General Question

dlm812's avatar

Should I, eek, declaw my cat? :(

Asked by dlm812 (1669 points ) February 8th, 2009

To begin, I would like to note that I do not agree with this practice and have NEVER had it done to any of my cats before. The situation, however, has me making a tough decision… read on:

I will be living with a new roommate next year. I will be bringing my dog and my cat. She also will be bringing a cat to the apartment. Unfortunately, she has already had her cat completely declawed because he is currently living with her boyfriend and he has a leather couch. My cat is NOT declawed. He is a very “aggressive” player. The reason I am bringing him is because he plays with my dog like he is a dog. He has recently learned to use a scratching post, so it’s not like he’ll scratch the furniture… it is more a problem that if he and the other cat play – he will be at a major advantage. My mother and the new roommate have both questioned whether or not I will be at least front declawing him. He is definitely an inside cat only, unlike all other cats I have ever had – so it isn’t like he’ll have a problem defending himself outside. I do not, however, want his personality to change or for him to suffer. I’ve heard that declawing can be a very painful process for the cat and can leave psychological scars.

Basically, what do you recommend in this situation? Should I have him declawed? Should I wait until we move in together to see if him having claws is a problem? Help. :(

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206 Answers

asmonet's avatar

The other cat still has teeth.
Don’t worry about it. They’ll be fine.

Wait until you move in together, if they hate each other, you don’t have to have him declawed. Buy two cans of Tuna Fish in Oil. Rub one can on each cat, and stick them in a bathtub.

Come back three hours later, they’ll have cleaned each other off and bonded.

Blondesjon's avatar

If the claws became an issue I, personally, would try to find the cat a home where he could keep them.

can you think of any essential body parts you would like removed?

Allie's avatar

I’ve also heard that removing a cat’s claws, he may become more aggressive in other ways. Not sure if this is true or not.

I think it might be best to wait and see how the two gatos interact with each other. If there aren’t any problems then it seems pointless to declaw him.

tinyfaery's avatar

NO! NO! NO! There is a reason why it is illegal in other countries, and why most American vets will not perform the procedure.

Cats do not only fight with their front claws; like smone said, the other cat still has teeth, and the other cat still has it’s back claws, as well. If the cats have a rough time getting used to each other, consult a book or website about cat introductions. And please, DO NOT declaw your kitty.

asmonet's avatar

hahah smone, lurve for that thread.

90s_kid's avatar

NO!
It is the cat’s only defense! Please don’t.
Fill a spritzer with water and spray it every time it scratches.

[ss Edit]: vvv Nice Idea, @amanderveen, But still kind of advantage-taking. I would do this if my cat really had a scratching problem, though, so I think it is very helpful.

amanderveen's avatar

Definitely NO! Please read this article. It explains a bit more about the actual procedure and also has suggestions that might help in your case, and also has some useful links. In fact, Softpaws might be a more humane way to protect your roommate’s cat.

makemo's avatar

I may be dumb, but what exactly does a declawing procedure involve? Is it not the same as simply clipping down the claws a bit, no?

I’m not an expert, but I’d try clipping the claws and (if possible) polish them just a little bit, so as they won’t be able to scratch marks on the couch.

dalepetrie's avatar

absolutely not, it’s like removing their fingers at the first nuckle. I have 3 declawed cats…they came that way, they are all females. We just got a kitten, male, he is a real shit, always attacking the other cats brutally. Yeah, they have a few marks on them here and there, but guess which one of the cats I actually ended up bringing to the emergency clinic with what I thought was a broken tail? That’s right, the kitten. One of the bigger cats got fed up and bit his tail…we thought it was broken but it was nothing. The other cat will be fine, don’t rip off your cats fingers.

AstroChuck's avatar

No! Imagine having your fingers amputated on the last joint and you’ll understand what declarwng ensues. That’s why veterinarians in most European countries don’t do it. Unfortunately, it’s still widely practiced in the US.

Zaku's avatar

I would not do it unless absolutely necessary, which I can hardly imagine. First I’d give the cats a chance to see how they get along. The BF’s cat may have a harder time with the DOG than the cat. Imagining myself in the situation, I think I’d sooner have my cat live with someone else, than de-claw him or her.

Likeradar's avatar

I know this is going to sound harsh, but you’re asking if you should mutilate your cat in order to make a temporary living situation that YOU chose easier. NO!

TaoSan's avatar

NOOOOOOOOO!

If there are issues, use Softpaws. I put them on both my cats, and they don’t mind at all, don’t even muck up when I put them on. That’s 10 minutes every month to 6 weeks and the price is hardly a burden.

Declawing is mutilation, nothing less!

Softpaws work perfect Softpaws, Softpaws, Softpaws

Please don’t cripple your pet.

90s_kid's avatar

@TaoSan
Come on, you have to give @amanderveen credit for bringing that up.

TaoSan's avatar

@90s_kid

ooops!

Sorry, when I read declawing I skipped straight to the end to fire this off!

Lurve to @amanderveen, you beat me to it!

Jayne's avatar

There has been a fair amount written in support of Softpaws on Fluther, and some objections raised, so you might consider searching around for some input. But they are certainly a better alternative to declawing. One of my cats for some reason feels the need to scratch her head until it bleeds, so we use softpaws on her back claws, and the only downside seems to be the need to replace them every month or so.

TaoSan's avatar

@AstroChuck

Actually, in the core EU countries like Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands it’s illegal.

You get hammered for animal cruelty if you declaw there.

TaoSan's avatar

As for Softpaws,

to me they came with a benefit I didn’t expect. One of my two cats made it her mission to ruin my leather couch. She’s a feisty one, so water spritzer and what not would only lead to her getting that witch-like look in her face, ears back, firing of a couple of scratches just to get away right when I reach the bottle.

She still does it, obviously not noticing that she’s not doing damage anymore. Imagine the satisfaction, gotcha bugger!

