I have severe psoriasis and had my adopted kitty declawed in 1995. She's now (in 2010) a healthy 15 year old female who loves life and loves me. She would have had NO life but for me as she was a 7 week old stray kitten cat found by the roadside in a ditch after having been hit by a car.
I found her and took her to a vet who said her pelvis was crushed, her left hip broken in multiple places, one leg mangled and torn and internal injuries to her female organs and stomach. He recommended she be put down as she was not a cat anyone would consider adopting even if he put her back together again as she would have life long physical problems, most likely be be crippled, and likely would have huge medical bills in the future.
I looked into her little sweet face and right there chose to volunteer to be her new Mommy, despite not really being in a stable enough financial position to pay the more than $1600 in vet and surgery bills for her initial care from the car running her over.
I got a credit union loan at work to cover her medical bills and took several years to pay it off. I also paid for two weeks of boarding, the fee to have her spayed, as well as all her shots, when she recuperated. The problem was that my psoriasis was so severe that anywhere she clawed me accidentally, which happens with all cats, the minor wounds became a huge sore with the accompanying plaque, itching and scabs, not to mention two infections I got in the claw marks.
I spoke with the vet and when my kitty was 5 months old she was declawed. I knew it meant she was forever to be confined to my home for her own safety. I guess in your opinion and those of most others here, I should have just let her die, as the vet was certainly not willing to swallow the medical bills for saving her life and even if he had, the shelter would have destroyed her after 5 days if no one adopted her.
After reading this opinion piece, I called my current vet yesterday and she checked my cat's medical records and she told me that only my cat's claws were removed, not any joints or other bones or tissue. The sugical procedure used was very similar, the vet said, to the removal of a human's nails due to a fungus or ingrown toenail. Only the nails were removed PERIOD.
He said most quality trained vets do this same surgery. However, I still feel that even if a radical procedure had been done to remove her claws along with a joint or other tissue, that that would still have been much better than letting her die.
She's had 15 good years with me, whereas with your choice not to declaw, she would have none. She would have been put down at the age of 7 weeks instead. How cruel is that? Humane is subjective, so you should rethink your adamant stance on declawing.