Rescue Report: The Fate of a Declawed Cat

*This is the second in our Rescue Report series. If you’d like to submit your story of rescuing a cat from the streets or shelter, click here.

By Erika Nicklom

I was somewhat on the fence about fate until I met a cat that would change my mind into a definite believer.

When I moved from my hometown to the big city, I rented an apartment that didn’t allow pets. I did have two cats that my best friend and I adopted together when we were roommates and knew I would have to leave them together with her. I visited as much as I could but missed coming home to a cat.

A year later my lease was up and found an apartment that allowed me to have a cat. Instead of splitting up the cats I co-parented (my friend and I agreed this was not a good idea), I looked for my own in shelters around the area. I wanted an all black cat since that was what I have always had. Young or an adult didn’t matter. And I wanted to name it Sassafras – I don’t know why but I chose that name before the cat.

Before long I found a cat that matched all my criteria: all black, 8 years old, and special needs because her previous owners declawed her. As an opponent to declawing I knew there may be challenges: litter box issues and biting to start with. As I was reading her bio, I learned she had been at the shelter for 4 years because nobody wanted an adult, all black, who didn’t like other cats (because I couldn’t have two) that had to be indoor only. She was perfect for me.

I looked again at her name the shelter provided and couldn’t believe it. The cat was named Sassafras! Even if this cat hated me and wanted to bite and scar me forever, I had to take her – it was fate! Adoption complete – with some at the shelter not believing this cat finally had a home – and she fit in perfectly to my new cat-friendly apartment. I noticed that when she had enough playtime/cuddle time, she would flick her tail before she tried to nip at me (during the first few days of me bringing her home). She never bit but kind of gave motion she wanted to give my hand a little nip. Once I noticed that, when I saw the tail start to flick, I would stop doing whatever I was doing. Sometimes she would move away, other times not but paying attention to her body language let me know when she had enough.

Sassafras was with me for 6 years before unexpectedly passing – it was heart wrenching but I could take comfort that she did enjoy a home for the remaining years. I also use my story when discussing with people who say declawing keeps cats in homes. Sassafras was given up because of her attitude after her declawing and stayed homeless (but lived in the shelter) for years, so no, declawing doesn’t save a cat from being given up.

And yes, I am a believer in fate thanks to a little black cat who was a perfect match for me.

*If you’d like to submit your story of rescuing a cat from the streets or shelter, click here.

3 thoughts on “Rescue Report: The Fate of a Declawed Cat

  1. Good story.

    Declawing doesn’t keep cats in good homes- all it does is delay cats from getting kicked out of bad homes for a little while. There are hundreds of thousands of declawed cats on Petfinder- then there are declawed cats who are in shelters not listed, abandoned, or killed/euthanized.

    Came across a particularly unethical declawing vet (Wasn’t educating clients, wouldn’t even mention alternatives, outright lying to scare people into declawing their cats, had unprofessional behavior towards anyone who had any complaint- not just declawing) and saw that there were 145 declawed cats near this vet’s practice on Petfinder. It was pointed out that she chose to declaw four kittens as soon as they could be spayed/neutered (She showed a video before the declawed the boys, she pointed a laser toy at her leather couch to demonstrate the sound their claws make and how she hated the noise- doesn’t even try to train her own cats before declawing) while there were so many in shelters needing to be adopted. Someone said that they would find homes sooner because they were declawed… I’m pretty sure that’s untrue. Most if not all these cats are adults, many were even seniors. A lot of them were black (Last color to be adopted). They were special needs, they had to be the only cat, or no dogs or children… One of the cats was almost 14 when she was put in the shelter, I thought that was bad enough until I went to the shelter’s page and saw this cat’s page, her current age is 15 years 7 months meaning she has been waiting to be adopted for over a year, possibly even two years.

    Declawing can’t be banned soon enough.

  2. Thank you for posting this and helping get the truth out there! Cat rescue groups and shelters all over North America have declawed cats with similar issues. Some caring veterinarians have proof these partial toe amputations cause long term physical changes and the paws become deformed over time. You can see comparative radiographs of healthy paws compared to declawed ones on the LittleBigCat.com site where Dr. Jean explains some of what happens. She also lists all the humane alternatives to declawing as well as research showing it’s harmful, unethical and does NOT help keep cats in homes.

    She notes some other compassionate vets are doing some declaw salvage surgery on cats who need it to bring them some relief. Find out about efforts to end declawing of domestic and wild big cats in captivity as well as connect with Teams of vets trying to help cats in need on PawProject.org – see and share their documentary too. I help run the Ontario page and related group Ban Declawing “Paws WITH Claws”, group Paws WITH Claws Ontario. #pawsWITHclaws

  3. Click on Paw Project name to find info and news about banning declawing in North America, vet Teams helping cats, and learn about the Paw Project documentary you can see and show to others.

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