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Pet People

Monday, March 05, 2007

To Declaw or not to Declaw, that is the Question

Before I entered the cat world, I thought that declawing meant a cat's nails were simply removed or "pulled out." I later found out that declawing actually takes off their first digit, akin to an amputation and that HORRIFIED me, because I now know that scratching is so much a part of a cat's nature and instinct.

I truly believe that if one wants a declawed cat to protect house and home, that one should adopt a cat that's already had it done in one of its past 9 lives. I would never, ever have it done to a cat.

However, I also know people who've tried everything to get their cat to stop tearing up couches and rugs, etc. A coworker has a young cat that he just had declawed, because he lives in an apartment and the cat was destroying lots of things. Landlord wouldn't be happy, so I understand why he did it, because he tried all the usual tactics to get his cat to stop. I suspect its harder to get a kitten to stop scratching than an older cat.

I'm lucky that neither Catfish nor Tarzan scratch on anything inside other than their carpeted cat tree. I believe because Catfish lived in a shelter for a few years and had nothing else TO scratch on, that he now wants to scratch only what he's familiar with. Both lived in the wild before being rescued and had natural wood and trees to scratch on, which they also have here in their cat-fenced-in yard--a small tree I see them go nuts on as well as the wood banisters surrounding the porch. Since they have this outlet, I believe that's why they don't tear up the couch or other furniture inside.

What upsets me is that some people declaw a cat before they even try to train it to scratch on appropriate things. Some cats are traumatized by declawing and as a result, other bad behaviors or marking can occur. But I do understand people doing it if they've tried everything else. And some true cat-lovers I know don't care so much about the furniture, they fight the battle on and on instead of resorting to declawing.

I know The Boss would have daily fits if our cats tore up stuff. Then I'd have to hear him complain about the cats AND the dogs and believe me, the complaints about the dogs are about all I can handle!

So, how do you weigh in on the declawing debate?

posted by Sandy at 3/05/2007 06:20:00 AM


Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, my subject here for sure as you have heard me complain about how my girls scratch the carpet. I have never had any of my cats declawed. I just can't do it! Years agao I had a friend who had her adult cat declawed and said if she had known how much pain it would have gone through she never would have done it. I've told people how it is like a amputation and they changed thier minds about getting it done.

My daughter and son-in-law had Callie and Gracie ( the race car driving cat ) declawed when they were kittens. The day after they were declawed they were running around playing acting as if nothing happened. They didn't act like they had any soreness at all! I was so relieved. I think if you have to do it then it should be done when they are really young cause like babies and kids they heal quicker than adults. I still think it isn't good to do. That being said please everyone on here who ahd had thier cats declawed I am not judging you or saying you are cruel to have done it.I just couldn't do it. I like nice things as well as everyone but I love my cats more so softie that I am can't declaw!

I have tried everything to get my girls to stop scratching the carpet. I mentioned the water gun, works for two minutes, I yell, works like the gun. I used the double sticky tape, Brittany licked it and acted like it was a treat. To quote Fly Boy " We can't have a damn thing around her without the cats tearing it up!" That is streathing it a bit! He yells too and they run from the room for a minute or two then go back to work. Anyway I've tried everything including phychology that works on kids, doesn't work on my cats. Guess I'll just stick to my guns here,pun intended.

Monday, March 05, 2007 9:19:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

I'm actually sick of the carpet! But guys please, son't anyone tell Fly Boy that I'm for one minute encoraging the girls to tear it up!

Monday, March 05, 2007 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

It's a defensive weapon and as such, I would never have any of my cats declawed. I do keep them trimmed but Larry, the older inside/outside cat, gets to keep his longer than the other two stay-in-the-house-always cays.

I have heard that people also get their dog's vocal cords cut or something to keep them from barking.

My thought: if you can't do it to children, you shouldn't to it to companion animals. But that's just me, don't want to offend anyone...

Monday, March 05, 2007 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger jdt said...

I have both of my cats front paws declawed. It was not something I wanted to do, but I could not get them to stop. They shredded the wallpaper at one place I lived. My mom is the one who finally made me get it done, she was rather pissed that they tore her furniture up. So reluctantly, I had their front claws removed. Luckily, they bounced back really quickly. To be honest, they were back to normal within a day of coming home. They still to this day do the scratching moves on our furniture and walls, so in the long run it was probably a good thing we got it done. However, I seriously doubt I would ever do it again just because it seems so harsh even though I know my kitties are fine.

