To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)   6 comments

From:  onegreenplanet.org

March 11, 2015 by Tammy Thies, The Wildcat Sanctuary

To declaw, or not to declaw … that is the question.

I remember walking into the shelter to adopt my very first pet. I had looked at rescue groups, ads in the paper and had visited several shelters looking for the right cat – the one looking for me.

When I saw her, I knew. She was not exotic looking, nor a fancy breed. But she was just as beautiful. She was a black little kitten with blues eyes, amongst a sea of other black kittens in her litter. When she approached the wire door and let out one “meow,” that was it! My feline family had begun and her name was Kaya.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

My Experience With Kaya

I had done everything to make sure we were a perfect match and that I could give her the best home possible. I researched cats and breeds. I looked into purchasing from a breeder or adopting from a shelter. I learned what costs would be involved in having a pet and I adapted my apartment to create a cat amusement park.

I know they say dogs are man’s best friend. But for me, it was Kaya. I couldn’t imagine life without her.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

It was our first visit to the vet for her to be spayed and being away from her for a day seemed unbearable. Upon check-in, the front desk asked if I would like her declawed, too? I was told this was a common practice and would even receive a discount for performing both surgeries at once. I wanted to be the best cat guardian, and if that was recommended by the vet, then that is what I was going to do.

Oh, how little I knew! Even after treating Kaya for several paw infections later, I still believed this was just part of having a cat as a member of the family. Over my life, I have declawed three cats, something I am not proud of at all. But, also something I am not ashamed to admit because I can educate others in hopes of changing the future.

Deciding to Declaw

It took being invited to see a surgery first hand when I realized this is not declawing at all. They were surgically removing the first digits of my cat’s toes with a surgical knife – it was an amputation! That was the last cat I ever declawed. Was this really necessary? I thought to myself. Why was I doing it: To make the cat safe? To protect my furniture? I didn’t have a clear answer except, that’s what pet guardians did.

How far I’ve come! I can’t judge others for something I’ve done, but I hope to offer more information so that people can make better decisions.

Big Cats Versus Small

The Wildcat Sanctuary is home to over 100 cat residents, exotic and domestic. Seventy percent of the cats come to us four-paw declawed and we see the devastating effects. People tend to agree that declawing big cats is cruel and causes permanent damage, but it can be difficult to convince them that declawing small cats can cause the same damage – even if your cat isn’t showing the signs.

We often have to say good-bye to cats earlier than we should due to debilitating arthritis and lameness. Pain medications only help for so long. But the cats who are genetically designed to bear weight on their toes are now putting all their weight on scar tissue and exposed bone. No pain medications or soft substrate can compensate for that.

Halifax, one of the servals in our care, had several surgeries to remove bone and claw fragments, well into his teens. The regrowth would cause abscesses that had to be surgically corrected.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

Even small cats like Bullet, a Bengal cat, have chronic issues. Bullet has had several radiographs on his feet. His toes have fused at a 90-degree angle because of his arthritis. His bone is right at the skin and he often shifts weight from foot to foot.

To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

The Paw Project

We are hoping that through education, pet guardians will stop, think and ask more questions before they make the decision to declaw. That is why we support the work of the Paw Project. They are educating thousands of people and trying to make a cultural shift on how America views declawing. We also know that we cannot change everyone’s mind so therefore, we encourage people who will only open their home to a declawed cat, to adopt one from a shelter versus putting another cat through this surgery.

We know this is a controversial topic and will ruffle some feathers. Whenever you try and make change, it often does. But, we hope it will start a conversation about what is best for our feline friends.

For those that love cats enough to have one (or more) in your home, please love them for what they truly are – claws and all. Even the best dogs will chew your shoes and put wear and tear on the house. Kids color on walls, break precious items while playing. Cats are not any different. They shouldn’t be penalized for doing what comes naturally. Instead, love their wild side and give them more options that are acceptable.

Your little tiger will be happy that you love her for ALL of her! I wish I had done that for Kaya.

In-text images courtesy of Tammy Thies

Lead image source: Wikimedia Commons

See something, Say something. Bookmark, share and help further build our directory of Animal Rescue Hotlines and let’s be prepared to help animals today!

6 responses to “To Declaw or Not to Declaw? How This Procedure Affects Cats (Big and Small)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Like you, I didn’t know any better and had my first cat declawed. We’ve had four cats since then, and I haven’t declawed any of the other ones. I had no idea that it could hurt them, or give them problems afterward. Luckily, the cat we declawed never had any problems. I won’t ever do it again! I hope other people find out about what it entails, and won’t do this to their cats. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also am a cat lover and chose not to declaw my – then – kitten. He is now 3, super loving and hardly scratches.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear! That makes me soo happy! I feel the same about intrusive surgeries on dogs, tx de-barking. Dogs have the ability to bark for a reason, one good reason is to warn their owners which comes in handy many times, don’t you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree! I think that since I chose not to have this very painful and intrusive surgery for my cat, he is much more gentle due to feeling secure and able to protect himself! Great post.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but in my country (Sweden) de-clawing, de-vocalizing, tail- and eardocking are forbidden by law, which is excellent I believe!!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Quill & Parchment

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Hurricane Willem nu je hier bent. Welcome to the blog of Discobar Bizar, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Hurricane Willem whilst you are here!

Wonderland By Russell Strand

Follow Us @wonderlandb3

Aditya's Birding Blog

Because we will conserve what we understand...

ELLESGOT2KNOW

Animals In The News

Lone Wolf Breathes

Lone Wolf Breathes Words In A Blog

Building The Love Shack

This is the story of building a cottage , the people and the place. Its a reminder of hope and love.

Nomad Advocate

Adventurer. Humanitarian. Advocate.

trevnjess.wordpress.com/

Lifestyle, Fashion, Food

Your Everyday Coffee Blog

Your thoughts while having coffee

Australian Business Network

Latest updates of local businesses and professional service providers in Australia.

The Bold Mom

Introspection and Psicology

World Tourism Forum

Travel Tips & Most Popular Tourist Attractions

Belfast Food Man's Blog

The Belfast Food Man's Blog loves all food

%d bloggers like this: