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To Claw or De-claw
08-09-2014, 06:26 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-09-2014, 06:49 AM by Swoosieque.)
#1
Swoosieque Offline
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To Claw or De-claw
As I've mentioned elsewhere in this forum, we have a kitty, Opie, who I raised from birth. She is a Manx, which I will tell you all about, but, another time. For today, I want to share my thoughts about de-clawing.

My affection for Opie is unbreakable! The bond that we formed as she grew from that measly, 3 oz., scraggly ball of fur to her full-grown, 12 lb. adult, is forever. Typical, natural cat-behavior was exhibited at each growth stage, especially the need to "claw" things like the seats on my fine dining room furniture, sheers, draperies, towels... you get the idea, right?

I began polling friends and relatives who have cats, were their cats de-clawed when they adopted them or did they have them de-clawed or do their cats still have their claws?

The majority of pollsters' cats had been de-clawed prior to adoption. That made it easy for them, not so easy for me to decide what to do with my little darling. I investigated and read the pros and cons of the surgery. I spoke with two Veterinarians, both had opposing opinions. Ugh! It seemed as though both sides of the argument had valid points, making it more difficult to make a decision.

[Image: opienails1.jpg]
And then, I thought all my problems were over when I found the glue-on shields for a cat's claws. (See Opie in the photo.) But, Opie had other ideas. She preferred the au naturel look.

My little kitty was so talented in devising ways to remove those cute pink shields from her claws. She quickly realized that chewing was useless, it was much quicker to catch the edge of the claw shield on a window grate (the kind to keep dogs from scratching storm doors.) When I heard her whimpering and found her hanging on the grate, I was horrified that we may not be able to release her without tearing the claw completely out since the shields are glued on with something like crazy glue.

Somehow, Opie finagled her way loose from the grate, but, I was so happy when the claw-shields began to fall off by themselves as her natural claws grew out.

Other families have had great luck with the "manicured" look, but for my little wild one, we'll stick to natural, at least until she is a little (or a lot) older and less apt to tear her claws out.

I hoped the nail caps would have been the perfect alternative to de-clawing, but, I seemed to be back at square one. Even though the claw caps did not work for us, I simply cannot fathom putting my kitty through the surgery since I learned how it is performed. The distal phalanx is cut off, which is like removing the first joint of our fingers.

I would like to keep that first joint of my fingers and I think Opie feels likewise.

[Image: declaw-cat.jpg]
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08-09-2014, 07:48 PM,
#2
evelynmcgregor Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
I have had a number of cats over the years, although I am catless now. I never had one declawed, especially after reading up on it and discovering what declawing actually was. I kept their nails trimmed and I discovered that over the years, the quick receded and their need to claw did less and less damage to furniture, ect. Plus their favorite scratching post was a piece of log that was flat on the side that sat on the floor so it was stable when they scratched on it. I had several other scratching devices in my house including one that hung from a door knob that was also very popular. I also read that when a cat is declawed a lot of the time their toes remained very tender and they would no longer use the litter box because it hurt.
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08-09-2014, 11:36 PM,
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Swoosieque Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
Thank you so much, Evelyn, for your response. I absolutely love the idea of a log as a scratching base! We live in a rural area with over fifty trees on our property, Blackjack Oaks are constantly dropping branches, some of them very good sized, so it will be easy-picking to find a sturdy branch/log.

My husband had the idea of stapling several pieces of heavy-duty sandpaper to a 2 x 4. He has not had time to do that yet, but I did not think that solution would work anyway. I believe Opie's claws would shred that sandpaper no matter how heavy-duty it was.

I do have a question though. How did you clean the log? I mean, out here, we have a bad problem with ticks and I would not want to introduce them, or any other bad bug, to the interior of our home by busing them in on a log.

Maybe I can fill a 5 gallon bucket with bleach and water and soak the log for 24 hours, then set it in the garage to dry. I want to avoid chemicals, although I am sure that bleach is considered a chemical too. Sigh. Thanks again for a brilliant idea!Clap
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08-17-2014, 08:58 AM,
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Happyflowerlady Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
Swoosie, maybe just some white vinegar to soak the log in overnight would kill any bugs that were in it ? It is cheap, easy, and non-toxic for your cat.
Another idea might be a borax solution, which is also not harmful to animals except in large amounts.

I have had two cats that were declawed, and both of them were that way when I got them. it is too bad that the little glue-on nails didn't work for your kitty, they even looked so pretty on her little feet.
After hanging herself by the toe, she might have learned not to try that stunt again, and you might still be able to use the glue-ons.
I think the stump idea is the best though, because you don't have to worry about the possibility that she just might get her toenail caught in the door frame again.
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08-21-2014, 01:30 AM,
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lily_lover Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
Hi Swoosieque, your little Opie is adorable Smile. I understand the clawing habit can be incredibly destructive and a huge headache. At the same time, you've clearly done your research on the surgery, and you can see it basically cripples the cats. I think, since you obviously care so deeply about Opie, it would be best not to go through with the surgery.