90s_kid's avatar

Put it all into one quip…
And yeah I mean no harm

TaoSan's avatar

@90s_kid

nobody is perfect :)

amanderveen's avatar

@TaoSan – No worries. There’s nothing wrong with additional support for declawing alternatives, especially from one who is using one with good results. :o)

TaoSan's avatar

@amanderveen

Yeah, can’t respond fast and energetic enough, it’s so barbaric it turns my stomach just thinking of it!

Most people don’t know that it is actual mutilation, and not simply removing something “dead”.

syz's avatar

There is also a pretty thorough discussion in this thread.

You haven’t mention how old your cat is, but I would add that the older the animal, the more painful and traumatic the surgery seems to be.

asmonet's avatar

No one should mutilate cats like that. Enjoy!

90s_kid's avatar

@asmonet ‘s last link
EW! I WILL NEVER EVER DECLAW A CAT EVER!
Nice persuasion.

tinyfaery's avatar

I can’t bear to look.

asmonet's avatar

@tinyfaery: It’s probably for the best, dear.

tocutetolive90's avatar

If you have to get ur cat declawed it doesn’t hurt them at all. All they need is the front gone, but if you keep them it wont hurt the other cat. My roommates cat has all claws and he doesn’t hurt my ferret so even if your cat keeps his claws he wont hurt the declawed cat.

asmonet's avatar

@tocutetolive90: Are you kidding me?! Read this thread! Click the links. You said in another thread you’ve read books on animals, and that you work as a vet tech. Either you’re not a vet tech or you’re really not a good one. Never mind the complete lack of understanding of animal behavior.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have had cats declawed on occasion and they have gone on to live long and happy lives. The scenes shown on the site suggested by asmonet are extreme situations. There is always risk in surgery of any kind. This surgery is performed under anesthesia in a sterile environment. There is a recovery period but I have never had a cat go off its feed or seem to be in great pain. There are so many travesties perpetrated against animals, such as factory farming, feed lot fattening, the way they are slaughtered. I think those are the sorts of practices which should be addressed, not tail docking, ear cropping, dew claw removal or cat claw removal.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I have 2.5 declawed cats, and one with claws. (1.5 came to us declawed, 1 we had declawed.) The 2.5 fend for themselves just fine, go outdoors, etc. and leave plenty of dead things on the doorstep. It does not make them wimps. By dead things, I mean rats, opposums, squirrels. The clawed cat, on the other hand, has completely destroyed several pieces of upholstered furniture despite having scratching posts.

tocutetolive90's avatar

It doesn’t hurt them. They are asleep for the whole thing. They may have discomfort when they get home, but they have pain killers. Its rare for them to bleed afterwords or to be extremely in pain. Just make sure they are in no pain that why we tell u to make sure they don’t jump on high places and around much till its is healed. They have high tolerance for pain, so they can take more then a human can take. I have had all my cats declawed and they are perfectly fine and happy.

TaoSan's avatar

@tocutetolive90

I don’t even know what to say to that

asmonet's avatar

Of course they’re extreme situations. My point is not to make it seem horrible things happen to every cat every time, but if you read about declawing or even think about it, it’s a surgery that has no other purpose than to make the owner feel better. As far as I’m concerned, cutting up a cat and altering it’s anatomy so your couch doesn’t get messed when a few minutes trouble a day could save the hassle anyway is animal cruelty.

Plain and simple.

I don’t think I could look at someone the same way after I found that out about their cats. Unless the cat was adopted that way you have no excuse.

tocutetolive90's avatar

I’m not saying its all the right thing to do. My cats had too cause the one came with it and the other one was in more pain with them then without. We found him on the side of the road. But if animals don’t need to get rid of them then they should keep them. All I’m saying is it doesn’t hurt them as much as people think it would.

asmonet's avatar

Right, you cut off pieces of your cat so you could save your furniture. Good job.

tocutetolive90's avatar

I changed what i said. It isnt like it was my choice i lived with my parents.. all the animals i have now have claws

Blondesjon's avatar

there do seem to be alot of claws out in this thread :)

TaoSan's avatar

Well, of course the operation itself doesn’t hurt. What will actually hurt them is that the entire stride gets messed up, much like if you’d cut the toes off a human, cat paws start to deform because they try to compensate. Often they start walking on their ankles,

the list is endless….

Further, cats are predators, they are programmed not to show pain. Usually, you won’t notice they’re in pain until it really is overwhelming.

Think about “digging” in an acidic litter box with amputation stumps.

asmonet's avatar

Well, at least now that I’ve refreshed you look better to everyone else.

asmonet's avatar

Yeah, you.

tocutetolive90's avatar

ok… All i was trying to say was it didn’t hurt them as much as people think. I never said it was right or wrong. And i never had a choice to have cats with claws or not cause i lived with my parents.. isn’t like i could tell them what to do and not to do.

Blondesjon's avatar

CAT FIGHT!!!

ok, i swear i’ve gotten it all out of my system now

TaoSan's avatar

meeeeeeouwrrrrrrr!

tinyfaery's avatar

You go smone. Cats come with claws. If you don’t have the time and patience to train your cat, and they can be trained, then don’t get one.
Let’s see, the well-being of a beautiful, living creature, or the well-being of a couch? Hmm…hard one.

rooeytoo's avatar

In the kennel business I came in contact with literally thousands of cats, most of which were declawed. I saw no impediment to their strides, jumping ability, or personality. I am a realist and if it comes down to getting rid of the cat because it is ruining the furniture or having it declawed, I vote for declawing. Shelters are full of animals who were turned in because they became problematic to the owners. Better to have them declawed and stay in their homes than put into a shelter where they may be rehomed if they are lucky or put to sleep. In a perfect world none of the above would happen, but ain’t no perfection in my world, don’t know about yours.

