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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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...
- 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...
- 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.