Living Quarters vs. Animal Cruelty

At lunch today we went to look at another apartment complex. I’m hoping to move in the next couple of months and so very slowly, I’ve started to check a few places out. We went to a place on Friday that I absolutely loved, and at the time the price seemed reasonable, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was way beyond my means. So Place #1 is out.

Place #2 was where we went today. It’s in a nice area, and it’s a big, well-reputed complex. We looked at five or six different units, the leasing agent was wonderful and incredibly helpful, there were a couple of units I really liked, and the rent and deposits are completely reasonable.

The problem? It’s about the pet policy.

And before I get into this, I know that the situation I’m facing is likely to be the same at most, if not all, of the apartments I look at.

Also, background. We have three cats at our house. They’re the survivors of a litter born under our house in September 2001 (we actually discovered them on 9/11). One of them, Sasha, is “my” cat, and then there are her sisters, Gizmo and Gordon.

We brought Sasha into the house shortly after she was weaned, and she’s been mostly an indoor cat ever since (with the occasional bolt for outside freedom). Gizmo went and got knocked up before we had a chance to spay her, so we brought her in to have her kittens in May of 2002 and she’s been inside (mostly) ever since.

Gordon stayed outside with her sister Opie and our other outdoor cats (at the time we had several fixed, well-fed, well-loved outdoor cats). But after Opie and most of our other cats were poisoned in November, we brought Gordon in to live with us.

I had always planned to take Sasha with me when I moved, and since I work such long hours and she’s used to being around other cats, I planned to take Gizmo along too. (Sometimes I think about taking Gordon instead, because she’s friendlier, but she has long white hair and I can’t deal.)

But then after we brought Gordon in I started to worry. If I take two cats, one will be left by herself at home, and is bound to be upset by the separation from her littermates. And I’m sure not taking three cats with me anywhere. And I love the other two both equally, but Sasha is my baby and I fear she’ll have a nervous breakdown if she goes from living in a house full of people and dogs and other cats to living in an apartment where she’s by herself all day. So I’ve been trying to figure out which cat is most likely to do okay by herself at home, but it’s really hard.

And then I went to Place #2 and they only allow one cat, only reinforcing the dilemma above. But here’s the bigger one: she has to be declawed on her front paws.

Guys, I don’t know if I can do it.

I never used to have issues with declawing. We grew up with two cats, one of which we had before I was even born, and both were declawed and I never thought much about it.

But none of our cats are now. And yeah, they prefer the dining room chairs to the assorted scratch-friendly ropes and posts and cat condos we’ve gotten, and that’s a bit of an issue, but we’ve mostly gotten used to it. Most of all, though, Sasha in particular is phenomenally facile with her claws. She’s like one of those cartoon cats who picks up food with her claws. She can scoop cat treats out of the jar with her claws. She very often picks things up with them like a person would. It’s hilarious and amazing to see. And she’s never, ever had any issues with clawing people. She’s clawed me twice in her life – once because I accidentally dropped a book on her tail while trying to pick her up, and the other time because something scared the living daylights out of her when I was holding her. Usually when I’m holding her and she wants to be let go, she thumps her back feet against me, claws in.

I’ve always thought I didn’t want to have her declawed, because it seems like such a shame to take her claws away when they’re such useful tools and she doesn’t hurt anyone with them. But I really liked this apartment complex, and everyone keeps saying “oh, it’s no big deal, everyone declaws their cats, you’ll have to do it no matter where you go” and so I thought “well, I might just have to get over it if I want to take her with me when I move.”

But I have no idea how much it costs to declaw a cat. So I started to look it up on the internet to see if I could get an idea, and in the course of my research I found all these horrible articles about vets who perform the procedure without anesthesia, and how some cats get major behavioral issues and stuff after it’s done, and I don’t know when I became such a complete softy but before I knew it I was crying and I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t think I can have her declawed. I just don’t.

I almost think that between the littermate separation issue and the declawing issue that she’ll be happier and better off staying at my parents’ house, where she’s lived her whole life, but I completely adore that cat and she knows who her mama is and how can I leave her?