Adina1968's avatar

I have one thing to say people and I have worked around animals all my life. I have volunteered for shelters, I have worked in all kinds of animal hospitals. Better to declaw a cat then to have it end up unwanted on the streets or in a shelter because it was scratching up the owners home. ( I hate to tell you but scratching posts don’t always work.) It is not cruel to declaw cats, that is a myth petpetuated by some crazy animal rights group. I have for declawed cats. They are happy healthy well adjusted cats. I have seen many animals who have had entire limbs amputated and they too are happy and healthy. The best way to declw a cat is to find a vet that uses a laser for removal and sends the cat home with pain medication. There is nothing wrong with declawing a cat and people that do so should not be mad to feel like they are horrible pet owners.

tocutetolive90's avatar

I totally agree with you adina and rooeytoo

melanie81's avatar

I adopted my two cats front de-clawed. I can honestly say that it is nice not having to worry about accidental scratches on me or each other, BUT I would never choose to de-claw a cat. If you, or anyone, chooses to (but please don’t!!) – you should only front de-claw them. Honestly, I FORGET that my cats have back claws!! I think they only use them to scratch their itches :)

I agree with @Likeradar, it’s not your cat’s fault that you choose to live somewhere where he/she can’t have claws :(

dlm812's avatar

Thank you to everyone for the answers and discussion… even if it lead to a couple cat fights here and there. This is just the backing I needed to make the final decision that he will certainly keep his claws. I have never agreed with the practice before (and in fact never knew it existed until I was in high school and met my friend’s cat who was declawed). I am not at all worried about the furniture, as everything is old and he uses a scratching post. The problem was simply that my roommate’s cat is completely, all four paws, declawed. Looks like he’ll just have to fend with his mouth. I won’t subject my Thomas to anything that has any possibility of changing him or causing any pain. I like the idea of the softpaws, so I might try those if it does become a problem.

Anyway. Thank you all for the insight and stories. I had just never encountered a situation like this. I’m glad that I am able to firmly say NO now when asked by the future roommate if I am going to do this.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I have nice furniture. I love my cats, but the are pets. I have scratch marks on a $1700 Stickley leather chair, and within weeks of paying $500 to have an antique family chair recovered, my cat shredded the back of it while I was at work. A scratching post was 2 feet away.

The alternative is not to buy crap furniture to appease my cat’s behavior, nor is it to stay home from work to watch my cat so they don’t shred the furniture.

melanie81's avatar

@dlm812 good for you!!

AstroChuck's avatar

@AP- They are just pets? They are living, breathing creatures, not items. Furniture is just an item. Declawing is amputation. I don’t understand how so many find ways to justify mutilation of their pets. That goes for ear and tail cropping as well. If your furniture is more important than your pets then you shoudn’t adopt any.

TaoSan's avatar

I wonder, if your child would keep breaking your expensive china, would you cut its thumbs off? I mean hey, the operation doesn’t hurt!

tinyfaery's avatar

TRAIN YOUR FUCKIN’ CATS PEOPLE!!!!!

asmonet's avatar

Don’t get a cat if you’re so concerned with how much you furniture costs, you’re choosing to buy an animal and then cutting off pieces of it so it conforms to your needs. It’s not an accessory to the home you custom build. It’s a god damn companion.

asmonet's avatar

@Adina1968: I don’t know if you noticed, but there’s something very wrong about your examples. Volunteering a healthy animal for surgery is unneccessary and cruel, amputating a limb of an animal to increase quality of life or save it’s life is benevolent.

Assuming the best case scenario, that the pet has the surgery, does well on pain medication and recovers in a week to two weeks. Explain to me please, how putting an animal through surgery (which is a completely foreign experience and traumatic in itself to an animal), drugging them for days or weeks and permanently altering their bodies is beneficial to the animal?

amanderveen's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock – Or another option is something like the Softclaws. Does anyone know what the cost of them is?

asmonet's avatar

@amanderveen: They have an ordering section on their website, which is linked a few times earlier in the thread. Here

Ordering Page

amanderveen's avatar

Okay, so the Softclaws are about $20 for 40 claws. If you’re just doing the front claws (which seems to be the ones that get amputated), then that means you get 4–6 months for $20. That means you’re paying $40—$60 per year for Softclaws (considerably less than what you’d be paying over a year to feed a cat, I’m sure) to save your furniture, save your skin (if you have a cat that plays aggressively), and to save putting your cat through an unnecessary surgery that can potentially have a chronic negative impact on its quality of life. There is a reason why it is illegal in so many countries.

If you can afford furniture that is so precious that you’d consider risking your pet’s health to save it, I don’t see how using a declawing alternative such as Softclaws can be so outrageous.

Kudos dlm for choosing the humane route.

asmonet's avatar

Well put.

jessturtle23's avatar

I am totally against it and feel that anyone who would declaw an animal to save their furniture is an idiot and doesn’t need to have pets. Put some double sided tape where the cat scratches for a couple weeks and they won’t do it anymore. Anything is better than declawing your cat.

AstroChuck's avatar

Foil works as well as double-sided tape.

rooeytoo's avatar

I just can’t understand why people get outraged about a surgical procedure performed in a sterile environment which may save the animal’s life (in that it will not be sent to a shelter for its crimes against furniture which unfortunately happens all to frequently) but continue to purchase and eat chicken which has been debeaked (not under anesthesia and not in a sterile field) or beef, lamb etc. that has been castrated in the field without anesthesia or cows who have had vaginal hysterectomies again performed in the field with no anesthesia. Why no outrage there? They are living sentient creatures too.

I hope that all who are against declawing, volunteer some time in a local shelter and see the animals that are turned in and why. Which is better, life in a shelter, euthanasia or declawing????

I think it is interesting to note that for the most part, those who have been involved professionally with animals are not against it but individual pet owners are opposed.

asmonet's avatar

It’s like the saying with guns.
Ever heard that Guns don’t kill people, people do?

