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Declawing...some thoughts.

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
I was thinking about declawing today. I guess I started thinking about it after a comment that a co-worker made to me the other day. I have pics of all of my kids and pets on a bulletin board at work. I get many questions about Duncan because of his relative rarity in my corner of the woods. People inquire about what breed he is, where I got him from etc. One of the people I work with said, "well, I presume he is declawed"...or something of a similar nature. I said..."ABSOLUTELY NOT!...and why would you think I would do that"? I could see the look of absolute shock/ignorance on her face. She said,"well, you can't have an indoor cat with claws, you know. It sure wouldn't make a good pet". She said this so matter-of-factly, I almost questioned if I am in the minority on my views about declawing. I spent the next 20 mins or so explaining the ins and outs of declawing. Why it shouldn't be done. The risks of declawing to the cat. I also explained that I have never once had a problem with Duncan ripping up furniture. Explained that scratching posts and sisal rope are all you need to ensure a happy cat and happy owner! I think I made some progress with this person, but, I am absolutely shocked to think that so many people deem declawing a NECESSITY! I argue with my dad to no end about the declawing issue. He thinks Duncan should be declawed. I always say...NEVER and over my dead body! He laughs and says...well, he would make a better pet. I reply, "how so"? He never has an answer...just shakes his head. Is declawing so firmly ingrained in people? I took it for granted for a long time too. My parents last 3 cats were declawed. Their decision...not mine. My first cat that I got on my own, in my own home, Hattie, came to us already declawed. When I got Duncan, I was so educated by what I read online by various breeders and cat owners about declawing, I never could do that to my cat. Besides, my Duncan's breeder firmly forbid it. I also have another perspective on declawing. I have a friend that is a vet. He allowed me to follow him in his practice one day (I'm a vet wannabe...lol). I watched him perform surgery, including a declaw. By his own admission, it is probably the most miserable surgery he performs. If people KNEW what a cat goes through on a declaw, they wouldn't be so inclined to do it. It is a nasty, mutilating surgery. I just can't believe that people are so in favor of this procedure. It is like they think that those of us who DON'T declaw are in the wrong. I don't get it. Anyways, I know I am preaching to the choir here, but, just wanted to see what everyone thought, esp. about peoples attitudes about declawing. PS...I understand that the 4-paw declaw is becoming more and more popular with the increased popularity of leather furniture. Cindy W.
post #2 of 49
You aren't. Just about everyone here is anti-declawing. I say nothing about my thoughts because I am not into flaming!
post #3 of 49
Ohh..and about the 4 paw thing...Cleo has all four paws done, but Cleo was that way when we got her.
post #4 of 49
moving this to the behavior forum
post #5 of 49
I must admit, it concerns me to hear of people like this, but it doesn't shock me. I will explain in a moment.

In Australia, declawing is illegal. It's becoming increasingly popular to keep cats either exclusively indoors, or indoors with access to an outside enclosure. It doesn't enter our heads to declaw our cats. I must admit, my cats have trashed one of our chairs, but I'm sure if I'd tried harder, I could have trained them a bit better. And with the option of Soft Paws for our cats, in my opinion, there just is no reason to have one's cat declawed.

I'm pregnant at the moment, and you would not believe how many people have told me that now we're having a baby, the cats must go. I had a conversation with a guy recently, which went something like this...

Him: So, you know you have to get rid of the cats now you're pregnant don't you?

Me: No, why would I do that?

Him: Because pregnancy & cats don't mix.

Me: Oh, how come?

Him: That's what the experts say.

Me: What experts, and what are they saying.

Him: They just say you have to get rid of cats when you're pregnant.

Me: Well, until you give me a valid explanation, the cats stay.

I imagine he's referring to Toxoplasmosis, which I'm negative to....and the only cat I've had tested is positive. But, you just take precautions.

