26 January 2009

Cats - To Declaw or Not to Declaw - That is the Question

When I was a little girl back in the 1960's, whether or not to declaw a cat was a simple yes or no decision, but it wasn't an issue that anyone argued over. Today the topic of declawing brings up emotions and heated debate and, sometimes, people on one side or the other will resort to rudeness, lying and false propaganda in an attempt to persuade others. It can get downright nasty.

I've owned several cats in the past 25 years, plus I grew up with cats. Some had their front claws and some didn't. About 2 years ago I wanted to adopt two kittens from Stray Cat Blues, a rescue that displayed their cats at our local PetSmart store. I filled out a very long application and had to ask my vet to write a letter of recommendation. He told me he wrote a "glowing" letter, highly recommending me as a future adopter. I also had to fill out a questionaire about every pet I've ever owned, ever.

At the time I was working in the grooming salon inside that same PetSmart. A few days after I had submitted my paperwork and the vet had given SCB my recommendation letter, one of their volunteers popped into the salon to tell me my application was being denied because of owning a declawed cat in the past and that they didn't trust me not to do it again. That decision was out of left field for me. I had no idea declawing was even an issue.

I pride myself in taking good care of my pets, keep them current on shots, taking them to the vet whenever they seemed sick and had even spent over $800 a few years ago for a bladder operation for one of my kitties. To tell me I wasn't good enough to adopt a cat was a kick in the stomach. When I told my vet what had happened he was livid!

Well, that's the end of that, I thought. Don't let the door hit me on my way out!

The next day at work, another volunteer from SCB came into the grooming salon and gave me a stack of photocopied articles, about half an inch thick. What is this?

OMG - it was a ton of articles explaining why cats should not be declawed. During my break I started reading them, thinking that I have been given scientific information written by veterinarians and scientists.

Well, most of it was lies and rubbish. Scare tactics. Propaganda to trick you into believing declawing was some terrible, medieval torture. These people are off the deep end, I thought. They think they are holier than thou and are on a mission! I was really pissed off, not because they rejected my application, but because they handed me a bunch of lies and sensationalism! I totally disagreed with their tactics!

I can only describe the information they gave me as creative writing essays based upon opinions, misinformation and outright lies. None of the articles were written by scientific experts with any studies to back their claims up.

Here are examples of what they gave me:

One article said cats are given medication such that they can't move but feel everything during the surgery. That is a bunch of hogwash!

One article goes on and on about the terrible pain of the surgery and that this terrible pain can linger for years as a phantom pain, causing terrible suffering. Puh-lease! My declawed cat was running and playing pretty quick! If anything, it was the spaying that was more painful, post surgery (and rescues definitely push spaying).

I remember one weird article that stated toes were broken/removed and this would affect the cat's ability to stretch and, as a result, there would be orthopedic problems. I beg to differ! My Blue and Pepper are declawed and love to jump and can jump a good 6 feet from my dining table onto the top of my china cabinet! They knead their paws (some call it Making Biscuits) and purr alot.

I am not siding with the declaw side or the anti-declaw side so I guess you could say I am pro-choice. But I am pissed at how these anti-declaw people are behaving - spreading lies, guilt and fear in an attempt to prove themselves right (self righteous, I say!) as well as denying good homes to homeless kitties which is supposed to be their number one goal. They have gone too far - soon enough, they'll be just like the extremist Greenpeace and Pro-Life people who resort to violence!

So that's my two cents, maybe even a dime's worth of ranting. Bring it on!


Greg Bacon said...

Saw your comment on Blogger about people not being able to leave comments, so I'm adding my thoughts.

I wouldn't declaw my cat, mainly because I live in the country and there are more than a few critters around here that would love a cat snack.

By leaving the claws intact, my cat can either defend himself or climb up a tree to hide.

Either way, he has a better chance at surviving than if he was declawed.

Liz said...

Good point without any hype. Thanks for being honest and real!

Anok said...

Ah, OK so really they surprised you with a bunch of over the top info. Yes, I would be upset at that as well.

As you already know, I am against the declawing of cats, but for much simpler, reasonable reasons.

jrrw said...

I, personally, am upset with how those adoption agencies treat you. I object to an in-home visit. I object to the way you were treated. I know they need to ame sure it is a good home, but I have privacy rights also. With regards to declawing. I have had both. I now won't declaw, but my cats who have been declawed were fine. In regards to their "toes", mine have strengthened theirs so much with "kneading" they are very strong and can grab your fingers.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for honesty!

Roberta said...

A loud AMEN! I've been verbally battered for having my cats declawed, but have the happiest cats in the world. Thanks for the comments that were written so well.
I finally found the above website, written by a vet, that educates.