Cats are not to be punished for being cats. It is the responsibility of the owner to gauge how consistently and appropriately they can or will train their pet and suffer the consequences of not doing so. The problem is with the people, and I prefer to address causes rather than effects.

amanderveen's avatar

@rooeytoo – Actually, I have volunteered in shelters and have seen numerous abuse cases, many of which had to be put down. My pets have always been rescue animals (except for one). I was in 4H as a kid, and we were always taught to use humane husbandry methods with our animals. I try to be aware of where my meat products come from (since I am an omnivore) and pay attention to how the animals are treated. I will not purchase products from companies that I know use inhumane methods on their animals.

Even if someone is oblivious to what happens to the animals that wind up on their plates, does that mean that they shouldn’t care about their pet’s welfare either? If they don’t know about their food, they have no right to start somewhere by caring about their pets?

I do wish that animals were treated better, and not just the cute fluffy ones that we take home as pets. Which is why I am absolutely against performing surgery on an animal that is strictly cosmetic, particularly if there is the chance that the animal will suffer because of it. I’m not just referring to suffering during the surgery or the recovery. I am also referring to long-term effects, such as the shortening of tendons in the paws (which negatively alters the physiological conformation of the cat’s paws), and possible chronic pain (and cats are very stoic creatures, and it can be very difficult to know if they are in pain). Even if they do have a high pain threshold, as someone mentioned – does that make it OK to risk inflicting them with chronic pain??

Nothing in any of the arguments presented so far adequately excuses the potential harm being risked to the pet by declawing.

EnzoX24's avatar

I have to agree, people are making a much bigger fuss about this than there needs to be. De-clawing cats is not cruel, and most of the time it is not painful to them. Two people who work in the animal field have both claimed that there is nothing wrong with it. It seems that more of this has come down to emotions and feelings more than whether this is actually a painful procedure.

TaoSan's avatar

@asmonet

I haven’t visited the wiki page in a while. It’s ridiculous, even ESTONIANS of all people have realized how cruel it is and made it illegal, but many Americans once again don’t get it because it could inconvenience them.

tsktsktsk

asmonet's avatar

Don’t knock the Estonians, pebbles have feelings too. :)

amanderveen's avatar

Yes, please read up on the subject. There is more involved than the discomfort of undergoing a surgery. Even the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA are against the practice, even though they are very much concerned about pet abandonment. The practice is banned in portions of California (bans that were held up in the CA Court of Appeals) and Virginia.

asmonet's avatar

And no one has answered me yet!
How is surgery, drugs, recovery, and alterations to their body beneficial? Anyone?

amanderveen's avatar

They aren’t beneficial. The only benefit I’ve read so far is that it might save them from being homeless. There are better alternatives available.

hahniam's avatar

I take it that your cat is an adult. PLEASE DO NOT DECLAW! It would be inhumane. It is a horrid process for a kitten, it would be an atrocity as an adult and his bones have fully developed with his tendons, much harder to heal, a longer healing process for the cat. Please do not declaw your cat. Find another solution….maybe keep the cats separated if not supervised….something like that. I was a Vet Tech for 8 years and no matter what anyone says, it IS VERY PAINFUL for the cat! PLEASE don’t do it!

asmonet's avatar

I’ve noticed. :)

Tantigirl's avatar

If you’re going to do this to your cat then you don’t deserve their love. Yes, I said it, and I mean it. I’m Australian, and we don’t have declawing, in fact I’d never even heard of it until I came to America to live. I have three indoor cats, and I clip their claws every week. As others have said, I wouldn’t cut off my kids fingers because they may have done something to my furniture, and there is no way that I would do this to animals.

Asmonet my friend, you go girl, you have it absolutely right, I agree with everything you’ve said. There is nothing beneficial in doing something to an animal that is totally unnessary, and to do it simply to preserve something that can, afterall, be replaced. I’m sorry, but the well-being of my cats comes first, not something so shallow as not wanting to replace my things.

@asmonet: EXTERMINATE DECLAWERS!!

asmonet's avatar

DELETE!!

TaoSan's avatar

Sooooooold…..on fluther

makemo's avatar

I think the ethical aspect is just as important as the arguing whether the cats feel pain or not.

In that light, there’s also this other – likewise ethical – question… which brings me into sort of a dilemma… (destroying my whole argumentational plot against declawing advocates):

What about sterilization?

Among those of you, who are against declawing (like me) – but would rather pass, saying no to sterlization: what’s your justification for that procedure?

I can’t honestly seem to think of an intelligent answer. For all I know, I don’t think a person with an intact sense of hearing can overcome the sheer, painful hullabaloo of a feline indoors cat in heat…

asmonet's avatar

Cancers are more prevalent in animals that have not been spayed, neutered, or what have you. In the long run it is beneficial to their health if they’re a pet, and more cost effective in terms of their care.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have heard the argument about less prevalence of cancer but have never seen statistics to support it? My own personal experience is that cancer is becoming a much more common problem in all dogs and cats whether they are desexed or not. This could be due to better diagnostic tools or many other factors.

I am absolutely in favor of desexing of all pets. Breeders should be licensed by the local branch of government who controls kennels, usually a branch of the dept of ag.

Here there is so little emphasis put on desexing. Complete animals run out of control. Government statistics show there are very few pure dingos left in most areas of the country because of interbreeding with feral dogs. Poison is put out for the feral dogs and other wildlife eats it. Just this morning on our walk a bitch who can’t be more than 1 year if that, has already had one litter and is obviously coming back into season because there were 6 males chasing her. This is the kind of cruelty that devastates me, not whether some pampered puss gets declawed so it can lead a life of privileged leisure in a house full of expensive furniture.

TaoSan's avatar

@rooeytoo

You make a valid argument on the dogs, however, because one cruelty exists, that doesn’t mean another cruelty may persist.

