Trying to convince friend not to declaw.

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

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Ava Adore

The one that I- adore...
Purred: Sat Nov 2, '13 9:31pm PST 
Hi. I know this may be controversial but I need some help. I am trying to convince a good friend not to declaw his new cats. I wrote a 12 page college essay on it which convinced my professor but unfortunately my friend seems set in his ways. He tells me that his older cats were fine after they were declawed. But in my opinion they tended to bite more and I told him that if they have such good dispositions after surgery that they would have been easy to train with a scratching post. Please help.


Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
Purred: Sun Nov 3, '13 3:51am PST 
For me the most compelling argument is understanding exactly what's involved in declawing. Does your friend understand that it's not a matter of removing the nail but is an actual amputation? There can be pain for the rest of the cat's life. The biting is one issue, but even worse, there can be litterbox problems. The litter hurts the cat's already painful feet and they can refuse to use the box.

Maybe you can find a rather graphic website to explain what's really happening and show it to him?

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Sun Nov 3, '13 4:19am PST 
I bet the biting issue was directly related to the declaw confused Cats who are declawed wil show signs of agression because the cat may experience "phantom pain" long after the procedure. Also declawing alteres the way a cat's feet is positioned while moving. Instead of a natural gait, the feet are in a weird position which causes discomfort.

Here is info from a well respected vet hospital on declawiing (and no, this hospital does not declaw):

What are the reasons for this friend for wanting the declaw? If it's not watning scratched up furniture or skin (popular reasons), then the cats have to be trained to only scratch the a cat tree or somethng and not to scratch people while playing. And the claws need to be trimmed regularily. Trimming claws is not fun but there are way to do it, like wrapping the cat in a towel or Kitty Sack and having a second person retrain the cat, or, the easier but more costly way, take the cat to the vet or groomer.

Many vets will not declaw cats so your friend might have difficulty finding a vet who will. A vet who will declaw will often go over the procedure with the client and make sure that the client fully understands what the porecdure involves, changes to the cat's behavior afterwards, etc.

Is your friend thinking of getting cats? He's better off adopting a cat who is already declawed than to get a perfectly normal cat who needs to have the procedure done for whatever reassons he has shrug

Althea, PAWS

The Special,- Precious, Petite- PrinCESS
Purred: Sun Nov 3, '13 10:33am PST 
I went through this agony just this time last year, trying to convince my son(my own son, who was NOT brought up that way!) not to declaw the kitten they were getting for my grandson. Evidently, my son's wife and parents are a stronger influence on him, as he actually defended the brutality to me! When I asked his mother-in-law if she understood that declawing entails actual amputation, she nodded and said the vet had explained it to her. And when I asked if she was ok with that, she nodded and said, "yes." She & her husband have always been good to me and have invited me to share in every holiday, but I am now unable to accept her hospitality - I simply cannot act as if it's merely "a difference of opinion," as she referred to it. It's much, much deeper than that, as you all know.

Her cats were declawed. My son's first two cats were likewise declawed; neither showed any negative effects, for which I have mixed feelings. I certainly don't want the cats to suffer; on the other hand, I'd like to be able to say, "I told you so."

I wish you the best in trying to convince your friend; I think showing him the graphic websites might be your best bet. As a species, we humans have not evolved as far as we'd like to think we have.

Blessings on you for making the effort!

Norman DB#93- 2001-2013

I know you have- chicken & I want- it.
Purred: Sun Nov 3, '13 2:11pm PST 
It is a sensitive subject. Some vets already refuse to do it because of humane reasons. It certainly does not reflect the unconditional love that our furry companions deserve. For the life of me I don't why people who don't want a pet with claws don't simply get a fish.


The Most- Beautiful Girl- In The World
Purred: Sun Nov 3, '13 7:07pm PST 
I know this subject brings out the worst in people.
I just want to state that my Cali is declawed, our elderly adopted boy Happy had been declawed and our previous boys Lawrence & Hardy were declawed. The three boys have passed away and Cali is our only kitty.

All of them had no behavior/biting issues. We have always sought out and adopted cats who are already declawed. It is not difficult to find a kitty at the local SPCA or Rescue League that has already had the procedure done.

Edited by author Sun Nov 3, '13 7:09pm PST


Maus: DB- #53!

Good old- fashioned lover- boy
Purred: Mon Nov 4, '13 8:36am PST 
Declawed cats are definitely more prone to biting. It's not uncommon for a declawed cat to be surrendered to a shelter because of declaw-related behavior. I think the biggest problem with declawing is most people are ignorant with how the procedure works, or just how much pain the cat is in as it recovers post-op.
I've also known a lot of people who declaw, claiming the cat was scratching furniture, and yet they had no scratching posts or good alternatives for the cat to use.

