My story begins when I was twelve years old. My mother bought us a Manx kitten from some friends. She was sweet and loving and very spunky. We named her Spice for her spunky side. Very shortly after we got her, my mother took her to be spayed and declawed. Mom didn't know what declawing entailed and didn't know what it would do to her. When she brought Spice home, the poor kitten would only lay there. She wouldn't get up for food or anything. She never had any medical complications from her 'declawing', thank goodness, but she was never the same cat again. She was vicious and mean for the rest of her life. If you tried to pet her, she would tolerate it for a few minutes, and then she would flip over on her back and use her remaining back claws to tear up your arms. She would hold on with her front paws and bite and rake her back claws down your arms. She would lie in wait under beds and couches, only to explode out from under them when someone walked by and proceed to make bloody furrows down your legs. Once, when my little sister picked her up to give her a kiss on the nose, Spice clamped on with her teeth to my sister's lower lip and refused to let go. My sisters and I bear many scars from Spice's anger over what had been done to her. It wasn't until the age of sixteen that I realized the full injustice of the situation, and experienced the regret at turning what could have been a sweet and loving family pet into a nasty, angry ball of fury.
When I was sixteen, I took a part time job at a cat hospital as an animal technician. My job was to feed, change litter boxes, administer medications, and groom. Of all the people in the hospital, I had the most direct contact with the animals, because the vet techs and the doctor only handled the animals for testing, x-rays, and surgeries. I can not tell you how many times I heard the cats come out of anesthesia screaming after a declaw. They would throw themselves around the cages, banging their faces, bandaged paws, everything against the walls and the bars. They would fly into a frenzy, ripping off their bandages and gnawing on the mutilated limbs. There would be blood everywhere, on the cage, on the cat. And the screaming would last for hours. I would try to give them kitty Valiums and would be rewarded with bites. It was then that I decided never to declaw a cat, no matter what.
After seeing the pictures on this website, and reading exactly what happens during an operation, I am even more adamant against declawing. But, I was convinced that I would never do it after I heard the screams. If you were to ever hear your cat scream like that, you could never even think of declawing it. That's why the vet won't let you take your cat home for two days, because of the screaming. You couldn't live with yourself after hearing your cat scream like that, as a result of something you did to it. And, the cats at the hospital never screamed after the other procedures. I never once heard a cat scream after a spay or neuter. Never after resetting a broken leg or any other form of surgery done. They would only scream after they'd been declawed.
Years later, Spice has passed on from old age. I have a new cat. He's a huge orange tabby with all of his claws. And he has the sweetest personality in the world. He is four years old, and has never hissed in his life. Yeah, he claws the furniture, but furniture can replaced. I could never replace his loving nature if I stole it from him by mutilating his feet. And every time he climbs on my chest and licks my nose, for every purr and head butt and lick, I am rewarded. And I know I made the right decision for his comfort and his well being. Sure, some cats may be ok, but do you really want to take that risk with your pets life? How important is that couch to you? More important than a loving companion, who will love you unconditionally it's whole life if you just protect it from unneccessary pain? Never declaw your cat! You will never forgive yourself for the hurt you will cause this innocent creature. A lifetime of pain so your couch will look good, now how does that make sense?
July 16, 2002