My poor baby Chun!

Not having front claws puts my baby Chun at such a disadvantage! It’s hard for me to watch his sharp-clawed uncles getting the best of him when he’s just trying to have fun.

He loves to play with his uncles, mostly Lotus and Kemi. Lotus makes a great playmate because he’s always up for something fun. He’s been waiting years and years for someone who loves playing tag as much as he does. Kemi isn’t quite as thrilled about tag, but he’s tolerant enough of Chun’s silliness to give Chun the impression that he’s playing the same game, most of the time.

This afternoon, Chun must have crossed some line with the Bear, probably by biting at his ruff while rolling on his back, which is Chun’s favorite way to initiate a game. Anyways, usually the Bear is pretty gentle with Chun, but this time Chun got a couple fur tufts pulled out and he got knocked to the floor a couple times in a wrestling match. I intervened because I could tell Chun was not having fun anymore.

But Chun’s playful spirit is uncrushable. Just moments later, he leaped up the kitty tree to play tag with Lotus. A well-placed bop from Bigfoot Lotus Batcat sent him crashing to the floor in one of the least graceful kitty falls I’ve ever seen. His back twisted in a shocking angle and he hit the hard tile floor on his side with a loud thump.

It’s hard climbing a tree with no front claws because you obviously have no purchase. I’ve seen him fall so many times, while playing with Lotus or just by himself, but he never gives up. He doesn’t realize his disadvantage. Since everyone else has plentiful front claws (some more than others), he assumes he does as well.

Now he’s watching squirrels out the window with the Bear.

And now he’s getting into position to ambush the Batcat as he comes down the stairs. They’ll be back in the trees in a moment.

who dares to challenge the big-footed Batcat?
batcat in cat tree

who needs claws when you have teef?

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23 Responses to My poor baby Chun!

  1. Lauri says:

    Two great pictures!

    None of ours have front claws. They go sailing up trees and onto the roof ( by way of the air conditioner) and seem happy as can be.
    Jazzy and Darwin fight all the time. Jazzy took a HUGE chunk of fur with a bit of skin right out of Darwin’s side. He still has a bare spot!
    And Dar keeps going in to Jazzy’s room, looking for more!

  2. leendadll says:

    when i was a teen, my family inherited a declawed cat. he more than made up for missing front claws with the ferocious use of his back claws – so much that he became an outdoor cat (after biting my mother’s wrist to the bone, both sides). he was a very happy cat after that!

    • littlemiao says:


      Chun likes to bite but never too hard. He also hasn’t discovered the full power of his back claws. Maybe he’d be a better climber if he did.

  3. Lurkertype says:

    Yeah, attitude is much more important that claws. Our previous kitty didn’t have front claws, but he still got the upper paw over other cats, and his teef and back claws made up for it. He was a pretty good climber too. Maybe Chun is just… clumsy?

    Being claw-free is probably the only way the uncles can keep ahead of Chun’s youth and energy.

    • littlemiao says:

      I started out being more concerned for the Miao Bros, that Chun would bully them like he seemed to bully Mama M’s bengals. I have no idea why those dynamics were so different. My only explanation is that the Bengals are big scaredy cats. Or that Chun was acting out because I wasn’t around enough. I’m relieved to see that Chun is pretty evenly matched with the Miao Bros. I do need to remember to trim their claws more frequently to keep things fair.

      Your previous kitty is your Ping-like kitty, correct? If so, he didn’t need claws because he could out-floof everyone. Chun’s a little challenged in the floof department.

      • Lurkertype says:

        Yes, he had the floof and the weight. He climbed the cat tree (when he felt like it) using his back feet, that’s where the power comes from (the thighs and butt). The front paws are more for steadying and aim. Chasing Batcat should help Chun get better.

        It is a good idea to keep the claws trimmed. We have to do that to TuxBrat since his arms are so much longer and Tortie only has full use of one front paw/claws.

        • littlemiao says:

          We usually trim their claws regularly, but somehow we haven’t in a while. Lotus has a tiny hidden little claw that needs to be trimmed frequently or else I think it hurts his paw.

  4. Rant warning: how in the hell does people come up with such crazy notions as to surgically remove the claws on a cat?! It’s sick, imho. If you can’t deal with the claws, don’t get a cat.

    /end rant, and I don’t mean to offend any of you – but it’s such a bizarre thing to me, I’d never even heard about it before i started reading amurrican blogs.

    on topic: that picture of Chun is soooo good!! When is the ultimate Miao calendar/notebook/childrens book/haiku collection going to pop up?

