Declawing Cats

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Declawing Cats

Postby Daoshi » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:39 am UTC

I have a kitten. She adorable, and I spoil her with new little ringy toys and a solid supply of canned food.

She's under what Banfield Animal Hospital calls an "Optimum Wellness Plan," which essentially means that for $20 a month, she's covered for dewormings of all kinds, a spay surgery, declawing, vaccinations, and a nose to tail checkup any day I want (which could mean every day of the year if I so chose).

There's another cat in the house, and she's a bit aggressive towards him. He's a year old. She's hardly 3 months. He doesn't fight back. She digs her claws into him. I'm considering taking up that covered declawing, but I feel sort of bad about it... Opinions?
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Zohar » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:51 am UTC

Don't do it. Declawing is painful and harmful to cats. You can have a vet trim the cat's nails (our vet did it expertly and I never managed to do it consistently - she'd run away after I cut one or two nails), or you can use this silly-looking device, which would definitely make your cat less harmful. It's kind of like plastic nails that are slipped on the cat's real nails. I haven't used the product myself, though, I just know it exists. It might fall off in a day or something, for all I know.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Jessica » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:36 am UTC

it's entirely a moral choice. Depending on who you ask, it's either animal cruelty, or doesn't really matter.

I couldn't do it, because I couldn't reconcile my feeling of cutting off my baby's fingers, and the fact that most of my friends would look down on me. But many people do it with no prolems.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Zohar » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:37 am UTC

Well yeah, Jessica is right, it's your own choice. You might not consider it immoral (though I do). Also, it seems to me there are relatively simple and cheap alternatives. If you have a regular vet I don't know if they'll even ask for money to clip the cat's nails (say, once a month or so? I dunno).
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Jessica » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:41 am UTC

It usually costs to get someone else to clip your kitty's claws.
or youcan do it yourself, and deal with your kitty spazing on you when you try.

Also note: declawing doesn't stop them from a) biting and b) scratching things. Kitties will still nip and bite if not trained properly, and will still have the scratching instinct without claws.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Hawknc » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:45 am UTC

Jessica wrote:it's entirely a moral choice. Depending on who you ask, it's either animal cruelty, or doesn't really matter.

I couldn't do it, because I couldn't reconcile my feeling of cutting off my baby's fingers, and the fact that most of my friends would look down on me. But many people do it with no prolems.

It is a choice. You can choose between treating your animal humanely or causing it a great deal of pain because of your own laziness and douchetardery. Softpaws, as odd as they look, work fantastically and don't cause anyone any pain, but you can even trim your cat's claws yourself, which I do with both of mine every few weeks. Frankly I'm a little horrified than an animal hospital actually endorses declawing.

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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Shadic » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:59 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:It is a choice. You can choose between treating your animal humanely or causing it a great deal of pain because of your own laziness and douchetardery. Softpaws, as odd as they look, work fantastically and don't cause anyone any pain, but you can even trim your cat's claws yourself, which I do with both of mine every few weeks. Frankly I'm a little horrified than an animal hospital actually endorses declawing.

Wow, that totally wasn't a biased response.

Anyways, I agree with the "Do what you want." I've never seen a cat make a bit deal out of missing its claws - And I've been around a few declawed cats. Although if you're going to trim the claws yourself, I'd really recommend starting so soon.. The younger you get your cat used to being held down and trimmed, the better.

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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby MikeBabaguh » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:28 am UTC

Shadic wrote:
Hawknc wrote:It is a choice. You can choose between treating your animal humanely or causing it a great deal of pain because of your own laziness and douchetardery. Softpaws, as odd as they look, work fantastically and don't cause anyone any pain, but you can even trim your cat's claws yourself, which I do with both of mine every few weeks. Frankly I'm a little horrified than an animal hospital actually endorses declawing.

Wow, that totally wasn't a biased response.

Anyways, I agree with the "Do what you want." I've never seen a cat make a bit deal out of missing its claws - And I've been around a few declawed cats. Although if you're going to trim the claws yourself, I'd really recommend starting so soon.. The younger you get your cat used to being held down and trimmed, the better.

