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Cats Need Claws

drawing by Ali Noel Vyain

In the middle of the night, Nuri lost her balance on the pillow she was resting on and fell. She landed on my girl. My girl was lying in bed resting and was of course startled by Nuri. My girl ended up with a few claw marks going down the length of her shoulder.

My girl did absolutely nothing to punish Nuri. And why would she punish any cat for an accident? My girl understands it was an accident. She has tended to her wounds and they’re healing up fine.

That accident reminded me of why we cats need our claws. All of them. And what we used them for. When we fall, whether we jump down or lose our *gasp* lose our balance, we extend our claws to use as anchors to break our fall. We do it to stop faster and reduce the chances that we will get hurt.

When we jump up on to things, we extend our claws to stop ourselves once we’ve reach our goal. If we are missing our claws, doesn’t matter why, we will slide and wonder why our claws aren’t helping us. If we slide too far, we can get injured. Cats can fall out of windows without screens. I’d hope we don’t break any bones or have anything worse happen.

We do use our claws for fighting and defense. We may play with them. However, when we play with humans, we usually learn to keep our claws retracted because we don’t want to hurt you. Of course if humans threaten us, we will bare our claws in self defense. Please treat us well and we will keep our claws sheathed.

Without our claws, we can have trouble burying our waste. We cats like to bury our waste and we do need our claws to dig in the dirt. I know some of us can get over zealous when burying in the litter box. Sorry about the mess, but we have to be thorough. We can’t leave a trace that we’ve been somewhere to our enemies. Can’t let them find us.

So, for those of you humans who think we shouldn’t have claws so we can’t tear up your furniture, why didn’t you think about us? You know you can give us our own scratching posts to tear up. Yes, we do need to sharpen our claws to keep them in good shape. We have more trouble being cats without our claws.

As my girl is fond of saying, “Cats come with sharp teeth and sharp claws, duh!” She understands we are people and not objects to be owned. And she is a crazy cat lady who thinks having at least one cat, if not more, is more preferable than having immaculate furniture and other things of material wealth.

And my girl also believes, based on knowledge and her own observations, that cats who have been declawed are mutilated. That’s just one of the reasons I love her so much. She just accepts us as we are and we can accept her as she is.


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