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possible ultimatum about de-clawing

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
The man I am supposed to move in with and marry has a problem with my cats scratching - I have a post - I use a slipcover on the sofa - there are certain things they'll always be able to damage. I can try to train them with aluminum foil and the sticky paws tape when we move and get them in the habit early of not doing certain things, of course if any of these things work. In the meantime, I think I'm about to receive an ultimatum about getting them de-clawed. I feel I cannot do it. I know of several people with cats that have been de-clawed and the animals don't seem unhappy - but still I can't put them through it and I don't believe in tampering with their bodies. Anyone else ever have a similar situation?
post #2 of 30
You may want to check out Soft Paws as an option. They're little caps that cover the claws.
They are also available from several online pet stores. I haven't used them but I've heard from others that they're not too bad (once you get the right size & make sure they're on securely).
Also, regular nail clipping (maybe more than you would normally do) seems to minimize damage those little claws can do.
Good luck!
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks - I have seen those paw covers on a friend's cat although they had trouble with them falling off - but probably because they didn't get the right size. Also, I'm going to get another scratcher that's larger and has those loops in it that cats like to sit in -- maybe a strategic placement of that will deter them from certain furniture.

I wish I could look at it as just a practical decision and get them de-clawed - that's why he's so frustrated - because he sees it that way and I don't. They're my babies - I can't make them go through trauma - furniture are things - cats are life.
post #4 of 30
Okay, here's a suggestion. Why not ask this man if he'd see having the tips of his fingers cut off as a practical decision? Okay, perhaps not the best of ideas, but I just can't understand the type of thinking that surgery is the answer to preventing natural cat behavior.

I would get all the information I could about the effects of de-clawing for this man, maybe some gruesome pictures as well, and ask your man whether he thinks all that suffering is warranted just to prevent a little scratching... I think I would also point out to him that an ultimatum -if you get one- is no way to handle disagreements, but discussion and compromise. If you'd let him know about your plans to minimize the damage done by the cats' scratching (training, keeping their claws trimmed, more "designated scratching areas" and perhaps those Soft Paws), maybe he'd see that you're willing to do something about this and that you appreciate his point of view even if you're not prepared to de-claw your cats. Most people become more reasonable once they see that they're being taken seriously, that you're not just dismissing their views, but that you only disagree on the means to get to a goal. I really hope you get this sorted out without ever de-clawing your cats!
post #5 of 30
Oh please ,please don't do that to your poor kitties!! It is extrememly painful for them. It isn't just the claw that is removed, its the entire first knuckle joint. The put a device around the bone like a little guillotine and it chops right through the bone! Did you know cats that are declawed have a good chance of developing behavior problems after the surgery such as refusal to use the litterbox. The once sweet kitty can turn into a very fearful and withdrawn creature. Its just not worth it! I suggest you check out this link, maybe show it to the man you will be moving in with. Beware, the pictures are a bit graphic:

post #6 of 30
Betsy, while the other replies have given you much to think about along the lines of your cat's best welfare, allow me to give you a little something to think about regarding your own ...

Once you allow someone to manipulate you with an ultimatum, it gets easier and more frequent for them to do again and again in the future.

You've stated that your cats are your babies. Tell your man that and flatly refuse to be manipulated. If he threatens to leave you ... well, that wouldn't be good, but it might certainly be for the best. Do you really want to marry a man who would ask such a thing of you?

Stand your ground, girl. This serves two very good purposes; 1) the cat isn't forced to go through a totally unnecessary and horribly painful procedure, and 2) you've laid solid ground work for a marriage that is based on discussion and compromise, not control and manipulation. Your man will respect you more (might not happen overnight) in the long run for sticking to your guns.

