I have volunteered with an animal rescue organization in Sacramento, Calif for 7 years. We were anti-declaw and any animal adopted was not to be declawed. The president of the organization was a local vet who refused to declaw 'even for $1000.oo a toe'. The only rescued kitty we had declawed was the runt of the litter. We thought was going to die after he was found as an infant. He made it through but his nails were very defective and curved into his paws, even as a baby kitty. Under two vets, he had surgery to remove a total of 10 of his 18 claws, one of these vets was the anti-declaw vet. It was so necessary.
I then moved to Georgetown, Texas and it seems everyone de-claws their cats. I was horrified and started my campaign against the practice. I volunteered with the local municipal animal shelter. They didn't have any policy or information against the practice. After a year, they are educated about the ramifications, hand out literature, counsel adoptors, do their best to educate the public. Some staff members here had no idea how it was done. Because it is a public funded municipal shelter (kill), we try to educate but cannot refuse to adopt just for this reason. So far many, many cats have been able to keep their toes because of this counseling. I tell adopters that 90% of the declawed cats that come into the shelter are killed because no one wants them. They can never become indoor/outdoor cats, so that eliminates that percentage of possible homes. I ask if potential adopters know of a declawed cat. They always say yes, they have or had one. I say do they have any behavior problems.
They say no. I say ok, does your cat refuse to use the litter box, or bite. They pause and then say yes to one of those issues. I just look at them and they you can see the light bulb come on, whow, I wondered why all of a sudden he started to bite. Or he always was a bitter, but we just thought that was his personality, we had he declawed as a kitten.
Several months ago an older lady approached me, asked why her 10 month old kitten started to bite. Of all the questions I could have asked her, the only one was 'did you have her declawed?', she said yes all 18 toes. I said that is why, gave her all the graphic details. She was appalled and said why didn't her vet say something or tell her possible problems. I said because you probably paid him $150.00 for the procedure. She said yes I did. I felt sorry for her, but I know that kitten will not live to be an older cat. My heart went out to the kitten.
These are my stories, so very very antideclaw. Only if the choice is a medical one, as in the case of the defective kitten.
February 19, 2001