Animal cruelty is just that, cruel, in no particular order.

Part of the outcry against declawing is that owners that consider declawing shouldn’t have a cat in the first place. They’re highly “trainable”, heck you can even get them to use the toilet. I mean, the human toilet. However, training them is more “time-consuming” than training a dog, who is naturally programmed to search the alpha male and submit to it.

To put it bluntly, if you consider declawing to save furniture, leave cats alone and get a dog.

Having lived with cats for 20 years I can assure you that there is no cat that isn’t “damaged goods” due to abuse that can’t be trained to not scratch furniture.

Most people still offer the old sisal scratch post tugged away in a corner the animal doesn’t like to begin with, instead of offering something they fancy in a popular location. You can’t just buy that 29.95 piece of junk from WalMart, you have to find out what the animal prefers and where.

It’s very simple, people who declaw choose to compensate their inability to properly train their cat with elective mutilation. Many people appreciate cats for their “self reliance”, but only want the “enjoyable” parts of it, as in not having to walk them or wipe their ass. However, that such a self-reliant animal will also have other “character-strong” traits escapes many. That in itself is abuse.

Jayne's avatar

There is no reason that reaction to cruelty should be a polarized issue, where one can either oppose all cruelties or none. It is a spectrum, in which the justifiability of a painful act is a function of its utility and its harmful effects. Declawing a cat may very well be less traumatic than fixing them, but its benefits are, as rooeytoo himself describes, far more trivial, and it is therefore much less justifiable. Cruelty itself is arbitrarily defined, so it cannot be considered other than as a spectrum; the argument that to allow one act is to allow the other is ridiculous.

TaoSan's avatar

@Jayne

In that case, what would you call a person that “electively” is against some cruelties, but not against other cruelties if they suit their particular requirements/desires?

When it comes to “cruel”, I really don’t see as much “ambiguity” as you state, after all, there isn’t such a thing as “a little racist” or “half atrocities”.

I think you may have answered two different quibs in the same answer, which confuses me a bit (might be me).

Also, I’m having trouble understanding:

It is a spectrum, in which the justifiability of a painful act is a function of its utility and its harmful effects

Could you define “function of its utility” please?

Sorry for being a bit dumb-witted on this one, English is my second language

Jayne's avatar

Sorry, my language was a bit contradictory above, as I used ‘cruelty’ where I should have said ‘the infliction of pain’. Function is used in the sense that it depends on both factors, harm and benefit, and I choose to define cruelty as those acts in which the harm outweighs the benefit; basically, many actions cause harm, but are not cruel, because the good they do outweighs the harm. So declawing and spaying/neutering may, for the sake of argument, cause equal harm to the pet, but only declawing is cruel, because the benefit does not outweigh the harm. People should be against all cruelties, but not against all harm, because only some harm is cruel, and therefore makemo’s argument, that if one supports the painful process of fixing then one must support that of declawing, is invalid. The whole bit about cruelty being arbitrary is just me philosophizing a bit more than necessary.

TaoSan's avatar

AH!

Thank you! That clears it up perfectly! And I fully agree…

rooeytoo's avatar

I think you have just made my position as well. I say that if declawing prevents a cat from ending up in a shelter then it should be done. You might consider it cruel, I do not, to use your theory it is the lesser of the evils, the good of staying in its home “outweighs the harm“of ending up in a shelter where the statistics prove, most cats end up being killed. You may say the owners should not have procured a cat in the first place and that may or may not be true but at this stage of the game is not relevant. I will always maintain that it is better to be declawed than to end up without a home.

tinyfaery's avatar

Okay. But all of the reasons for declawing are completely selfish.

Blondesjon's avatar

@asmonet…In regards to your arguing for spaying and neutering and against declawing: You would rather have your reproductive organs destroyed without your consent than the ends of your fingers removed?

I guess we all have a little crowley in us :)

TaoSan's avatar

@Blondesjon

I don’t know about other cities, but here in Las Vegas we have tremendous problems with large feral cat populations.

I know I get soft when it comes to cats, but I think seeing those poor creatures vegetate and die in the desert sun would touch even the most hardened people.

Is it cruel to get your balls cut off? Undoubtedly! Is it better than having tens of thousands of suffering animals on the streets? Unfortunately, yes. Please keep in mind that cats have a reproduction rate rivaling rabbits.

Spaying/neutering is a necessity in order to prevent suffering, declawing is mutilation for convenience.

Blondesjon's avatar

@TaoSan…I guess an informal poll has been taken among cats that determined they would rather have their genitalia mutilated than their paws?

TaoSan's avatar

@Blondesjon

Whacha saying?

Jayne's avatar

@rooeytoo; But declawing the cat does not prevent the cat from ending up in a shelter; not putting the cat in a shelter because it is damaging your furniture prevents it from ending up in a shelter. The owner is faced with the decision between putting up with the cat, declawing it, or abandoning it, and in choosing either of the latter two they are being cruel. There is no outside party forcing the cat to be abandoned if it is not declawed, no one but the the owner. It is only the vet who faces the law of statistics that you evoke, and there, I agree, it would be cruel to refuse to declaw the cat.

TaoSan's avatar

@rooeytoo

You mentioned you’re in Australia, I really don’t know how the situation is over there. As for here, I think many shelters are quite successful in finding new “parents” for their animals.

Throughout my life, all my cats have always been taken from shelters, so the jury is really out on if it is beneficial for the animal to be “stuck” with an owner willing to amputate it to size. Quite possibly a stint in a shelter followed by a good home might be a viable alternative to a lifetime with owners that are willing to cripple the animal’s paws.
(Believe me, in my next life, I want to be a cat in my house).

Blondesjon's avatar

@TaoSan…I guess I see the whole idea of pro genital mutilation vs. anti-claw mutilation a bit hypocritical.

or perhaps humanizing

TaoSan's avatar

First of all, in females it doesn’t bother the animal, as it is the same procedure it is for women getting their tubes fixed.

