Friday, November 21, 2008

Steven's Feline & Furball Friday: Dylan's Story

"With their qualities of cleanliness, discretion, affection, patience, dignity, and courage, how many of us, I ask you, would be capable of becoming cats?"

-Fernand Mery - Her Majesty The Cat

Here, as promised, is the story of how cat Dylan came to live with us. I already told you that when we adopted Hendrix, we had tentative plans to also adopt another cat that was in the care of a sweet lady named Donna who had been Hendrix's foster mother. It was a beautiful cat, and it played really well with Hendrix, but somehow the adoption couldn't take place. Sigh. It is a very long, ugly story. One that left me devastated. I am not exaggerating about that. I actually cried for a most of the weekend. It left me wondering if I had any business being a mommy to a cat. I wondered about whether I had hurt Elvis? I thought he had been happy, but what if I had actually subjected him to a life of misery, and he just couldn't tell me? After losing him the way I did, I had to then consider if I had made his life a living hell. It was a question about declawing.

I intend to have my cats eventually declawed. Now, there are a lot of opinions about this, and a lot of passion on both sides of the issue, but based on the experience I have had with declawing, which was a positive one, it seems like the best thing for our kitties. When I had Elvis declawed, it was because he was living with my mother who was elderly, and rather frail. Elvis didn't have a mean or destructive bone in his body, but accidents do happen, so I felt it was best for her at the time. I took him to Dr. B. the procedure was done, we followed all of the doctor's recommendations and Elvis was as good as new in a few days. No sign of pain or discomfort... ever! In fact, he could still grab things and hang on with nearly the same fierceness he had displayed when he played with his catnip toys, prior to being declawed. He ran, he played, he smiled, he saved animals in the backyard, he jumped, he did everything he did before he was declawed. That was my experience. It didn't hurt him. I am positive of that.

Ok, fast forward to the present, and what happened with the cat that was not to be. Donna fosters kitties for a Bay Area shelter, and when they come into the care of the system, they are assigned a tracking number. Once you find a kitty you want, you go to the shelter and get approved for the official adoption. Alan and I went to the shelter, and filled out the paperwork, and of course we told the truth about our intention to have the cat declawed. That is when it all fell horribly apart. The shelter grilled us for almost an hour about the declawing. They wanted to know who our veterinarian was, and told us more then one horror story about how my cat would come home from the declawing a different cat. It would hate us for the rest of our lives, it would turn to biting, rather then scratching, and the cat would be in devastating pain forever. They stopped just short of telling us that the cat would plan our murders! It was so bad, that when I asked to hold a little orange cat that was waiting for adoption, the shelter volunteer said, "NO!" It would be better that it was put to sleep, rather then adopted by me. We called Donna, told her what happened, and told her we were sorry about not being able to take the kitten, but we couldn't lie.

I was in so much pain I could barely breathe. I just quietly walked out of the shelter. So much went through my head. Had we just caused Dr. B a lot of hassle. Where they going to put him on some mean veterinarian list? But what to do? The truth was already out there. Neither Alan or myself was willing to lie to get what we want. So, there we were. We may have just caused a ton of problems for Dr. B and no second cat. Sigh. It was a terrible feeling, but I resigned myself to simply owning Hendrix, after all, he is a beautiful cat, full of fun, and life, and he loved me so much, so, I began to move on. It would be ok. Don't get me wrong, it would have been just fine owning one cat, but I did know that Elvis was terribly lonely after we had to get rid of his brother Jack. That is why he tried to adopt everything that came into the yard. LOL. He loved everyone so much, and it was that memory of him that made me not want Hendrix to be lonely, but what were we to do? The day after election day, a call came. It was Donna, who had found an orange kitten, whose mommy and sibling had been hit by a car and killed. It hadn't been placed into the shelter system yet. "Would we be interested?" You bet!

Dylan was all alone in the world. He had just saw his very own mommy and brother or sister struck by a car and killed. He needed to have a new mommy, and I was so happy to be that for him. It was a nice fit, because I was a mommy, who just lost her little boy to cancer. We both had holes in our hearts that we could fill for each other. :) The first time I picked him up, he was shaking, but within a couple moments he stopped, and laid his head on my shoulder. He liked me, and felt safe. We became family before we left Dr. B's that day, and he has been my constant companion ever since. He adores his brother, and he lavishes love on his daddy when he comes through the door, and we are a family. :) It was a long road to each other, and there were some bumps, but it doesn't matter, what does matter is we are together. Forever.

Have you played Steven's Feline & Furball Friday? If not, you should. Write up your own pet tale, and then leave the link for Steven. Here is where you find all the information. :)

"Dylan's Story"
November 5th, 2008


Solitary Dancer said...

Hi sweetie. I have to say you are the best Cat Mommy out there.

