Throughout my life, I have suffered bouts of what I call “kitten disease.” No, it’s not an overwhelming urge to snorgle every kitten (though I suffer from that as well). Kitten disease is a multitude of scratches on one’s hands, arms, legs and sometimes even on one’s feet. Kitten disease is often contracted when one becomes the proud parent of a new kitten. Scratches are to be expected – kittens have claws.
My youngest cat is currently three years old, and I still suffer from the occasional bout of kitten disease. You see, Tegan loves to stalk me in the bathroom each morning. It’s a game we play, though a rather painful one for me. The moment I turn my back to step into the shower, she lunges and grabs my leg with her paws. She then bunny-kicks my foot while I giggle hysterically. It’s not so bad in the winter. But in the summer, I often appear as though I stumbled through a bramble patch barefoot. Still, I would never dream of declawing her.
My oldest cat, Jezebel, uses her claws as tools. I’ve had a baby-proof latch on my closet door since her kitten hood, when she quickly learned to slide it open with her claws. I’ve even caught her atop the gerbil habitat, picking at the latch with one extended claw. (The latch now sports a strip of duct-tape for good measure.) She even uses her claws as grappling hooks, digging them into the edge of the drawers to climb to the top of the tallest bedroom dresser.
Sure, I sport scratches. Sure, I’ve experienced the horror of a snag on my favorite sweater. Also, my couch has some evidence of scratching despite a house full of fancy cat towers and scratching posts. However, I am still not among the 60 percent of American pet owners (according to a recent survey conducted by AP-Petside.com.) who believe it is okay to declaw a cat.
What about you? Do you believe declawing is cruel and unnecessary, or do you think it’s a necessary precaution to ensure the safety of us humans who live with clawed cats? Share your comments and opinions on this controversy.