But it’s not like I’m going to live with my parents for the rest of my life just so that I can stay with my (happy, well-adjusted, non-deformed) cat, either.

God. This sucks.

10 Replies to “Living Quarters vs. Animal Cruelty”

  1. Maybe you should try to find an apartment that is just as great but won't make you declaw your cat.

    I would definately put declawing under animal cruelty. It is done to serve the owner of the cat and not the cat itself.

  2. Don't declaw your cat for a friggin' apartment. It doesn't make you a softie to not want to do it–it's pretty durned cruel. Look up the local pound/animal shelter/animal cruelty place–they keep lists of pet-friendly apartments because if people don't have to get rid of their pets, then less of them go to shelters.

    alternatively, are they going to check your cat's feet? or, since you are worried about the seperation anxiety anyway, get a new cat that's already been declawed. or, visit your cats and family once a week.

    what a ridiculous policy. i've never heard of such a thing! it's either cats YES or cats NO. stupid apartment people.

  3. 1.Jim's right, if the cat's such a big concern that talk to cat people, not leasing agents, about where you should look to live. Or, at least let the leasing agent no off-the-bat Before you look at any more places that you have a cat and it's not claws and that's not changing. So what, maybe you leave a bigger desposit. They want your money, they'll work with you.
    2.OR, are the others with cats you know similar to yours? Are they declawed? When you check in with the agent or whoever, show 'em the stand-in and then go get your cat later.
    3.OR – and I think it's better, first complete suggestion #1 and then… get another cat. Let the 3 amigos stay with the fam. 'cause you're gonna visit a lot anyway, and get yourself a pet that will be yours – the Single-and-Living-Alone-You yours that will want for nothing else but to lounge, sleep, creep after noise and be pleased when you come home. Lord knows there are enough cats at the far corners of wire-bottom cages at your local SPCA that could use some removing from That situation.

    you know, that's just what I think sweetie. (Oh, and the fact you're not there when there are still So Many other people around and other cats and dogs – the kitty'll get over it and be just as loving when you visit.)

  4. I had that same thought … are they really going to check her feet?

    I probably wouldn't tell them I had a cat in the first place, not until you see how she does there w/the separation issues and the like.

    I wouldn't go running to the vet either.

  5. PS: My cat, Ellie, is declawed, and she was much happier when it was just the two of us … before the dogs, before the husband. And just WAIT until this baby's born! :)

  6. If you don't want to declaw the cat, just cut her claws so she passes inspection, then let them grow out once you're safely on the inside.

  7. Definitely don't declaw your cat for some dumb apartment rule. But I have to say, even before I read about the declawing problem…it was sounding to me that you should leave all the cats at your parents' house. Yes, the one will miss her mama… but I think it will miss her family and home more! I'm sure you will definitely be visiting a lot, so it's not like you'll never see each other again. Plus then you can get a cute newborn little kitty who will only be familiar with your new place.

    By the way I can't believe you got me to be all nice about cats because I normally think they are evil.

  8. Sadly (to us), cats tend to attach more to places than people. Leave her there, visit frequently, rescue an older cat who's used to being alone and doesn't have as much chance at adoption as a cute kitten. Another thought… Sometimes shelters get in declawed cats, too. That's why I got a mobile home even though they make me nervous, because I had three cats (four now). Even so, park rules say only two animals… But who is going to come into the house that I OWN to inspect it? (All but one of my cats would vanish if a stranger came in anyway.)

  9. there must be places that don't require declawed cats – it is cruel. i have the same problem you should check your by laws and find out if it's even legal for them to mandate declawing. report it to the SPCA or something. there will be a place that doesn't mandate declawing somewhere. i have two happily claw cats who don't scratch up furniture – i keep their claws trim with clippers and it works fine.

  10. I work for the vet In vinton. It
    s $92 to declaw a cat, and they have to be current on the FVRCP and RV vaccines. Not all places require you to declaw the cats though. Most cats do fine, younger ones do better than older ones. I declawed my 2 year old cat, but only after she tore me to pieces a few times…

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