    • Drude says:

      It’s completely unheard of and considered quite barbaric here too… (no offense Lauri and Chun and whoever else has/is de-clawed.)
      First cat I met with no claws, I was horrified when I saw his paws and asked the owners what disease or horrible accident the poor animal had suffered to get such an unusual injury… (*blank stares* …Oh that! We had him declawed – you can’t have a cat indoors otherwise, they’d destroy the furniture ….aaaand my turn at the *blank stares* and horror.)
      In my world if you want a cat, then the price is the odd piece of shredded furniture…. just like if you want a dog then a few shoes and socks.. possibly furniture… will probably have to be sacrificed… you don’t start pulling out the dogs teeth or the cats claws because of these things… they’re just part of life with pets.
      So that’s how I found out, that there is a bit of cultural difference on this issue between the two sides of the Atlantic.
      I think de-clawing is illegal in Denmark. It’s illegal to cut bits of ears and tails off dogs unless there is a medical reason to amputate them… it is considered cruelty towards animals… I’d expect cutting cat’s finger tips off would be illegal for the same reasons. So, I also get shocked when I go abroad and see great danes with tiny ears that stand up straight… or boxers and spaniels without their tails. – They use those bits to communicate with (among other things), why would anyone want to cut them off???

      BUT I have to say de-clawing or removing bits of ears and tails is a much smaller assault on an animals natural behavior than removing their gonads… and we all do that without hesitation and think it is good… because… all the impracticality (for us) of living with fertile animals – the stink of males marking territories and the yowling of females in heat and the potential for innumerable litters of unwanted babies…
      So… I’ll refrain from throwing stones here, and just encourage people to think through what surgeries they really think is necessary to do to their critters… because sometimes the normal thing that everybody does… really needs to be revised.

      • littlemiao says:

        I agree with you and fatcat, Drude. Chun’s first family wasn’t very familiar with kitties, I think, and they were concerned about claws posing a danger to their young children, little knowing that declawing predisposes cats to be bitey. That is certainly the case with Chun. He’s the bitey-est kitty I’ve ever known. He’s never broken my skin, though, so it’s mostly just play.

        I remember when I first got him… he must have had his surgery just a few weeks before that. I’m not too clear on the timeline. But I do know that they did his neutering and declawing during the same procedure. I have a suspicion that whoever did the declawing wasn’t the most skilled. I noticed especially during those first few weeks that he was clumsy and would limp occasionally. It took him weeks to be able to jump from point A to point B with any degree of success. Now he’s still clumsy, mostly when he’s trying to jump up somewhere, like a cat tree or even the kitchen counter. I don’t know how much of his clumsiness can be attributed to declawing vs. something else.

        None of our Miao Bros have ever destroyed furniture. Granted, they have frayed a few rugs here and there, but nothing expensive.

        • Lurkertype says:

          It really does depend on the vet, and there are a couple of different procedures.

          The kitty we had when I was growing up was declawed, and he was plenty agile. He could pick up coins out of shag carpet with his front paws! And he ran around like a maniac. Once he won a fight with a wandering kitty, just with back feet and teeth.

          Jumping is mostly done with the back legs, so I fear Chun-chun may just be a klutz. TK has all his claws and he still falls off things all the time.

      • Lurkertype says:

        Having their gonads removed does help them live longer (plus of course the litters and litters) and have less cancer.

        I have known dogs who had to have their tails cut off b/c they kept injuring them and the constant broken bones were painful and dangerous. They continue to wiggle their butts, though!

        I knew a cat who had to have both his ears amputated b/c he was white and he’d gotten skin cancer. He still laid back his flaps when he was angry, and swiveled the base when hearing something. The people who adopted him named him Van Gogh, of course!

  5. Lauri says:

    Hi, guys!
    You have given me food for thought here! We have always had declawed cats and not really thought anything of it.
    The old surgeries used to be horrific. And if bungled a bloody long-to-heal affair. Things have improved so much. When done at 10 weeks and with minimal toe-trimmage and surgical glue the kits come home the next day with no bandages and they don’t even seem to notice that anything was done except they shake a paw now and then.

    But, you are right, I am so used to it over here that I don’t stop to think about it being unnecessary. Trimming the sharp ends off cat’s claws takes care of any furniture destruction and there is really no need for declawing.

    I think I was so desensitized I didn’t realize how awful it really is. 😦

    I did have a cat when I was a kid that destroyed every couch we had. Stuffing everywhere. And I grew up thinking cats should be declawed.
    Anyway…..I am happy to say that, although my husband docked tails and cropped ears when he started practice 30 years ago….he now does NONE of that, and he says “No respectable vets do ears or tails now.”
    I hope it won’t be long before declawing cats takes the same route.
    I still say if no one will give them a home without the declawing then it’s still better than no home at all.

    • Lurkertype says:

      Clawed and declawed kitties can live together perfectly well as long as the pointy ends are trimmed regularly. And if a kitty is to be declawed, the younger the better. Back in the worst days of AIDS, when there was no treatment and people died of the tiniest infection, it was recommended that the patients only own declawed kitties to prevent scratching. (Wouldn’t have helped with the biting)

      Out here in CA it’s becoming harder to find vets who will declaw at all. Some places it’s illegal. The rescue organization we got HRTortie from made us sign a paper that we’d never have her declawed. Not that even the best surgeon could have managed with her clubfoot anyway.

      It’s still recommended for cats who have claws that don’t retract and get caught on things and thus are in danger of tearing them out (Ouch!) Diblet, nephew of Teh Deej, is a multi-polydactyl and he had to have a couple non-retractable claws taken out for his own safety. They left the functional toesies alone.