Monday, March 05, 2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Alice, I've heard of the cutting of vocal cords too and I think that is horribly cruel! Those poor dogs!
I too trim my girls nails but they scratch so much that they grow back really fast.
JDT. Callie and Gracie do thaht scratching motion thing too. It's funny because they think they are really going to town scrathing,ha.

Monday, March 05, 2007 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, got to say I love the photo here, looks like he is saying "Talk to the hand cause the head ain't listening" LOL!
I feel better now that Stacey told me Scooter isn't neglected. Sounds like it's just like it is here with Courtney. Scooter and Courtney get plenty of love. And is Scooter is anything like Courtney he doesn't want any more than what he gets in the first place.

Monday, March 05, 2007 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Pam, the picture of Catfish was taken at Cats Are Us before I adopted him. I didn't know that he was in the room where they keep cats not ready for adoption--those that were in the wild or too skittish to be adopted. I went by to take pictures to make a Petfinder site for them and was walking all around, when I saw him sitting on top of his cage. I petted his head and he just rolled over on his side and let me rub his belly. That was it! I saw a lot of cats that day,and had in the back of my mind that if I saw one I really liked, I'd adopt (this was right after Yogi died).

Later after I heard his story of how he lived at the river with a fishhook stuck in his mouth, I asked when he "got so friendly." Suzanne said "you." They never told me he was in the "not ready for adoption." room!

He did hide out for three weeks after I brought him home! But I think he picked me out that day. He looked nothing like Yogi, who was a long-haired gray cat. When he first died I thought I'd look for one similar, but came home with the Catfish!

Monday, March 05, 2007 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Pam, the picture of Catfish was taken at Cats Are Us before I adopted him. I didn't know that he was in the room where they keep cats not ready for adoption--those that were in the wild or too skittish to be adopted. I went by to take pictures to make a Petfinder site for them and was walking all around, when I saw him sitting on top of his cage. I petted his head and he just rolled over on his side and let me rub his belly. That was it! I saw a lot of cats that day,and had in the back of my mind that if I saw one I really liked, I'd adopt (this was right after Yogi died).

Later after I heard his story of how he lived at the river with a fishhook stuck in his mouth, I asked when he "got so friendly." Suzanne said "you." They never told me he was in the "not ready for adoption." room!

He did hide out for three weeks after I brought him home! But I think he picked me out that day. He looked nothing like Yogi, who was a long-haired gray cat. When he first died I thought I'd look for one similar, but came home with the Catfish!

Monday, March 05, 2007 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, I know what you're saying. When Penelope picked me out ( at Cats Are Us ) I was for sure not in the market for another cat! But she just tugged at my heart and it took me two weeks to talk Fly Boy into letting me have her. She was so llittle and precious! I can't bellieve I let it take me that long to convince him. And after I did I didn't bring her home for another week or so because she got sick ( was just a cold )and I had to make sure it wasn't anything she could make my other three sick with. Now I feel guilty because I left her there instead of bringing her home to nurse her back to health myself. I mean I was going to ahve to keep er seperated from the others for aout three weeks anyway so what was I thinking? She still had a little bit of the cold when I brought her home but she recovered really fast! So you just never know how it will turn out, sometimes they pick us instead of vise versa and I guess that is best.

Monday, March 05, 2007 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I have to say that I'm thinking of having jazzy cat declawed. The tape is working on the couch, but he has found other things to claw on now like the bed. I put tape on the bed and now he's clawing on the carpet, which I can't have since we rent. We have tried mouse traps, tin foil, a squirt bottle, a plastic bottle with rocks in it that I would shake at him. I don't think anything will get him to stop. I think declawing is better than a tendonectomy (sp) which is where they leave the claws and cut the tendons so they can't use them. The problem with that is you still have to cut there claws. If they were to get out away from you, there claws would grow into there pads. I think that’s worse. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks.