It's almost always mis-informed people who are the most opinionated. They just regurgitate the same old rubbish time & time again, thus continuing to perpetuate these ludicrous myths. I find it a sad reflection on society that cats are considered disposable once a baby comes along. I had a really nice chat with a couple on NYE about pregnancy, birth, kids etc. Really got along with the wife in particular, right as I was leaving she had to go & ruin it by saying something along the lines of "you won't care about the cats once the baby comes along". My opinion of her changed in a flash.

Anyway, I hope that such people become the minority. I'd love to see declawing banned worldwide. Maybe if enough people get behind it, it will happen...

post #6 of 49
I knew it! :LOL: Here comes the flaming.

I HAVE seen the pictures. I HAVE read the procedures. I did NOT give my opinion either way. My cats were already done when I adopted them at the humane society so I did NOT have to make that decision. I respect the opinions here...please respect mine and not label me as "misinformed" because I have seen the links and read everything on here.
post #7 of 49
Um, excuse me. I was NOT "flaming" you. I know plenty of people who have adopted cats from shelters who have been declawed. I wasn't referring to you, or your post, or your opinions one bit. I take offence to that. Am I not permitted to have an opinion? Should I just shut up? Because if we all kept quiet about things we don't believe in, then nothing would change.

Ear cropping was banned in one state here because vets took a stance & aired their views on it. If I can't say what I feel, then I may as well not bother posting here because it's a waste of my time.

post #8 of 49
Ok Guys, calm down please. This subject always has the potential to cause flames. Carrie, not everyone knows your history and that you rescued the cats who were already declawed. Some people just see the subject declaw and they see red and respond on an emotional level. I am one of those people and I will do everything humanely possible to try and dissuade someone from declawing a cat. BUT I will not flame them or call them names. I will try and educate them to the best of my ability and ask them to think about the cat instead of their possessions.

We are getting a lot of new members since another cat board went under so there is going to be people joining who don't know about us, haven't read old posts and will only go with what they see in front of them.

If the two of you want to duke it out with each other and yell and scream and call each other names in this post, that is not going to happen. Your posts will be deleted quite quickly. This thread will stay on a mature intelligent level. It will stay to educate and enlighten other people who read it. If you want to war with each other then please take it to PM's and get it straight that way. I hope that doesn't happen. I hope you can see there was a misunderstanding here and nothing else.
post #9 of 49
I don't have the time, energy nor inclination to war with other chatters.

I was referring to the lady who is the subject of the Cindy W's original post who said something along the lines that "indoor cats must be declawed" without knowing exactly what it involves. I was ABSOLUTELY NOT (I cannot over emphasise that enough) referring to people who adopt already declawed cats from shelters. My comments were completely mis-interpreted.

I agree, if you want to educate people, you're going to have a better chance of doing so by providing them with facts, and not abusing them. I've seen that happen on other forums, and it just leads the original poster to the conclusion that we're all crazy & they go away with the same opinion on declawing that they came with. Which completely defeats the purpose.

But, I really see little point in expressing one's view if I'm going to be yelled at. There are going to be times when people don't necessarily agree, but the point of forums is to discuss one's view, giving reasons where necessary. Sorry, I don't mean to give you moderators a hard time, I know it's a difficult enough job. I am not here to cause trouble, but I really took offence to that.

post #10 of 49

No harm no foul. As I said the issue of declaw can get really nasty. I am so against declawing. Some people's minds can not be swayed, and others decide to learn about it and once they do, they are horrified and realize what torment the cats have to go through.

It is an owner's choice, it would never be a cat. If they could talk, do you think they would come up to us and beg us to remove their toes?
post #11 of 49
Well, the only way to make a change is to do our part to educate. Those who come to forums like this, and ask questions are the ones who are looking for information, yelling at them won't do them, their cats or us any good. They will just leave, and never come back. And the cat ends up getting declawed anyway.

I do think a lot of these "misunderstood people" honestly don't know any better. As Cindy W said in her post, once she spent some time chatting to this lady, she actually seemed make some progress with this woman. It is up to us to educate them, without making them feel small, ashamed, embarassed. Just give them the facts & let them make up their own mind.