      Surgical glue is great stuff — when we got Tortie, she’d just been fixed, and she had a shaved belly and a thin line where they’d glued her shut. She’d had her first set of shots, so we just bought some food and litter and took her home. Insta-kitty!

  6. Drude says:

    I love you people… we can’t even work up a proper commentroversy between us about de-clawing our cats!
    I mean it, that I don’t judge others’ decisions about how they keep their animals (unless they mistreat them of course)…
    When I lived in Panama, people were shocked that I had my cat castrated – even some of the vets we went to. They thought that was just mean and spiteful.
    I had this argument with a lady once, who said a cat only has so many pleasures in life: food, sex and raising kittens… and then I surgically removed two of those pleasures from the poor animal… she thought that was pure evil. She is right of course… and wrong too.. in her view the millions of kittens starving to death were gods will… and nothing for humans to interfere with…
    I also had a taxi driver chew me out for taking my cat to the vet (he drove me there)… his problem was that other people couldn’t afford to take their dying children to the doctor, and then I spent money on a sick cat! When there were millions of healthy cats everywhere in the streets, I could just pick a new one if there was was something wrong with the old one. I obviously got quite mad at him, but I suspected the “people with the dying children” were himself or someone close to him, so I let it be…
    The more I learn about how other people see things – especially people from other backgrounds… the less I judge.. because sometimes their view and my view are both wrong and both right…
    and then, how I choose to see it and how I choose to handle it, is all I can really judge.

  7. snoringKatZ says:

    We never had cats when I was a kid – my dad hated them for some reason – so I didn’t know anything about claws until I was much older. I would never have a cat declawed but Surely came that way and she seems perfectly content. I think what completely turned me off the process was someone holding up a hand and saying, “Imagine having this much of your fingers cut off…” I was creeped out for life.

    None of our cats have been destructive and have always clawed what was offered for clawing. Surely is a VERY active claw sharpener of her fantasy toes. I’ve never seen a cat so dedicated and she has a real fondness for Cordura. She also like to furiously dig at blankets and such but she doesn’t make biscuits. Maybe she hates to cook as much as I do. πŸ˜‰

    But if you look at her feet, they aren’t mutilated like I’ve seen in other cats. Hopefully, the less destructive procedure preserved more of her natural foot. On the other hand, how do you know you have a monster troublemaker shredder of furniture in a kitten? I mean – it’s a kitten, right?

    My mother had her cats declawed because they shredded up some chairs she had. I would guess there were other steps she might have taken but her tolerance level combined with her lack of being home probably left her feeling no alternatives were available.

    I wonder if Surely paw-claws at things more because she doesn’t have toenails? I wonder if anyone’s studied that.

    • Lurkertype says:

      Even without claws, the kitties have to exercise their toe tendons and use their paw glands to scent mark their stuff. Surely wants to make sure everyone can smell that she’s the boss.

    • littlemiao says:

      Chun still likes to dig and scratch with his claw-less paws. He particularly likes smooth surfaces, which makes me wonder if he likes the texture beneath his little feets.

      My mother had their first two cats declawed – the apartment they lived in only allowed declawed cats. That was in the early 1980s, but I know of places now that still have that rule. 😦

  8. Lauri says:

    Ours don’t do a lot of pretend clawing. Most of them are big biscuit makers, too.

    I just remembered…most of the pretend clawing is done on our logs piled in a holder for the fireplace. And then it’s usually a case of “Lookit me, I am the big strong cat sharpening my claws”…it’s a sort of display.

    Drude, I agree about judging. There are so many layers and ways of looking at life and we have all grown up with different ways of seeing things. But I’m always happy to think about something new and try to consider it from other angles.

  9. Jaypo says:

    This thread is stellar. The former owners of Yankee, my other kitty, had had her declawed. She was very, very sensitive about people touching her paws and toes–or what remained of of them. She never really played, and I think it was because her paws and toes were so tender that trying to grab things was painful.

    My heart would ache, and still does, when I think of the pain and discomfort my girlie had to go through. I used to imagine how it would feel to have half of my toes cut off then be forced to dig in gravel with them and walk and jump. Declawing can cause lifelong psychological trauma, litterbox problems, physical imbalances and, as littleM said, bitey-ness.

    Mishoo lets me cut his toenails without a single struggle. I’m happy to handle his fatso paws and moosh them between my fingers!

    • littlemiao says:

      *sigh* I think Yankee must have had a rougher time being declawed. At least Chun’s condition has not detracted from his playfulness.

      The litter that Chun came with (what his first family sent along with me) was pellets made from recycled newspaper, and I think it was uncomfortable for Chun’s feet. When I switched to some softer pine stuff, he started burying everything, which he hadn’t done before. Otherwise, he is pleasantly free of litterbox issues.

      The Miao Bros generally love having their feet massaged, Mani and Kemi in particular. Although when it comes time to trim his claws, Kemi can get a bit annoyed and grumpy.

Miao & Purr!

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