As for having the vocal cords removed... It's not as bad as it sounds. My aunt used to have it done to her dogs. Its minor surgery and it more like trimming off a skin tag. They are sore for a day or two and that’s it. AND they grow back usually in 12 - 18 months. I used to have a sheltie that would bark if the wind blew. It drove me nuts. My neighbors would call the animal control about him. The last time they called they gave me a fine for it. So I talked to my vet about it. I ended up giving him to a friend that owned some land in the country and his barking didn't matter. He loved it there because he also got herd the chickens, which he loved to do at my moms. I was a better solution for all of us at the time. But if I had to make that decision again, I would be OK with it since I understand what’s involved.

Monday, March 05, 2007 8:38:00 PM  
Blogger Daisylouu said...

My 3 cats all have their tootsies complete with claws. I know there are worse things people can do to their cats, but for me, it was a personal choice of simply not wanting to put them through it. Sure I have claw marks on the corner of a chair and my bedroom carpet is an amusement park for them. The steps going upstairs may have a hole or two, but I don't think Better Homes and Gardens is on their way to do a photo shoot, so basically, my house is clean with some wear and tear. I'd rather live in a home that looks LIVED in and filled with animal love, than a perfectly pristine home and unhappy animals. My neighbor had her cat declawed and it was the only time I saw firsthand the recovery, and it wasn't pretty, just not for me.

Plus, when you have a house with a few claw marks, you know who your friends are! In the whole scheme of life, does it really matter?

Monday, March 05, 2007 8:57:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Our Skeeter was declawed due to us being poor and him clawing up everything in the apartment! We did not have the money to replace anything he tore up so we made the decision to have him declawed. We could not afford to pay the Vet bill so Skeeters grandma paid for it. I was not sure if it was an okay procedure or not as I was so young at the time. I knew that Vets did it so assumed it was an okay practice. The procedure did not slow that little man down at all! It never seem to faze him. But later on I regretted having it done because we had to watch him like a hawk to make sure he never got outside because I knew he would not be able to defend himself against other animals. One time he got out while at grandma’s house and I was in tears and freaking out until we finally hunted him down and got him safely back into the house. I was really upset that grandma was so careless to let him slip out and I kept a close eye on him until we departed for our long journey to Colorado to start our new life there…

When our girls came into our life a few years ago, I was more educated in knowing that you can train a cat to use things other then the furniture. Plus we live in the woods and I did not want them to ever get out for fear of the wild critters and a fight they may be up against if confronted. And this is our first bought house (rented for 15 years) so I did not want to let them destroy it. So I decided to give it a go with training them. I basically spent every waking hour in the sun room with the girls watching their every move for at least 6 months if not longer. I never had them out of sight until it was nap time. When they scratched on anything, I would pick them up and give them a stern NO! Then direct them to the okay scratching spot and make the motion with their paws to let them know this was the “okay to scratch spot” as I praised them in a nice tone of voice. I put 2 X 4 wood pieces and carpet squares all over the sun room. In time I let them into the remainder of the house and had carpet and wood pieces all over the house. The house looked pretty stupid with all this junk in it but hey it worked for me. But I was diligent with staying with them each and every day for those 6 months. Cats are head strong but so am I… I would not leave them until the Saint would come home from work then he would cat sit while I ran errands in town. Oh and I also used the sticky tape and had it on the furniture for this length of time as well. When they stopped going near the chairs and couch, I took the tape off. I had to replace the tape on one chair as they would still check it out. In time they lost interest and the tape came off. I would keep an eye on the favorite of the scratching items in each room and slowly remove the other items one at time over a few weeks. Now all that remains in the living room for them to scratch is one small piece of wood which they use each night during TV time. In the sun room we have their scratching post that they love and the cat tree which they love to scratch on. The Saint had to wrap rope around the poles as they had shredded the carpeted poles to pieces! No more tape and only a few scratching places and it work for us. But when I say I stayed with the girls, I mean it. I sacrificed myself for 6 months to train them and it worked for me. I am a patient person when I am determined to win and with this game, I won. Some people are not willing to take the time as I did but hey, to each his or her own. If declawing works for you then that is your decision and choice. It worked for us with Skeeter, but not declawing is working fine for us with our two girls now. We do trim the tips of the claws about every three weeks or so.

