I stumbled across your website by way of About.com, and I wished I had found you years ago. I read most of the posts on the site and can say I've heard some similar stories about why someone had a cat declawed: damage to the furniture, fearful of the cat around the baby, etc. But the thing that struck me the most is the lack of knowledge about the procedure, because, I was in the same position: I thought declawing meant, just that -- declawing. I had no idea that the cat had a joint removed! After all, who would do that to an animal?
I found my first cat (actually, he found me) in the parking lot of my apartment building complex about 7 years ago. He would follow me around the lot, meowing after me. I wanted to take him in right away; my wife held out only until she laid eyes on him (and hopped out of a moving car to scoop him up). We brought him upstairs and I posted a sign by the elevators in the lobby. No one called to claim him. We took him to the vet and found out that he had been declawed and neutered. Now, who would leave a declawed, i.e., defenseless cat out on the street? We think he was either abused or at least had it rough for a while, because he would duck, and shy away when you went to pet him (he has since gotten over this).
We named him Simba (yes, The Lion King was a recent influence) and have loved him ever since. We wanted to add to our family and so, the following year we got a kitten, and named her Selina. Apparently my wife and I were still blindly ignorant about declawing, because when we took her in to get her spayed, we had her declawed as well. (She had been clawing at the furniture way too much, while completely ignoring all her scratch toys. Also, while fighting with Simba --who was much larger than her at the time-- she had scratched him up pretty good, without even trying. ) Not knowing what 'declawing' really meant, I agreed to go through with it, even though I didn't really like the idea. I mean, what's a cat without her claws? My vet didn't say anything to either enlighten or deter us, maybe he thought we knew more about it than we actually did. But Simba seemed fine without front claws and I was more worried about him getting cut up on a regular basis than I was about the furniture getting carved up.
Well, I don't ever want to do that again. I wish at the time, I knew people who had more knowledge about declawing, or that the Internet was as developed as it is now. Maybe then I would have found some other way. Luckily, though, both cats are happy and healthy in other ways. They don't walk funny or bite and are quite happy clawing at the couch. I brush them regularly so they don't have to work as hard keeping themselves clean without their front claws. And we have only had two incidents outside of the litte box in all those years. They are both indoor cats but we screened in the terrace so that we could let them go outside to lie in the sun. We've had some very good years together. All in all, we've been very lucky. I just don't think another cat should have to lose it's claws because their owner didn't know any better.
July 11, 2001