I tend to agree. I can't think of any solid reason to ever declaw a cat. Learn to trim your cats claws if it's being destructive or aggressive.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby LuNatic » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:21 am UTC

Trim the claws if you need to, but don't declaw. There's a good reason why the practice is illegal pretty much everywhere outside the US.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Cassi » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:33 am UTC

And aside from the fact that it's a pretty terrible thing to do, there's definitely no reason to suggest it'll help in any way -- one of the meanest cats I've ever known was declawed, and I'm pretty sure she hurt me more than any of my cats with claws ever did. Trim the claws, use those claw covers, or better yet, teach her. If she's that young, she is more than capable of learning not to scratch.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Quillpaw » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:07 pm UTC

Another for "use the claw sheaths instead" method. I'm not sure where I got this piece of information, but I've been told that declawing your cats is the equivilent of cutting off your own fingers at the second knuckle. Not pleasant at all.
However, I do have two cats with a nasty tendency to claw up furniture and walls and flesh, so we've gotten them the sheaths. They don't slip off- you trim the cat's claws and apply the sheaths with a special adhesive. You can even get them in different colors if you have the urge. They may nip and bite at the sheaths in the beginning, and I've heard a story that one cat ripped its nail out because they applied too much adhesive, but overall it's a much more humane method to declawing.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Belial » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:33 am UTC

Shadic wrote:Wow, that totally wasn't a biased response.


Wow, that totally wasn't a meaningless criticism.

Of course the response is "biased". It's called having an opinion.

One I happen to agree with. There is no cause to declaw a cat that can't be solved with training and maintenance. If you don't have time to do either, you don't have time to have a cat. End.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Sungura » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:54 am UTC

Our first cat we ever had was declawed (all four paws - not by us - he was from a friend). Anyway, he was very shy and never would come out. Even at my friend's place. He didn't like being touched, etc. When we adopted the first of our current cats, I noticed at the shelter all the declawed cats would cower in the corner and all the ones with claws still would be much more friendly. I mean, sample size is maybe 15 cats split about 50/50 for declawed vs had claws, but still, it is an interesting observation and I have noticed this and heard it from others. INcluding from people who decided to get their friend Catherine declawed and afterwards their cats were much more shy and would run to hide, not come out to see people.

That being said, I know of a lot of people who only declaw the front and those cats seem to be fine. With their rear claws in tact they can still fight, climb trees, etc. This seems to bother them much less and perhaps would be a good middle ground (to only get the front declawed) as you take away how they scratch and such the most, but they still have their defense and ability to escape unlike if you declaw all four paws.

Personally we chose not to declaw our two cats. We just keep them trimmed, it's not hard I do it myself. The more you do it the more they get used to it. Just look for the quik (the little pink line - it's a blood vessel) and don't hit that if you can avoid it. If you do, you can either have QuikStop powder on hand (any pet or feed store likely carries this), or if you are cheep (like me) the tip of a match works well to stop it, as does pressing it into the underside of a bar of soap (where it is still moist/squishy). Depending on how bad you nick it is how fast it will start to bleed. Trust me, if it looks gushy it just looks a lot worse than it is. I never had a problem with the cats though. The rabbits I nick a lot more. I think I've nicked a cat's maybe...once?? In my 10+ years of doing it. :) Do get a real nail trimmer though for cats - works a lot better than using human fingernail/toenail clippers.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby u38cg » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

To actually answer the OP's question without getting into flamage over declawing[1], I wouldn't worry about your cats' behaviour towards each other. It is a very natural instinct to playfight, and they are pretty good about knowing how far is too far (better than human kids, anyway). And if she did hurt the older cat badly, he would react. He won't lie back and allow himself to be clawed to death.

Can I make a comment about your health plan - to be honest, it seems a bit backwards to have an insurance plan that covers known expenses that you have to pay, but doesn't cover you for accidents and emergencies. It's very easy to close a door on a cat's foot or step on it and break its ribs, never mind the wide range of medical conditions cats can be prone to anyway. And believe me, the last thing you want is to be standing in a vet surgery deciding whether you can afford to do anything more than pay for a lethal dose of barbiturates.

[1] Though for the record, disfiguring animals for our own convenience is cruel. Analogies don't quite cut it, but imagine removing kids toes to discourage them from running around so much.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby parkaboy » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

I say don't declaw the cats. As for the aggressiveness, its a new cat and a rambunctious kitten at that. Give them a little time. They'll still tussle, but they'll eventually learn to get along and when to hold back the claw swipes, with your help and training of course.

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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Shivahn » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:00 pm UTC

Yeah, um, one more for "don't do that". Anecdotally (worthlessly), I know of only one cat who was declawed, and he bites a lot, and hard, and generally was miserable afterwards. That's kind of irrelevant though, because I don't think you should ever opt for any amount of digit amputation because you have a rambunctious animal. A kitten especially. But honestly, I dunno how to talk about this well because I can't get into the head of someone who would declaw their friend Catherine knowing full well what the procedure entailed. So I'll just say I think it would be a very poor choice, practically, and a terrible choice ethically.