I know I said I might not be writing much this week but I found a few minutes before bedtime (everyone else is in bed)and felt a need to speak on this topic. The cat nip worked with Cheetah last night as she did not whine with Grandma and Grandpa in the house! I had a good nights sleep! I had to take the nip away from her and hide it in a closet to calm her down. Tonight as I type she is going at the cat nip again. I put the stuff in an old sock and the thing is dripping wet and she must have her” fix” because she is now laying across it as I type! I am hoping for another good nights rest with this wearing her little butt out!

Monday, March 05, 2007 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

You know, I never clip my cats' nails. Since they don't tear up anything they're not supposed to, I figure, why do it? My cat book says that most cats can "manicure" their own nails and that cutting isn't always necessary. Good thing for me, because when I first got them I tried to do it, and they weren't having it.

Those who have scratching problems. Have you ever tried natural wood, like a log or tree stump that is 4' tall or so? Maybe the cats would like that best and keep them from scratching funiture and rugs, as the carpeted cat trees are the SAME as a rug--to the cat, it's all the same, whereas wood isn't like anything else in the house?

My cats love scratching their little tree outside and the porch rails, so maybe this would work for you inside?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 5:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sandy and Skeeter, you are both so luck that your cats don't scratch what they aren't supposed to. Skeeter I couldn't spend that much time trying to train my ggirls but honestly I don't think it would work with them. I say that of how stubborn they have been with everything else I've training them with.
Sandy you're right abut them and the carpet covered scrathing posts. We used to buy them for Tiger,Samantha, and Cosette but I read that they think it is ok to scratch any carpet if they are allowed carpet covered scracthing things. Tiger was never as bad as Samantha and Cosette when it came to scratching. After reading about the carpet thing I discovered the little cardboard scratching boxes and every one of my girls have loved them but they still wouldn't give up thier carpets. Believe me when I say I have tried everything. I have threatened to put socks on them ( like that would work )and finally gave up everything but yelling and the water gun. I guess I could try sneezing every time theyscratch since they hate that,ha.
Sandy I am intrigued by the idea of the wood though. That is one thing I haven't tried so will do that. It could be a answer to prayer. Oh and Brittany bites her nails, guess she is trimming them.
Skeeter, better watch that Cheetah so she doesn't OD! Ha.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 7:59:00 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I wish my cats would only scratch what they are supposed to. They have ruined couches and chairs and wallpaper..... I don't remember who posted about their husband saying "we can't ever have anything nice with these darn cats/dogs". So true.

But, I am in the refuse to declaw camp. I always thought it was terribly cruel (again, like Alice, just MY opinion) and could never do that to my babies. So, we just deal with the results. Sweetie doesn't like it one bit, but he knows I'm non-negotible on the cats and dogs. I agree with Daisylouu's comments 100%. It's home, not a showplace. You know the old saying, if you don't want cat/dog hair on your clothes, don't sit on the furniture.....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 8:57:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Stacey, that was me that said my husband says we can't have a damn thing for the cats. But even as much as he complains he says he wouldn't have them declawed now that they are adults wither and I bet if they were still kittens he wouldn't I mean he didn't fight me on it then.
Ihadn't heard that saying " If you don't want cat/dog hair on you then don't sit on the furniture" but I love that! Got to remember that one!It sure is true at our home and we have to keep the sticky rollers in our vehicles at all times.
We do have in our opinion a beautiful home but it's our girls home too so tough stuff if they are a bit rough on some things.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger dragon said...

First of all, Sandy, nice picture of the cat. Did you intend for the picture to come out like that or was it a snap shot that came out good.

To declaw or not to declaw? Neither, just trim the nasty little claws so they don’t do any damage. They can have that false impression that they are sharpening their claws. The silly little cats are not going to replace the furniture they shred.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 7:14:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Dragon, one can always cover furntire with slip covers. That way,when they are scratched to shreds, the furniture isn't ruined, just the cover, which can easily be replaced.

