Declaw or Not-Declaw – that is the question

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My cat has ripped up two couches. And he hates getting his nails cut.

G was a fidgety Woody Allen type who “ummed” and “erred” and gesticulated wildly as he told me about his 8 year old cat.

G’s cat is a chronic scratcher of furniture and, this point was reiterated a few times, has ripped up two couches.

So this has led him into looking into declawing. He knows about the controversy around it and has found that most vets just wont do the surgery anymore. In Europe the surgery is illegal! He has finally found a vet who will do the surgery but the procedure is really expensive and very far away.

So G asks? What  can I do?

I reiterated to G that declawing is really taking the entire first joint of the paw off – it is really amputation that allegedly makes cats miserable and changes their personalities. I also told him about a product called SoftPaws. When I had cats I never used them but they are little vinyl caps that allegedly work like a charm. These were all practical suggestions, I suppose.


I haz teh clawz to catch teh thingz!

I haz teh clawz to catch teh thingz!

M:Do your cats sleep a lot? Mine did.

G: Oh! Are they sleepers! (Right here he made my Woody Allen comparisons come true)

M: Well, my experience with cats was that it is almost always a waste of time to fight with them but that they are very compliant when asleep. Have you tried to cut their nails when they are asleep?

G: No. I hate to be touched when I am asleep.

M: Most cats don’t care and will just go back to sleep if you wake them up at all. You might try gently grabbing one paw at a time and press the pads so the nails extend and them clip them before you hit the pink quick.

G: That sounds scary?

M: I understand, you have only fought with your cat when it comes to nail-business. This is a potentially new space. It is a trick that has never failed me with my own cats or with others. This works for pills and liquid medicine as well.  Just stroke his throat while he is asleep, pop the pill in hold their mouths closed as they return to their slumber. It is pretty sweet and funny


G waved his finger in a “aha!” motion  and put some money in the jar and said in his nebbishy way

“Thank you, thank you, a hundred times thank you. I hope that this idea works.”

True, this wasn’t my most creative approach ever but it does sort of embrace the whole juijitsu of conflict resolution that I am into. Besides, I wanted to share this tip about cats that I felt wasn’t widely known. And I love to playfully swat the sweet little tips of cat fingers!

It seems to me that when we meet struggles we feel that we must subdue them – wrap them up in a towel and have our way with them. This is a powerful habit of Western people, it causes wars on cancer, drugs and people. How often do we take the opportunity to be kind to our struggles and tend to them with care when they are dormant?

Which struggles have you been trying to subdue lately? When do they sleep? How might you tend to them?


photo by: Malingering
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