My cat has claws! And I love them

by Valley Girl
(USA)

Maine Coon Tootsie - she is polydactyl - photo by valleygirl_tka (Flickr)

Maine Coon Tootsie - she is polydactyl - photo by valleygirl_tka (Flickr)

Hi, I'm Valley Girl and I have a blog that is part of PoC - it is a subdomain of PoC in fact. You can see it here: TEH KITTEH ANTIDOTE/ANECDOTE. I'd like to say a few words about declawing cats if I may.

The essential message is, of course, if you want a cat, a cat comes with claws - a straightforward, obvious and commonsense approach. Here are my further thoughts...

It's really amazing to me that some cat owners who really do love their cats, and wouldn't ever think about having them declawed don't even do the obvious things- like providing an alternative for the kitty to claw, apart from rugs and furniture. What is so hard about buying a scratchy or a cat tower surrounded by rug? (I have some personal tales of visiting friends, buying the kitty a scratchy, and voila! but these stories are too long to go into right now.)

Even cats that are indoor/ outdoor cats won't restrict their clawing activities to outdoors. Why should they? Indoors is part of their home territory, just as much as outdoors is. Cat's claws grow in layers, and clawing at a good "something" with intent is their preferred way of removing the older outer layers. It's natural and healthy cat behavior. The "trick" (and it's really not that difficult) is to give the kitty something better to claw than furniture or rugs.

When I adopted Tootsie, my poly Maine coon (who is a bit famous!), my first priority was to make her happy in her new home. So, of course I had a cardboard scratchy (the horizontal kind) and various other goodies laid on. She loved the scratchy, but also took to clawing at the fabric on the box springs, and various other vertical items.

Tootsie was described at the rescue place as being a very "shy" cat, and I wanted to get her to come out of her shell as much as possible. So, NO disciplining except in the most indirect way, was my tactic. When she'd start vertical clawing on the fabric of the box springs or mattress, I'd just disengage her claws and paws, and say something (very softly) like "there we are... that's not what you want to do..." Oh, and plenty of positive reinforcement when she used the cardboard scratchy- oh, good kitty, what a nice kitty, scratch her behind the ears, even a "treat" (small cat food treat item!)

And then I remembered having read somewhere that some cats are "horizontal" clawers, and some are "vertical" clawers. Aha!, I bought two "cat towers" covered in carpet (really not "towers" only about 3 feet tall) and put one downstairs and one upstairs. She was a bit circumspect about using them, at first. But then, well! She got into clawing those cat towers! And I'd cheer her on- good kitty, you go girl!

tootsie uses cat scratch tower
Link to original on Flickr - photo by valleygirl_tka

Even though stopping her from clawing the box springs and random furniture wasn't my main motive in getting the cat towers, well, coincidentally, she stopped those activities. Rather, I figured that she might be a "vertical" clawer by preference, and wanted to give her the best! So it was.

And, as a bonus, I have a collection of shed "cat claws" from around the towers. Worth a photo, next time I get the camera out.

And, as an aside, when I adopted Tootsie I got into a conversation with the rescue person who told me that the number one reason (in her experience) that cats are returned to shelters (I assume she meant no-kill shelters like hers) was a failure to use the litter box - and 99% were declawed cats. I can only assume that walking on litter is painful for these kitties (declawing turns good cats to bad). I know this has been mentioned by commentators in some earlier post at POC.

So, I guess its all about the application of commonsense and proper expectations, which seems to be lacking sometimes - just felt like sharing.

Valley Girl

Large format version of heading photo on Flickr

Related pages

Will my cat use a scratching post?

