Recently I've read two completely different opinions (reflecting different attitudes) on cats and their claws, the first is from a US mom of two who is arguing back at criticism because she intends to have the family kitten declawed at the same time as he is neutered. She says things like
“I believe it’s the owner's right to choose” and “I think the lack of claws in a cat is a more pleasant cat for me and my kids.”
The other is from a wise mother, grandmother and longtime volunteer coordinator of the local branch of a nationwide non-kill cat rescue in England who really knows her stuff. She speaks of a cat in her care, “Smokey is 8yr old and has a heart murmur but it isn't severe and doesn't cause her any problems, she can be unpredictable so needs an experienced cat owning home with no children. She is a stunning cat I would have her myself if it wasn't for grandkids. She is a lasher but left alone and once she knows you she is fine.”
Notice that the cat being a lasher (i.e she unexpectedly lashes out at people) is accepted without argument and allowances are made for her “if left alone and once she knows you she is fine”. No panicking about the grandkids being scratched, just plain acceptance that Smokey wouldn’t fit into a family with children.
Contrast this with “I think the lack of claws in a cat is a more pleasant cat for me and my kids.” More pleasant for her and her kids, maybe a nice soft, living breathing toy, that can’t fight back, for the kids’ entertainment, and chances are the kitten would have grown into a placid cat with no intention of using his claws destructively anyway! But anyway how can a cat, being a cat, as cats are made and have been for thousands, nay more likely millions, of years be made “more pleasant” by a procedure which robs him of vital parts of his paws and means that he will never again walk as he should and will affect him mentally and physically for the rest of his life and quite likely cause him severe pain both at the time of the amputations and in years to come as he gets older and heavier?
Here also are a couple of comments from English friends of the volunteer coordinator “I would have her like a shot. I also have a lasher but now she is fine and hides when we have visitors. She is just beautiful” Notice again, no criticism of the cat, and this lady also has a “lasher” again totally accepted and a solution found that didn’t include surgery!
And finally here’s a comment from a lady who has fostered Smokey while she has been awaiting adoption
“She has settled down a lot in the time she has been with me. Now she trusts me she will sometimes run to me for a little fuss. She grumbles to let me know when she's had enough so she rarely lashes out at me these days. She loves sitting on her perch in the garden and watching the world go by, especially when the sun is shining. Roll on summer!”
Do you see the kindness and understanding given to that little cat? You can feel the compassion of those three ladies. But, oh dear me, the mom of two’s comments make me feel so sad and worried for that poor little soul that she “owns”
And the good news is……Smokey has a new forever home to go to tomorrow, she AND her lashing claws!