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Hey cat owners
Posted by: michael_s
Date: April 29, 2012 02:01PM
My daughter really wants a cat. My wife thinks the cat with rip her furniture to shreds. So there's been talk of getting a cat and having it declawed. Anyone here had a cat declawed? Cruel and unusual or business as usual for the cat?
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: hal
Date: April 29, 2012 02:06PM
It's cruel and unusual

and the cat will most likely damage the furniture

and every declawed cat I've ever seen was an absolute b!tch
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Catzilla
Date: April 29, 2012 02:07PM
Even if it's an indoor cat it's like getting the tips of your fingers removed, or so I've heard. Leather furniture and a scratching post work for us.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2012 02:07PM by Catzilla.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Acer
Date: April 29, 2012 02:14PM
We declaw our cats (fronts only, 2 males. 1 female came from the shelter already declawed). They get over it. They don't bother the furniture, nor have they been otherwise difficult. They have a pretty comfy life otherwise, which assuages our guilt.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Chakravartin
Date: April 29, 2012 02:15PM
> My wife thinks the cat with rip her furniture to shreds...

Yes, cats with claws tear up the furniture sometimes. And they'll scratch people occasionally... mostly inadvertently during play and seldom from aggression unless they've got bad owners.

My cat has destroyed a couple of pairs of shoes, two briefcases and both arms of my couch in the 16 years that I've had her. She's been very good about using scratching posts, but she's strayed to other stuff occasionally and the damage accumulates.

And about once a month I end up with a small-but-noticeable scratch on the back of my hand when she gets feisty while we wrestle.

(People with kids who lack the self control to avoid rough-play might be justly worried about cat-scratches.)

> Cruel and unusual...?

It's definitely cruel. Nobody with any substantive knowledge of the subject would deny that.

A lot of what cats do with their claws is akin to how we use our fingers for grasping and such. Imagine that someone cut off the tips of your fingers at the joint. Wouldn't that be cruel?

...but if you're adopting a shelter-cat, you can ease your conscience by considering that the alternative for the cat would probably be euthanasia or a slow death by disease and malnutrition on the streets. So if the only option that would let you adopt is to declaw the cat then I would agree that the cat should be declawed.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Fritz
Date: April 29, 2012 02:16PM
when the cat enters the house, make sure everyone holds and spends time with it.
As long as a cat feels wanted, we've never had a cat destroy furniture.
And of course a scratching post.
I was never a fan of them critters, but we've had 6 that I can think of over the last 20 years, all have been model catizens.


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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 29, 2012 02:18PM
i'm going to make a wild guess, your wife isn't a cat (or animal) person, is she?

all cats are different. there are currently 3 cats in my household Cat Pack and none of them are declawed. one cat claws very little, one cat claws primarily on a cardboard scratcher, and the other doesn't seem to understand that her claws are sharp.

there are ways to deal with claws that don't involve surgery. first, you can simply use nail clippers to trim your cat's front claws. it won't be entirely effective against clawing but it does a nice job blunting it. you should start handling their paws and claws while young so they're used to it. if my cat's in a good mood i can trim his claws without complaint.

you can also get little plastic covers to glue over your cat's claws. they work well but most cat's won't be too patient for the process. unfortunately its difficult to explain to the cat that its better than surgery. they last about a month.

oh, you have plenty of TIME to figure this out. its not like the cat is going to go and destroy a couch in a day. they usually go back to the same spots and it takes them quite a while to leave some sort of mark. of course, i'm assuming you don't have inflatable furniture.

there are other ways of dealing with this. ultimately i don't think its a reason not to get a cat. at worst case its much better to save a cat from a shelter and have its claws removed than for it to be put down.

i'm curious if your wife with find new objections once this one is sidestepped. if you eventually do get a cat, i'm sure you'll have a bunch more questions

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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: April 29, 2012 02:27PM
Put an end to that talk of declawing. That's crazy-talk! Seriously.

What it boils down to is this: if you want your furniture to stay pristine, you cannot have cats.

