A friend rushed over here with her cat in his carrier, along with his litter box and food one day, saying "PLEASE take our cat. My husband thinks it's possessed by the devil and wants to drown him.”
Inside the carrier was this absolutely beautiful pure white cat that was about one year old. He was with me for 10 years and was the sweetest most intelligent and loving cat I've ever had. As my friend dashed back to her car, she said over her shoulder, "BTW, he's declawed, so you won't have to worry about him scratching your furniture."
In those days, all my cats were outdoor cats, and I worried that Stanley wouldn't be able to defend himself against the neighbor cats. He was accepted by my cats instantly. And he turned out to be able to defend himself against neighbor cats.
When he was about 9 years old, he started having heart attacks! Between the vet, homeopathy and changing him to raw food, he lived another 6 or so months. Then his lungs began to fill up... congestive heart failure.
The vet said it was CAUSED BY HIS HAVING BEEN DECLAWED...... BECAUSE the muscles that run across his chest, from his right paw to his left one ALSO stimulate the heart muscle when a cat kneads his scratching post, a tree, etc. Without claws, he will still knead, but there are no claws to snag on the tree and give that "pull" or resistance that is needed to fully exercise the heart muscle.
He was a very active cat..... climbing trees, jumping over fences, etc. but that did not give his heart the kind of exercise he would have gotten had he still had his claws.
Nature made cats perfect.... they need all their body parts in order for everything to work like it's supposed to.
It absolutely killed me when I was told he would need to be PTS, because of his lungs constantly filling up with fluids. I took a home video of his last day so I could remind myself years later how much agony he was in. I felt so guilty that I had not found a vet who could CURE him, and I needed proof of how bad it had gotten, because having my best friend PTS was a devastating choice, and I felt like a murderer.
He could no longer lay down to sleep, because the pressure of anything on his lungs was too painful. In the video, he would try to lay down, but he immediately got up again. He kept falling asleep while standing up, but shortly after falling asleep that way, he would fall over with exhaustion and that would put pressure on his lungs again, and then he would sleepily try to stand up again.
It was heartwrenching to see his agony, and so I dug his grave before tearfully taking him to the vets. When I got to the vets office, I was told I had to sign a paper saying I requested he be PTS. I almost fainted.... I know I screamed.... it was bad enough to have to take him there, but to actually sign the papers was a nightmare.... I was signing his death sentence..... that was the worst day of my life.
Not only that, but because his circulation was so bad, the vet warned me it would take several minutes before the poison or what ever they use to put them to sleep would reach his heart. It seemed like a very long time before it reached his heart and when it did, he let out a sound that sounded like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! At that point I was a basket case and asked the doctor if he could PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE reverse the procedure, but of course he couldn't.
I'm crying a bucket of tears as I write this... even though it all happened almost 9 years ago. It's painful for me to recall. But if my writing about it will save another cat from that agony, it's worth it.
Connie December 12, 2002