My cat still has all his marvelously sharp claws, and they drive me and the rest of the family nuts. He's an ornery cat, so I know he'd never take to those claw shields either. As other members have suggested, getting the scratch boards/logs might help. I also recommend trying a repellant spray on any especial furniture or clothing that you want him to stay off of. This actually worked really well for our leather sofa, though we ended up stopping because my parents missed having the cat climb up next to them Tongue. Also, have you considered clipping his nails? I have my dad hold our kitty, then I take each of his paws, press down to flex out the claw, and clip just the tip. It doesn't hurt him, and he'll have blunter claws for a while.

Lastly, Opie looks like he's still young and developing. He might outgrow this phase or learn not to scratch certain items if you properly train him. The surgery will have a serious effect on him and his walking and balance for the rest of his life, so in my opinion, I'd urge you not to go through with it. Best of luck!
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08-26-2014, 10:46 AM,
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MindyT Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
I guess I will be the opposing side to the argument. I cannot argue the science or the surgery part. It is a small surgery. However, my vet had to declaw one of my cats. Her nails were deformed. The nail or claw was coming out on top of her paw instead of straight out. He had to go in and declaw her paws. Luckily, we caught it very early and when she was very young. He explained the procedure well. He also used a laser and another special instrument that is less painful and less invasive. She was sore for a day or two but nothing more. She used her litter box just fine. After the surgery, you cannot use regular litter. There are special pellets you can use or even use shredded paper.
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09-01-2014, 03:33 PM,
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helaofthenorns Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
I have three cats who are all rescued. I never considered having them declawed because the animal welfare groups that I belong in do not advocate it. It is very painful for cats, and it's like removing one of their basic instincts. To avoid scratches when we are playing, I make sure that I cut may cats' claws regularly. The clipper I used is something that I bought from the pet store near our home. When I don't have time to do this, I take them to the grooming salon. I also considered fitting them with nail cats because it looks nice. However, I realized that they might eat the nail caps. They might get poisoned by the glue, too.
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09-07-2014, 05:19 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-07-2014, 05:27 AM by JudyCap.)
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JudyCap Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
(08-09-2014, 06:26 AM)Swoosieque Wrote: As I've mentioned elsewhere in this forum, we have a kitty, Opie, who I raised from birth. She is a Manx, which I will tell you all about, but, another time. For today, I want to share my thoughts about de-clawing.

My affection for Opie is unbreakable! The bond that we formed as she grew from that measly, 3 oz., scraggly ball of fur to her full-grown, 12 lb. adult, is forever. Typical, natural cat-behavior was exhibited at each growth stage, especially the need to "claw" things like the seats on my fine dining room furniture, sheers, draperies, towels... you get the idea, right?

I began polling friends and relatives who have cats, were their cats de-clawed when they adopted them or did they have them de-clawed or do their cats still have their claws?

The majority of pollsters' cats had been de-clawed prior to adoption. That made it easy for them, not so easy for me to decide what to do with my little darling. I investigated and read the pros and cons of the surgery. I spoke with two Veterinarians, both had opposing opinions. Ugh! It seemed as though both sides of the argument had valid points, making it more difficult to make a decision.

[Image: opienails1.jpg]
And then, I thought all my problems were over when I found the glue-on shields for a cat's claws. (See Opie in the photo.) But, Opie had other ideas. She preferred the au naturel look.

My little kitty was so talented in devising ways to remove those cute pink shields from her claws. She quickly realized that chewing was useless, it was much quicker to catch the edge of the claw shield on a window grate (the kind to keep dogs from scratching storm doors.) When I heard her whimpering and found her hanging on the grate, I was horrified that we may not be able to release her without tearing the claw completely out since the shields are glued on with something like crazy glue.

Somehow, Opie finagled her way loose from the grate, but, I was so happy when the claw-shields began to fall off by themselves as her natural claws grew out.

Other families have had great luck with the "manicured" look, but for my little wild one, we'll stick to natural, at least until she is a little (or a lot) older and less apt to tear her claws out.

I hoped the nail caps would have been the perfect alternative to de-clawing, but, I seemed to be back at square one. Even though the claw caps did not work for us, I simply cannot fathom putting my kitty through the surgery since I learned how it is performed. The distal phalanx is cut off, which is like removing the first joint of our fingers.

I would like to keep that first joint of my fingers and I think Opie feels likewise.