Dylan and Hendrix are lucky to have you as their Mom. I cannot believe Elvis had a miserable life. I just refuse to entertain such a thought.

Both my girls are declawed (front paws only). This was done when they were very small. They have not seemed to have any problem. They fight with each other and do all the instinctual things cats do. I don't think they are unhappy.

I've heard both sides and I understand. However, it's a personal decision that must be made by a responsible pet owner who understands all that this procedure entails and that the kitty must be protected a bit more by its human Mommy.

You, my friend, are a wonderful Mommy to those two furballs. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

Hugs and love,


Monica said...

First, I LOVE the photo of Dylan and how the light is hitting him. Perfection.

Declawing, I never heard such horror stories before! While I don't declaw my cats, I've had family who have for various reasons. The cats that were declawed didn't seem unhappy, they acted and played just like my own kitties at home.

The reason I don't declaw mine is they do go outside and my daughter's cat was attacked by a dog. Having his claws helped him get away without further damage. As it was my daughter had a $700.00 vet bill.

My former in-laws only had declawed cats because they were elderly and the scratches would've been bad for them with their health conditions. Their cats were strictly indoors unless they were in a small confined backyard with them.

I personally think you are a great mommy to those babies of yours. Everytime I read your entries about them, I FEEL the love you have for them .. no doubts. Elvis sounded happy he did normal cat things and in the pictures he looked happy and healthy.

I look forward to seeing and hearing more about Dylan and Hendrix.


IndigoSunMoon said...

None of my cats are declawed...not because I dont believe in it, but because I couldn't afford to have the laser declawing done, and didn't want to have the other type done. Yes, I have scratches on my wall in some places, and some of my furniture has cat scratches, but thats ok. If I could afford to get them all declawed the laser way I would.
Dont you dare feel bad! Those people sound like a bunch of idiots!
Love you,

Skip and Vick said...

Hi Carly, Love the picture of Dylan in the sweater! Stop by our blog, I've left an award there for you. Skip & Vick

Martha said...

I can't believe you were put through that! I always thought the only problem with declawing was if the cats should get outside and find themselves in a position where they can't defend themselves - I've never heard the other horror stories, and can't say that I believe them either! I'm so sorry you had to go through that Carly! You are the best kitty mommy I've ever known!

Indigo said...

Loved Dylan's story. I've heard both sides of the declawing argument. At the end of the day it's a matter of whether your a responsible human being and care about the welfare of your animals. From what I've heard you say, you are 100%. If the woman at the shelter had truly taken a moment to listen to you, she would of understood that too.

I've had one cat in my life that was declawed and it wasn't my doing. A horrible person abandoned him in the nearby woods. He's an older cat. The poor soul was beaten up by the other strays terribly. I nicknamed him Fiest. His entire face is scarred from being clawed and torn and not being able to defend himself. He also has a torn ear.

The poor old man, doesn't trust humans anymore. He sleeps on my porch and only allows so much attention. At the very least he will be safe and live his life out in peace.

When a cat is meant to be an inside cat. I see no problem with the declawing. It's never about the argument, rather about the humans who take on these gentle creatures. (Hugs)Indigo

Far Side of Fifty said...

Oh Carly, I an deeply saddened that you had to meet up with such a heartless person at a shelter yet. I am curious if it was a shelter policy? Or if the person you spoke with was just a real "fanatic." We have had some cats rescued and others, some declawed, some not. Only one was declawed on all four feet( Not our doing, she never went out of the house). I think it is a personal decision, and should be left up to the pet owner and the Vet. Cat Scratch fever is no fun either, but can be avoided by declawing. Reguardless what you were told Elvis had a perfect life and home,don't you even entertain other thoughts even for a moment.
Your boys, Hendrix and Dylan are so cute! :)

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Oh, that makes me angry. I hate it when someone is so fanatical about something that they completely lack empathy for someone who might have a different experience. Shame on that person, trying to make you a villain, when anyone with an ounce of perspective can see that Elvis had a wonderful life with you. I'm glad you, Dylan and Hendrix found each other, and I'm sure there are wonderful years ahead. I'm just sorry that you had to go through this pain at the beginning of them.

sunflowerkat321 said...

Carly -

I saw those two kittens on your sidebar and KNEW you must have some new additions to the family. I'm sorry for what the shelter put you through. But, perhaps it was because some greater force was saving you for Dylan. He was going to need someone extra special...extra loving to be his new mommy. I think it was meant to be.

Both new babies are adorable. It must be so much fun having two kittens in the house. When they get silly, there's nothing more entertaining that a kitten. And, from the sidebar photo....they obviously love each other very much.

I'm so happy for you all...

{{{{{{{{{{{BIG HUG}}}}}}}}}}}}