Some advice on surgically improving your cat

See umbrella page: Declawing cats visitors' submissions

Comments for
My cat has claws! And I love them

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 24, 2011 It was really
by: Anonymous

It was really nice to know that you care for your cat so much and give her every freedom to feel her better. It was so nice of you to treat the cat in a disciplined way with soft words like we treat our kids. I feel every one should have this sense of love and forgiveness in case of such pets. In reality by bringing them home some times I feel we are suppressing their natural freedom if we are not treating them in proper way. Like individuals every pets have their own preferences and when we keep them with us like a family member, we should try to know them and treat accordingly.puppy training


Jun 06, 2010 Thank you Valley Girl
by: Ruth

We do love to have photos of cats enjoying their claws as it shows the comparison between them and the sad cats crippled by declawing.
We always hope it will touch someone's heart and persuade them not to have their cat declawed.
We had around 80 members on our old group, but the site owner has started charging so my sister Babz set up the new group.She puts such a lot of work into all this but unfortunately only a few of our members have moved with us.
Educating about declawing and fighting to get it banned is soul destroying as we are up against so much ignorance about it and so much opposition from the vets who make a lot of money out of it.
No wonder people lose heart !
But we need to fight on with our loyal supporters and thankfully new people come along to help us too.
We can not give up, declawing must be banned worldwide.


Jun 06, 2010 Thanks Finn
by: Valley Girl

Thanks for the reply, Finn!

I wouldn't have know about this except for the "rental cat". But, yes, different preferences for different kitties.

re: posts in obvious places- I gotta tell you, the two "scratching posts/ towers" for Ms. Cat are in very obvious places. The one upstairs is en route to Ms. Cat's special high place (which I purposely arranged)- cat "tower" to bureau top to wardrobe/ armoir top, equipped special weird combo thingy made of cardboard- cross between a scratchy and a cat sleeper.

The one downstairs is right next to the somewhat less high places she also seems to like.

re: "The cat 'advertises' it's presence to others by scratching"-- well, Ms. Cat advertises her presence in other ways- but, she's an only cat in an only human household, so not generally applicable.

When I am in bed, Ms. Cat advertises her presence in many ways, the most endearing being--- She jumps on the bed, darts over to lick my eyebrows, and then departs for the foot of the bed. Ms. Cat is a Maine coon, so nothing surprises me.


Jun 05, 2010 Thanks Maggie
by: Valley Girl

Maggie-

thanks for your response.

Oh, yes, Ms. Cat really gets into it when she attacks the post/s. It is quite hilarious to watch.

In addition to getting rid of her old claw coverings, I think she "working out".

I was once told by a person who works on muscle physiology that cats maintain muscle fitness better than humans and dogs, say, despite little apparent effort, but I've never been able to track that info down in a scientific article despite a lot of trying.

My theory is that in addition to working out with the cat post, Ms. Cat stays fit and limber because she does Cat Yoga on a daily basis.

http://teh-kitteh-antidote-anecdote.pictures-of-cats.org/2006/02/toosie-maine-coon-does-her-cat-yoga.html
(Tootsie the Maine coon does her cat yoga exercises)


Jun 05, 2010 Thanks Maggie
by: Valley Girl

Maggie-

thanks for your response.

Oh, yes, Ms. Cat really gets into it when she attacks the post/s. It is quite hilarious to watch.

In addition to getting rid of her old claw coverings, I think she "working out".

I was once told by a person who works on muscle physiology that cats maintain muscle fitness better than humans and dogs, say, despite little apparent effort, but I've never been able to track that info down in a scientific article despite a lot of trying.

My theory is that in addition to working out with the cat post, Ms. Cat stays fit and limber because she does Cat Yoga on a daily basis.

http://teh-kitteh-antidote-anecdote.pictures-of-cats.org/2006/02/toosie-maine-coon-does-her-cat-yoga.html
(Tootsie the Maine coon does her cat yoga exercises)


Jun 05, 2010 Ruth- absolutely!
by: Valley Girl

Ruth-

re:Could we please use the top photo of Tootsie and her wonderful claws on our Claws group ?

Absolutely! Michael gave the link to the large version of the flickr image, but here's the post where you can get whatever you like.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38194075@N05/3514610234/in/set-72157623556736054/

I post at flickr under CCL so people can use as needed -exception is no $$ and no derivative- but neither applies in your case. I'm happy to support the cause.

As for credit, thanks- link to flickr page good! But, as I also support POC, I'd be grateful if you also credited POC in whatever appropriate way.

Michael actually turned my email to him into a post- I emailed him with my comments and pix after having read his recent E-Zine on topic of declawing. Thanks Michael!


