Why You Shouldn’t Declaw Your Cat

It hurts.

rationale, from Merriam Webster

          noun    ra·tio·nale    \ ˌra-shə-ˈnal \

          1  : an explanation of controlling principles of opinion, belief, practice, or phenomena

          2  : an underlying reason : basis

Lotus feet were once considered beautiful, sexually alluring.  Broken bones bound in silk, the pus, the reek.

neat pedicure
painted “Satin Slipper”
pawprints across snow

An article in The New Yorker, “Are Cats Domesticated?” by Ferris Jabr, suggests that cats are only semi-domesticated, or in other words, semi-feral.  They are an “opportunistic creature that evolved to take advantage of civilization.”  And aren’t they charming?  “[A] docile carnivore balanced on the border of a human home, alone and content, yet with all its senses tuned to the world beyond.”

After that meeting
I bit my fingernail sharp
scratched a missive
into my tattooed forearm
took afternoon tea.

When I volunteered at the local branch of the A. S. P. C. A., a couple brought back the cat they had adopted because it jumped on their things:  dressers, shelves, countertops.  Cats will jump on your things.  On all your things.

De-clawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe.  A guillotine clipper.  Bandages.  Blood.  Complications include lameness, infection, and tissue necrosis.

Trace DNA
is often found
under fingernails.

“Stop your cat from scratching the wrong things,” according to The Humane Society of the United States:

  • Keep their claws trimmed;
  • Provide stable scratching posts;
  • Ask your veterinarian about soft plastic caps;
  • Attach a special double-sided tape to furniture.

These are the wrong things:

The pretty man who approached you in the bar that night in his smoothly pressed suit;
The police officer in his navy uniform;
Your husband.

Cats use their claws for hunting and climbing.  And for protection.

Cats climb trees and sometimes get stuck.  My first cat Nia once got stuck in a tree–Sue and I rigged the shittiest ladder to get her down.  Her body stiff and then shaking, yellow eyes peering back at mine.  On the ground, I just held her, and she let me. 

I scaled a fence once; I’m sure I’ll be climbing trees soon.

A cat will scratch your eyes out.  Some stories, like Carver’s “Cathedral” and Oedipus the King, suggest that the blind see better than the sighted. 

CBS News reports the death of a man from cat-scratch fever.  The CDC now warns people to beware of Bartonella henselae.  I wonder what the guy did to the cat.

There is a scar
on my left hand
where the tattoo doesn’t cover
a thin raised welt.
My cat Asher
the most elusive one
got carried away
doing bunny-feet
one afternoon.
That’s how they play.
The blood was easy to clean.

Cats can will not be trained.

It still hurts.


Christine Taylor