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Cat House on the Kings: Open House, Oodles of Kittens, De-Clawing Controversy

IN THE April 26 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andJackie Dale,
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by Jackie Dale

Jackie is a part of Cat House On The Kings in Parlier and does a monthly column on the Cat House here at KRL.

It is finally here! Next weekend is the Cat House on the Kings Spring Open House Fundraiser. Cat lovers from all over the U.S. and even Canada will converge on the 12-acre sanctuary on what promises to be a beautiful day. It will be a time for new friends to meet and for old friends to catch up. We truly hope that everyone will come out to support Lynea and the Cat House’s many residents. There will be lots of cats, kittens, and puppies looking for that “furever” home too. Kittens for adoption

The highlight of the open house is always the silent auction. There are always so many unique and exciting items up for bid. I can’t wait to see what will be on the auction tables this time. The fun starts at 10 a.m. and the silent auction begins to close about 1 p.m. That gives everyone plenty of time to collect their auction items and pay before the event ends at 2 p.m.

Kitten Season in Full Swing

Due in part to the very mild winter, kitten season has hit the valley like a runaway locomotive. The phone at the Cat House is ringing off the hook; people are abandoning kittens everywhere including the Cat House driveway. One of the employees even found some kittens in the nearby brush. It was fortunate that he spotted the box and decided to look inside. Another Cat House employee found an abandoned kitten in a box near the garbage cans in the alley behind her house. More kittens were found in the middle of a field. They are even falling from the sky.

egg plate

Kittens for adoption

I sat down to read my emails one morning and I saw a Facebook message from a friend that had been sent late the night before. It said, “My friend just sent me a message that two kittens had fallen out of a tree. Can you help?” I immediately contacted my friend who said that during the night, two more kittens had fallen from the tree. She was waiting for her friend to call and update her on the situation. I asked her why the kittens were in a tree, but she didn’t know. After obtaining the address, I drove to the home in Reedley.

The woman who lived in the home told me that she did not own a cat and had no idea who owned the mother cat. She took me to her side yard and I observed a large bottlebrush tree that was actually in her neighbor’s yard, but had grown over onto her side and was resting on her roof. The branches had formed a dense mat but unfortunately, not dense enough to securely contain the two, maybe three-day-old, squiggly kittens. Apparently the kittens were either born or moved up into the tree shortly after birth. The woman had placed the first two kittens that fell into a box on the hope that the mother would come for them.

Not only did she not come for her kittens, the remaining three kittens also had fallen to the ground during the night. By the time I got there, the sight was very grim. There was only one kitten still alive and he was very cold. I tucked him into my shirt and drove to the Cat House. I picked up a heating pad, some bottles and a can of kitten milk replacement. I took him home and my daughter and I fed the little guy by hand. He was one tough little survivor and he thrived in our care.

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Tarzan 3 days old

Karla in the Kitten Quarters notified me that a rescue in southern California that specialized in newborns had offered to take Tarzan. It was a wonderful opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Caring for a newborn kitten is quite a lot of work. I had to take Tarzan with me everywhere, plugging in his heating pad where I could, using a microwaveable rice bag when I couldn’t. The people in my yoga classes were both amused and very understanding that I couldn’t leave little Tarzan alone. His tiny eyes were just beginning to open when he left us after a week.

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Tarzan a week old

I wish the best for tiny Tarzan and I hope he, and all the other orphaned kittens, all find wonderful “furever” homes.

A De-Clawing Controversy

A recent post on a cat related Facebook page that I visit ignited something of a firestorm. A woman on the page had posted a question asking for advice about why her cat was not wanting to get along with her other cat after she had brought him home from de-claw surgery. People, including me, completely ignored her question and zeroed in on the fact that she had just de-clawed her cat. She was very surprised by people’s reaction to the de-clawing issue. My comment on the post dealt with the horrific nature of de-clawing and how people should not get a cat if their claws were going to be that big of an issue.

The original poster sent me a private message, (which I then reposted), to “mind my own business” and stating that she “had every right to protect her home and furnishings from the destruction of a cat’s claws.” My response was not to respond to her private message but to post that “when people post stuff on a public page, you really shouldn’t expect people to remain silent on what is an extremely hot-button issue.” Of all the comments that were posted, 99% were against de-clawing for any reason. The other 1% insisted that they had the right to protect to protect their home and furniture. I repeatedly insisted that maybe they should, “NOT. GET. A. CAT.” The 1% even went so far as to suggest that perhaps I lived “in squalor” and therefore had no reason to care about my home. I responded that I do not live in squalor but have taken appropriate measures to protect my furnishings.