From what I've heard (from American cat lovers) declawing was (and probably still is) often done because the owners really just don't realise what it actually involves. I have lots of friends who used to declaw their cats. Funnily enough, with the advent of the internet, they had much more access to information, and became aware of what declawing involves, and stopped doing it.

And no, cats definitely wouldn't be asking us for a declaw.

post #12 of 49
Um.....back to the original subject(s). Although I've never declawed any of my cats, I've known people who have and many of the cats seemed to have some kind of behavior problem, i.e. one bit and chewed alot (objects AND people). Another cat is such a recluse, no one has ever seen her but her owner and she's 4 years old! I'm wondering if any others here have had experience with declawed cats having any kind of weird problems? Maybe it's coincidence.

Also, one other thing - my brother and sister-in-law had two cats (neither declawed) and they had twins. Naturally, the cats were curious, but never, ever harmed either baby in any way.
post #13 of 49

It is not a coincidence that declawed cats come up with worst behavior traits then they exhibited before they had the declaw. The declaw is an amputation of the cats toes- not just the removal of the claws, they remove bone- how agonizing that is to a cat. Most cats are stoic and will not show they are in pain until they are in a lot of pain.This type of procedure puts their pain meter off the map! I have one gal I am working with now, she got her cat declawed because it scratched her! Now the cat has such bad behavior problems, she has condemned him to live in a cage the rest of his life! He bites, and hisses and snarls at her- who can blame him really?

Taking off a cat's toes affects his balance, makes it hard to use the litter box, they develop spinal problems and it decreases their life span. Then I have another ^&*&^^ no names here- who declawed her Bengal and it gave her such fits that she has now thrown her outside to live!!!!!!!! No protection, can't climb trees, but the lady doesn't want to deal with the problem she created. It just makes me sad for the cats. They have no say in the matter.

Take a trip some time to a local animal shelter and just ask them how many declawed kitties they have. They will always have some.
post #14 of 49
Thread Starter 
I hesitated to write about declawing, as I was afraid that it would be too emotional of an issue. I hope that won't be the case and I hope it can be discussed. I brought it up because I honestly was not aware that there are so many pro-declawing people in the general pet-owning public. I, for years, did not know what it entailed and did not think a thing of it. As I have learned much more over the years, I have changed my opinion on declawing and am now very much against it. I try to educate people (in a non-judgemental way) to try other alternatives to declaw. I use my own Duncan as a good example of how a cat with claws can be a perfectly fine thing for an indoor cat. One of my own cats is declawed (we got her that way)...I hold no poor opinion of anyone with declawed cats. I just want people to see the alternatives to declawing. I would NEVER flame anyone and do not want anyone flamed over a topic that should be able to be discussed. If we cannot discuss it with each other, how will the general public ever listen to us and not think we are overly zealous and radical? I discourage people from getting their cats declawed, and I hope, in some small way this will help. I just wonder how do we get the word out to people that declawing isn't necessary and that there are viable alternatives? Again, please let's discuss this in a nice way! I am new here and don't want to start a flame war...just looking for good discussion/ideas! Have a great day! Cindy W.
post #15 of 49
That's really sad hissy. Why don't people do the research? I'd better not say what I think of people who treat their cats in that manner because it's not very nice.

I get scratched by my mob frequently, doesn't hurt, only takes a couple of days to heal, maybe I'm a bit strange...it's just not a big deal to me.

Once the baby arrives, I'll have to take extra precautions, but you manage. If the worst comes to the worst, I'll just stick Soft Paws on them.

I've heard that a lot of declawed cats end up at shelters because they develop behavioural problems too. It really is sad. I was reading one website recently, it seems there is a petition going about to force vets to properly inform people of what declawing actually involves. The perfect solution would be to ban it outright, but at least warning people would be a start.

post #16 of 49
Cindy W, that's the problem. How do we get the word out? It's my theory that people who come to forums such as this, "generally" are fairly fanatical about their cats in the first place, and I would hazard a guess that the majority of people here are opposed to declawing. It's Mr & Mrs Average who we really want to educate, but I don't know how to go about this. They have to come here to get the info., but the chances are, they're not going to do that.

