What About This…? 12.4.2014

By Wayne William Cipriano

You have had that debate, haven’t you? The one about which animal surgeries are necessary/productive, which are cosmetic, and which are in-between?

The dew claws of dogs, often the sites of injuries and infections, the ear reconstruction of some guard dogs to enhance their hearing are two examples that come to mind. Perhaps also the bobbing of an attack dog’s tail to prevent it from being grasped by the subject to the animal’s ferocity is another. Al-though what one does next after one has grasped the tail of an enraged Doberman has never been explained to my satisfaction.

No matter how necessary / productive or even cosmetically appealing these animal surgeries are to us, they take their toll on the patients. Consider Winston, our newest cat.

One day he is romping around his new home freshly sprung from the pound, the next he awakes after a surgical interlude neutered, clawless, sore all over from injections, pos­sessed of a very rational aversion to any future vet visits, and an almost religious terror produced by cat carriers.

Some time after these medical procedures we became Winston’s “Significant Others” during a phase of collectively relaxed attention to our immediate environment and were snookered before we knew what hit us.

Truth be told declawing has its benefits beyond protecting an almost priceless naugahyde recliner. You (and your grandchildren) can do pretty much anything you want to a declawed cat. He will bat you with his weaponless paws long before he bites and so forewarn you (and the grandkids) as Winston reaches his Toleration-Of-Love-Point beyond which the physical expression of affection for him (lifting, petting, scratching, hugging, kissing, etc.) will be met with lightning-fast nips.

In exchange for this Early Warn­ing System, one takes on a life-long (the cat’s life, not just yours) com­mitment of responsibility regardless of what personality “quirks” such a cat may develop.

For without claws Winston cannot catch prey, defend himself from adversaries, escape from danger using tree trunks, and so on. He is thus eternally dependent upon us. It is what one hears when considering the declawing procedure –– vets call it the feline, long-term, old age care guarantee. And while we had no input when declawing was estab­lished, our new cat now enjoys, I have been told several times, such an ironclad guarantee.

I wonder if there is any fine print to peruse.