Best of luck to you, my dear.

post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your responses. No, I would never consider de-clawing. I have read the articles and skipped the photos because I can't bear to look at them -- both of my kitties are from rescue agencies and one was found in the street and it has taken over a year for him to stop being jittery about certain things. Getting him into a cat carrier freaks him out - it took a vet and a technicial to administer a pill to him because he tries to bolt when he is restrained. The two vets I've been to think he was physically abused by humans.

I did send my guy material on what de-clawing actually is -- he has been under the impression that it was a good remedy because a family member had a cat de-clawed that is older than mine and the cat bounced back fine. Even if I thought mine would recover 100% I still wouldn't put them through it. Things are just things to me - but cats are life. And yes, if he did issue an ultimatum it wouldn't be a pretty picture - I would wonder how many other things he'd try to control me with - 'or else'. But he said he never intended to do an ultimatum he just wanted me to know how disturbing this is to him. I just wish he didn't look at it like he is making such a huge sacrafice for me, but that's how he feels. He thinks he'll never have nice things while we're living with the claws -- which I think is a big over-reaction on his part.

Anyway I told him of the things I would try to do to make behavioral changes with the cats. He wasn't aware that I am willing to do this. And also, I had alarmed him because everytime he talked of doing new things in the house, I warned him we'd need to kitty proof. When I mentioned we should keep clothes closet doors shut because one of my cats got to some things in my closet and snagged them, that disturbed him very much.

We will be planning to get a larger space and I would be ok with having a house with a basement the cats would stay in - or even blocking off the living room with a gate - it wouldn't be wonderful to restrict them but I could live with that.

I have heard of other people who've had the ultimatum given to them 'the cats or me' and I'm relieved it didn't get to that point.
post #8 of 30
YAY! Good for you, You are making the best decision you can for your darling kitties My kitty Loco used to scratch up all my furniture, but I got him a scratching post covered in Sisal Rope (its a natural hemp-like rope). We just bought 50 ft of the rope and wrapped it round and round a post and nailed the post to a base. Each time I caught him going for the furniture, I'd tell him No and take him over to the scratching post and take his paws and make the motion of scratching on the rope. It only took a few times of doing this and he caught on. He hasn't scratched anything else since, and my other cats see him do it so they do it too. It shouldn't be too hard to retrain your furbabies, my Loco is stubborn and if he can learn, any kitty can. Good luck, and thanks for not subjecting your nbabies to the torture of declawing

Here's a pic of my homemade scratching post,its pretty basic, but it works great!:
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks Melissa -

Is the sisal attached to a base that's a regular scratching post? I'm trying to determine what the base is. Also, is the sisal on and do you purchase sisal in a hardware store?

I hope this, or something like it works - I told my boyfriend I haven't really trained my cats but I am willing to start when I move in -- hopefully because everything will be new to them it might be easier for them to associate what is off limits from the beginning. I don't know if that works but I think after they've knocked the stuffing out of my desk chair which they do every day, it would be kind of hard to get them to stop it now. (it's ruined anyway so what they hell - scratch away)
post #10 of 30
I'd just like to add that we are using the Soft Paws and they have stayed on just fine. We put them on nearly 4 weeks ago and one fell off two days later at the vets (Gus was there overnight - got neutered), and two more fell off only recently. I just reapply new ones as soon as I discover one missing. These things are great!
post #11 of 30
My dad made the post for me. Its just a post nailed to a heavy pressed board (we got the pressed board at the hardware store in the lumber dept, they have sheets of it that come between sheets of wood in shipments to protect the wood-its really heavy so it makes an excellent base that the cats can't knock over.) We only had enough sisal rope (also bought at the hardware store in a 50 ft coil) to do 3/4 of the post so I put an old piece of rug at the bottom. My dad just nailed the rope to the post at the top to start off and wrapped it around and around tightly, then nailed it at the bottom. To determine the correct height for the post I measured the length of my biggest kitty when he was all stretched out and made it a little higher than that measurement I think its roughly 3 feet high. In the picture you can see theres something beside the post. the post is actually part of a little cat tree of sorts, the thing attached to the post is a tunnel for the kitties to play in