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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby SirHoundalot » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:08 pm UTC

It makes me sad to think that people declaw their cats. Your kitten has lots of energy and just wants to play. my friend Catherine's 2 now and when I take her to my mum's it used to worry everyone that she always beat up my mum's cat (he's pretty old and soppy) untilwe saw him give her a slap a couple of times. Your older cat'll do the same if the little one ever claws hard enough to bother him/her I'm sure.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby natraj » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:20 pm UTC

One more in the don't declaw them camp. It's cruelly maiming your cat for your own convenience -- if you don't have the time and patience to figure out other ways -- training, nail trimming, etc. -- to deal with the problem without mutilating your cat, you don't have the time and patience to have a cat.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby baultista » Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:31 am UTC

I've heard that it's an extremely painful and unnatural thing for a cat to experience.

I don't remember all of the details, but the claws of a cat are more like the last joints on the foot than they are toenails. Imagine removing your fingertips and trying to live your life.



It also takes away their primary method of defense. Some cats will give you a quick swipe as a warning. Without that, they often have to go straight for a bite. My ex-roommate had her two cats declawed, and I noticed some oddities about them... but then again they're cats, and are weird creatures to begin with. The stubborn one would usually swat first, or just go straight for a bite... he was a pain for about a month or so. After that, we were friends (he'd wake me up for work every morning... gosh I miss that cat)
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Amarantha » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:17 am UTC

It is really, really easy to trim a cat's claws. I'm amazed the concept of declawing ever occurred to anybody in the first place. You feed yourself, you feed your cat. You wash yourself, you wash your cat. You trim your nails, etc.

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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby poxic » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:25 am UTC

Some people can easily trim any cat's claws. Some cats won't let anyone trim their claws (except possibly one of the aforementioned people).

Most people have to work at it, with most cats. my friend Catherine is a bit skittish with the whole procedure. Over time and with practice, we've worked out an acceptable compromise: I scoop her up and put her on her back, on my lap, held down lightly. I quickly grab the clipper and do one paw while she complains a bit. If she's mellow enough, I'll do a second paw, but I rarely get more than that before she starts to wiggle too much. (I have to do her right front paw with my off hand. I nicked her a bit once with the hand I usually use, so she won't let me do that again.)

When I'm done, I let her down and hold out my hand for her to swat if she's mad enough. She usually thinks about it, then decides not to swat me. Sometimes she takes me up on it, though.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Shivahn » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:34 am UTC

baultista wrote:I don't remember all of the details, but the claws of a cat are more like the last joints on the foot than they are toenails. Imagine removing your fingertips and trying to live your life.


They really are similar to people. So yes, the analogue to doing the surgery on a person would be to amputate at the first knuckle of each finger.

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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby zug » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:49 am UTC

I grew up thinking that declawing a cat was OK, because I just didn't know of any housecats who weren't. But there are quite a few testimonials you can find by googling, where declawing completely changed an animal's personality. It's easy enough to train your cat to use an attractive, catnip-scented scratching post, especially when they're that young.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Daoshi » Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:35 am UTC

Everyone keeps mentioning furniture, when I said I don't give a damn about my furniture. It's the kitten tearing the adult pacifist cat up that I'm worried about.

And I'm going to file or trim the nails. Honestly, gluing something to her feet sounds disturbing, also.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Cassi » Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:25 am UTC

Your adult cat will defend itself. If it isn't at the moment, it is because it doesn't need to. If the kitten goes too far, one good swipe from the adult cat will teach it pretty quickly.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby u38cg » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:57 am UTC

a solid supply of canned food


And, sorry, I really don't mean to be a douche - but are you over-feeding your cats? An overweight cat will be pretty soporific, and we often don't realise cats are overweight because it's so normal to see fat cats. If they're getting a lot of canned food they might just be (and don't necessarily believe what the side of the can tells you to feed - they have no incentive to sell you only what you need...)
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby zug » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:30 pm UTC

u38cg wrote:
a solid supply of canned food


And, sorry, I really don't mean to be a douche - but are you over-feeding your cats? An overweight cat will be pretty soporific, and we often don't realise cats are overweight because it's so normal to see fat cats. If they're getting a lot of canned food they might just be (and don't necessarily believe what the side of the can tells you to feed - they have no incentive to sell you only what you need...)

