Monday, December 1, 2008


About 4 months ago my orange tabby cat 'Horus' disappeared. I've been looking for him and occasionally get calls from people who think they may have found my cat.

Last Monday I received a call from a man that actually had a polydactyl (extra toes) cat like Horus. When I went to see the cat a few things were clear. #1 - Sadly, it was not Horus. and #2 - this cat was sick.

This stray had been declawed.

Mind you declawing is a pretty horrible practice on its own. To 'declaw' a cat the last bone of the cats toe actually has to be removed. An amputation of the last joint of your cats toes.

What ends up being particularly horrible here is that this declawed cat - either by accident or intent - ended up outside. And outside there wasn't any kibble. And without his claws he had no way to catch any.

His belly was full of nothing but fur and he has 'hepatic lipidosis' where his body eats his liver for nourishment and replaces the liver with fat.

The vet has been calling him '21' for the number of toes he has. We're calling him Declann. He is very loving and friendly, quite vocal too. And the good news for him is that the feline liver has the remarkable ability to regenerate. Therefore, in cats with idiopathic hepatic lipidosis recurrence is rare, and the cats that recover go on to live normal lives.

But, if you're considering declawing your cat just to keep the furniture intact, I might remind you that not only can cats be trained not to scratch the furniture but other options are available including products like 'Soft Paws'. And while you may think your cat will never go out, things happen. Things change. Do you really want to give your pet a death sentence just to keep the arm of the couch from being scratched?