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Declawing!!

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Old 07-09-2009, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default Declawing!!

Hi there
I just adopted a stray cat. Well she (kitty) showed up at my sisters. She couldnt keep her. She already has two inside kitties. And they didnt care for this one. And she cant have any outside animals where she lives. So said she was going to take her to the pound or a no kill shelter. Well I couldnt see her doing that. They kitty is pretty friendly and pretty.
Took her to the vet today. Vet thinks she is around 8 months old.
We are going to keep her in the house.
But she is starting to scratch at everything.
Hubby says to get her declawed. I am wondering if that is a good idea or not. She will be inside all the time. We live too close to the road to be let out.
I am also going to get her spayed.
So was just wondering if you all had any opionions on the declawing. Or is it something not to even consider.
Any input would be appericated. I know my spelling isnt the greatest. So please forgive me.
Hope everyone has a great day.
Thanks for any replys.
coco
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:13 PM   #2
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I don't think declawing is a good idea. It's a lot more invasive than just cutting nails, it actually removes the first joint of each toe. Look at your hand, imagine cutting off the first joint of all your fingers. That's declawing.

Since their feet hurt, some declawed cats have troubles using the litterbox (the litter hurts) and may have more accidents. Declawed cats also may bite more since they no longer have any defense.

I trained my 2 kitties to scratch on a scratching post. I bought a tall post (4 feet) so they can really stretch out. I also have a little scratcher hanging on a closet door. I bought a flat scratcher (one of those cardboard things) but they aren't very interested in it.

So, I would walk up to the scratcher and scratch my nails on it. They would scratch too and I would praise them lavishly and give them each a fish flake (these Bonito flake things that my cats adore). Eventually, they would scratch on command, I would say "show mommy what a good kitty does" and they would run over and scratch the post and I would praise/give treats (they don't get any treats for using the little scratcher, but they still use it).

One of my cats developed a tummy issue and can't eat fish flakes anymore and he has started scratching on the top of the couch (where I have a towel since he sheds like a mofo). He started this at 2.5 years after being perfectly scratch trained for 2 years. I'm going to start reintroducing treats/praise for his proper scratching and see if I can re-direct his behavior.

My cats were VERY easy to train to scratch on their post and until Diego started acting up, NEVER scratched where they weren't supposed to. I would definitely recommend at least trying to see if they will scratch posts/pads before going the de-clawing route - it's so painful and kinda barbaric.

Spayed is a GREAT idea!
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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OH oh! Be ready for the onslaught! But not from me...

From my experience: I had adopted 2 cats. Both were declawed by their previous owners. Both were outdoor kitties when we got them, and didn't adapt to being indoor kitties. Both lived long, happy lives (I hope!) -- one died of cancer at 18ish, the other of cardiac issues at 17ish. Both were neutered/spayed and were in neighborhoods with multiple cats BUT off the main road.

We now have 4 cats, and chose not to declaw them. They are outdoor kitties, in multiple cat neighborhoods, off the main road.

My conclusions? The 4 cats did/do claw the furniture. We put scratching posts in front of the most clawed parts and they migrate to the posts instead of the furniture. We tried to do modify their behaviour but since we were both working, it wasn't so effective because you kind of have to be there ALL the time to be consistent and effective. We keep their claws trimmed, and have no trouble handling them to clip their claws to preserve the furniture.

The 2 cats that were declawed would still "claw" at the furniture, even though they didn't have claws! And they really, really didn't like having their front paws touched at all. Both of them.

My PERSONAL opinion is that I like the idea of leaving the kitty with his/her toes. Declawing is an amputation of the first toe joint of the kitty. Kind of like getting your fingernails removed by cutting off the top joint of your finger. The kitty will adapt to this, but I just didn't like the idea. And if a declawed kitty gets loose, they really don't have their front claws to use in self-defense (like, to climb a tree to get away from a dog, for example). And kitties DO get out, even if we don't want them to and do everything we can to keep them in. However, I know that my vet WILL declaw and for some owners who want indoor cats, this is a viable option and the cats will adapt. It just is something that I didn't want to do and something that I personally don't agree with.