I and the others like me, all suggested the same things. Take the time and patience to train your cat, clip his nails, buy double-stick tape and provide lots of scratching alternatives. As I told this person, if you are so worried about your “$1.200 couch and silk drapes” why do you want to have a cat? I really don’t get it. For the record, I have 12 cats and NO shredded furniture or drapes. I do have a couple of “sprayers” though, so I also have washable coverings on my furniture, some spray-on cat repellent and a really good enzyme spray, just in case.a spring open house l

The 1% then tried to suggest that de-clawing was no less barbaric than spaying or neutering. I knew then that I was dealing with a lost cause because that stance simply defies all logic. I saw no reason to waste my time or energy by entering into a debate so devoid of sensibility. You really can’t fix stupid.

I appreciate and welcome all comments. You might not agree with some of the things I write about and that is your right. But those of you who know me, realize that I am a bulldog when I believe in something. I will not let go and I will not back down from my position. The world, both people and animals, will always suffer when ordinarily good people stand by and do/say nothing. I choose to speak for those who have no voice.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Open House on Saturday, May 3. Please don’t forget to bring a donation!

ADMISSION: Cat food, Cat litter, Paper Towels, Bleach (Cash donations always welcome)

Remember, you can advertise your business with Kings River Life Magazine and designate the Cat House to receive 10% of the ad fee.

Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section.

Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 21 years, Frank, and their 2 children. Jackie currently writes for Traffic Magazine and for The Cat House on the Kings Feline Rescue. A former ballerina, Jackie now teaches yoga and fitness classes privately and at local area gyms.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janie Shackelford April 26, 2014 at 9:15am

Where can I get a book or have a subscription. I’ve heard of your place but never been there. I have a cat that I had to bottle feed & she has no idea she’s a cat. I love my babies. :-). Thank you for your response.

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2 Jackie Dale April 26, 2014 at 10:05am

The Cat House on the Kings is located in Parlier, California. (near Fresno) You can go to http://www.cathouseonthekings.com and sign up to receive our newsletters, which I also write. (look at the lower right corner of the web page) You can watch videos and take a virtual tour. You can also follow the Cat House on Facebook.

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3 April.H April 27, 2014 at 8:53am

Jackie, I’m a longtime fan of TCHOTK and KRL. Three semi-ferals I used to feed at the VA hosp grounds for years were accepted by Lynea [my Whitefoot Clan] are living in Parlier. This declaw piece of yours is terrific. On my fb page, an eBay friend of mine in England [never met her in person] cc’d me on the declawing item and said she never knew that! And she’s an animal lover/owner… I’d not noticed the item in my daily check-ins [my family list is small but my rescue Likes and Notifications are lengthy so I read a lot of readers’ posts. Again, thank you for writing this. Have a terrific Open House this coming Saturday…. 🙂 Great work…

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4 Jackie Dale April 29, 2014 at 8:55am

Thank you for you kind comments, glad you enjoyed it.

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5 Jim Rudai April 29, 2014 at 12:08pm

Jackie, We love TCHOTK and appreciate all that you do for them. We look forward to your columns. As for the de-claw issue, you can refer truly interested persons to the PawProject.org , where they can learn first-hand the truth about this barbaric action. Dr. Jennifer Conrad is the driving force to get this activity outlawed in California, and the rest of the U.S. We are one of the few countries in the world which still allows it. I hope this helps your readers. We hope you have a great open house!

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6 Jackie Dale April 29, 2014 at 3:34pm

Thank you so much. I will definitely check out your organization!

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7 Chris Quinn April 29, 2014 at 12:10pm

I’d actually like to know your thinking behind why declawing is different than spaying or neutering. They both involve surgery that fundamentally and permanently alters the animal.

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8 Jackie Dale April 29, 2014 at 3:40pm

Well Chris, de-clawing is done for the convenience of humans for superficial reasons. Spaying and neutering is necessary because there are simply not enough homes for all the animals being born. People allow their animals to breed at will and then we see hundreds of thousands of adoptable animals put to death each year. Unwanted animals are dumped to fend for themselves. They usually die a horrible death. In Fresno County alone, 30,000 animals are euthanized every year. Really no different than a vasectomy or getting the tubes tied.

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9 Ingrid April 29, 2014 at 4:58pm

You have to be kidding! Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted kittens. Declawing is being too lazy or stupid to train the cat not to scratch. I’ve had 6 cats and lots of fosters and never had a problem with my furniture. Don’t get a cat if you are worried about furniture. They sharpen their claws by nature, so you give them scratch posts.

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10 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:20pm

I agree. I don’t get people who don’t understand that, yes, cats have claws. 🙂

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11 Stella April 29, 2014 at 7:05pm

How can anyone seriously compare declawing a cat, which maims them, to a spay or neuter, which is simply birth control?

Neutering or spaying your cat decreases abandoned or unwanted cat populations and improves their health. It is miserable for both cat and owner for a cat to be in heat and never get to complete their natural urges.

Declawing, on the other hand, removes the entire first knuckle for the cat. It is like removing your fingertips down to your first joint entirely. It would leave you with stubs that would likely be very uncomfortable. Since cats have such sensitive feet anyway, to maim them in this way in just beyond what I could conceive in treatment of an animal. They walk on their toes, so those who declaw sentence their cat to a life of pain and hindrance when doing anything, going anywhere, walking from room to room, even regular grooming. Litter becomes a box full of glass shards, but the owner will probably punish the cat for voiding outside the litter box.

