I was eleven years old when whe adopted Taffy. It was the summer between fifth and sixth grade and I had finally convinced my parents to let me have another cat (our cat Buffy, was 9 years old at the time). We adopted Taffy from my sister's boyfriend's family. They had a large number of barn cats (basically their own feral colony in their horse barn), and a calico had a litter that was about 8 weeks old.
I picked Taffy--the runt of the litter of course. A light brown colored tabby, who was so small he fit in the crook of my little arm. Taffy was wonderfully sweet, and loved to be held and cuddled. He was a master at using the litter box. I'm sure my mom had Taffy declawed (front only) with his neutering. I remember not being able to pet him or play with him for awhile. This was around 1990, before the net, or before this surgery was widely understood by 'normal' people. I don't think my mom had any clue what the procedure entailed; she loves Taffy as much as I do, probably more.
Taffy almost instantly become terrified of...well, everything. Definitely a scaredy-cat now, he has developed a tendency to throw up...almost daily, but at least a couple of times a week. It's anxiety from being defensless I'm almost positive (he never threw up before he was six months old, save for a few hairballs). And he's become a biter, as has almost every cat whose story I have read. Buffy was also declawed, and had terrible litterbox issues (we took her to a cat behaviorist, but nothing ever seemed to work).
I have recently graduated from college, and moved into my own apartment. I am waiting awhile to get my home truly 'settled' before I bring a cat into it. But my fiance and I are definitely anti-mutilation. Taffy still lives at my parents' house....and they are constantlly frustrated by his throwing up. He is a wonderful and loving cat, even now at the age of almost 11 years old, and I just feel bad that we will never get to know exactly how wonderful because we mutiliated not only his feet but his sense of *who* he is. Please don't do this to your cats....they can't tell you how much it hurts them.
Karen and Taffy