LETTERS TO LUCINDA 2: Cat Behavior Solutions
Welcome, readers, to Lucinda’s second monthly Cat Behavior Solutions column. This month I am writing about a controversial issue that I believe needs to be addressed by a wide audience. Changes need to be made.
I am tackling the issue of declawing. First, please read this sad testimonial from one of my cat friends, Felicity. I have translated her cat question into English for you two-leggeds.
Lucinda, I come to you in my pain and suffering to ask you why this has happened to me.
I loved my two-legged and thought we had bonded closely. I considered myself her champion and protector, and as such, I had to keep my claws well-sharpened in case I needed them to defend the household.
She told me repeatedly not to scratch the furniture and the rug. Oh, how I wish I’d listened! However, I felt these requests needed to be overridden because it was so important that I keep my weapons as sharp as possible, both to defend myself in times of danger, and also to protect her.
Then she betrayed me. She took me to the cat torturer, and he cut off all my toes at the first joint, effectively removing all my claws. Yowl! I am in such pain. Not only do I feel my two-legged betrayed my trust and love, but I don’t understand why she wanted to injure me in such a way. My joy of life is seriously depleted. What can I do?
Felicity, I am so sad to hear your story. I am truly sorry you had to go through such a thing.
It is too bad we cannot speak the language of our two-leggeds, so we could explain our feelings. Unfortunately, as smart as they are, they don’t seem to be too bright when it comes to understanding cat language. We cannot tell them why our claws are so important.
For one thing, our two-legged guardians seem to forget that our claws are our one defense in case of attack. With no claws, we are helpless, and can be easily destroyed by a predator, or by anyone who wishes us ill.
We also cannot tell them of the extent of our pain and suffering.
Let me reassure you that your pain will eventually stop, as your paws heal. You will become accustomed to not having your claws. It will not be easy, and at times you will forget and try to sharpen the claws that are no longer there.
We cats do not dwell on the past and we do not recall pain once it is gone. Your life will return to something resembling the way things were, except you will no longer need to sharpen your claws.
You will re-bond with your two-legged eventually, though there may be a shadow on your relationship.
However, I feel this issue of declawing needs to be addressed by the two-leggeds. I believe such a practice should be outlawed everywhere, as being cruel and unusual punishment. Some places have already made declawing illegal. I hope this trend continues.
It is too bad you are suffering such pain, but be assured that there are those in the two-legged society who are trying to change things. Let us hope this change becomes reality.
Now let’s look at the two-legged’s side of the story. Here is a question from a Mrs. Wilkins about the subject of declawing.
I am at my wit’s end. I love my cat dearly, but I cannot control his behavior. He sharpens his claws on everything. He will not leave the sofa alone, and he is ruining it. If I chase him away from the sofa, he claws the carpet.
I got him a scratching post, which he uses occasionally, but he will not leave other things alone. I am thinking of having him declawed. What else can I do?
My dear Mrs. Wilkins,
There are indeed some things you can do. The most important one is to clip your cat’s claws regularly. You can have this job done at your vet’s or you can learn to do it yourself. There are complete instructions on how to clip those claws on our website, as well as a good clipper you can buy and use. Go to https://celebratingcats.com/do-you-know-how-to-groom-your-cat.
If you do not want to clip the claws yourself, take the cat to the vet regularly to have it done. There are also caps you can get to put over the claws when your cat is inside, so he can’t scratch things.
You do not want to put your cat through the pain of the declawing process. Consider this: How would you feel if the cat was your size and you were cat-sized, and the cat took you to the doctor to have your nails removed?
The doctor said that your fingers and toes had to be cut off at the first joint. Would you like that? What about the pain? It would hurt for a long time before healing. That’s what he does to your cat — cuts the toes off at the first joint.
Now, why would you want to cause such pain to your cat?
Normally, this surgery takes two to six weeks to heal. However, there can be some side effects to the surgery too. In the process of the surgery, part of the toe pad is cut through. Because the toe pad is now damaged, the animal can go lame, or develop a limp.
To walk, the cat must put its weight on its paws, and after surgery, the pressure of his weight may make it too painful for the cat to bear. How will he walk?
Also, it now hurts when he digs in the cat box. Therefore, some cats will resort to pooping in places outside the box where they do not have to scratch in the sand.
You might see permanent behavior changes in your cat. He may start biting you, or develop a long-lasting distrust of you, and frankly, I don’t blame the cat.
Now consider this: If you still feel your cat’s claws must be removed to protect your belongings, perhaps you should not have a cat. You are making the fate of inanimate objects more important than the pain and suffering of the animal you are supposed to protect and care for. Shame!
Care enough for your cat to find it a new home where declawing is not an issue.
It is my belief that the two-leggeds should start a campaign to outlaw the painful and destructive practice of removing a cat’s claws. It’s been made illegal in a couple of places. Let’s make it nation-wide. We cats were given our claws for a purpose, and I believe removing them is not a good decision.