Of Dogs and Cats

I read the results of an Associated Press poll today that said some 60 percent of American pet owners believe it’s okay to declaw a cat but 8 percent think it’s wrong to de-bark a dog.

Are they crazy?

First off, I’m not a cat-lover. Never have been. In fact, despite my nickname, I’ve been afraid of cats since I was a child and reached beneath a bush to pet one, only to have the imp rake its claws down the inside of my forearm.

No scars, but oh, the pain!

Still, to anesthetize a pet kitty and basically remove the first digits of its paws sounds cruel to me.

I understand some owners’ concerns about those claws. Cats do scratch — kids in the family, people who come over to visit, the furniture, the walls, whatever.

That can’t be pretty.

But cats are hunters and about the only way they can protect themselves is by scratching.

So they need their claws.

Seems to me that’s the price one pays for wanting to “own” a cat, if that’s even possible!

As for dogs, well, I’ve been a dog lover most of my life, and I can’t even visualize why someone would consider removing a dog’s vocal cords, thereby rendering it unable to bark.

While some breeds are more “vocal” than others, an owner must assess why the dog is barking — boredom, anxiety, attention-seeking, playfulness, or because every other dog around is barking (the “me, too” factor!)

Owners also should not leave Fido outside for long periods of time to annoy the neighbors; they should make sure the dog gets plenty of exercise to release pent-up energy.

I know someone who raises dogs and had several de-barked because of the constant clamor. The little things now kind of squeak, a breathy noise that sounds painful to me, though the owner says they’re not in pain and the procedure was fairly routine.

Dogs are supposed to bark. That’s their warning signal that something’s amiss. True, it might be nothing more than a squirrel tight-roping across the power lines and jumping into a nearby tree, but they’re going to let the world know about it!

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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6 thoughts on “Of Dogs and Cats

    • I know. The things we do in the name of Love sometimes baffle me. Until I researched it, I thought declawing meant only removing the cat’s toenail, which sounded painful enough. To think they actually remove part of its paw makes me shudder. Thanks for weighing in, Sunshine!

  1. I agree with you Debbie. I am both a cat and dog lover. But I do have a confession. I did have our fluffy longhaired cat,Muffin, declawed for all the reasons you listed and then spent the next 12 years regretting it. Guess I learned the hard way. He did seem to adapt i.e. he could scurry up a tree with finesse if he saw a dog coming and he did learn to compensate by using his teeth to nab a bird or baby rabbit. But still, I would never do it again.

    • Yes, Kathy, the article quoted people who had had the declawing done, and one woman was in your situation exactly. She, too, spent the next decade fretting and regretting having forced the surgery upon “Fluffy.” It’s too bad this type of thing sounds so convincing when it’s first presented as an option. Thanks for your first-hand experience!

  2. I had my cat declawed, but I didn’t realize what was involved (as I child, we had a declawed cat, and she got along fine.)

    When we got a pair of kittens for my kids a couple years ago, I did some research and was horrified. Couldn’t do it. We bought a really nice cat tree with lots of sisal rope posts and we have scratching toys throughout the house. So far, furniture (and kitties) are in tact.

    • Another vote against de-clawing — yeah! When I think how it must hurt afterward (because they probably don’t feel anything during the actual surgery), I just cringe!

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