I've been bit pretty badly by cats, which were far worse than any scratch I've ever had handling one. Unfortunately a lot of people who declaw cats just don't care/want to know the facts. frown

http://www.catsinternational.org/articles/scratching_and_decla wing/Truth_about_Declawing.html


It's a 10 digit amputation, on an animal that naturally walks on its toes ("digitigrade" vs the human "plantigrade".) Declawing forces a cat to walk differently. Not to mention that it is documented that human amputees suffer from post-amputation phantom pains - it is likely that a cat would as well, especially as they have to put all of their weight on those paws all the time.

My philosophy is if someone cares more about their furniture, or would rather disfigure an animal than teach their children to respect them - they should not get any pet.
Except for maybe a fish.

Norman DB#93- 2001-2013

I know you have- chicken & I want- it.
Purred: Mon Nov 4, '13 9:55am PST 
Declawing is illegal or considered inhumane in many countries around the world, including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. Maybe someday the U.S. will catch up with the rest of the world on this issue.cry

Norman DB#93- 2001-2013

I know you have- chicken & I want- it.
Purred: Mon Nov 4, '13 9:57am PST 
Risk for declawing include-
What are the potential complications of declawing?

Post-surgical complications. Lameness, abscesses, and claw regrowth can occur days or weeks or many years after surgery. In one study that followed cats for only 5 months after surgery, about 25% of cats developed complications from both declaw and tenectomy surgeries (digital tenectomy or tendonectomy is a procedure, sometimes promoted as an "alternative" to declaw, where the tendons that extend the toes are cut).
Pain. It is impossible to know how much chronic pain and suffering declawing causes. However, we can look at similar procedures in people. Almost all human amputees report "phantom" sensations from the amputated part, ranging from merely strange to extremely painful. Because declawing involves ten separate amputations, it is virtually certain that all declawed cats experience phantom pain in one or more toes. In humans, these sensations continue for life, and there is no physiological reason that this would not be true for cats. Cats typically conceal pain or illness until it becomes overwhelming. With chronic pain, it may be that they simply learn to live with it. Their behavior may appear normal, but a lack of overt signs of pain does not mean they are pain-free.
Joint Stiffness. In declawed (and tenectomized) cats, the tendons that control the toe joints retract after the surgery, and over time these joints become essentially "frozen." The toes can no longer be extended, but remain fully contracted for the lifetime of the cat. In cats that have been declawed for many years, these joints cannot be moved, even under deep anesthesia. The fact that most cats continue to "scratch" after they are declawed is often said to "prove" that the cat does not "miss" her claws. However, this could also be explained by the cat's desperate desire to stretch those stiff, contracted joints.
Arthritis. Researchers have shown that, in the immediate post-operative period, newly declawed cats shift their body weight backward onto the large central pad of the front feet and off the toes. This effect was significant even when strong pain medication was given, and remained apparent for the duration of the study (up to 40 hours after surgery). If this altered gait persists over time, it would cause stress on the leg joints and spine, and could lead to damage and arthritic changes in multiple joints.
Litterbox Problems. Experts say that declawed cats have more litterbox problems than clawed cats. Not many people would choose urine-soaked carpeting (or floorboards, sofa cushions, drywall, bedding or mattresses) over scratch marks, but this is a distressingly common outcome. In one survey, 95% of calls about declawed cats related to litterbox problems, while only 46% of clawed cats had such problems -- and most of those were older cats, many with physical ailments that accounted for the behavior. Some households with declawed cats have spent thousands of dollars to repair urine damage.
Biting. Some experts believe that naturally aggressive cats who are declawed are likely to become biters.
Death. There is always a small but real risk of death from any general anesthesia, as well as from hemorrhage or other surgical complications. Declawing that results in biting or inappropriate elimination may result in the cat being up locked in a basement, dumped at a shelter, or simply abandoned. If taken to shelters, such behaviors make them unadoptable, and they will be destroyed. Many cats are exiled to a life outdoors because of these unwanted behaviors, even though declawed cats should not be allowed outside -- their ability to defend themselves, and to escape danger by climbing, is seriously impaired. They also risk injury or death by dogs, cars, coyotes, poison, and other hazards of outdoor life. It is unfortunately common to have outdoor cats stolen and used as live bait to train fighting dogs, or sold to laboratories or biological suppliers.


The Most- Beautiful Girl- In The World
Purred: Mon Nov 4, '13 10:59am PST 
So are you saying one shouldn't adopt declawed cats?
And Happy wasn't surrendered to the SPCA due to behavior issues. He was 15 at the time and his elderly owner went into a nursing home. Believe me, no one wanted to adopt an old sickly cat, declawed or not. He sat there 5 months waiting for a home.

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