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Golden Horse 06-27-2013 11:54 AM

Cat question - rehoming and declawing
I saw this on another board, and thought it raised some interesting questions, What do you guys think?



She is about 6 yrs & has always been a barn cat. Do you think I can housetrain, spay & declaw (declaw is a must as I live in an apartment) safely? & is it possible for her to adjust to living in a one bedroom apt?

I do have a cat now, & while she won't be happy at first I think she will adjust as she has lived with another cat before.

Another barn is not an option. I just don't want to declaw her & then find she hates being a strictly indoor cat. Right now my options are to take her or leave her - I have tried the feral cat rehome. She is too friendly so they won't take her. She isn't friendly enough ie a house cat, for a reguular shelter & they are all full anyway.

morganarab94 06-27-2013 11:57 AM

I wouldn't declaw her. Since she lived outside most of her life, chances are she isn't going to like being inside all day. I'd leave her. JMO.

equiniphile 06-27-2013 12:08 PM

I wouldn't declaw her, either. I've taken in a few strays that spend time both in the barn and in the house, and none are declawed. If you keep them occupied with toys, they're less prone to scratching the furniture.

Jessabel 06-27-2013 01:32 PM

Declawing a cat is setting him up to develop more severe behavioral problems. Behavioral problems are the number one reason cats end up in shelters. Cats that go into shelters with problems don't come out. Declawing an adult cat can be particularly traumatic, and I've seen more than one wonderful cat ruined because of it.

I don't think a barn cat would adjust very well to apartment life. Once cats are used to going outside, they want to be outside.

I would leave him where he is.

PastureSongs 06-27-2013 01:50 PM

Declawing is cruelty, plain and simple. It's removing most of the toe, and causes severe pain and discomfort. I have seen cats become utterly miserable from it and turn into complete imps.
It can cause severe behavioral problems because the cat is now defenseless and in pain. Often times cats will stop using the litter boxes because of discomfort and just go in the floor, they become antsy, angsty, aggravated, and just overall mean.

And it confines the cat to being indoor for life. And if the cat ends up miserable and not only a strictly indoor cat but also being declawed...

Scratching comes with cats, like barking comes with dogs. You can use training to teach a dog to be a little more quiet, and you can provide a cat with exercise and toys/objects to decrease scratching.

Some cats are perfectly happy being strictly indoors, but most are not, and I can't imagine a barn cat being happy inside. I honestly believe cats are much happier if they have the option to go in and out as they please.
I have a strictly indoor cats, Draevyn, and an indoor/outdoor cat, Killian. I can tell you that Killian is 100% calmer, more pleasant and far more obedient then Draevyn. He's also in better physical shape.

I would just leave her. Have her spayed, let her recover, then turn her back out. She'll get to live her life as it may be and she won't be put through the stress of having litter after litter.

Golden Horse 06-27-2013 01:56 PM

The reason that the person was asking was that she may no longer be safe at the barn, there is some sort of split up going on and a question mark if the partner remaining would maybe poison the remaining cats.

The person asking is not directly involved just boards there BTW.

Does that make a difference to your thinking?

Chevaux 06-27-2013 02:12 PM

Sometimes, Golden, have a way of testing our cranial capacity.:?

To save the cat's life from certain unpleasant death, she should take the cat. But, instead of declawing she should either do trim jobs or get those little plastic/rubber ends put on the tips of the claws. Spaying, yes, please.

When she gets the cat into the apartment she can work on socializing and "taming" it more then if it turns out that apartment life if not for dear puss, the cat will have had a chance to acquire some more life skills and have a better chance at being successfully rehomed.

smrobs 06-27-2013 02:17 PM

I think I would go the route of having those glue on plastic nail tips done first so that if it comes about that she's not going to be happy as an indoor cat, she's not just stuck with not having claws.

I guess it's just due to my own experience, but I don't view declawing as quite so heinous as other seem to. All 4 of mine were declawed (much for the same reason as the poster the OP discussed, I was living in an apartment when I got all mine) and I've not had any behavioral issues and none of them have had lingering pain. I'm sure that there was some discomfort at first during the healing process, but I think that is a small price to pay for a good home for the rest of their life.

Shoebox 06-27-2013 02:19 PM

I do not think this would work OR be good for the cat. As a barn cat, he will most likely NEVER be happy inside, especially not in an apartment. And by declawing him you'd be sentencing him to living the rest of his life inside - as it's incredibly cruel to let a cat out to go putter around outside with no claws. Not to mention declawing itself is traumatic and stressful, and it can indeed lead to problems later on down the line.

You say the alternative is possible poison, but bringing the cat inside would lead to its absolute misery (believe me, I've an outdoor cat we try to keep in during the cold Minnesota winters. He lets us know in no uncertain terms that he is NOT a happy cat).

Some other options would be to take in the cat and use SoftClaws instead of declawing.

Another would be to simply find a different barn for it to reside at. I know a lot of people dislike barn cats - but plenty of people like them and encourage them, my own barn being one of them. We've got a litter box, a bunch of cat food bowls and beds for our barn cats in the tack room where Clem is boarded. The cats are valued as companions and mousers.

And if she absolutely must remove the cat and can't do these alternatives, can she find a shelter? Oftentimes shelters will write in the records of the animal, if they know, if the cat is indoor, outdoor, or both, and adopt them out accordingly.

verona1016 06-27-2013 02:39 PM

I'm not really sure what living in an apartment has to do with having to declaw. I have two cats, lived in an apartment for 8 years with them, and never considered declawing. I just trim their claws on a regular basis.

There are a number of products out there to discourage cats from scratching where they shouldn't and can help the cat realize that the scratching post is the only acceptable place to do so. If it continues to be a problem and the cat is adapting well to being an indoor cat, there is a surgery that cuts the ligament that allows them to extend the claws which is considered more humane than traditional declawing. The claws are still there, but the cat can't flex them out.

Depending on the cat's personality, it may or may not take to being inside very well. There are a couple cats at my barn that I think would be quite happy inside, and others that I know would absolutely hate it.

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