of cat lovers here, we are sorta like tcs family! Thank you for doing your research to make an educated decision! I know that I never knew about the whole declawing process,and how it affects cats before tcs..... I use soft claws on both of my kitties, they are very easy to put on and I have a great site that you can get them for like $14 a pack....now 1 pack lasts my calm 1yr old about 4-6 months, but it only lasts my rascally little boy about 1 month! I'd be happy to give you the site info, as well as tips to putting them on. They are like press on nails for kitties, and they are VERY fashionable! My LuckyGirl has red (to match her collar of course!) and Louie has blue. Just click on my screen name and then send me a private message if you'd like some more info on the soft claws....they are a blessing! No torn screens, no pulls in my bed spread, no jumping on my lap and missing and digging into my thighs.....

I hope to see you on the forums!!! And we love pics in the fur pics section!!!
ttyl, Heather
post #24 of 59
I forgot to mention one thing....PLEASE make sure your already declawed babies NEVER get outside.... my cat growing up was declawed (as that was the norm then), she snuck out 1 time....she came back badly attacked, her eye was clawed out badly, and her spirit was completely broken. Please keep them safe, never let them outside, they can't protect themselves anymore, it is now your job to keep them safe!
post #25 of 59
please don't have the kitty declawed. my guys are all front declawed but they were done by previous owners. i always encourage people who want to declaw, to look at adults who are already done and in need of a home. i have had good luck adopting adults who were declawed, so that's another reason i encourage it if that's a requirement for having a cat. alot of declawed cats end up in shelters for the same reasons as clawed cats---moving, allergies, etc. my current situation is renting, for that reason i haven't even thought about kittens for years--most places i've lived require cats to be declawed and i couldn't do that to a kitty.

in addition to the poster who mentioned they must be indoors only. i would like to add that they will also need a soft sandy litter for the rest of their lives. when cats are declawed, it changes how they walk from their toes (the natural way) to walking on their paw pads. so if the litter is rough it's like when you walk barefoot on a gravel road. (ouch!)

i also think the friend who is recommending a 4-paw declaw is just barbaric. at least a front declawed cat can still scratch his ears if he has an itch. when i was a kid we took in a 4-paw declaw cat, that poor cat had so many issues. he also couldn't scratch if he had an itch. it was so sad to watch. if we caught him trying to scratch we'd help him scratch his ear.
post #26 of 59
Don't beat yourself over your other kitties. Most people don't understand the concept of what declawing is. I think most people think of it as a permanent nail clip, which if that were true would be relatively painless and probably perfectly acceptable. I find one of the most effective ways to get people to think of what a declaw REALLY is is to point out where your own fingernails are, then emphasize that in order to remove the claws (the cat's nails) you actually have to remove the first part of their fingers.

I am so very very glad that you have changed your mind about declawing, though we all grieve that it took your poor baby's pain to do so. But now that you have your eyes opened, I hope you will share that message with your friends, and save other cats from going through what your boys have. While we all wish that he hadn't had to go through that, maybe your experience will change the lives of other cats, and that's a very good thing! Bless your heart, we're glad to have you here with us!
post #27 of 59
There's not much I can add, but THANK YOU for taking the time to do the research and look into this. I used to know many people who would get there cats declawed; unfortunatley, it's an all too common thing. It's great that you're looking into the alternatives now.

I have 2 leather couches and my cats have never tried to purposely scratch them. They do have some small scratches from when they cats slipped while playing on them, but the scratches aren't very visible, and you can always cover your couches with a nice blanket. In addition, trimming your kittens' claws at least once every couple of weeks can go a long way in helping to prevent scratches. These things, plus plenty of appropriate scratching posts (my cats personally love to scratch a material called sisal, which some scratching posts are made of) have been enough to prevent my cats from ruining furniture or carpets. If necessary, Soft Paws can also be purchased as another painless alternative.

Thanks again and good luck with your babies.
post #28 of 59
declawing is a fast and easy (though very inhumane and cruel) way to prevent cats from "scratching" furniture ...there's no frickin' way i'd amputate (because that's what declawing is) their claws just so i can rest easy knowing materialistic objects won't be damaged... to be able to see the cats i've had that died, i'd burn my whole room in a second with out even thinking twice about it...

so yeah, declawing sucks.

You can rest assured if they heal and no further damage is done.. but i'd change this vet... because this vet seems greedy and isn't putting the kitties best interest in mind.

But, don't declaw your third cat and please please please don't feel bad... we've all been there... tricked by the vet... the petstore owner....whoever was in it to make a profit... but you make mistakes, and you learn from them... it's great you came to seek advice, but don't feel bad because all you can do now... is rectify your mistake and make sure you don't do it again and raise awareness in your community about this.

good luck
post #29 of 59
Originally Posted by Gizzie View Post
I bought two climbing trees with scratching posts and Twinkie always goes there to scratch I really have not seen her scratch anything in the house so far.
Twinkie has probably checked out the Marbles' and Gizmos' paws and doesn't want to take any chances of being next! (just kidding, but couldn't resist)

Ever since she saw the tree, which had before I got her she has been scratching on the tree only. I have been cliping her claws only because she has been scratching me when sleeping. She moves her little toes during her sleep and scratches me. She loves to sleep right next to me that's how she ends-up scratching me but nothing big as she is not doing it on purpose. [/quote]

Asa tiffanyjbt mentioned, she is doing what is called kneading, mixing, making biscuits, etc. It is a sign of contentment in kitties that they do instinctively when nursing on their mom to help coax the milk forth. Mixing babies are just the cutest!

Don't feel bad about not knowing all the info about declawing. I used to think I was a little less than an "ideal" cat mom because I never had cats declawed. It seemed to me to be one of those luxury things that only the wealthy could afford for their kitties. I learned better after coming here.

Welcome to TCS. Stick around, there is much to learn about our little fur kids.
post #30 of 59
Don't feel bad about getting your two cats declawed. I have always gotten my cats declawed IF they are young. Cello & Buddy were the only two not declawed. Yes they ruin the rug and couch & hate scratching posts.

Many people in the US declaw their kitties and they live long healthy lives.
I am not condoning doing it or not doing it as I feel it is a very sensitive subject with many different thoughts.

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