This is probably fodder for a new thread, but my former roommate fed his friend Catherine nothing but dry food. The cat looked relatively healthy and didn't die or anything, but he always seemed hungry to me :( going for my raw hot dogs and stuff like that.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Lord Aurora » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:32 pm UTC

zug wrote:
u38cg wrote:
a solid supply of canned food


And, sorry, I really don't mean to be a douche - but are you over-feeding your cats? An overweight cat will be pretty soporific, and we often don't realise cats are overweight because it's so normal to see fat cats. If they're getting a lot of canned food they might just be (and don't necessarily believe what the side of the can tells you to feed - they have no incentive to sell you only what you need...)

This is probably fodder for a new thread, but my former roommate fed his friend Catherine nothing but dry food. The cat looked relatively healthy and didn't die or anything, but he always seemed hungry to me :( going for my raw hot dogs and stuff like that.
Raw hot dogs are really just regular food for anything but humans (and really, many humans as well). They're already cooked and ready-to-eat, they just taste slightly better re-cooked.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby zug » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:39 pm UTC

Lord Aurora wrote:
zug wrote:
u38cg wrote:
a solid supply of canned food


And, sorry, I really don't mean to be a douche - but are you over-feeding your cats? An overweight cat will be pretty soporific, and we often don't realise cats are overweight because it's so normal to see fat cats. If they're getting a lot of canned food they might just be (and don't necessarily believe what the side of the can tells you to feed - they have no incentive to sell you only what you need...)

This is probably fodder for a new thread, but my former roommate fed his friend Catherine nothing but dry food. The cat looked relatively healthy and didn't die or anything, but he always seemed hungry to me :( going for my raw hot dogs and stuff like that.
Raw hot dogs are really just regular food for anything but humans (and really, many humans as well). They're already cooked and ready-to-eat, they just taste slightly better re-cooked.
True that, I never really looked into the hot-dog-making process, but it's probably just ground-up and reconstituted mostly-beef, right?

I just always let the kitty have some hot dog because he looked hungry and he never got to eat wet food :(
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Cassi » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:42 pm UTC

And he probably kept begging because he knew you were an easy target. :P

Other people probably think we never feed my dog, from the way she begs...
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby zug » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:48 pm UTC

I am a sucker for kitties! A crazy cat lady in the making.

Cats that normally hate people always seem to take to me fairly quickly. I must give off some kind of vibe, I don't know why. Dogs, which I pretty much roundly despise, don't seem to sense the same vibe and will stay away from me.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Lord Aurora » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:49 pm UTC

Cassi wrote:And he probably kept begging because he knew you were an easy target. :P

Other people probably think we never feed my dog, from the way she begs...
She looks happy in your avatar.

zug wrote:
Lord Aurora wrote:
zug wrote:
u38cg wrote:
a solid supply of canned food


And, sorry, I really don't mean to be a douche - but are you over-feeding your cats? An overweight cat will be pretty soporific, and we often don't realise cats are overweight because it's so normal to see fat cats. If they're getting a lot of canned food they might just be (and don't necessarily believe what the side of the can tells you to feed - they have no incentive to sell you only what you need...)

This is probably fodder for a new thread, but my former roommate fed his friend Catherine nothing but dry food. The cat looked relatively healthy and didn't die or anything, but he always seemed hungry to me :( going for my raw hot dogs and stuff like that.
Raw hot dogs are really just regular food for anything but humans (and really, many humans as well). They're already cooked and ready-to-eat, they just taste slightly better re-cooked.
True that, I never really looked into the hot-dog-making process, but it's probably just ground-up and reconstituted mostly-beef, right?

I just always let the kitty have some hot dog because he looked hungry and he never got to eat wet food :(
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Cassi » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

She is happiest when she has food! There is one couple who we sometimes see on our morning walk who always have treats for their dog with them, and she has no shame! She will try to pick their pockets, and gobble down everything (including the types of things we have bought for her before but she refuses to eat) and put on her cutest look...and they are such a sucker for it. She tries the same tricks on everyone who ever eats at our house, but we warn them and they are mostly not as easily fooled...
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Carnildo » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:32 am UTC

zug wrote:True that, I never really looked into the hot-dog-making process, but it's probably just ground-up and reconstituted mostly-beef, right?

Mostly. It's the parts of the cow they'd never be able to sell any other way: the heart, various small muscles, etc.

