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Happy Declawed Cats — 5 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I know this is a really old thread, but I thought the comments were very well written and I hope some of you are still active on this website. I am about to get my second cat declawed. I am heartbroken about this and I wanted to know what you think about my decision.
    My first cat I never considered declawing because I think it’s cruel. However, my second cat… I’m not sure what else to do. I adopted him from a shelter as a kitten. He has always been very aggressive. I was hoping he would calm down with age but at this point he is five. And I’m exhausted and frightened and miserable. He’s generally loving and cuddly. But three to six times a week he viciously attacks me. The incidents usually last only about ten minutes but the scratches are deep and I’m covered in them. I’ve talked to the vet multiple times about this behavior. I have a feliway plugin diffuser in each room. The vet suggested composure pro which I was giving him. Then the vet suggested Prozac which I give him daily in food. He is played with daily with plenty of toys. He has a tall cat tower and multiple scratching posts, balls, mice, etc. But when he decides to attack… it’s like he freezes up and I see this look on his face and I know it’s coming. I’ve tried spraying him with water as he approaches. Walking slowly to another room. Backing into another room and closing the door. But he’s so fast and determined. He’s gone for my face. He scratches deep. And then he calms down but it’s just… untenable. I don’t want to live like this. I asked the vet if she would recommend a behaviorist, and she said honestly she thought it would be a waste of money. That his wires in his brain are crossed. I would pay anything to help him. I would. But nothing seems to help and the vet is out of suggestions. I’m tired of being on edge. I’m tired of my blood being everywhere. I’m tired of deep scratches on my arms, chest, back, thighs, calves, toes, hands. I’m prone to infection and also. It hurts!
    I’ve asked a family friend with barn cats about taking him. They refused as they said they were afraid he would attack the other cats or the livestock. And seeing how he treated my roommates cat when I had one, I can’t disagree. My mom and vet have suggested putting him down. I’m getting him declawed and hoping that with less weapons to deal with I can avoid serious injury better. I’ve read all you’ve wrote. But I still don’t know what to do. ?

    • Thanks a lot for commenting Kim. I feel for you. I completely understand what you are saying. I’m going to make your comment into an article so that other people can respond to it as well as me. And so that it is more prominent because I think it is quite an important comment which needs to be addressed carefully and thoughtfully.

      I have to confess that my cat does something similar. Not as bad as yours but when you see his face freezing over with that intense wild look you know that he is about to attack. He transforms, like your cat, from a domestic cat into a wildcat. He forgets his domestication. He was a feral cat and never properly socialised. Although I have trained him to react differently.

      This is the reason why he does it. Your cat has not been socialised properly during the two-week to seven-week period in the very early part of his life. In short, he is not truly domesticated. It is very hard to domesticate a cat outside of that early period in their lives.

      Some people would say that you can never rectify this problem. I disagree with them. The first point though is that I would not declaw him. Although I completely understand where you’re coming from. The alternative might be euthanasia which is worse and therefore declawing might be the best of a bad situation.

      I would like you to at least not declaw him just yet and keep up this dialogue to see whether we as a team on its website can rectify this problem. I wonder whether you could video him when he wants to attack. Or take a photograph of him.

      I believe that you might be able to train this behaviour out of him. I don’t think Prozac is a good idea by the way. I think you have to rely on training by which I mean clicker training.

      There may be a trigger-a visual trigger-which sets him off. He may see something such as your bare feet for instance (and I’m not suggesting that you walk around your house in bare feet, I’m just providing an example) which he sees as prey and which sets off the chain reaction of his hunting instinct which in turn turns him into a wild cat ready to attack.

      I wonder whether you can try and analyse the specific circumstances under which he attacks to see whether there is something common to each occurrence. If so you might be able to alter his response to the circumstances through training. In other words when he sees something to hunt such as your feet or your hands he is trained to respond to be friendly rather than to attack. It will be training based on reward and this may be able to rewire his brain.

      I am probably being optimistic but I know that you want to try something as a last resort because I can see that you are a very good cat caretaker.

      Thanks once again for commenting. I will turn your comment into an article right away and then we can go from there.

      • Thank you so much for this considerate response. I definitely like to think I’m a good cat caretaker. I do everything I can for my pets in the past and I would never declaw over something like furniture. I respect the amazing creatures that they are. I think my cat is just a little… or more than a little… off. And if there’s a way to get me safe and avoid declawing, I would be ecstatic. And if there’s not, I hope that there’s still a cat lover or two who don’t think I’m a wretched person 🙁

        • I would like you to think whether there is any pattern to the aggressive behaviour towards you. Does it happen at a certain time in a certain place and are you doing something particular at the time and so on and so forth. I would love to fix this problem. It may not be possible. I agree that. But you may be able to train out this behaviour but it won’t be easy. Is your cat a full-time indoor cat or an indoor-outdoor cat? I think that this is an important question.

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