Previously-Declawed Rescued Cats

CDLC has a special interest for rescuing previously-declawed cats. Our organization receives previously-declawed cats from various places such as animal controls, owner surrenders, and strays. Declawed cats are especially fragile when abandoned by their previous owners for countless reasons. Because they are without claws, which provides them with all of their natural defenses, these cats thrive differently and often experience stress of change more profoundly than cats who have their claws. The cats lack their natural defensive abilities and tend to manifest their stress by acting withdrawn or even with aggressive behavior. When we receive these cats we often see a refusal to eat and drink, excessive hiding, lack of engagement with people and other cats, and a break out of stress-related infections/viruses (eg. upper respiratory, eye, skin). In order to help these cats adjust to the best of their ability, CDLC offers a home-like open cattery room which houses only declawed cats. They are offered holistic aroma therapy, daily probiotics, lysin and supplements containing taurine (an essential vitamin for cats). Consistent healthy diets, a relaxed non-competitive environment and daily socialization assists these cats with the adjustment to starting a new beginning. As we strive to make these cat’s adjustment easier, there is no better solution than finding a new fur-ever home, who will understand and accept them for who they are.

Declawing a Cat-WHAT IT REALLY IS!

Declawing a cat is more than removal of the cat’s nail. Cats’ claws are part of the toe bones on each foot. The procedure known as “declawing” is the surgical removal of the entire end of the cat’s toe, amputating off the bone and cutting through the attaching ligaments and tendon. A more accurate term describing what this procedure entails would be “de-knuckling.”  Declawing operations are the human equivalent of removing the first joint of all your fingers. Regardless, if either veterinary procedure is performed, via the new “laser” technique or the older surgical removal, the aftermath symptoms and behavioral affects are the same. Declawing cats is illegal in many parts of the Untied States but sadly still continues.DeclawFact1Veterinary experts report that the lack of these joints impairs the cat’s balance and can cause weakness  and even a more serious condition involving a muscular disease. Declawing has been proven to make a cat feel defenseless and can affect their personality, making them skittish, nervous biters, overly aggressive and habitual groomers. In rescue work, we see many declawed cats that have been given up by their owners because the cats still have behavioral problems that were made worse by declawing them.

Declawing is never the answer.  Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author of The Cat Who Cried For Help, who offers this perspective on the procedure:

“Declawing involves more than simply trimming a cat’s nails to the quick; it actually involves amputation of the tips of the digits, bones and all. The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats’ recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by the overwhelming pain. Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war, and in veterinary medicine, the clinical procedure serves as a model of severe pain for testing the efficacy of analgesic drugs. Even though analgesic drugs can be used post-operatively, they rarely are, and their effects are incomplete and transient anyway, so sooner or later the pain will emerge.”  DeclawFact3

Alternative to Declawing

Alternatives to declawing exist and can be very effective. Keeping your cat’s claws trimmed, offering regular exercise and encouraging daily interactions and play can help keep your cat busy and occupied. Providing a scratching post and corrugated cardboard scratcher allows a cat to have a safe (destruction-free) scratching zone. Consulting with your veterinarian is extremely helpful when exploring alternative training behaviors. A squirt bottle is a great way to deter a cat from scratching on particular surfaces. If used correctly and consistently, your cat will get the message. Soft Paws, which is a product purchased on-line or at most large pet stores offers a fake-like nail which is not sharp at the tip, and fits over your cats claws.

Lastly, if you are adamant about having a cat without claws, we strongly urge you to consider adopting a previously-declawed cat. Contact CDLC and we can help you! 

Here are some other web pages with great information on the declaw procedure:

The Paw Project – a movement to make declawing illegal nation-wide
Declawing Alternatives
Humane Society Fact Sheet on Declawing
How To Keep Your Cat Happy and Still Keep Your Furniture and Sanity Intact