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A Hindsight View on Heartbreak of Declawing - Monroe's Story

I didn't know any of this negative stuff about declawing cats. After reading the entries here, I admit having to wonder how much the declawing procedure affected a cat I no longer own.

In my younger, dumber days I adopted an adult male cat name Monroe from the Humane Society, fully intending to keep him forever. He was a couple of years old and had been declawed by his former owner. Although the reason for his surrender was not really clear (common in shelters), I considered the declaw feature to be an added bonus.

What did I know!

The endearing qualities of this cat including hugging, kneading, and bed-burrowing were sadly outweighed by his refusal to use the litterbox reliably. He would sometimes even go into our bedroom closet and leave 'gifts' in our shoes! We investigated his behavior with our veterinarian to rule out causes like FUS and such. We concluded ultimately that he must have been demonstrating his disapproval of our other male cat. After 2 years of this behavior we surrendered Monroe and he was adopted by a lady who was to keep him as an only pet. We were all sure this was a happy solution for him because we thought he would be less stressed out in this arrangement. As I had been on adoption day, this nice new lady was very happy to find such a loveable companion.

More 'cat experience' coupled with your declawing stories leads me to wonder, in hindsight, whether Monroe had problems that stemmed from his declawing procedure. Perhaps it WAS a tomcat dominance issue, but he had gotten along well with the other cat in most observable respects. And the poor litterbox habits didn't 'begin' around any traumatic event that I can pinpoint. If he continued this behavior in his new home, which I will never know, did he get passed around again? When I myself adopted him, had he been surrendered to the shelter because of this same problem? It occurs to me now that there is no way to calculate how many times a cat may be put through 'home hopping' conceivably as a result of post-declaw 'syndrome'.

With the crisis of overpopulation and overburdened animal shelters, how will these statistics ever be amassed? Our other cats, the aformentioned second male (now over 20 years old), and a 10 year-old female, have never demonstrated any behavioral problems. Incidentally, they are not declawed. The female had at one time taken to scratching my favorite antique chair in the front room. My solution was to install a door in the entryway to that room to keep her out. She has a lot of other rooms she can explore, and this way I have no stress about her scratching the chair. A good compromise I'd say. I wonder whether something similar could have been done for Monroe before I adopted him. Perhaps it would have helped him keep his home. For me, this has all been food for thought, and I would certainly never declaw a cat of mine. Thanks for reading.

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