Purrs and Hisses

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Help to Stop Cat Attacks
This is in response to the letter from Kristin Brewer in the July 2006 issue. She wanted help with her cat Simon who attacks only her. I had the same problem with one of my cats (I had five). I was the only one in a family of four who was Teddy's target. I discovered that he only attacked when I used a particular brand of soap (in my case, it was Ivory). Ms. Brewer might try changing her soap, lotion, shampoo or perfume. That may help.

JoAnn Davis
via email

More Mixed Breeds, Please
I just wanted to say I love CAT FANCY magazine and the wonderful articles in it. Every month I find something new and interesting relating to my cat … But I do need to get one thing off my chest. It is absolutely wonderful that every month you feature a different breed of cat. These articles help educate the public about the best breed for them. The problem I have is the fact that you guys never have featured mixed breeds, such as domestic shorthairs, medium hairs, or long hairs. These guys may be mixed breeds but they are just as much cat as any pure breed.

Melissa Finlayson

Declawing Is Not Evil

I would like to say how tired I am of being "bashed" for declawing my cats. I have three cats, all of whom are declawed. Had I not been able to have them declawed before rescuing them, they would either be feral cats living on the streets or euthanized. In this day and age, declawing is like a human going to the hospital for a minimally invasive outpatient surgery. It can be done with a laser, which results in no stitches and a quick recovery.

After being declawed, my cats acted no differently than when they had claws. When they came home from the vet, they could run and jump as if nothing had ever happened to them.

The bottom line is this: Would the people against declawing rather we declaw our cats and give them loving homes for the rest of their lives, or not adopt and rescue at all, making for many, many more stray and unwanted cats? I think the answer to this is obvious.

Marie C. Lowe
Garfield Heights, Ohio

Puppykats Breeder Needs a Genetics Class

I am responding to a point made in the article about Puppykats. I have no opinion on whether or not they should be recognized, though it seems a bit too soon for my tastes, but I do seriously object to anyone who thinks that "polydactyl" is a breed. Polydactylism is a simple dominant characteristic that can appear in any breed, even though it usually doesn't. Being dominant, it shows itself, and thus any "normal" toed cat doesn't carry the gene, and thus doesn't pass it on to any offspring. So if it's not there, it can't be transmitted. But by mutation, any breed could end up showing that characteristic. Anyone who calls being polydactyl a breed is not enough of a geneticist to attempt to create a new breed.

Judy Segal
via email

Declawing Equals Laziness
I have just read the editorial responses to "Don't Diss Declawing" in your August 2006 issue. I completely agree with the readers Paul Jone and Susan Woodhouse that declawing is not only unnecessary but inhumane as well. The editor of "Don't Diss Declawing" mentioned that she loves her cats like her children but would she cut off her children's fingers for coloring on walls?

Cats need to be taught just as children do. I am the proud owner of two twin female domestic shorthairs, Kenya and Jordan, and one domestic longhair, Sahara, none of which have been declawed. Declawing is just plain laziness on an owner's behalf. Teaching a cat not to scratch in certain areas is very easy. My cherished tricks are common household items, double-sided tape and tin foil. Because cats hate this feeling on their claws, if you apply one of these objects to an unwanted scratching place for a few weeks and/or put an acceptable scratching post in the same area they learn appropriate and inappropriate areas to scratch. I also found that using loud noises (which cats hate) when they scratched in an inappropriate area also quickly taught them not to scratch there. I have three scratching posts in my house that I sprinkle with catnip that also helps attract them to these areas and away from others. Another thing that I do is cut my cat's nails once every one to two weeks. Because I have been doing it since they were kittens, they are used to me doing it. All these things are so simple that why would you not want to do them instead of amputating their "finger" tips?

Jillian O'Brien
Farmington Hills, Mich.

Declawing is a Personal Choice
Once again, I read letters talking about how horrible declawing cats is, and it's time I wrote my own letter. To clarify, I am an owner of three cats … one of which is declawed. She was declawed before I adopted her as an adult. Also, I'm a veterinary technician with 11 years experience.

When I talk to people who have questions about declawing I am honest about what the surgery involves. I make sure they understand that the procedure involves amputating to the "first knuckle." I also explain that it is done under general anesthesia with pain killers given even before the cat wakes up. On the other hand, I also go over various behavior modification techniques they can try first.