For male cats:

So your saying that an owner’s sofa has the same importance as trying to control rabbit-like procreation, prolonging the lifespan of the animal and (I’m sorry to say), improving it’s life quality?

Don’t forget, they don’t have to walk on their balls.

TaoSan's avatar

I gotta correct myself, in females, the ovaries are removed entirely, my bad. Tubal ligation, as in humans, is available but not widespread yet

Blondesjon's avatar

@TaoSan…Are you saying that a woman can have her tubes tied without her consent? A man should be sterilized without his consent because it’s ‘for his own good’?

I’m just saying that non-consensual genital mutilation is the same as non-consensual paw mutilation.

i know alot of folks who can’t walk but still enjoy intercourse

TaoSan's avatar

hm, smells like troll, I’m not biting today ;)

Blondesjon's avatar

That’s an easy out my friend.

I am simply saying that in this whole debate we have humanized something that is not human.

A cat is a friend, a family member, and an individual. To say that one form of physical alteration is necessary and other is cruel reeks of hypocrisy and self promotion to me.

TaoSan's avatar

It’s the motive / motivation

Someone is unwilling to take the time to train their pet properly, and rather mutilates their paws is hardly au par with the necessity to spay/neuter.

An unneutered male, if held as indoor cat, will be one hell of an unhappy cat. If outdoors, the aggression levels are tremendous, cats get STDs too, on top males will fight, badly sometimes, let alone cars. Unneutered males usually pay a very high price for getting laid a couple of times.

Are you saying the motivation to mitigate these circumstances is the same as trying to save your sofa?

amandala's avatar

I would just like to establish the fact that declawing a cat is not like Saw VI; it’s not comparable to having someone remove your fingers with a bolt cutter or something. The reason you take cats to a vet is to have the procedure done in a humane way.

Chill out, PETA, life’s OK.

TaoSan's avatar

@amandala

So if I remove the tips of your fingers it’s okay as long as I don’t use a boltcutter?

Blondesjon's avatar

@TaoSan…So before humans ever began to interfere with the cat population (by taking them out of their natural environent and making them our ‘pets’) the cats were having a really hard time with the clap and…furniture?

TaoSan's avatar

@Blondesjon

LOL :)

Furniture, not so much I guess. But yeah, cat crabs are nasty little buggers

amandala's avatar

@TaoSan: Oh, yes, of course, that’s actually exactly what my point was.

/sarcasm

Blondesjon's avatar

@TaoSanCat Crabs would be an awesome name for a band. :)

TaoSan's avatar

@Blondesjon

I’m sure they’d have ‘em on Guitar Hero in no time :)

Just hat to think about “Fritz the Cat” for some reason

amanderveen's avatar

“I say that if declawing prevents a cat from ending up in a shelter then it should be done. You might consider it cruel, I do not, to use your theory it is the lesser of the evils, the good of staying in its home “outweighs the harm“of ending up in a shelter where the statistics prove, most cats end up being killed.” (quoted from rooeytoo)

It seems that only benefit being put forth for declawing is that the owner won’t have to decide which is more valuable – belongings or keeping their pet. Declawing or dumping a cat off at the shelter are not the only two options available to save your furniture. Plenty of people have managed to train their cats to leave the furniture alone. If someone isn’t able to train their cat, then there are still alternatives, such as the Softclaws (mentioned ad nauseum above). Declawing is just plain unnecessary, even if you can’t train the cat and don’t want it to be homeless. Because it is entirely unnecessary, in addition to being potentially harmful to the cat, the “benefits” of declawing do not outweigh the harm. It is not just a choice between declawing or throwing them out, as some have implied.

Next, I don’t know where the idea of “consent” entered this. Even humans who are unable to give informed consent have guardians who can make choices for them, based on what is considered most beneficial to the ward. I’m not sure how exactly a cat is supposed to have the pros and cons of procedures explained to them or how they are supposed to communicate their “consent” or lack thereof. By definition, are we not our pets’ guardians? Is that not why we are here discussing which choices are actually beneficial to our pets and which are cruel or harmful?

As for neutering, anyone who has spent time in shelters will have seen the suffering caused by not having non-breeding pets neutered. There, I feel the benefits do in fact outweigh the drawbacks. The only disadvantages to neutering cats that I have ever heard of are the standard risks of anesthesia and of infection related to surgery, which are small; a small risk of increased weight gain; or a slightly increased risk of urinary stones in male cats. The benefits to neutering are: a decrease in the population of unwanted pets (which means fewer pets in shelters or dying in the wild); the prevention of pyometra; a dramatic decrease in the risk of females developing mammary tumors; uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers are prevented; males do not get into fights over females that are in heat (and those fights often lead to severely infected wounds, if not worse); females do not undergo the physiological strain of bearing a litter at a young age, which frequently stunts the female’s growth, in my experience.

Declawing and neutering are two entirely different procedures performed for entirely different reasons and very different risks are associated with each.

asmonet's avatar

@Blondesjon: Your argument about cat reprductive rights versus the right to keep their toes makes no sense, cats don’t know better. Desexing prevents prevents painful conditions, declawing causes them.

Blondesjon's avatar

@asmonet….Semantics Cutting off pieces is cutting off pieces is cutting off pieces.

Was there a feral cat problem before humans decided to domesticate cats? There is no other animal in nature with the ego to believe it knows what’s “best” for the rest of the animals.

comparing children and pets is rather telling as well

Jayne's avatar

Cutting of pieces is not cutting of pieces is not cutting off pieces, unless removing your inflamed appendix is the same as chopping off your hand. The one is painful but necessary, and the other is painful and, shall we say, rather rude. And consent is a moot issue, because if it were not, and we were faced with the option you present us, of abslutely no breach of consent or absolute breach of consent, we would either be forbidden from giving them rabies shots (hey, the cats don’t like them) or would be given the right to brand them to ‘keep them safe’; after all, you yourself make the claim that the benefits are irrelevent.

amandala's avatar

@amanderveen: Would you like written consent from each cat that is to be declawed? If that’s your argument, then I suggest you rethink your point on neutering. Cats, like all animals, procreate. If you think cats should consent to being declawed, who are you to decide that the benefits of neutering outweigh the benefits?

