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Stories from a rescuer

I have been rescuing cats for about 2 1/2 years now. I am disgusted to say of 23 cats three were declawed. It is now written in to my contract that cats cannot be declawed. Of the 3 cats, all have severe behavioral problems. Maya, was all four declawed after she scratched the eye of her new owner while they were playing. Her owner had a great recovery, the cat has not. She attacks household family members on an almost daily basis, and has drawn blood on several occasions.

Madison, a sweet and timid girl was all four declawed (her owners lied to me during the adoption process, figured I'd never find out)for the hell-of-it. She not only bites people, she is now so terrified that she runs in fear whenever someone approaches her. Her owners returned her to me, said she wasn't working out, never mentioned her feet. I went to trim her nails a few days after she came back to me only to be shocked at what I found (or didn't find!). It has been a year and she is nothing like the kitten she once was.

But Ethan is the worst. He was such a sweet little boy! Found dumped next to a busy highway at 7 weeks. He kneaded and purred and was just the sweetest little kitten I had ever met. I had planned on keeping him, but the vet I worked for found him a 'great home'. I was told how wonderful these people were and the great care they have taken of their other cats. I reluctantly agreed. 24 hours later he was front declawed! I was horrified and angry! The vet knew I did not approve of declawing, but made this kitten endure such a painful procedure at 3 months old, just so he could get a 'great home'. Ethan would not have endured that pain, had I put my foot down and not been talked out of keeping him. He couldn't walk for a week. Only after he was up and walking did his new owners feel like picking him up. Ethan came to board a month later. He no longer purred or kneaded and bit us when we held him, he used to love to cuddle! A month after that his owners had him castrated and the rear claws removed since he was destroying their leather sofa. He woke up from the surgery in so much pain. I often wonder how he will act the next time he comes in. I kick myself everynight for having been talked out of keeping him.

My vet feels that declawing is part of cat ownership, and doesn't talk about the alternatives available. She feels that 24 hours of pain meds, eases the suffering and that they will all be fine once they are home. My feelings on that, the pain lasts more then 24 hours, in some cases years, why should any cat be put through this? My fingers ache each time I see a kittens claw ripped from its foot.

February 19, 2001

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