TABBY TOWN OPPOSES DECLAWING

No declaw After rescuing and living with almost 3,000 cats since 2004, we've had the opportunity to compare declawed cats to those with their claws, and we've come to some horrific conclusions about declawed cats. Please take time to read our personal experiences below. But don't just take our word for it ~ We aren't the only ones opposed to this cruel practice. Go ahead and check the internet to see what others say, and you'll find tons of information about the detriments of declawing.

Fact: Declawing is irreversible. Once it's done, it's done. What if, just what if what we tell you here is true? What if your cat's personality changes after you declaw him? What if your precious baby turns into a hissing, biting monster? What if he hides and becomes withdrawn and depressed? What if he stops using his litter box after he's declawed? What if he sprays to mark his territory? What if he suffers chronic, lifelong leg, back, and shoulder pain? What if, God forbid, he happened to get outside and couldn't defend himself?

Fact: Declawing is 10 separate amputations. It is NOT simply "removing the toenails." It's like cutting off a person's fingers at the knuckle closest to the fingernail. Look at your fingers right now. Go ahead and touch the tips. Feel the sensitivity. How would you deal with the pain and life-long after effects of having every one of them cut off? Talk to people who have lost part of a digit, or had any amputation. Ask them if they experience phantom pain. And listen to them.

Fact: Many declawed cats who get outside lose their lives to predators. Some people insist that their declawed cat will never get outside, but what happens when a visitor comes to the house, or a babysitter, or relatives during the holidays, and kitty Whiskers accidentally gets outside? Never having been outdoors before, he's vulnerable to not only traffic, but birds of prey (hawks, owls, eagles) and carnivores (dogs, coyotes, fox). And what if your declawed kitty likes it outside? A friend of ours, Art, let his declawed kitty, Whiskers, outside quite often. It was not a big deal. Whiskers always stuck around. One day, just before dark, he was about to call his kitty indoors when an owl swooped down and scooped up the large black & white cat. That was years ago, and Art can still hear that cat's screams as the owl flew away with his kitty. And we learned a terrible lesson with our declawed Oreo. She loved to sit on our deck in the sun. She never left the deck ~ never. But one sunny day, a neighbor's dog came to the house and dragged her away, defenseless, from our deck. We found pieces of her fur in our back yard and the rest of the body in the neighbor's dumpster. He admitted throwing the cat in there after he found her on his lawn. Oreo, from the bottom of our hearts, we're so sorry...

Fact: Cats walk on their toes. When their toes are cut off, they have to learn how to walk differently. It subsequently affects their legs, their back and shoulders. As kitty ages, you will notice early arthritis in kitty's walk and stance. Niko It's extremely painful. Cats hide pain very well, but the signs will be there. Take Niko, for instance. When we found out that we were her 7th home, we decided that we'd just keep her instead of putting her through yet another adoption and disruption in her life. We've had several years to look after her. Niko is declawed and well into her teens. She's very hunched over now and can't stand tall on all fours. Ever. She needs pain medication every day. Without pain meds, she can hardly walk to her food dish. She hasn't been able to jump to the couch for months because she's lost the strength in her hind legs. Overall she's a healthy kitty, but the arthritis is taking its toll, and we see the pain in her face every day.




Fact: Declawed cats tend to hide, hiss and bite without their claw defense. They know they're helpless, so when they're introduced to new cats, new people, or new situations, they'll hiss or growl fiercely, bat and even bite to keep the newcomer away. Felicity actually screamed Felicity and lunged at us teeth first for over five months before she allowed us near her. Five months! Even after that, she was seldom approachable and always on guard. We could never adopt her out because of her temperament and Felicity was with us for two years before she passed on. She never did totally let her guard down. Can you imagine living day after day, month after month in fear like that? Poor Felicity. May she rest in peace.



Fact: Cats scratch. It's what they do. They don't scratch just to "sharpen their claws" to be "obstinate." They scratch to mark their territory. If they cannot mark their territory with their claws, they may tend to spray ~ males and females! And once they start spraying to mark their territory, it's next to impossible to break that habit if the cat is declawed. The number one reason people get rid of their cats is because of litterbox issues. 9 out of 10 declawed cats that end up at the humane society are euthanized (killed) from problems caused by the declawing!

Fact: Most major countries have outlawed the declawing of cats. It is either illegal or considered extremely inhumane and performed only under extreme circumstances to declaw cats in the following countries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, and Yugoslavia.

Fact: Veterinarians in the United States make a ton of money declawing cats. How many of them explained the procedure to owners prior to the surgery? Even though it takes less than 10 minutes to cut off the toes, it is major surgery. They keep their cats overnight because they don't want the owners around when their cat comes out of anesthesia. They don't want them to hear their cat's horrendous screams, see their cat bouncing off the sides of the cage in excruciating pain, or to see the blood seeping from the bandaged paws and dripping off the walls of the cage. We've seen it. We've heard it. You don't want to.

Fact: Tabby Town opposes declawing, and with good reason. With the alternatives available today, there is no reason to EVER declaw a cat. To all of the kitties that came to Tabby Town with problems from declawing, we apologize on behalf of your previous owners. We hope that just one person understands what you've lived through, and will not declaw another cat.