TaoSan's avatar

@amandala

You’re entirely missing the point. Wanting to compare the necessary evil of spaying/neutering to the entirely unnecessary and barbaric process of declawing is completely ridiculous, if anything that is one fact established in this thread.

The rest of the civilized/first world has outlawed declawing because it is considered cruel. Who do you think draws this legislation in Europe, threadlock-wearing PETA vegans?

Yet again in this country some insist on continuing a practice the rest of the world has come to see as outdated/cruel/what have you.

But then, we’re the cream of the globe, better than all the others, and we know it all better, don’t we now?

amandala's avatar

I can think of things far more barbaric than declawing cats like, I don’t know, genocide? Even in regard to animals, there are things I believe are more worthy of concern. And since you’ve called our country out on our faults, maybe we should be putting things like human rights ahead of cats.
I’m not saying that you’re not entitled to your opinion. I just think that this is being blown out of proportion entirely.

TaoSan's avatar

@amandala

I hear what you are saying. Just trying to raise awareness.

The reason I am so persistent is that this is one of those “evils” that could rather easily be avoided. It simply exists because some people really aren’t aware that declawing is a full-scale amputation of a vital body part, and that there are many feasible alternatives.

Of course there’s a million other things in the world. Believe me, if I could exchange quibs with the leadership in Darfur, I would just as zealously debate genocide with them. Unfortunately, that’s kind of out of the question.

I personally just don’t subscribe to a mentality of the “lesser evil” becoming acceptable because worse things exist. But of course that’s me, I can’t force that on anybody.

I do get your point though.

amandala's avatar

I don’t want you to think that I’m unsympathetic to this at all. And you’re entirely right: it’s not like clipping your fingernails. I can understand why some people have the procedure done, but I do believe that they should know what it entails.

And if you somehow manage to find those responsible for what’s going on in Darfur, drop me a line. I’d love to go to town on them…

TaoSan's avatar

I’ll let you know ;)

Blondesjon's avatar

I stated at the beginning of this thread that I am against declawing.

I simply wanted to point out that no cat has ever chosen to be a pet, be sterilized, or be declawed. They simply adapt to their environment and situation as animals are prone to do. much better than people I might add

If humans had not chosen to take an animal out of the wild, against it’s will, and domesticate it thousands of years ago all cats would be feral.

@Jayne…Humanizing the cat does not make your argument any more compelling. We don’t want to see pictures of botched declawing and cute suffering kitties, hence, in human terms declawing is bad.
We don’t want a bunch of wild cats running around making more wild cats and tearing up our garbage, hence, sterilization is good.

Do any of you notice at all that we are only serving our own feelings here? We don’t want to look at a suffering animal whose toes have been cut off. It makes us feel bad. We don’t want to go out and clean our garbage off the curb or think about poor wild kitties being put to sleep. It makes us feel bad.

I’ve said this before. People humanize everything. It clouds our judgement and allows us to fool ourselves into thinking we are selflessly helping those that can’t defend or think for themselves. It makes us feel noble.

again, nothing about what it’s doing for the cat

DISCLAIMER:
I love cats. I have two cats. They will not be declawed. They will be sterilized. I just get tired of seeing how worked up and self-righteous people get when they are actually working both sides of the coin.

TaoSan's avatar

@Blondesjon

I’m sorry, I can’t find any common ground in your reasoning, despite it being presented in a compelling manner.

I’ve been typing around on this answer for a while, but I can’t put my finger on how to express it.

You seem to be hellbound to prove that the motivation to exert necessary control over a situation is morally equal to the motivation to keep your sofa in shape. I just can’t follow that logic.

For me the answer to all of this is very simple, at the base/core of my morals and understanding of human decency, it is simply not acceptable to take a living breathing thing and cut it to size for convenience’ sake. End of line. It is the concept of “needless suffering”. I’m not catering to myself by being the knight in shiny armor defending Fluffy, certainly not, I’m merely defending my understanding of “decency”.

I know you’re not a cat-butcher, and I can follow your reasoning that the cat will make something of it, of course, it’s all it knows. Heck, you can cut it’s legs off, and it will still be a cat doing cat things as much as possible.

Blondesjon's avatar

@TaoSan…maybe this will help. I don’t care about the sofa or overpopulation.

My point is we have never been given the right to interfere period.

Ask yourself this, “Would I be happy as a pet? Would I be happy to have all of my life altering decisions made for me by an entity that doesn’t even speak my language?”

I’m just making a much broader statement about the ways we fool ourselves into thinking we know what is best for everything.

Jayne's avatar

Umm…I’m pretty sure they make the cat feel pretty bad too. I fail to see where I have favored the human perspective over the feline. I have talked about the benefits to humans and not to cats, of course, because in the short run there are no benefits for the cats, although I’m sure feral cats aren’t having a great time of it. Likewise, I have talked about the harm to cats, in terms of physical suffering, because the psychological harm to people is insignificant. (Naturally, when someone is debating whether or not to declaw their own cat, then one could say that it is the mental pain they themselves would suffer as much as that suffered by the cat that hangs in the balance, but that is simply part of how the human mind works, and is not part of our abstract discussion.) But humans and cats are not isolated systems, and we have to take both of their perspectives into account. We should not try to only consider the cat’s point of view, because the problems caused to people are just as important; one just needs to be careful to assign reasonable weight to each side. Hence, the loss of furniture does not outweigh the pain to the cat, while the considerable inconvenience of unchecked reproduction does.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Jayne…Please take note of my most recent ”@TaoSan”.

amanderveen's avatar

@amandala – I was actually trying to make the point that asking for consent from a cat is ridiculous.

amanderveen's avatar

“My point is we have never been given the right to interfere period.” (quoted from Blondesjon)

This is a valid argument; however, I can just as easily argue that it is our responsibility to interfere to safeguard quality of life because we have the ability to do so. Either argument has it’s philosophical merits. While it can be true that we do not have the right to interfere, it can also be true that failing to interfere is a shirking of responsibility. The question then becomes, who is supposedly responsible for conferring or denying that right/responsibility? That would take us off on a tangent that could take years to explore.