Trust me, you can retrain them with a bit of effort. Just make sure the only place deemed acceptable for scratching is the post. Even if the chair doesn't matter, your other furniture probably does and they won't know the difference. I give my kitties lots of praise for using the scratching post, positive reinforcement And every single time I see them going for something else I take them to the post and making scratching motions on the rope. Even my 10 week old kittens seem to be getting it Good luck!
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks Melissa and Illusion. I'm going to pick up the materials this weekend for making a post and also get the Soft Paws. I also said to my boyfriend it will help if he helps with trimming their claws because I'm not that good at being forceful with them.
post #13 of 30
Just a quick comment a tad off the current subject but......as for your partner thinking you won't be able to have any nice things in the house...- we have five cats living with us, all with claws and we have a light coloured Leather couch - thats still fine!!! (Only one little scratch where a cat fell off....tut tut...ha ha ha ha)
post #14 of 30
I just became Mommy to Orion not to long ago, and had no idea what to do about those sharp claws of his. Hubby and I were covered in scratches, and Orion had no qualms about scaling the drapes, the walls, my appendages..whatever.

I considered the Soft Paws, but decided to just try clipping his claws first. He is never really thrilled to sit down and have it done. Hubby makes what he calls the 'kitty burrito', which is essentially laying Orion on a towel, and spinning him up in it, so only a tail sticks out one end, and head and one paw out the front. Orion likes the rolling up, and once that's done, he doesn't have much of a choice about holding still.

We clip his claws almost once a week, and so keep them pretty short. He can still do some climbling, but has compensating with super high jumping the get to all his good hidey spots.

Best part is, even when he does scratch, it's hardly anything, and we're no longer shredded on all exposed skin.

I bet if you trim often, the cats won't be able to inflict much damage.
post #15 of 30
It sounds like things are getting worked out but I still wanted to add that my grandmother had a cat declawed and it had problems using the litter box the rest of its life after that.
post #16 of 30
Find a large cardboard box that will fit 4 egg flats (the cardboard inserts on the large 5 dozen egg bundles) snugly. Trim the box down so the cat can easily jump in and out, and put four flats (the purple cardboard egg holders) inside. I secure them with duct tape. Set the box on the floor and watch the kittens and cats as they discover how fun it is to scratch on that cardboard surface. Once it is shredded, it takes about 2 weeks, just go out and buy another flat of eggs. I don't know what the attraction is, but it is a true kitty scratch magnet. I have several all over the house, and the only chair in the front room that my cats scratch on is the computer chair, which is old anyway. Once we buy a new chair, I will put this one somewhere and let the cats have it. I don't slipcover my chairs, or put tape on them, or spray them and we have new furniture in the living room. In the cat room, is where I put all the old furniture and the cats play and scratch on that as well.
post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the responses and will try the carton thing too -- I want to make every attempt to find a solution so that the b/f can feel comfortabe and not anxious. It's a big change having a woman and her two cats move in to a 1 bedroom bachelor pad.

post #18 of 30

I feel sorry for you having to make such a decision. I know I would never harm my cats for any man! I have a friend who just declawed her cat (despite my giving her complete information about how bad it is). I was so upset, I didn't even want to talk to her. Of course, she says the cat is doing fine. What upset me is that she didn't even try to train her (she's only about 6 months old) and didn't try the soft paws like I told her. I have one cat who is a BIG scratcher! He would use my entire couch as a scratching post. Luckily, he really didn't damage it too much, no tears or anything. Sticky Paws was out of the question because I'd have to cover the entire couch! To make a long story short, I buy new scratching posts every couple of years - always with the sisal rope (my other cat is great and loves them). Well, I recently bought this large three-level house. It has two sisal posts and LOTS of carpet. Well, to my surprise, the "scratcher" loves it so much, he hardly touches the couch any more! At first they were leary of it, but I just put catnip all over it and put them both on it. I only did it once, and they starting using it all the time. You just have to keep experimenting to find something MORE attractive than the furniture and everyone will be happy. Good luck.
post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 
Yes Midnight -

