Julie McDonald Commentary: Declawing Cats Continues to Be a Barbaric Exercise

I’m not a cat person. I never ever have been, likely in huge aspect simply…

I’m not a cat person. I never ever have been, likely in huge aspect simply because I’m allergic to furry felines, or much more properly, their dander. We generally owned dogs but never cats.

That is, until finally my teenage daughter begged us to permit her adopt precocious brother and sister kittens from the Lewis County Animal Shelter. It was enjoy at to start with sight.

I caved, inspite of my allergic reactions. I just took an antihistamine daily and realized to dwell with them in the family home (which also happens to be the a single room in our dwelling with air conditioning, but which is an additional tale).

The kittens were being a godsend when my daughter’s childhood good friend died in a tragic accident. For months, the only time I noticed a smile cross my daughter’s facial area was when she viewed her precious pussycats engage in.

The pair also frolicked outside the house, usually catching discipline mice and voles, leaving their prizes on the deck for my partner to thoroughly clean up.

When they swooped into the family home, they frequently paused at the corner of the couch to scratch, even with the cat tree in the corner.

Quickly ahead a few decades and my daughter left for university. Her sophomore yr, she moved into an apartment that authorized pets and took her cats with her. She also necessary home furniture, so we hauled the scratched-up conceal-a-mattress sofa, our kitchen area table and her bed to Pullman, which gave us an justification to acquire new household furniture for the initial time in many years.

We dwell in the country, so with Nora’s cats absent, we started off to be concerned about subject mice sneaking within during wintertime. Nora required to give her father a new cat for Father’s Day, so when she returned residence this thirty day period, we ventured again to the Lewis County Animal Shelter. She and her dad frequented to start with, and he reported unquestionably no kittens. So, when my daughter and I stopped, cute as the kittens were, we walked into the home housing grownup cats.

As The Chronicle noted last 7 days, the shelter has been inundated with kittens and cats this calendar year, generally due to the fact pets picked up through the pandemic could not be spayed or neutered with veterinary clinics closed. In accordance to the report, the shelter had twice as a lot of cats and kittens as in 2020 — leaping from 88 to 184 cats and from 113 to 205 kittens.

The working day my daughter and I visited, a worker explained workers from the Seattle Animal Shelter had just lately picked up Lewis County felines mainly because they did not have a lot of strays in King County.

As we examined the cats, one precious black-and-white resembling a Holstein cow captured my notice. With permission, we produced her from the cage. In a few brief minutes, as we snapped pictures on our telephones, she won our hearts.

We signed the paperwork, paid out the $75 price, and agreed to pick her up from Cascade West Thursday, the day following she was spayed. I purchased the rabies and feline leukemia pictures as effectively as flea treatment.

At home, we debated names for this kitty cat. My husband favored Domino, my daughter most well-liked Panda and I favored Pixel.

Nora returned to her task at Washington Point out University in Pullman, wherever she’s making ready for Cougar Marching Band camp and a new academic yr, and I drove to Centralia Thursday with my sister-in-law, my husband’s twin sister from Colorado who shocked us with a take a look at. She and her partner have owned cats in the previous, so they liked petting our new I only referred to as Quite Kitty.

But they both of those recognized she did not have scratch.

“She’s been declawed,” my sister-in-legislation stated.


Sure ample, we could not see claws, even when we pressed the middle of her entrance paws. I Googled the treatment, horrified to discover that declawing cats entailed amputating the cat’s toes — like reducing off a human’s fingers at the very first knuckle. Cat claws develop from the bone, so eradicating the claws demands important medical procedures to sever the bones, tendons, and nerves.

It’s barbaric.

Nail regrowth, bone fragments, inflammation and an infection can result in lifelong excruciating ache. Some cats will not use a litter box because it’s agonizing on their paws.

“Declawed cats may perhaps build health and fitness issues these as infection, arthritis or lameness,” according to solutions.pawproject.org/ “Deprived of performing on their normal intuition to use their claws to climb, exercising and mark territory with the scent glands in their paws, they may bear disturbing identity and behavioral alterations, which lead to remaining abandoned or relinquished to a shelter.”

Israel, Switzerland, England and 39 other countries have produced declawing unlawful. The method is also banned in the condition of New York, Denver, Colorado, and eight big California cities.

According to a May well 2017 write-up in Well-known Science, a examine confirmed declawed cats have problem walking as they should tread on smooth cartilage with the finishes of their toes eliminated. Several also grow extra aggressive immediately after the medical procedures. The analyze observed “declawed cats were 7 moments much more most likely to pee in inappropriate destinations, 4 moments additional most likely to bite individuals, a few moments much more most likely to be intense, and three situations far more most likely to overgroom them selves. In addition, the declawed cats have been a few instances a lot more possible to be diagnosed with back again agony (quite possibly mainly because they experienced to modify their gait owing to their missing toe bones) and/or persistent agony in their paws.”

I known as close to to regional clinics. Several do not give declawing, saying the physicians don’t feel in it. A single explained a physician will declaw, but only following a client consultation and with the caveat that the cat continues to be hospitalized for 3 days to recuperate from the painful treatment. A different clinic quoted a price tag of $330 to declaw the two front paws, the only types they’d do. One particular female who answered the cell phone at a nearby vet clinic stated her 5 cats all employed the cat tree for scratching. Relatively than declawing a cat to prevent it from scratching furnishings, persons, or animals, she mentioned, it’s far better to merely keep the nails trimmed.

So, we introduced residence a cat without claws to kill mice.

I referred to as the shelter and spoke with supervisor Jennifer Teitzel, who sounded amenable to performing with us, although I signed paperwork that stated I adopted the cat “as is.”

“A great deal that are generally brought in declawed are reclaimed by their operator but not normally,” Teitzel reported. “We do not recommend it.”

She stated an unfriendly cat at the shelter who is not fond of men and women but would make a marvelous barn cat.

But I’d previously grown fond of our furry feminine I wanted to continue to keep her. My husband preferred to exchange her for the mouser.

That night time, as I labored on my notebook, Really Kitty jumped up and sprawled throughout my abdomen, which designed a bit of a challenge in reaching the keyboard. As she lay there, her front paws on my arm stretched and curled as she kneaded in contentment. I glanced down during a single extension, a frown furrowing my brow, but then I jumped in pleasure. I spied claws! Her past proprietor need to have trimmed them, but they would develop back.

Now we basically want to settle on a name. Any suggestions?


Julie McDonald, a own historian from Toledo, may well be attained at [email protected]