My two cats are pretty easy on my furniture. It wasn't always that way though. I started buying these cardboard scratching boxes from Trader Joe's, and now that's where they do most of their scratching.

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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: April 29, 2012 02:28PM
Adopting an animal who is scheduled to be euthanized, only to cut its fingertips off for your convenience, has always struck me as a strange, strange decision to make.

Caring for another living creature isn't always convenient. Life is complicated and uncontrollable. If the clawing is a major issue, and you've adopted from a shelter, in the worst possible case you could simply return the cat to the shelter.

If you live somewhere where clawing it 100% intolerable at all times, why get a cat? That's like getting a bird if you hate peeps and warbles. Would you "de-vocal-cord" a bird, if such a thing were possible, because you like the pretty feathers but hate the chirps? It just doesn't add up, for me.

Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Tommie Milwaukee
Date: April 29, 2012 02:38PM
We had only the front claws removed. She was 17 when she died & apparently lived a happy life.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: April 29, 2012 02:54PM
three cats.. two were declawed (front's only) and one wasn't. All are (or were) loved and cared for. Scratching posts provided, food/water in plenty.

the one that wasn't declawed shredded a custom sofa and six pas on chairs. We still loved her, but nothing would stop her from scratching.

One of the two declawed still scratches to this day - thank goodness he is declawed or we would be spending another $3k to get the furniture recovered. Declawing never slowed him down and has not seemed to affect his behavior. The other declawed cat was a bit skittish about letting anyone touch her paws but was never mean or destructive.

I know and understand how some folks feel about declawing, but it does have it's place.

That said, a declawed cat MUST be an indoor cat at all times. They have no defense and no understanding that they have no defense. You, as the owner, are their defender and you must be up for that role. That means saying no to letting them outside no matter how much they may want it.

There is now also a laser surgery alternative. It is supposedly less painful and far safer for the animal. You may want to call around to see if any vets in your area offer that procedure.

“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: billb
Date: April 29, 2012 03:00PM
Just keep them both outside.
Sounds like a good excuse to get a bigger shed for the lawnmower.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 29, 2012 03:01PM
It seems as if every cat I've known that was declawed had litter box issues. Our current cat was handed off to us already declawed and it's the first cat I have lived with that has had these kinds of problems. Given that, plus their well established propensity to bite (fortunately ours does not), I would not have a declawed cat again.

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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: vicrock
Date: April 29, 2012 03:02PM
Why not adopt a cat that is already declawed? I wouldn't have it done, as it is amputation of the last joint of each toe. But if there is a cat in your local shelter who has already been declawed and needs a home, perhaps it would be the solution.

Be aware that some declawed cats will be biters, and some will not use the litter tray.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: mikebw
Date: April 29, 2012 03:04PM
If the furniture is more important than letting a cat keep its claws then do not get a cat. There are definitely ways to coexist. Our current cat only on rare occasion will stretch himself out and use his claws to hold on, but never has he ripped or shredded the furniture. Sure you might get a scratch on your arm if you wrestle, but we try not to get too rough, and string is a better toy anyway. He always has a scratching post and a cardboard "throne" he sleeps on that is also good for scratching.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Pam
Date: April 29, 2012 03:36PM
All but one of mine were declawed. Had zero impact on their life or happiness. The one who has her claws, even though they're trimmed and she has a scratching post has damaged furniture, furniture covers, area rugs, clothing, and my belly. Scratching is instinctive. Even declawed cats go through the motions. So if you think you can train it out of them, get a dog. Otherwise it's a crapshoot.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: PeterB
Date: April 29, 2012 03:55PM
All but one of ours were declawed on their front paws only, and no problems with litter box or biting, or at least nothing *because* of their being declawed. On the other hand, the one who wasn't declawed, could be very aggressive with the claws, and once got me very close to my eyes. In retrospect, sure, we might have gotten away without declawing, but it didn't seem to have affected them as negatively as some might lead you to believe.

Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: abevilac
Date: April 29, 2012 03:56PM
Our kitty came from the shelter at 9 mos. already declawed; she was known to bite strangers, if they tried to get too friendly too soon, but she never did that to us. She didn't destroy any furniture and she used her litter box - even the electronic one I tried for a year. She had the softest paws and if you stopped petting her, she would gently tap your arm and put her head under your hand so that you would continue. [She's no longer with us :-( makes me sad to think of her now.]
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Grumpyguy
Date: April 29, 2012 04:00PM
My declawed (front paws) cat is 15 years old and is friendly and well-behaved.

But as noted above, they must be an indoor cat....

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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: April 29, 2012 04:11PM
There are abrasive scratching boards which can lessen damage on furniture IF the cat uses it regularly. People ordering from complained about inflated order prices, so buy from Amazon or a local store. You can also try hot gluing different grit sandpaper sheets to a scratching post.

In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: April 29, 2012 04:12PM
Get a turtle. You, the cat and the couch will be happier.

- Jack D.

New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: April 29, 2012 08:39PM
Jack D.
Get a turtle. You, the cat and the couch will be happier.

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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: IronMac
Date: April 29, 2012 09:02PM
Terrible thing to do to a cat. A cat I knew was declawed and it was always tender footing around afterwards.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: bfd
Date: April 29, 2012 11:00PM
Declawing is done for the convenience of owners. It's certainly abusive to the animal. And there are alternatives. As mentioned, have scratching posts around the house for the cat's use. There are also little rubber covers for claws if you're really worried about the clawing.

We have four here, and none of them go after furniture. We do have several scratching posts, however, and they all get regular use. Get the sisal rope kind of you go that route.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: blooz
Date: April 29, 2012 11:31PM
My cat has never scratched my furniture. He will stretch and scratch at a rug, and sometimes the sheets on the bed when he sleeps with me—but I'm there to stop that when it happens.
When you get a cat you pays your money and you takes your chances. The ones i have had have not destroyed anything except by knocking things over.

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
—Friedrich Nietzsche
Western Massachusetts
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: Diana
Date: April 29, 2012 11:49PM
If the cat has any possibility of going outside, don't declaw. A cat generally will scratch and claw at anything that is nubby and slightly rough. Woven textiles are the worst, while smooth surfaces usually don't incite the clawing action so much. You can give them all the attention they want, and it still may not stop them clawing up stuff. It is instinctive for them to do this; clipping the claws can sometimes cause the cat to try to sharpen the claws that much more. All cats are different; some claw everything in sight and some only target one item.

My three toms still had their claws when we moved into our current home. It's on a busy street (soon to be a 4-lane road, unfortunately). Within a week the largest of the cats disappeared, never to be seen again. The remaining two were then confined to the house, and their roaming days were over. I tried everything I could to get them to stop scratching and clawing up the furniture. It quickly became a "me or the cats" kind of issue. And yes, I tried all kinds of scratching posts, pads, and thingamajigs; nothing worked. They are now declawed.

The little girl came to us already declawed, malnourished, severely underweight, and with ringworm one dark mild winter night. She was not in good shape, and I firmly believe she wouldn't have lasted the week if I hadn't brought her in. She is now fat and sassy. All three of them get the best care I can give them. They are not destructive, and are some of the sweetest little knuckle-headed attention ho's possible. smile smiley If I had left them with their claws, they would have been eventually let back outside and we would have lost them years ago to traffic, owls, or coyotes.
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Re: Hey cat owners
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: April 30, 2012 11:12AM
If your wife is that concerned about the furniture, then a cat is probably not the right companion animal for you.

I don't see how it can be considered humane to chop off the ends of of a cat's digits. Of course cats learn to live with it: they also learn to live with amputated legs and various other injuries or illnesses. They may very well continue to make scratching motions, but they aren't getting the same kind of arm and upper back and shoulder exercise that they get when they have claws. Most vets will do it because it's a money-maker. No one does it for the animal's health.

The rescue group with which I sometimes work has seen its share of declawed cats with litter box issues. You should use a soft litter if you are determined to do this. If you can adopt a cat that is already declawed, do that, rather than take in a healthy animal and subject it to this painful procedure.
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