FREQUENTLY HEARD COMMENTS FROM POTENTIAL ADOPTERS
(AND OUR REPLIES):


We've always had declawed cats and haven´t had any problems. No problems that you´re aware of. If you´ve never had a cat with claws, you may not know the huge difference between them. Many declawed cats hide, hiss or bite. Most people think that that's normal behavior for cats, or that the cat is being independent. It isn't. Oftentimes we hear that someone's cat has "attitude." Hmmmmmm.... And wait until the kitty ages. The painful signs of arthritis will be there!

He's going to be a totally inside kitty. We know you do, and hopefully nobody else will accidentally let your kitty outside in the next 20 years either. Maybe a UPS driver or flower delivery person? Your kids´ friends? A holiday guest? A declawed cat outdoors is defenseless against predators, plain and simple. We get several calls a month from people looking for their declawed kitties who accidentally got outside and disappeared. Why would you take that chance with the kitty you love?

We don't want him scratching our furniture; we have a leather couch. We'd like to respond with, "well, what´s more important, your furniture or your cat," but we don't. We do know that people like to have nice furnishings and it can be quite expensive. So instead, here are some ideas on how to train your cat. First of all, when you bring a new kitty into your home, cover the furniture with a quilt or throw to protect it. (You can always remove it when you entertain.) Be sure to provide kitty with a proper scratching post or cat tree. It should be tall enough so kitty can stretch way up high on it when he's full grown, to stretch his muscles. It must also be sturdy. If the post moves or topples over, he won't want to use it again. Some cats prefer sisal rope to carpeting, so give him different surfaces to scratch. And believe it or not, some cats need to be shown how to use them. Rub catnip on the rope or carpeting, and actually take his paws in your hands and show him how to scratch.

In addition, you should give kitty some corrugated cardboard to sharpen his claws on. The most popular thing at Tabby Town is a circular toy with corrugated cardboard in the middle and a ball in the outer ring that cats can chase. Sprinkle a bit of catnip on the cardboard and watch kitty go crazy ~ it's amazing! The toy runs about $20. Once your cat starts using cardboard, sisal rope or carpeted cat trees, he'll prefer those to your furniture. But what if you have a really stubborn kitty who thinks the couch is his to use as he pleases? Just put the scratching post in front of the area he's trying to use, so he has to use the post instead. Or try using "Sticky Paws" (about $10) which are furniture-safe strips of clear double-sided sticky plastic, so when kitty touches it, he's discouraged by the stickiness on his paws. Another idea is to cover kitty's claws with "Soft Claws." They're wonderful! They look like hollow claws, very blunt on the end, and they glue on over the top of kitty's trimmed claws. Most cats tolerate them very well and you only need to put them on the front claws. They come in several different sizes and colors, and you get about 30-40 in a package for about $20.
Important: Be VERY CAREFUL using the glue. If you use too much and it leaks out of the vinyl cap, it will adhere the Soft Claw to the kitty's toe pad. As the real claw grows, it will pull on the pad causing kitty much pain and he will limp. When the Soft Claw is removed, it will make the toe pad bleed.

We don't want him to scratch the kids. We've found that declawed cats tend to bite a whole lot more than cats with their claws. Without their first line of defense, declawed cats use their teeth. Sometimes kids are too young to handle cats, or don´t know when to leave kitty alone, so kitty will react the best way he knows how. Without his claws, he'll bite. It's very easy to trim claws, as shown below.

We don't want the cat to hurt our dog. All the more reason for kitty to keep his claws. A cat with his claws is much more liable to bond with a dog, and he really won't scratch the dog once they're friends.


How to Trim Your Cat's Claws

Before you even start, make sure you and your kitty are calm and relaxed. Make sure there's plenty of light and that you are both comfy. Talk softly to your kitty. ABOVE ALL, BE PATIENT!

  1. 1.  Put kitty on your lap. Support him securely in your left arm with his front paw in your left hand. Wrap him in a towel if it's easier and if kitty tolerates it. Better yet, have a second person hold the kitty, by the scruff if necessary.
  2. 2.  Press gently but firmly on the pad area, under one toe, to extend a claw. Don't squeeze hard.
  3. 3.  Look for the "Quick" ~ The pink area in the center of the claw.
  4. 4.  Hold the clippers parallel to the flat part of the claw, not straight across like you're trimming your own nails. Quickly snip off the tip, being careful not to cut into the quick. Try to angle the cut following the curvature of the claw.
  5. 5.  Talk softly to your kitty and tell him what a good kitty he is. Give him a treat for being such a nice cat.
  6. 6.  Stay relaxed and keep kitty calm. Repeat until all front claws are trimmed.
trimming
Tips:

  1. 1.  Get kitty used to clipping by playing with his paws during petting time. He'll think clipping is no big deal, really!
  2. 2.  Try clipping his claws while he's sleeping.
  3. 3.  USE A SHARP NAIL CLIPPER! Otherwise, there's a chance the claw will crack or split ~ OW!
  4. 4.  If kitty becomes anxious, STOP IMMEDIATELY! DO NOT SCOLD KITTY! Just do one claw a day if need be.
  5. 5.  Don't forget to treat yourself for a job well done! (Chocolate works!)