Wednesday, September 21

A Funny Thing Happened...

On the way to never-neverland last night. We've thought a bunch about whether or not Linus should be declawed. On the one hand, I'm passively against declawing your cat. I know that there are several good arguments for the procedure, and that everyone's situation is different. I also used to work in a veterinary clinic, and I've seen it done, and seen the way cats feel about it. I know that if you have a cat and it's made a habit out of tearing up your skin (or your children's skin, or you dog's eyeballs, or your furnature), you're probably thinking it's a great idea. If your cat is young enough, it's probably not going to do any mental damage on your cat. Hell, even if you've got a slightly older cat who's otherwise well-adjusted, most of the time, it'll take the procedure fine. Of course, the older the cat, the longer it (might) take him or her to adjust. That goes for removing their sexual organs, too, by the way. That's part of what made it so hard for me to decide that it would be the best thing for Linus - he's almost a year old.

We've discussed this at length, usually when in the process of "winding down" for the night. I'd curl up on Bruce's chest and talk to him about all of the reasons we should - and all the reasons we might not want to - declaw him.

The argument for:
  1. We live in an apartment building, and plan on renting for at least another few years before we're able to afford a house of our own. There are many landlords in the world who will only accept cats who've been declawed.
  2. We want to have other pets during his lifetime. Because we're unsure how those pets and Linus will get along, and because we don't want any bloody battles in the future, we were considering declawing him - for the sake of those other animals or (don't get your hopes up yet, not by far) even children, some day.
  3. If you're going to do it, the time to do it is when they're getting fixed. That way, they only have to get put under anesthesia once, and the whole process is combined. There is always a risk when you put your pet under, and you definitely want to avoid doing it if at all possible. This is perhaps the worst reason.

The argument against:

  1. The vet doesn't cut off their fingernails to the point that they're no longer capable of growing - well, actually he does. But that's not all he cuts off. Take a look at your hands. That last third of them, the third that your fingernails grow on and all the way back to the first knuckle? That's the bone they amputate. It's not the most attractive of terms, but it's essentially what they do. Amputate. When a cat is only a few months old, it's sort of an inconvenience and it makes them uncomfortable for a while. Then they get used to it. But...
  2. as the cat gets older, it starts to gain confidence and define itself in at least a small way by the weapons it has "on hand". That's my view of it. Why take away that definition, that confidence, unless there's a direct threat to your (way of?) livelyhood? It made me feel selfish to consider it for the reasons above, because...
  3. Linus really isn't a scratcher. Sure, when we're playing rough, sometimes he pulls out the big guns - but not until we're (let's face it here) picking on him hardcore. He doesn't rip up the furnature, there's never been an instance where we've lost an eye. He uses his scratching post.

So we went through the whole list in bed last night (or I did, I think Bruce was listening to me drone on and on because it lulls him to sleep), and we came to the conclusion that there was really no reason to declaw him. Also, it made me cry to think about doing it, and Bruce is just nice enough to want to make me feel better when I start crying about something.

When I brought him into the vet's this morning, I checked the box for Neuter, and left the one for Declaw blank. I also left the box for "Pre-Anesthesia Bloodwork" blank, because he's not old OR decrepit, and I'm pretty damn cheap, when it comes down to it. If Linus starts clawing things up in the future, I guess we'll just have to try the double-sided tape thing. Or maybe chase him around with a squirt gun for a few weeks. I don't know. I just didn't feel good about doing it. (Again, I have nothing huge against it in general, it just wasn't right for Linus.)

We had a scheme worked out, you see. This afternoon, Bruce called the apartment office and told them we were looking into getting a cat. He asked them what the guidelines were for the animals in the complex and the deposit. We were prepared to pay the extra $15 a month, and the $200 pet deposit - even though we really can't afford it. We were ready to go that extra step so that we wouldn't feel paranoid for the rest of our lives in that apartment. We wanted to have him at home without being worried that the inspectors were going to pop in at any moment to give it a once-over. If they discover we have him, we'll owe them $150 for every month we've been at the apartment, regardless of when we got him. We definitely can't afford that. Although we were planning on moving in November, we thought that $200 was worth it, in order to feel at home again in our apartment.

Enter the extra conflict. Remember how I drove Linus to the vet's office this morning and checked the box for neuter? The apartment won't accept any cats that haven't been declawed. FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK, and that's when I collapse onto the floor in a fit of hysteria.

