Thursday, January 17, 2008

Moral Dilemma

I'm having a moral dilemma about Trinket. I've always believed it's inhumane to declaw a cat. I understand it's an amputation at the first knuckle, and am sure it would be quite painful. In most scenarios there are other alternatives such as teaching the cat to use a scratching post or even those little plastic nail caps to prevent scratching. Trinket has scratched a couple of chairs, but that is not a big deal. We have been squirting her with a water bottle, and she is getting better, so I think she would learn not to in time.

My main concern is one of instinct. Trinket was a feral cat for the first 5 months of her life, and she had to hunt for food. We have a parrot, River who is very near and dear to me. He is a larger parrot, about 12" tall weighing around a pound. He could defend himself against a cat for the most part since his beak can apply about 3000 lbs of pressure per square inch. He could snap off a human finger if he ever felt like it, but I worry about him with Trinket since she was a hunter. I don't think I'd worry so much if she were a kitten that never lived outdoors, and had to catch and eat prey. I've caught her eating his feathers that he's molted, and she also jumped up on an end table near where he was out of his cage on his ringstand and got in a crouching position like she was about to pounce.

Trinket fits in great with everybody in the family, and once River gives her a little nip, I'm sure she will be just as respectful of him as our dogs are. So here is my question, is it horrible to declaw her for peace of mind? (Trinket will be an exclusively indoor cat) I don't take this decision lightly and would appreciate any feedback. I have an appointment for her to be spayed this Tuesday, and would do them both at the same time to minimize risk with anesthesia.


RambleRedhead said...

I read your post and would have a few thoughts:

If you don't want to declaw the cat then you could get these covers from the vet to protect the furniture but you would have to do it often as they grow.

I would try to keep the bird and the cat from each other when possible so that the bird won't become dinner.

In the past I had the front paws declawed and left the ones in the back in the event the cat was able to get outside. Joe has his cat and doesn't want to declaw him so he trims them often - that is another idea for you as well

Wish you the best and hope it will work out for you

Walt said...

That's a really tough decision you have, Holly, and I don't envy you for it. Normally I would be definitely for not declawing. I find it barbaric and cruel, but at the same time, I don't have the safety and wellbeing of a parrot to keep in mind.

I'll tell you this. Whether Trinket was feral or born in captivity, the stunt of getting into the pouncing position to jump River is going to happen. That's what cats do. I don't know if she was in position for a real attack or to play, though. Even if she was in play mode, I'm sure she can hurt River pretty easily without thinking about it.

That being said, declawing her now would be much better than doing it at an older age. It will still be traumatic, no matter what.

Have you done an online search about this? there might be message boards that can give you some better insight than I can provide.

Ricky B said...

How old is Trinket? The one thing that you have to remember is, the older the cat, the harder it is for him/her to come out of anaesthesia.

My cat is almost 9 years old and Herbe is always telling me to get him declawed, but I can't. He has grown up with them, and to take them away now is just too cruel. Plus if he were to die because of not waking up from the surgery, I would probably have a mental break down.

I think it all depends on the age of the cat. The younger the better.

Anonymous said...

I think as long as you have the slightest doubt as to River's safety, you need to declaw Trinket. Both of our cats were declawed at a later age and, while it was indeed painful for them for about a week or so, they of course healed and went on with their lives. It seems you'd be doing both your bets a favor in the long run.

The Smiths said...

Hi Holly!
I used to think I'd never declaw also. Then our cat kept scratching our daughter - not on purpose. They play together and it would always end in blood! He really didn't mean to do it. The claws just would come out when he got excited. Plus he was ruining furniture - again, not on purpose. He would just tear across it in a kitty frenzy and those claws would rip it.

We got it done when he was very young when neutering him like your cat. I was really worried he would be in pain, but he didn't seem bothered by anything other than the anaethesia made him groggy.They just took the front claws only - I think that is standard.

He is a happy indoor cat, and he still uses his scratching post, even though the claws are gone. I don't think he knows!

I hope that helps! I know it is really hard to decide.

Adam in London said...

Hey Holly-
I follow you on Twitter and saw your request for help about this particular issue...I have to agree with Michael on this one. It's wonderful that the new cat is fitting in well with the family, but do you really want to be faced with the unavoidable apprehension and anxiousness that will no doubt be present should the cat keep it's claws? Ultimately, it is a tough decision, but I think in the end it's worth it...unless you'd like to allow the scenario of coming home from work to a mountain of feathers and fur from a long afternoon of animal battles to become a real possibility. :(

Nessa said...

crap I entered the security thing wrong and my comment deleted haha!

Ok, I think my opinion mirrors Walt's. Because you have River and he is free to walk about the house, I would do it, but do it now. It sounds like she would be sore for a week or so, but will return to her adorable self.

My heart goes out to you because i don't think I could think rationally if it were my decision.

What ever you decide will be best for your situation.

I do agree with Walt in looking for some message boards ect.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I'm with the others who say that for the safety of River, it's best to de-claw. I'm never a fan of this procedure, but you have two kids to think about.