Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cat Scratch Fever

I've been studiously avoiding mentioning the *declaw* thing for two reasons ... but since Ev outed me, I feel somewhat compelled to defend my stance on the maiming of felines.

Avoidance Reason One: I know it's a hot-button issue for a lot of devoted cat owners who consider declawing to be cruel, so they advocate things like "Soft Paws" and behavior modification ... and I don't like to be in trouble.

Avoidance Reason Two (and this one's not quite so politically correct or pathologically people-pleasing): Unless those devoted cat owners are going to queue up to buy us three sets of Soft Paws a week, hang out at our house with squirt guns 24-7, and pitch in to have our furniture reupholstered every few months, they can kiss our cats' clawless knuckles.

Seriously, folks, I've had cats ... several of them ... and all of them (that's every single cat I've ever had the pleasure to share my home with) has been declawed. Happily, healthily, obliviously declawed. It's never changed their personalities, made them bitter or despondent, or even slowed down the pace with which they rake their paws over every surface in the house.

They go on to knead and faux-shred just as if they were really ripping the shit out of the couches, chairs, ottomans, carpets and draperies ... seemingly none the wiser.

The reason I choose to declaw my cats is because I love them. I want to have an affectionate, convivial relationship with the cats ... not an adversarial relationship where the more destructive they are the more I grow to resent them, and the more bad vibes I send out the more they act out and destroy things, until we're all plotting ways to do away with one another.

I don't want to make them go live outside, either. I've never had outside cats, and I think that's cruel. Domestic cats, even with four paws full of razor sharp claws, are no match for life out there. Claws won't stop a car. Claws won't keep owls from swooping down and snatching you out of your yard. Claws won't even protect you from cottonmouths.

I believe declawing is painful in the short run, but far less cruel in the long run than years of clapping and "pssssst"ing at them, hiding and squirting water at them, screaming "OUCH! GODDAMNIT!" and flinging them off the bed after they peel out across your abdomen in the middle of the night or gluing useless but annoying hunks of hot pink plastic to their feet every time I turn around, which they have to then devote themselves full time to gnawing off.

If it's any consolation, we put off declawing these three boys as long as we could, and we really did try all the stuff the devoted cat lovers recommend (except the Soft Paws ... been there, done that). We've offered them cat trees and scratching posts and doodads that hang from the doorknobs. We bought them a refillable Alpine scratchie with mouse-in-hole action. We've given them cardboard scratchies and sisal scratchies and carpeted scratchies. We've rubbed everything down with catnip to entice them to scratch appropriately. They sneer at sisal. They cackle at carpeted wood. They do like the catnip, but it just makes them shred the furniture with more crazed lunatic abandon right before they go glassy-eyed and fall asleep.

So far, since moving here, they've shredded a custom-upholstered Lazy-Boy recliner, an upholstered antique rocker and a futon. We threw out the leather couch with the stuffing poking out of it before we moved They've been working on the mattress in the spare bedroom this week, and we just weren't willing to sacrifice the brand new loveseat. Oh, but the carpet and sisal door hanging scratchie doodad looks as good as the day I bought it.

So tomorrow we'll pick up the boys and fill their litter boxes with Yesterday's News ... and feel guilty when we dose them with pain medication ... and we'll fret about being bad cat mothers for about two days. Then they'll start tearing ass through the house, wrestling and pouncing on each other and dragging their knuckles all over the furniture again just like nothing ever happened ... and we can all live happily ever after AND have furniture that doesn't look like we hired Freddie Krueger to move it.


PS: There is no artwork on this post because none of the half dozen great cat declawing cartoons I found on the web could be used on Blogspot. If your curiosity gets the best of you, go to and check out Mark Parisi's cat declawing cartoons. Picture them interspersed throughout this post, and picture yourself laughing.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Thank you so much for this post! I've been on the fence about this, but in reality, cats are DOMESTICATED animals. They are not meant to be out in the wild. What good does it do to leave them their claws to "defend" themselves when the most they know to defend from is a dangling thread from the bottom of a cushion. Really, defend themselves?! I keep my cats indoors - ALWAYS - without exception. Therefore, I will make sure I defend her from any dust bunny she may encounter under the couch!

My 5 month old kitten is being declawed today. I fully expect to dote all the love and attention possible when I get her back tomorrow morning. She will be pampered and waited on hand and paw (pun intended) as she is the light of our household. My other cat is also declawed and now 15 and she is also our little princess. There have been no behavior issues! Why is everyone trying to guilt me and make me choose between loving cats and nice furniture? I CAN have both!

By the way, isn't this the same as choosing to circumsize a baby? I haven't heard any comparisons to that in any of the posts. Hmmm.

Anyway, thank you once again for your support! I wish more people were this rational and NORMAL!