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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby u38cg » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:57 am UTC

Cats are natural predators and hence are naturally inclined to always be looking (and asking) for food. It doesn't mean they're actually tummy-rumblingly hungry. And if they know they can get food from you, they're not going to play any less hungry ;)

There's nothing wrong with dry food, but it's a good idea to supplement it once a week or so with some canned food to reduce the risk of cystitis, which is quite common with the carb-heavy dry foods.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Sweeney » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:51 am UTC

u38cg wrote:Cats are natural predators and hence are naturally inclined to always be looking (and asking) for food. It doesn't mean they're actually tummy-rumblingly hungry. And if they know they can get food from you, they're not going to play any less hungry ;)

There's nothing wrong with dry food, but it's a good idea to supplement it once a week or so with some canned food to reduce the risk of cystitis, which is quite common with the carb-heavy dry foods.


One of our cats recently had cystitis... She ate mostly dry food, even though we put out both tinned and dry food at the same time, she just seems to prefer it. Strange though that our other 2 cats eat mostly the tinned food.
Anyway, we had to restrict her dry food intake, so now she only gets it maybe 2-3 times a week. Now she seems to look at the dry food as a treat and is quite clingy when presented with it.

As for de-clawing a cat. Ask yourself this: Whilst you may be able to cope without finger/toenails, how would you like it? No, simply no. It is cruel and not necessary. Just keep them trimmed as you would your own nails.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:57 am UTC

Don't Declaw your cat... (in fact I can't think of a vet I know of who would perform such a procedure) If you need more convincing read this article.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Flagpole Sitta » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:54 am UTC

I know it's been said already, but please don't declaw your cat. It is animal cruelty. It is not a matter of opinion. Normally I try to be be understanding and flexible about opinions and different styles of pet ownership, but there is absolutely no excuse for removing a cat's claws. To declaw a cat the first knuckle of the cats paws most be removed. This is not bias or opinion, this is fact.

While some cats recover and the is cat well behaved and normal after their first knuckle is removed, it still causes them a lot of pain and changes their personality for life. It changes the way they walk, it inhibits their ability to climb, which makes them unhappy, it affects their ability to use the litter box and it causes them to become biters, which is much worse then being a scratcher because they can do more damage.

Cats do get into fights. As long as the kitten is not drawing blood and hurting the older cat in way not be a problem. If it is a problem then try having a spray bottle of water on hand to squirt the kitten when ze gets violent. If that doesn't work talk to your vet about it, or pm me. I'm no expert but I have had a lot of cats and I may have some more ideas.

Please, please, please, please, please do not declaw any cat, ever. It IS animal cruelty. :cry:

Re dry cat food: The problem with dry cat food is that the first ingredient (By which I mean the first ingredient on the ingredient list, and thus the ingredient with the largest representation in the food.) is always some kind of grain filler, like rice. Cats can only digest meat. So all of the rice and such in dry food is bad for them. Feeding cats a vegetarian diet is extremely bad for them as well and will cause them to go blind and then die.

Before I learned more about dry cat food I fed my cats on it, though, and they all came out fine and were healthy. So if a normal, healthy cat is fed dry food it's not the end of the world. But wet food will produce a healthier, happier cat.

I really love animals and I always want to try and help educate people so that they can take the best possible care of their friend Catherine. :3
Last edited by Flagpole Sitta on Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:40 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby Daoshi » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:31 pm UTC

Cassi wrote:Your adult cat will defend itself. If it isn't at the moment, it is because it doesn't need to. If the kitten goes too far, one good swipe from the adult cat will teach it pretty quickly.


The problem is at a point he does defend himself, and pretty much holds her down.

And no, she's not being overfed. But thank you for your concern.
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Re: Declawing Cats

Postby guyy » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:43 am UTC

Declawing is a bad idea, for all the reasons everyone's already said; it's harmful to the cat, since they use their claws for lots of things besides fighting and scratching (climbing, keeping balance, etc.), and chopping off the tips of an animal's fingers and toes tends to make it hate you, with good reason. It's inhumane and causes more problems than it solves anyway.

And I wouldn't worry about them fighting, since cats "play-fight" often and they have thick enough fur and skin that they rarely actually hurt each other. If they seem to fight too much or too violently, put them in separate rooms for a while, or startle them with a loud noise/squirt gun to make them stop. (Bonus hint: try using one of those hand-pump party balloon filler things to shoot jets of air at the cat(s) when they do something bad; it works as well as water and doesn't make any mess.) Keep their nails trimmed, too, but that protects you/other humans more than the cats; not surprisingly, cats have good protection against cat-claws and teeth.


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