As I said in my previous post, I heard there is a petition to force vets to inform people of what declawing actually is. That will help. Maybe down the track, people can band together & petition the government to have it banned altogether. Nothing is impossible.

post #17 of 49
This subject comes up so often that we made a special place for it in the Health Forum. Here is the link:


If you happen to know of any websites not mentioned there, send them to me and I will add them.
post #18 of 49
I was sickened when I saw those pictures...I really was! But, quite honestly, Cleo and Ashley were both bonuses because they WERE declawed...but keep in mind this was also BEFORE I really knew what the procedure was. Do I like the fact that Ashley IS declawed? YES. Would I have declawed her if she weren't already knowing what I know? Probably not. I am VERY emotionally attached to her and even am reluctant to leave her at the vet half a day to have her teeth cleaned because I am afraid she is going to think I abandoned her! I couldn't imagine what I would be going through knowing that must her her like crazy to be declawed. Ashley has no behavior issues. Cleo hasn't had any, either. Angel...well...I think half of her issue was an arrogant thing! lol But I can see where it could cause an issue with a cat....something that is very natural to them being taken away. Is this the same thing with spaying and neutering, though? I am just curious.
post #19 of 49
It is interesting in that every time the declaw issue comes up, so does the spaying and neutering in the same thread. The difference between declawing and spaying and neutering, is that you spay and neuter your cat to prolong their life, stop the over population of the kitten boom and to make them more comfortable in the long run. Females in heat are not very comfortable while in heat.

When someone declaws a cat, it is because that person put their material possesions before the welfare of the cat. Does every declawed cat have behavior problems? No, most definitely not, it has been studied and shown that the younger the cat is that gets this procedure the easier the transistion is for them to forget the agony they had to endure. The Majority of declawed cats have major behavior issues afterwards. Most common is not using the litter box- the litter hurts their feet. They bite, because they are in pain and they have to do something, and pain pills only last so long. I sometimes wish these vets would be allowed to follow their declawed patients home and deal with the time frame after the drugs wear off and the cat is miserable.
post #20 of 49
Hissy: Very well put.
post #21 of 49
I don't have declawed cats and they don't ruin my leather couch. They do ruin my cloth couches for sure, but a little more discipline on my part would solve that.

One of the cats at my work has been declawed and she is very unsociable, she runs away when you get near. While the untouched one is very sociable to the people who approach her.

I wouldn't declaw my dog, so why would I declaw my cats?

If I had the choice, I wouldn't do it. If it's already done, then what's done is done, you deal with it, but a choice is a choice and you have to live with the results afterwards. I can't believe that lady put her cat outside after she had it declawed (who wrote about this????) because she couldn't deal with the problems. WHoever said this was right 'if you can't deal with the problems, then you shouldn't have a cat in the first place'.

Now this is only my opinion and I accept and respect others opinion. My own is only my own.
post #22 of 49

I am still trying to learn how to talk to people about it. As the "cat lady" for the shelter I foster for & volunteer with I am often asked "at what age would you recommend a declaw?" and my usual answer is "never."

I list the behavioral & health problems first, but I save the risk of arthritis for last. and then I make it a little more personnal.
I tell them that changing the way the cat walks, as well as damaging its feet, increases the liklihood of arthritis. and I tell them I have arthritis, which I do, and that I would not wish arthritic feet on anyone! There are days it is hard to walk, but I do anyway - and so will the cat. But unlike the cat I can understand what is happening and try to temper my moods.
A hurting cat will be grouchy, but doesn't understand and probably won't make an effort to be nice in spite of the pain.

I've found this an effective approach.
One college girl stopped me midway and said 'OH! That explains my mother's cat! That's it, I'm never declawing'

America is the land of throw-away everything, convenient everything, and sadly it applies to pets as well as televisions.

Some people just refuse to learn, they don't get a good recomendation from me to the shelter director for the adoption.