Jun 05, 2010 - and don't hide away the scratchpole
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi Valley Girl. Great article and great photos of your beautiful Tootsie too.
Thank you for mentioning that cats have different preferrences in scratching boards - vertical or horizontal, sisal or carpet.
Ours have always been happy with vertical sisal, so I usually forget about the other types, but as you say, sisal could be too tough for some cats.

One important thing to remember is to place the scratchboards/poles in prominent positions around the house. The cat 'advertises' it's presence to others by scratching and it prefers being on the front page rather than bottom of page 23... 😉

Finn Frode avatar


Jun 05, 2010 To Valley Girl and Tootsie
by: Maggie Sharp

This is a great article, Valley Girl, I loved it! See, it's not hard to live with a cat that's got claws, is it? I don't know why people have to go tearing them out... It's horrible. I wish more people in the USA were like you, and were aware of declawing's true horrible self.

Tootsie looks so happy with her scratching post, my cat likes to sit on his with his 'girlfriend' and gaze at the birds out the window (how romatic!). They both enjoy a good scratch on it too, they definitely prefer it to the furniture.


Jun 05, 2010 PS
by: Ruth

Could we please use the top photo of Tootsie and her wonderful claws on our Claws group ?

We'd credit it to you of course.
It shows just how much a part of a cat her claws are.


Jun 05, 2010 Hello again
by: Ruth

You are so right in all you say and if you and I and others against declawing have the common sense to know these things, I can't understand why everyone hasn't !
I forgot to mention that some people use the excuse if cat is polydactyl as justification to have him declawed.
In fact they use any excuse they can think up.
It's truly dreadful !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Jun 04, 2010 Thanks Ruth
by: Valley Girl

Thanks for your kind comment. Really off the top of my head common sense, based on what I've observed.

And, of course I don't mind your posting of the petition link. Declawing is an abhorrent practice.

One thing I'd add to my comments, having read through Michael's link to the discussion "will my cat use a scratching post?" In my limited experience, I'd also say that cats differ in their preferences for scratching materials.

When I went on sabbatical a while back, I rented a furnished house, which also came with a "rental cat" (bonus), but nothing for the cat to claw apart from rugs and furniture.

I bought a variety of goodies- flat cardboard scratchy, scratchy wrapped in sisal that could be laid horizontally or hung vertically, and a sisal wrapped vertical scratching post. Cat had near zero interest in the items wrapped in sisal, but happily tore through several corrugated cardboard scratchies over the course of a year.

My guess based on watching her the few times she used the sisal thingies was that the strands were too tough for her to tear at- rather, her claws would get snagged on fine strong strands of sisal, pretty much trapping her paws.

That's why I went for the carpet-covered "tower" for Tootsie- softer fabric with more "give" (note the bits of wool on the floor in the pic *g*)

Obviously the sisal-wrapped posts work well for some cats, but not all (my one data point!).

My extra two cents, as I noted that some examples in the linked thread were sisal-wrapped, whilst others carpet-wrapped.


Jun 04, 2010 Brilliant article
by: Ruth

Hello Valley Girl, what a brilliant article and what lovely photos of Tootsie showing off her beautiful claws.
Yes I too love claws,if I didn't I couldn't honestly say I love cats.Claws are as much a part of cats as any other and equally as necessary.
Declawing is banned in our country but even before it was, our vets would never do it and people here react with shock and horror that cats in the USA and Canada are still being declawed routinely.
Soiling outside the litter tray is the number one reason declawed cats are 'got rid of'
I don't know why people can't understand the pain of digging with newly wounded paws,well with just the stumps left of the toes. It's bad enough cats having to walk on them, but to have to dig to cover up their used litter is unbearable to think about.Cats never forget that pain.
I hope you don't mind me posting our petition link on your article, I take evey chance I can to promote it as we so desperately want declawing banned worldwide.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth



Comments

My cat has claws! And I love them — 3 Comments

  1. Cats should keep there claws.

    Very happy to read ‘my cat has claws’
    WELL..You are a wonderful pet owner!!
    Nasty people who declaw there cats should own rats..lizards.
    Theres nothing more cruel than the declawing of a cat.NOTHING.I have two maine coone cats and I have always had cats.
    When I hear of people declawing there cats I want to throw up on them.HOW WOULD YOU LIKE THE END OF YOUR FINGERS CUT OFF IDIOT.

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