Seriously, people who don’t want to be bothered to educate themselves about cats, both their anatomy and their habits, should probably get a fish. Fish are much less likely to interfere with your all-important lifestyle or touch your furnishings. For most cats, just providing plenty of scratching posts or cardboard scratchers will satisfy their need to scratch (which is not an act of hatred or violence against your couch – they are helping to groom their nails and sheaths). So simple, and no maiming required.

As for me, I’ll take a healthy cat and enjoy having my beloved pet beside me on the couch!

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12 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:21pm

LOL! So true Stella! Well said!

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13 Peggie Soltis April 29, 2014 at 8:53pm

Declawing is an amputation to the first knuckle. It cuts bone from the cat and alters the way the cat can walk forever, causing early-onset arthritis. Spaying and neutering is also surgery, true, but it saves the cat from at least one form of cancer and saves all of its future offspring from being killed at “shelters”.

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14 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:23pm

Yes Peggie, it usually causes more problems than it solves. It is so heartbreaking to know so many animal have to die because people fail to spay and neuter. Thanks for your comment.

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15 Raphael July 9, 2014 at 10:51am

People who support declawing will not listen. Don’t try to describe the process to them or discuss its complications. My issue is with the vets. How do they justify this barbarism? Is it just money?

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16 Connie Fischer
Twitter: @ConnieFischer3
April 29, 2014 at 1:54pm

PLEASE do not declaw your kitties. It is incredibly painful for them and can be debilitating too. Provide them with lots of things for them to claw and keep their nails trimmed.

I live in southwest Florida and would so love to be there to adopt a couple of kitties. I have two and adore cats.

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17 Jackie Dale April 29, 2014 at 3:43pm

Agree, wish you could come and adopt too. We just had a lady fly here from Florida and adopt a Turkish Angora that I rescued. It dumped, pregnant in the middle of nowhere. A nearby stable let her stay till I came along. lol

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18 Debra Soukup April 29, 2014 at 3:00pm

20 yrs ago I declawed my cats, more or less to appease a nervous husband. After I got educated about what it really does to them, I never did it again – and have never (repeat: never) had a scratching problem. They LOVE the cardboard scratchers available at Petco & elsewhere & that satisfies all their scratching needs.

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19 Jackie Dale April 29, 2014 at 3:41pm

Yes mine LOVE the cardboard ones too! Kudos!

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20 Dave Kear April 29, 2014 at 4:20pm

Declawing a cat is so barbaric, that it’s outlawed in the UK.
If you want to declaw a cat, don’t get one. Get a fu**in goldfish, or something, but don’t get a cat.

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21 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:24pm

Thank you for your passionate stance! 🙂

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22 D'Ann Bartley April 29, 2014 at 4:22pm

When we (as a couple; I grew up with cats) got our first cat in 1997, we lived in Reno, NV and the humane society there recommended de-clawing the front paws (doubt if they do now), so we did. Second cat from the same place, same thing. Fast forward to 2007, in Santa Maria CA, got two more gorgeous cats and did not de-claw. We decided the brand new furniture was not going to keep us from having the joyful companionship of these new babies. I worried about the old senior cat from Reno not being able to defend herself, but they have now all lived together peacefully for 8 years! After getting an education about de-clawing, I would NEVER do it again, and regret that my first two had to go through that. It is inhumane and unnecessary. Our cats are indoor only, never outdoors. We love them so much!

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23 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:26pm

You sound like a wonderful pet parent. Hard to believe that they used to recommend such a horrible procedure. Thank you for your comments!

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24 Jay April 29, 2014 at 7:16pm

We currently live in the UK and have always had feline members of the family living with us. NOT ONE of our cats has ever been declawed and no, we did not live in squalor. On the contrary, I was raised in the Scottish Highlands in a large house full of antique furniture. Over the years we had many cats plus dogs and horses. There are many ways to prevent cats from using furniture as a scratching post: double-sided sticky tape, provision of alternative (and more attractive to a cat) scratching areas such as small mats distributed around the rooms and purpose-made scratching boards. To be honest, in my personal scale of values, despite the fact that these solutions to prevent the cats from scratching furniture actually work, if it ever came down to which was the most important, the cats’ welfare or the furniture, the cats would come first. Cats have claws for a very good reason and who are we to change an essential part of their anatomy to suit our petty needs? We are currently living in England (due to my job) and our little rescue tabby loves to collect one of her toys from her toy box up high on her climbing tree. She hooks the toy out with her CLAWS and throws it across the room and then runs after it (much to our amusement).

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25 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:29pm

Your cat sounds quite amusing! England is far more progressive in this area, that is for sure. I also think my pets are worth more than my furniture. But somehow, I have still managed to keep the furniture looking nice. