Declawing and cats have gone hand-in-hand (or paw-in-paw) for years and years. Many people have had their cats declawed as part of the spay/neuter procedure for their entire lives and never thought twice about it — it’s just what you do. Unfortunately, something so many take for granted as “no big deal” can have major consequences. Look no further than our shelter resident Bungee.
Adopted as a kitten, Bungee was your typical, happy-go-lucky, loving boy. Once home, his family elected to have his front paws declawed. He went through the surgery, went home with bandaged paws, and healed . . . sort of. While the wounds closed and the fur grew back, he became more and more avoidant of the litter box. To see him sit in it, he just didn’t look comfortable. It came to a point where he simply wouldn’t use the box at all; he sprayed on walls, blankets, furniture. It got to be so bad, his family surrendered him back to us, siting that he’d destroyed the house.
In our shelter, Bungee continued to avoid the litter boxes, no matter the location, the size, the type of litter, the privacy. Veterinary exams showed him to be an otherwise healthy boy — no UTI or other infection. The problem was in his paws. Though his feet looked “normal,” they were sensitive and painful. Something as simple as cat litter, even the finest, smoothest grain, caused him agony when he stepped on it.
Bungee is a sweet, charming boy full of love and character, but because of one decision, he’s likely to never have another family of his own. We’re so glad to be able to offer him a long, happy life, but we’re also heartbroken for what we know he’s endured. We only hope people will take his story to heart and learn from his example.