Cat Fancy Magazine published an article which stated that U of Ca at Davis had done a study which showed 20% of declawed cats developed behavioral problems after the surgery.

I wish there was a study on the numbers of cats developing physical problems (arthritis, re-grown claws).

post #23 of 49
I was talking to someone at the shelter about this issue and she mentioned Soft Paws. I never heard of it, but it sounds interesting.
Does anyone know anything about it???
post #24 of 49
Bendy, we do try to keep everything civilized and for the most part it works around here. It's nice isn't it? We've talked about everything from declawing to politics and religion and kept it civil in the past. That's one of the things I love about this place, we can have differing opinions and still talk about hot topics with respect for each other.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I think a big part of the problem is with the vets who not only treat it as a normal procedure, just like spaying and neutering, but actually recommend it. I'm totally ashamed to admit that I did have it done. When we took Trent in for his neutering the vet actually recommended we get him declawed. I didn't know what it involved. I DID ask! You know what they told me? "It's just a minor procedure where they remove the nail bed. It's no big deal." Trent does not have any behavioral problems, thank goodness, but we did almost lose him because of it. His feet got infected and he stopped eating and drinking. A kitten of 6 months, it didn't take long before we had to take him to ER, get him re-hydrated and get meds. I have no doubt that if I hadn't stayed home with him and made him come out of hiding every hour to eat and drink and potty he wouldn't be here. I still almost cry every time I see his paws, and I hate myself for doing that to my little love.

I think that a lot of vets see declawing as a way to make more money, not only off of the procedure itself but off the possible complications. I know they got a pretty penny from me. I think it would be fantastic if they were required to show what declawing really is. Had they told me that, given me a pamphlet, educated me in ANY way instead of dismissing it as a "simple procedure" I wouldn't have done it.
post #25 of 49
This is from an information package I received from the animal clinic where I had Nakita spayed. Here is a sample of what is written. Again, no stress is placed on the owner to work with the cat. Instead, declawing is the way to go.

What is the effect of declawing on the cat?

Many authors have written of dire behavioral and surgical complications of declawing, but these reports are based on myths and anecdotes. Some 10 scientific studies have examined the consequences of declawing on the pet and on the pet-owner relationship. These studies show that declawing does not alter the cat's behavior. In fact, cats may continue to scratch furniture after declawing, but cause no damage. Except for a few days of post-surgical discomfort (which can be controlled with medicine), quite surprisingly the only owner concerns have been that some cats were reluctant to use the litter box when litter was replaced with paper strips.

When owners of declawed cats are asked to assess the effects of declawing on the cat-owner relationship, declawing met or surpassed their expectations, and over 70% indicated an improvement in their relationship with their cat. Declawing allows people to keep their cat and stop household damage.

Isn't that just great? I believe there should be full pics and details of the declawing procedure listed with this package. Pictures always catch people's attention. With this 'polyanna' description of the procedure the vet will always come out the winner to a lay person.

post #26 of 49
Soft Paws are little plastic caps you glue to your cat's claws to stop them scratching. I've had success with them. Here is a photo of my Siamese boy wearing some.

I haven't worked out how to attach images in messages yet, I'll try, if not...here's a url to the image.


post #27 of 49
HA! Those things are SOOOO CUTE! Looks like blue nail polish!!! Does it hurt them in anyway to have these things glued???
post #28 of 49
Bendy: LOL "The Cat Lady" you have no clue how many people have called me that. It's cute, but it gets annoying, it's like 'yes, yes, I'm the animal nut I know!"

About the tread, this place is about 99 times better (civil) then acme. Acme was a HORRIBLE place, but with a wealth of information.
I think you will probably like it here, as I have heard some of the things people have said about me, you and almost everyone else over there. This place is a lot kinder, and level headed.
post #29 of 49
us wearing false nails. I love the look!
post #30 of 49
I want to use them on Ashley! But, she has no claws

DISCLAIMER: She was LIKE this when I got her!!!
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