When Sarah and I first got Avah, one of the conditions (beyond that we would take turns cleaning out her litter box in those pre Litter-Robot days) was that we get her declawed. My only justification looking back, was that we don’t have leather furniture, and I didn’t want our chenille sofas to be shredded by a claw-sharpening maniac.
I asked our vet’s receptionist about it when I took Avah in for her first shots, and she asked me “front and back? or just front?” Doing both just seemed excessive, even though Avah is an indoors-only cat, so I responded “front,” thinking that it would be enough.
Oh stupid, stupid me.
I took Avah in to get the works at about 10 weeks; spayed and declawed in the same go. When I came to pick her up, I fully expected her to be weak and sore, but what I wasn’t mentally prepared for was how damaged my baby was. She was totally gimped. Her two front paws looked wasted and torn up, covered in some kind of yellow clotting material and dried blood; we had to use special litter for two weeks so her wounds wouldn’t get infiltrated and infected. She could hardly walk. She certainly couldn’t jump. She ached. She looked at me like I should be able to help her.
But I was the one who had done it to her.
It made me cry watching her shuffle like a broken old woman around our house. I had no idea how terrible the experience would be, because even though I had worked for a veterinarian on the weekends when I was in junior high and high school, we never did a single declawing operation that I was aware of; I guess house cats in Sonora, Texas all go outside.
My point is that declawing is traumatic, inhumane, and cruel; I may not have known before, but I do now. Avah got over her major surgery relatively quickly, but the guilt over the pain I made her suffer – to “save” my furniture – will be around forever. All I have to do is look at her slightly deformed front paws to be reminded of her ordeal.
Which is why when Mike Cane sent me a link to Heather Williams’ Soft Claws experience, I decided to share the product (as well as the story of my folly) with you all.
According to the Soft Claws website:
Developed by a veterinarian, Soft Claws® are vinyl nail caps that glue on to your cat’s claws. It covers the claw tips so no damage occurs when your cat scratches.
Each package of Soft Claws® contains 40 nail caps, 2 tubes of adhesive, applicator tips and easy to follow instructions.
One package contains enough nail caps for 4 applications on Kitty’s front paws. Each application lasts approximately 4-6 weeks so one package lasts about 4-6 months.
Soft Claws® come in a variety of sizes so your cat or kitten will have a purrfect fit and in lots of fun colors plus clear for the most discreet feline.
After trying them Heather says:
They DO really work and they aren’t a gimmick. I picked some up on the weekend and, with the help of my daughter, we popped them on two cats in about 15 minutes from start to finish, including ‘drying time’ for each kitty. The cats just didn’t seem to care at all! I couldn’t believe it. Chester picked at his new nails for a few minutes but the glue held fast and he gave up and fell asleep.
Yes, they will eventually come off, and as Heather found out – not using enough glue might make one pop off, too. But what a better route to go than declawing. Anything is better than seeing flaps of skin where your kitty’s fingers should be.