Boris ... International Spy and Neutered Playboy

Boris ... International Spy and Neutered Playboy

Natasha ... Beautiful and Mysterious Spayed Playgirl

Natasha ... Beautiful and Mysterious Spayed Playgirl

This is a very serious subject among cat lovers but I couldn’t help but share these photos of  Skip and Brodie snuggled under the warm laundry, fresh from the dryer.

I’ve had several emails, wondering what has happened to Bran Muffin. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, she has been undergoing some changes but should return in the next couple of days.

And now for

    The Claw Clipping Caper

A few days ago, we took Skip and Brodie to the vet for their regular checkup and vaccines, or, as they call it, “the day they get man-handled into their carriers for an unwelcome car trip to a place that reeks of other animals of less than royal heritage and then, hauled out of the carrier, one at a time and tortured by a complete stranger for no apparent reason”. They both got an excellent bill of health although we’re a little concerned about the wear and tear on Skip’s remaining shoulder because he has only one front leg. Though originally a stray, we believe he’s Maine Coon and he’s enormous, meaning even more wear and tear on that remaining shoulder. He’s now on daily meds to help keep the cartilage of that shoulder strong and healthy. He refers to this daily additive to his food as “that disgusting garbage I must try to eat around”.

As we were waiting at the front desk to check out, a young woman came in with a beautiful cat, hardly more than a kitten, charcoal gray with stunning yellow eyes. The poor little guy’s front feet were swollen and, in some places, bleeding. I assumed he had gotten his feet caught in some sort of machinery but when I asked, she said no, he had been declawed some weeks back and they had never completely healed. She said he had other problems because of his excruciatingly painful feet – such as refusing to use the litter box and chronic tendonitis. The vet feared he was developing scoliosis as well.

I’ve worked with dog and cat rescue for more than 30 years and know that this poor cat’s condition is not at all unusual. The cat’s owner was in tears and said the vet had told her she may have no choice but to euthanize the poor mutilated cat.

I’ve always had cats and never had problems because of their claws. These photos of Skip and Brodie were taken about an hour after we had clipped their claws. As you can see, they don’t look so terribly traumatized. Claw clipping takes only a few minutes and requires no special equipment or expertise.

What follows is Bran Muffin’s Never Fail Cat Claw Clipping Instructions:

If you’ve ever clipped the nails of a toddler, you know that even though they can’t feel a thing, some kids think they’re being killed at nail clipping time. The same can be true sometimes with cats.

Use your regular toe nail clippers and having a helper is a good idea. The person doing the actual clipping holds the cat in the spooning position – that is, the cat’s back is to your front and the cat is facing away from you and toward our helper. Your helper does NOT try to force the cat to hold still. The harder you hold the cat, the harder he’ll fight you. As it is, even cats who are accustomed to claw clipping often fight back a bit.

The holder very gently holds back feet, rubs and tickles the tummy, talks to to the cat and just generally does what he can to distract the cat from the Real Goings On. While the cat is distracted, the cutter takes one front paw at a time and very gently squeezes at the juncture of the large middle pad and a toe. The claw will pop right out to be easily clipped off.

When you’re first learning this, don’t try to take off very much at a time. Better to have to do it more often than to chance cutting into the quick of the claw. Generally, you want to cut off only the razor sharp hook at the tip. If the cat is very upset by the new experience, do one or two claws, stop, pet the cat, talk, distract and comfort before continuing. Or, just let the cat go and wait until later to do a few more. Be sure you clip off the “thumb” or dew claw as well but don’t bother with the back feet.

Its easiest to start claw clipping while your cat is still a kitten but I’ve taught older cats to put up with the indignity of it all and even had one who would use his free front foot to bat at the clippings as they flew off his toes.

If you feel strongly that you want a cat that is declawed, please do some research first. Most cats suffer mightily from his horrid mutilation that is now illegal in Great Britain. Happily, more and more vets in the United States are refusing to declaw as well as dock tails and ears of puppies. Hopefully, these barbaric procedures will someday be illegal in the US as well. If, after you do your homework, you still feel your couch is more valuable than your cat, please adopt a declawed cat from your local shelter. Many of them do end up there because of physical and mental problems related to the declawing. If you adopt a cat who has already been declawed, you will be saving a life.