by Lisa James
(Green Cove Springs, FL)
Michael added the picture - Declawing Turns Good Cats to Bad
I am a cat rescuer. I have worked in the rescue field for 19 years. In that time frame we have had cats from domestic to purebred come through our doors.
99% of declawed cats are turned into animal shelters for one of two behavioral problems. The more rare one is biting. The major one is litter box aversion. Of these cats who will no longer use the box, some can be re-trained, but it takes time, patience, creativity in the owner's imagination, & quite possibly confining in progressively smaller spaces till the cat "gets it" again. Others will never be able to be retrained, despite these methods, & are put to sleep. Ultimately, who's fault is it that these cats who were perfectly behaved BEFORE this paw mutilation surgery turn into "bad" cats? It is NOT the cat's fault, it is the owner's fault who did it to them.
Our rescue, I will come right out & tell you, has put cats down for litterbox problems that could not be retrained after MONTHS of working with them. Why would we put cats down if we are a rescue? Because NO ONE will adopt a cat that will not use the box, no matter how pretty it might be.
We use foster homes, & it is NOT fair to the fosters to have to continually clean up after a cat like this, especially when they have their own personal pets, & most of them have children as well, & that is unsanitary for the children.
The cats could be caged, but it is also NOT fair to the cat to live the rest of it's life locked in a cage with no contact other than to clean a cage floor, change food & water, & give it an occasional bath when it soils itself.
We have a Persian here now that is a front declaw. She will not for the life of her use any sort of regular litterbox, but she WILL use newspapers on the floor. I have her listed on our websites as adoptable, & paper trained like a toy dog. Hopefully someone will be willing to deal with her paper quirk, & adopt her anyway.
Europe has a wonderful policy. It is ILLEGAL over there to declaw cats. The AVMA needs to quit worshipping the Almighty Dollar & do what's BEST for the animals in their care, which would to promote banning of this horrific practice. It would result in many LESS cats in shelters, & with many less in shelters, the country-wide euthanasia rates would go down.