There is no way that I spend all that time coming to a decision I feel comfortable and right about, and then reverse it. No way am I putting him through boarding at the vets, then coming home for 2 days, then dumping him off on Miss Molly, then bringing him home for a night, then bringing him back to the vets to have his testicles removed under anesthesia, only to bring him home for a few days, then take him back for another fucking surgery. It's just not happening. I thought about it - and I can't do it. I can't do that to my baby.

So we're going to look for another place. Maybe as soon as October. After all, we never cancelled the U-Haul we reserved when we thought we were moving to Wisconsin at the end of September. We can probably just downgrade it. We're probably going to lose the security deposit for not giving them enough notice, but at this point my mental health is much more valuable than what that's worth. And after so much thought, it's just not right to Linus or us to have to back down on our decision at this point. The good things about leaving his claws intact just outweigh the bad. It's that simple.

There's another option, one that I'm hesitant to mention to our apartment bitches. False Nails.I'm pretty sure they won't go for it. Why? Because they're evil Nazi people. That's why. Next thing you know, they're going to require us to salute when we see them walk by.


Jess said...

I think it's totally adorable that you spent all that time coming to a decision about declawing. Maybe it proves that I don't love my cats, or maybe it just means that I feel they're resiliant enough to handle it, but when there's an option to get those claws removed, I'm all over it. Lance liked to claw my couch to shreds. Then, when we did get him declawed, he decided that if he didn't have claws anymore, he'd just chew on the couch.

I almost had all his teeth pulled before I realized that that would mean feeding him mushy food forever. And I don't have the time to make it mushy with milk and a fork. So he kept his teeth.

Still, though, he tries to scratch things. He's really just that dumb.

LiVEwiRe said...

I worked as a vet tech for 4 years and assisted in surgery. I will never declaw a cat. I'd rather move; which I have. I've seen some pretty awful things including claws that grew back through the flesh over a year later. I've also seen them resort to using their teeth and biting. I lived in an apartment with gorgeus hardwood floors - they accepted me using softpaws as an alternative. It might take you longer to find a place that will accept use of the softpaws but it is worth it. I wouldn't want anyone to do that to me out of convenience. Sounds like you did alot of thinking on this and that is highly commendable. You take that little guy's care seriously. If more people did, then I think an increasing number of landlords would be willing to accept pets. I've see Linus' pic and he's adorable - he's lucky to have you guys!

Nowhere Girl said...

THose soft claw thingies are hilarious. If you can actually get them on... great idea.

PS_ I would just lie to the landlord!! What is he going to do... check the cat?! Fuck him! =), Crits

sunny said...

Jess: Totally didn't mean you didn't love your cats. Not at all what I was trying to say. Sorry.

livewire: Hey, thanks for stopping by! And for making me feel better, too. I really appreciate it.

Crits: Actually, I'm pretty sure they would check. They're evil bastards. Yes, that's the correct term for them.

Did you hear about the random "cleanliness inspections" they've decided to threaten us with?

HappyFunBall said...

Something else you can try, is clipping his claws regularly. You can just use a regular set of nail clippers, but be careful not to clip down too far, or it'll bleed and you'll have an unhappy cat on your hands and possibly one or two less fingers. When he is calm and cozy on your lap, hold his paw and press down gently till the claws come out, then clip away. You can see the 'quick' of the claw, it's the non-transparent part of the claw ... you don't want to cut down that far, or the blood will happen. If you do slip and cut too far down, have cornstarch handy, and put it over the claw to stop the bleeding.

Here's a good site I found, with pics: CLIP ME!

Mommy said...

I've only been back on the DELL for awhile. I can see i'll be using it more now, and have to rearrage my time, so I can.
Your map of the apartment is funny. I get most of it, except what is off from the bathroom and on the other side of the door from the living room. i'm proud to see that you know where and what the kitchen is! LOL.
About the cat. You're dwelliing on him too much. What needs to be done, needs to be, just do it. Cat's are cat's in my book. Just because I couldn't afford Disney, was no excuse to get one, other than I felt so bad when Robby was soo sick, laying there in that hospital bed!
You're right, I am going to like this thing, and am going to get rambling if I don't watch myself! (wonder where you got it from??)
gotta go and get Dad's lunch and a shower. love you, mom