I've also noticed that as our cats get older, their scratching behaviour has really decreased. At least, while we are around

Good luck with your decision.

Kira

Last edited by kiramira : 07-09-2009 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:17 PM   #4
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Declawing is a horrible idea. Get a spray bottle Scratching posts, toys, etc will help keep the kitties busy. There is even a cardboard thing you can buy and sprinkle cat nip in that the kitties with scratch against (available at your pet store). If you see the cat scratching, you can either use a can filled with coins and shake it or a spray bottle with water.

Please do not declaw.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. Will show this to hubby. Maybe this will change his mind. But I think he is seeing my sister's furniture. Her two cats destored hers. She had no stuffing left in her furniture. She even had the scatching posts. Again Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:29 PM   #6
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I think it sounds like a good idea - as long as the kitty will NEVER go outside. Also, if I may make a suggestion, just get the front claws done and have the back ones trimmed. Growing up, we had a strictly indoor cat and my parents had her front claws removed. Since there was no chance of her getting outside it was fine. Also, to touch on what another poster said, she never had a thing about us touching her paws, no different than a cat with claws. She still paws at things, but no clawing the couches or my fingers.. hehe
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:48 PM   #7
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I think it depends on your situation, and the cats.

We have two cats - both are declawed but the never leave the house (front paws only). One, when he was a kitten, fancied waking my husband up by grabbing his eyelids with his claws and lifting them up. I'm not sure how the kitten didn't get his eyes - but I wasn't taking the chance on it any longer than I had to.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:52 PM   #8
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I will also say there is a lot of good info out there on why not to declaw. I personally view it as inhumane.

here is a website that talks about it:
http://www.goodcatswearblack.com/dec..._declawing.htm

# Published 2/1/03 on CourierPostOnline.com, "Eighty percent of the cats that are surrendered that are declawed are euthanized because they have a behavioral problem…. Declawed cats frequently become biters and also stop using litter boxes… One or the other…,” said William Lombardi shelter director, Gloucester County, New Jersey.
# A study of 163 cats that underwent onychectomy (declawing), published in the Jul/Aug 1994 Journal of Veterinary Surgery, showed that 50% suffered from immediate postoperative complications such as pain, hemorrhage, and lameness; and long-term complications, including prolonged lameness, were found in nearly 20% of the 121 cats who were followed up on in the study.
# In a study published in the January, 2001 JAVMA, 33% of 39 cats that underwent onychectomy developed "at least" one behavior problem immediately after surgery, with the most common problems being litter box problems and biting.
# In a recent study published October, 2001, JAVMA by Dr. Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD., “…declawed cats were at an increased risk of relinquishment.”
# A recent national survey of shelters from the Caddo Parrish Forgotten Felines and Friends indicates that approximately 70% of cats turned in to shelters for behavioral problems are declawed.
# From the Summer 2002 issue of PETA’s Animal Times: “A survey by a Delaware animal shelter showed that more than 75% of the cats turned in for avoiding their litter boxes had been declawed.” [emphasis added]
# In my own three-year experience, 95% of calls about declawed cats related to litter box problems, while only 46% of clawed cats had such problems—and most of those were older cats with physical ailments. Of my calls, only declawed cats have cost their owners security deposits, leather sofas and floorboards. And it’s mostly declawed cats that have been prescribed pain killers, anti-depressants, tranquilizers and steroids. Two-thirds of my calls are about litter box problems. In 90% of those cases, the cat is declawed, sick or old. In 7 years, only 3 people have called about a “scratching-the-sofa problem” - yet countless of “healthy” declawed cats have peed on sofas.