[Image: declaw-cat.jpg]

(08-26-2014, 10:46 AM)MindyT Wrote: I guess I will be the opposing side to the argument. I cannot argue the science or the surgery part. It is a small surgery. However, my vet had to declaw one of my cats. Her nails were deformed. The nail or claw was coming out on top of her paw instead of straight out. He had to go in and declaw her paws. Luckily, we caught it very early and when she was very young. He explained the procedure well. He also used a laser and another special instrument that is less painful and less invasive. She was sore for a day or two but nothing more. She used her litter box just fine. After the surgery, you cannot use regular litter. There are special pellets you can use or even use shredded paper.

I have never heard about a cat having to use special litter after being declawed, but it make sense. I have never taken a cat to be declawed, but I did live with a cat for several years that had been declawed,,, It was totally amazing when he would put his paw up on my leg trying to get attention.. he didn't have claws to poke me with. all the other cats that would do that would certainly get my attention fast! ;-)
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10-09-2014, 03:53 PM,
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kfander Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
I concur with most of those participating in this thread in that I would not recommend declawing. Not only does it appear to be a rather gruesome operation, but it removes something that is important to the cat.

I have had cats all my life, and I have sustained some furniture damage. Much of that perhaps had to do with the fact that I was single most of my life, and I didn't care a lot whether they ruined the furniture. Well, I did care, but it was pretty far down on my list of concerns.

Since I have been married, I learned that wives are far more likely to be concerned about such things. Unfortunately, my cats had already developed habits that were not easily broken.

Yelling at them or trying to discipline them, in pretty much anything, is as likely to backfire as to have the intended result, because it makes them nervous and nervous cats are more likely to do things you don't want them to do than are cats who are comfortable in their environment.

Really, it was just a matter of persistence, reminding them not to do that whenever we would see claws penetrating a piece of furniture.

"Cutie, don't do that." Then I would remove her paw from the furniture, being careful not to harm her.

The most important thing though, was to have acceptable alternatives. Cats absolutely have to have something to scratch on. So I bought several of the cardboard scratchers, which they like. They don't seem to know what to do with the sisal rope ones. But the best I had, is what someone already mentioned here, and that was a real log that I brought in from outdoors. It had an interesting shape so it didn't look bad in the house, and they just loved scratching that.

Plus, I have one piece of furniture that I have had for more than forty years, and several generations of cats have gouged it, so I have left that one as fair game. Every new cat I get seems to want to leave his or her contributions.

Back to declawing though, another consideration against it is that if your cat should ever get outside, whether it slips out when you are unaware, or however it happens, without her claws, she will be defenseless against predators, dogs, or other cats.
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10-09-2014, 10:52 PM,
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cyberpuppet Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
I think this is a topic that is quite specific to the USA. In a huge number of other countries if the practice was ever known it has been made illegal. I think the fact that so many countries make it illegal should tell those owners in the US all they need to know about how suitable it is.

The only time it should be considered - or is allowed to be considered in many countries, is for medical need. The example given above of the cat with the deformed claws would be such a case and obviously in such cases the operation may be necessary and should not be denied (and would not be denied in countries where de-clawing is illegal). However in the case of a cat who has perfectly healthy claws - please don't do it.

Cats can be trained - a sharp "no" when scratching the wrong place (and I have had more than one cat who learned to pretend they were going to claw furniture to get my attention) and treats by the proper place (there must be a proper place) should stop it being a real problem. Or there is the saying "A house is not a home without a cat". What is more important, immaculate furniture or a warm furry purring body?
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10-20-2014, 08:01 PM,
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Kwriter93 Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
My cat was declawed before I adopted him, he was 2 years old when I got him. I would say don't do it, while he doesn't seem to mind it much today, I know it had to be painful. I too did my research and it is like taking the tip of your finger off. I think a lot of people get the idea that their claws are like our nails.

He still tries to scratch everything today like normal kitties, so he seems to be fine, but I noticed that his paws bleed sometimes at the top of each little toe. He bites at them some times and I can only imagine that it's because of discomfort.
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10-25-2014, 09:53 PM,
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FunkyMonkey Offline
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RE: To Claw or De-claw
Declawing is illegal here - I'd never actually heard of the practise until a few months ago.

Honestly, I can't imagine why somebody would do that to their cat. Claws aren't just there for decoration, they're for defence and they're necessary for cats to jump and run safely. My landing is covered in claw marks from where Wren makes the turn at high speeds - she needs them for traction on hard surfaces. I've got claw marks on the worktops where she's missed jumps and used her claws to grip and drag her body up.

Yes, she scratches the furniture too, but that's one of the down sides of having a cat.

No. Don't do it. Ever.
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