If it were as simple as spaying or neutering I think I would consider it -- my little one was jumping up on to a shelf in my closet they both like to sit on just as soon as she got home from spaying, with her little hind paws shaking. Clearly she was not in pain. And just this morning I looked at some books in the library - one written by a vet - who says there are very strong arguments on both sides but from her experience it's not thinkable - she said sometimes when the cats wake up they throw themselves against the cages in pain. I almost started crying right there in the library. She recommends a post called the Felix Post and listed a phone number 1-800-24 Felix.

I think I would actually miss their claws. I got used to watching and admiring them when they clean themselves and get their teeth in their paws and tug at the food and litter that gets stuck.They are very meticulous in their habits.

post #20 of 30
I know how you feel. I couldn't stop thinking about my friend's cat and the pain she was going to go through. I hate to say it, but this friend is a bit self-centered to begin with. I told her your furniture doesn't feel pain, but your cat does. I guess it didn't matter. When this happened, I would kiss my cats' paws and tell them I would never harm their little feet. They must have thought I was crazy!
post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
When I thought there might possibly be an ultimatum I sat down on the floor crying with the little one and petted her and said "don't worry I'll never do that to you" and "It may just be us 3 now, but that's ok"
post #22 of 30
You're a terrific kitty mommy I'm so glad it didin't come down to an ulimatum for you I know how hard it can be when your cats mean so much to you and others around you just don't seem to understand it. I wanted to bring a kitten home from the Vets office as she had been abandoned and was going to be put down if no one would take her. For 3 weeks I pleaded my case to Hubby who said " if you bring home anymore animals I'll move out!" He wasn't serious, but he just didn't understand how important it was for me to save this kitty. Well, lo and behold, she is now here in my home. Ultimatums rarely work on true kitty lovers Oh, and a bonus..Hubby is still here too. :LOL: Here's the little dear who caused all the trouble (Hubby is really starting to warm up to her now) looks like she's smiling
post #23 of 30

That's so sad. I hope everything works out OK. Please keep us updated.
post #24 of 30
Thread Starter 
Midnight -
Everything did work out -- my last post was about what I was telling the kitties when I was afraid he would issue an ultimatum -- but he didn't -- I was responding to you writing about kissing your kitty's little paws.
post #25 of 30
I am so happy that everything worked out!
post #26 of 30
Well I'm very glad he didn't issue an ultimatum!
post #27 of 30
Hi Betsy...

My cat had trouble at first adjusting to the scratching posts we had. We had one carpeted, and one sisal,.....well, I could not get her to use either one. Even with Catnip on them. And when I tried to rub her little paws on it, she fought me and ran away.

Then I bought the flat, corrugated cardboard kind. She ran to it like a fish out of water. Never had a problem since. I have several around the house, and she only scratches them.

Also, we keep her nails trimmed, so her claws are not a threat to any furniture, or anything else.

Hope this helps.
post #28 of 30
Thread Starter 
Vjoy -
My friends use the flat scratcher and gave me their carpeted post because their cat wouldn't use it. Mine definitely use it - but they also like to stretch up against the walls, door, cabinets. It's worth trying as an additional tool - I just have a feeling they need something tall.
post #29 of 30
"kitty burritto"...I love it! :LOL:

Sounds like you've recieved some good advice.

Did you show your SO the de-clawing site? Those pictures should be enough to make anyone re-consider!

Good luck and best wishes!
post #30 of 30

Funny you mention that declaw website. I had showed all of that to my friend and she went and declawed her cat anyway!! I just don't understand how someone can go ahead and do that after finding out what it's really all about. Of course, she says her cat is just fine like nothing ever happened! Just sickening.
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