Cat’s Scratch Things, A Tale about Declawing

Found Feline Friend

When the people I live with first brought me in, I thought I’d hit the big time. And in a way, I had.

No more dodging cars in the street, no more scrounging for food. Fresh water would be a constant, instead of a treat. I didn’t have to worry about something attacking me while I slept. I could get hugs and kisses and pats all the time.

In the beginning, that’s exactly what had happened. I floated on a kind of cloud of bliss that I didn’t really know animals could feel.

It was amazing. Like a dream come true.

Time, I guess, though, catches up to all of us and I think the novelty of having a cat and “saving a life,” as they told everyone in the beginning, kind of wore off.

See, because I’m a cat, I like to keep myself groomed, and that includes sharp claws. It’s kind of a tradition for cats to scratch up their area – it lets other cats know what’s mine. I was really proud of the house and wanted to show it off and claim it.

Plus, scratching’s really good exercise. You humans can have your yoga. I’ll take a good scratch any day.

They didn’t like when I used the furniture, though. They’d yell and scream and get real mad and I felt kind of bad, I did, but how else could I let people know what was mine? That the house and family belonged to me?

When they took me to the vet, I figured it would be a routine visit, even though it seemed like an odd time to have one. When I got home, my front paws hurt so bad I almost couldn’t stand it. It felt like part of my toes were missing, but that didn’t make any sense, did it?

Over the next few days, I realized it did. I had been declawed. I guess the people were happy – I couldn’t scratch the furniture anymore.

Walking was tough after that, and I had to compensate for my loss of claws by overbalancing on my hind end. The muscles on my front legs were never the same after that and I had trouble jumping and maintaining my poise sometimes.

The people thought it was funny when I’d wobble.

I started not hanging around them much after that. I liked to keep to myself more. I had my own little spot under the corner of the bed in the guest room and that’s where I’d stay most of the time.

I don’t know, I guess I just didn’t want to socialize anymore. It was okay. No one really came looking for me.

Two days ago, though, the people did the strangest thing. They found me in my spot in the guest room, picked me up and put me on the back porch. When the door shut behind me, I figured this was another thing that humans found funny.

I thought they’d have a good laugh, open the door and let me back in.

But that didn’t happen.

I’ve been outside for two days and I’m starting to get pretty scared. There are strange noises at night and I can’t defend myself with my messed up front paws and I haven’t slept much at all.

I miss my spot under the bed.

I’m pretty hungry, too. I’m sure if I wait long enough, they’ll put some food out for me. Even though I spent a lot of time under the bed, my food dish was never empty.

Last night, just before it got dark, I noticed a truck in the driveway that said U-Haul. I thought to myself, humans sure do have strange names for vehicles, but in the next second when the people started taking things out of the house and into that truck, it clicked.

They were moving. No wonder they put me on the back porch – they just didn’t want me underfoot while they were arranging the house. I mean, sure I was rarely ever in their way, but still, that makes sense, right?

Sure it does. That’s probably what it is. I mean, they wouldn’t take me in off the street, care for me for more than seven years and remove my front claws, only to put me back outside, right?

Nah. That’s just silly.

I’ll just wait. Patience is a virtue, after all.

So, I wait through the night and into the next day. I wait when the truck pulls out and the lights never come back on in the house.

I’m still waiting.

Jennifer Vanderau is the Publication and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 717-263-5791 or visit the website


Janet Donahoe obituary 1935~2023

A graduate of Wilson College and The Catholic University of America, Janet taught English and Latin in Pennsylvania and was a school librarian in Virginia. 

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