If you must have a declawed cat, then I say adopt one who is already declawed.
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Last edited by nelie : 07-09-2009 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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I've heard good things about these little vinyl caps for kitty nails:
http://www.softpaws.com/

Might be worth checking out - way less expensive and painful than declawing and kinda cute, too!
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:25 PM   #10
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This is very helpful information! I'm thinking of adopting a kitty and see that attitudes have really changed since I last had a cat. I adopted my cat from another family that had already declawed him on his front paws. He was a great cat and I was very lucky that he had no behavior problems. This was a very long time ago and I think declawing must have been considered more acceptable then.

Now I think I would definitely try the scratching posts and positive reinforcement idea. I also wonder if properly taught, would it be possible to learn how to trim the claws at home? I would never take any chances on traumatizing or accidently injuring the cat though.

Congratulations on adopting your new cat!
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:40 PM   #11
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I trim my cats claws and it's no problem at all. Diego doesn't mind at all, he just sits there while I trim them.Serafina doesn't like it, sometimes I have to burrito her in a towel while I do it. Whenever I hold them, I play with their feet a lot, pushing their pads to extend their claws so they are used to it (even when I'm not planning on trimming them).

It's pretty easy to do - just press the pad so the claws extend. It's best to do it in bright light. When the claw is extended, you can see which part is "living" it is pink, you don't want to cut the living part (it will bleed) so just trim the nail bit. In bright light, it's very easy to see. You can always just trim the tips until you feel more confident.

Serafina has very thin, sharp claws that curve, so I just cut the curved bit. Diego has thick, strong, straighter claws, so it's a bit more of a challenge, but not difficult at all.

I also bought a special kitty nail trimmer from the pet store, it was about 7 bucks. It's more curved than a people nail trimmer and easy to use.

Play with your kitty's feet and see how receptive she is to having her claws extended. If she'll let you extend them and hold them out a few seconds, she's probably going to be okay with trimming. You can also wrap her in a towel like i do Sarafina, I just burrito her up and pull out the paw I'm working on. She's a big drama queen about everything though!

Praise and treats when you're finished!
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:42 PM   #12
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Nail trimming is very easy. I have 1 very spirited cat and another one that really doesn't want to be 'messed' with. I can trim both their nails with regular toe nail clippers.

Best thing is to hold kitty in your lap and grab a paw. Squeeze the paw a bit so that the nail gets exposed. Looking at the nail, you will see a clear part and then a pink part in the clear nail. The pink part is the quick and you don't want to touch that. Anyway, clip the nails so you are just cutting off the clear part.

IF your cat fights, won't sit still, etc. Swaddle the cat in a towel and then pull one paw out of the towel at a time. We initially started trimming our cats nails with them wrapped in a towel but eventually progressed so that we could do it without a towel.

You will also need the front nails more frequently than the back nails.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:59 PM   #13
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Hi there - lots of different opinions here. But from me, I have always had cats and none were ever declawed, I just think it is a mean unnatural thing to do. Declawed cats of friends I found to be unfriendly, afraid of everything and very hissy/nasty but that is there only defence once declawed. As far as scratching, they get over that and it has never been an issue with mine. My cat now likes to scratch his niles on brick fireplace, which doesn't hurt anything. And you can buy pieces of carpet and make your own post.

I really think declawing is truly awful and I can't imagine doing that to any animal & I would think they would never trust anyone human again after going through that.

Think hard and long about this - good luck.
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:16 PM   #14
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Soft Paws are what my friend uses for her kitty:

http://www.softpaws.com/

I think it's awesome- since your cat is young it'll probably be easier on her- but I love the colors! My friend's cat gets blue- you just put it on when one falls off you just put on another one- I believe they last about two weeks before falling off. She may chew on them at first but she'll get used to them- give her treats to keep her mind off the nails
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:20 PM   #15
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My four cats get pedis all the time, to keep the sharp hooks off. No need to take them in to get it done.

We haven't tried the SoftPaws because ours go outside, but I think I'd give it a shot.

Oh, and despite the 4 cats with claws, we have had our furniture in our living room the entire time and there is a bit of shredding on the sides, but nothing serious. And we've had cats with claws for 6 years now (our furniture is 10 years old, too!). I feel very fortunate.

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