While I agree that there are far more important issues in the world, I also believe that small battles are just as worthwhile as the large ones. Perhaps we fight the battles we can, when we can.

Jayne's avatar

@Blondesjon; But we should not simply ask ourselves what is best for the cat, and base our decisions solely on that. Humans and felines are codependent, with them more dependent on us than us on them, so we need to take into account those things that make that relationship work. Uncontrolled breeding will cause major problems with that relationship, to the detriment of both of us, and thus cannot be left out of consideration, no matter how much you want to prevent interference; you must take the painful interference of medical care along with the warm and fuzzy interference of ownership.

Cats do not have a sense of personal liberty; to expect them to is to humanize them. We cannot take their will into account, because we have no indication of what it might be. In any case, you make decisions for the good of your children, do you not?

Blondesjon's avatar

@amanderveen…Thank you for getting it. :) lurve

TaoSan's avatar

good kiiiiiiiiiiitty kitty kitty…..

TaoSan's avatar

@dlm812

If only you had known what you’ll start :)

AstroChuck's avatar

Purrrrrrrrrrrrr

dlm812's avatar

@TaoSan Oh I know… I’ve been following along, just enjoying the debate I accidentally created and GAing when appropriate. I hope y’all are enjoying this. At least I was affirmed on my decision :)

amanderveen's avatar

I have to admit, I certainly didn’t realize where it was going to go when I first clicked on the question. :o)

asmonet's avatar

@Blondesjon: Actually, feral implies they were domesticated and returned to the wild. You’re thinking of just wild cats.

@AstroChuck: I’ll have those knuckles now, if you don’t mind.

Blondesjon's avatar

@asmonet…Splitting hairs is an entirely different animal rights issue.

asmonet's avatar

@Blondesjon: We all know what you meant, but it’s an incorrect term, I thought you might like to know in case it came up somewhere else. :)

Blondesjon's avatar

@asmonet…I have never let facts get in the way of me being right.

do i need to add the smiley face to denote my playful attitude?

asmonet's avatar

No dear, I’m quite capable of working it out. ;)

Blondesjon's avatar

Ok…

i will have the last word on this, by golly

asmonet's avatar

Wrong, again.

Blondesjon's avatar

Oops…

hee hee hee

asmonet's avatar

Hahaha.

;)

Blondesjon's avatar

This thread will have more responses than 3 CIA QUESTIONS before I give in.

asmonet's avatar

This thread will have more than infinity CIA responses before I do.

Blondesjon's avatar

Lurve…I always prefer a battle of wills to a battle if wont’s.

asmonet's avatar

I concur.

TaoSan's avatar

oh dear

TaoSan's avatar

Why can’t weeeee be frieeends,
Why can’t weeeee be frieeends,
Why can’t weeeee be frieeends,
Why can’t weeeee be frieeends,

dud di dud di duuuuuh

asmonet's avatar

Because!

TaoSan's avatar

Fair enuff!

asmonet's avatar

I agree!

Blondesjon's avatar

Shazbot!

Jayne's avatar

Ooooh, pointless thread! Gimme gimme!

TaoSan's avatar

phrooom…..

There you go, glad to be of service! ;)

AstroChuck's avatar

¡Basta!

asmonet's avatar

@Jayne: You’re lurve shot right up. Glad to know you’re fitting in here.

asmonet's avatar

Damn it! I meant Your!

TaoSan's avatar

VIAGRA!!!!

Blondesjon's avatar

Edlritch

Jayne's avatar

I have a cat on my lap. He is warm. And sharp.

TaoSan's avatar

An Elephant Enters A China Store
The Bus Departs
Yellow Rain

Fin

TaoSan's avatar

Oblique

Blondesjon's avatar

Venerable

Tantigirl's avatar

@asmonet: EXTERMINATE Blondesjon LMAO

Blondesjon's avatar

Estrogen

Jayne's avatar

Viral estrogen? No God! We’re all doomed!

Blondesjon's avatar

Yugoslavia

TaoSan's avatar

Transylvania

TaoSan's avatar

Oblong

Blondesjon's avatar

Umpteenth

asmonet's avatar

Floccinaucinihilipilification

asmonet's avatar

Cinemas

TaoSan's avatar

Abomination

asmonet's avatar

Gestation!

I just wanted it to rhyme.

Blondesjon's avatar

Simplicity

Jayne's avatar

Simplexity

Blondesjon's avatar

Elasticity

TaoSan's avatar

Synergy

jlm11f's avatar

[mod says:] Please stop with the off-topic activity. Take it to the chat room, guys. Thank you.

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Montanaroth's avatar

this is absolutely ridiculous. DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT. it is painful and traumatizing and can lead to anger issues and training issues. Clip her claws once a week making sure not to cut into the pink nerve. There are even specialized cat claw sanders that literally buffer the claws into a round, completely unsharp shape.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Montanaroth…Great Answer…welcome to Fluther :)

mij's avatar

Hey the wee cats got those claws for a reason, trim them maybe but dont do more than that.
Ever had a fingernail ripped of accidently, don’t try it…
My cat is listening…

Blondesjon's avatar

I agree.

Response moderated

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