The photo of Catfish was a lucky shot, kind of how you probably got lucky to find someone to actually marry you. :)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 8:04:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Dragon, I do trim thier nails but my girls sharpen them back up on the carpets! I guess I'll just have to trim more often.
And don't you agree the cat looks like he's saying "talk to the hand?"
He is one cool cat!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 8:07:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Oh Sandy, Sandy, I love it! I wish I'd seen that comment to Dragon before I just wrote. That was too good about him getting lucky to get someone to marry him,ha. It does make one wonder what kind of condition wifey poo was in when she said yes doesn't it? Could it have been too much imbibing ( you know more you drink the better they look and sweeter they are )? Or could it have been "mean ole Dragon" is available and I'm ready to settle down? All all the questions and wonder now.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 8:12:00 AM  
Blogger Guinevere said...

Oh Sandy and Pam.....

Dragon is sooooo very lucky to have found me. He is extremely high maintenance and most women I know would have dropped him off on a dark highway years ago. But, just like with 4 legged creatures, I also have a soft spot for scaly, fire breathing creatures. He is my weakness, I'm afraid. You know how we women are--we just KNOW that we can mold them into the men, or Dragons, that we want them to be. Sigh.....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 8:54:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I get the feeling that Dragon knows just how lucky he is to have you. From what he told us about how he treated you on Valentine's Day, he gets a A in my book! Shows how a scaly ole fire breather has his moments but it's still fun to give him a hard time just beause he's male.

Thursday, March 08, 2007 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger dragon said...

I do know how I was lucky to fined a woman with a house. I am high maintenance because Quinevere made me that way. She wouldn’t have me any other way. With that in mind Quinevere is lucky to have me so she can spoil me rotten. Keep up the good work, you do it very well.

Saturday, March 10, 2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Now, ain't that sweet? Dragon, I don't know about the others but I see though that tough ole scaly exterior to the softer mushier romantic center you like to hide. You really do appreciate Guinevere and that is something to be proud of. Now don't get used to it cause I'm going to give you more of a hard time and grief than compliments but for now I have to say " You can be a sweetheart"! Now enough already and don't be a jerkoff butthead the rest of the weekend! Go do something nice for Guinevere! Hey make dinner tonight!

Saturday, March 10, 2007 3:37:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Dragon, one more thing. That "she made me that way" crap. Uh Uh ain't buying that one. have heard that before from Fly Boy. Nobody made you high maintenance but you any more than I made Fly By lose his temper! That is just a total figment of your imaginations and refusal to take responsibility for yourselves!

Saturday, March 10, 2007 3:40:00 PM  
Blogger dragon said...

Oh Pam, she really did make me high maintenance. I once used to take care of myself and did very good with it. But, when I became the Master of the Kingdom of our Domain, Lady Guinevere insisted on doing everything that I used to do for myself and then some!

For example, I used to think that every morning, the coffee fairy came and fixed my coffee (with the appropriate number of red hots). I used to think that the clothes fairy came and laid out my clothes for me, and that the lunch fairy packs these wonderful lunches for me every day. Then, when discussing this with coworkers of mine, I realized that there really isn't such a thing as fairies. It was all just my beloved Guinevere.

Every once in a while, I will try to go back to my responsible ways and do things for myself, but Guinevere really doesn't like that at all. She thinks I don't need her anymore if I do these things for myself. She gets the big pouty lip, and I just can't stand to see her like that. So, I just continue to force myself to be treated like a King. Just for her benefit, of course.

So, Pam, in reality, it's NOT MY FAULT. REALLY. HONEST.

Sunday, March 11, 2007 8:36:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Dragon I can see how Guinevere "made" you high maintenance now. What was she thinking? Didn't she know she was opening a can of worms by doing that? Guinevere dear whatever did you do taht for? Now you've spoiled him rotten and he does expect it. Not that you don't like it Dragon! You know you eat it up and want things on demand now. She may have started it but if you really wanted you could stop it now but we know how you like to be treated like a king but remember you are just a dragon!

Monday, March 12, 2007 3:08:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Dragon, on second thought. You may be just a dragon but in your castle you are King! And I guess if Gunivere lets you get away with everything then take advantage of it and play it for all it's worth! Enjoy your spoiling!
I guess I understand a little because I have to confess, Fly Boy does spoil me quite a bit and I do tend to enjoy it so let's keep it going as much as we can,haha.

Monday, March 12, 2007 5:51:00 PM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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