I am ashamed to admit that I had Karma declawed when she was about a year old. At the time we had just moved to New York and had purchased new leather furniture. Even though we had never had any issue with her intentionally clawing anything, my husband insisted that it was only a matter of time before it would all be destroyed. I thought it would be the only way to keep the peace between the two. I'd never part with my Karma and my husband wasn't looking to relocate himself elsewhere.

I thought I had considered all of the angles. She was an indoor only cat and didn't need to defend herself in the wild outdoors. I was assured that she would have limited discomfort following the procedure and would be happy and well in just a few days. I even had them wait to insert her micro chip until she was under anesthesia. The needle used to insert the chip was enormous and I couldn't imagine them using it while she was awake. I honestly believed she would experience a longer period of discomfort from my husband chasing her away from the furniture for the rest of her days.

The vet was correct about her recovery time and she really didn't act like she was in any pain following the procedure. For the first few weeks I was confident that I had made the right decision.

Then I started noticing the horrible raking claw marks on the furniture. Without front claws she was struggling to jump onto anything. She was using her hind legs, and claws, to compensate for her handicap. In a months time there was more damage to the furniture than anyone would have anticipated to see in a year if we had left her in her natural state. Even though this was the fear that induced the procedure, our only anguish was for what we'd done to poor Karma.

She became more and more wary of heights as time passed. She now rarely goes any higher than a few feet from the ground and only climbs on soft stable surfaces that allow for a good grip from her hind legs. I built Rio an outdoor cat tower last year. It allows him to exit out the bathroom window. It's 4 feet wide and goes 7 feet down to the ground. He loves it! Karma ventured out once, but was unable to make the return climb to get back inside. She's never gone out since and probably never will. She'll never use a cat tower or any other piece of furniture designed for their natural love of climbing. She doesn't need to defend herself from our dogs, but she'll never get her point across quite as well as Kismet and Rio can.

I regret the decision 100%. I would never have it done to another kitty and I am deeply ashamed to even admit that I had it done to our lovely Karma. I am sharing this information in the hopes that my experience may prevent any of our kittens from being handicapped the same way that Karma is. I ask that nobody condemn me for my ignorance as someone may now learn from my honesty.

This is just my experience. I know many people solidly believe in the practice and prefer to confine their kitties to ground level. I would never judge another for making the same decision that I had. The final decision rests on the owner, just be sure you're fully informed before you make it.