When clients ask me if I would declaw one of my cats, my answer is if it was a choice between declawing and getting rid of one of my cats, I would do the declawing procedure because I love him and want to keep him.

As for declawing being "inhumane," that term is used much too freely these days. The procedure is done using a sterile technique, under general anesthesia and pain killers are used immediately post-operation and sent home with the cat. If it was performed on a kitchen table with no sterile preperation, no anesthesia and no pain killers, then it would be "inhumane." Using the same logic, I guess spaying and neutering is cruel too because it deprives the cats of another "natural behavior."

To me, the bottom line is simple: If you are opposed to declawing, then don't have your cats declawed. Don't tell me I can't have a legal procedure done on one of my cats. It's a personal decision that is mine to make, not yours.

Chris Carson
Prince Frederick

Response to Regina
Regina Brooks wrote that "After the fear of losing my child, any cat I have as a house pet will be declawed." It is unfortunate her son was ill with cat scratch fever, but if her fear is so great she should simply find a non-feline pet. Mutilating a cat for her satisfaction is just plain selfish cruelty.

Holly L. Sciscoe
Ellettsville, Ind.

More Advice for Regina
Regina Brooks' letter touched me. I would be happy to adopt her cats to prevent her from disabling any more innocent felines for the crime of defending themselves against children who are not taught to act appropriately with animals. I pray her cats never go outdoors, because if they do, they won't be able to climb a tree to get away from predators. Their most basic natural defense has been cruelly removed. I am sorry about her son getting the extremely rare cat scratch fever, but anyone with a person in the home that has immune deficiency issues should get claw covers for their cat instead of doing what is the equivalent of cutting a person's finger tips off. This letter Ms. Brooks wrote would be better received in a "parenting" magazine, or maybe she can start a pet magazine advocating Taliban justice for animals. Scratch a kid, get your claws ripped out.

Kelly Cowan
Coulterville, Calif.

Fan Mail
I am a complete fan of you. I read CAT FANCY magazine and I absolutely love it. You are so awesome and the articles are fantastic. I am also a huge cat lover.

Courtney Hazard
via email

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Reader Comments

Renee & Joan    randolph, MA

8/22/2008 1:25:44 PM

You try having your fingers chopped off at the last joint!!!!!!!!!

Faith Vandeymark    Lewiston, ME

5/6/2008 11:46:47 AM

I am a cat lover first and foremost, I will always rescue animals from the humane society before buying from a breeder, mixed breeds are buddies and family members too, my cinny is the perfect cat and I only wish that Regina would have taught her son cats will warn you when they have had enough torture, I have a two year old that mauls him, he lets her know by squirming, and hissing if she doesnt get it he does nip at her, but he has never hurt her. I feel for your loss and on the subject on declawing why would someone choose to do that, those that say its like cutting the fingertips off your right research it there is videos all over the web on it, my daughter colors on the walls of my home, why on earth would i want to cut her fingers off to make it stop? its called behavior modification, teach them to do it elsewhere!!!! And I secretly think its artwork , I have yet to get rid of any of the crayon on my walls or my cats nails which is his only defense should he escape outside. I'm glad there are web sites like this that publish both good and bad responses it keeps things real.

Kelly    Taylorville, IL

8/5/2007 11:18:47 AM

Wow! Cat declawing is a firey issue, I just wonder how many dog owners declaw their pets? I have never heard of that happening (except dew-claws), and dogs do a GREAT deal of damage with their claws. Are dog lovers 'more humane' than cat lovers, since they do not practice this barbaric torture? Sure, the cats are declawed under anesthesia, in sterile conditions and with pain meds, but many who mentioned it were right that cats need only to be trained. Anyone care to comment on dog declawing?

Chris    Warren, MI

5/18/2007 2:48:09 PM

I would like to comment on two things.
While I applaud the woman (Marie) who is rescuing street cats, I still feel declawing is wrong. To declaw a cat that will be essentially an inside cat is to deny it its main weaponry in the event it does get outside and gets into a fight with another cat.

To Judy Segal, the polydactyl should be considered a separate breed. While it is true that polydactylism is a genetic abnormality that can occur in any breed,the fact is that the decendants of the original cats housed by Hemmingway are being bred strictly for the trait and to keep the bloodlines active.

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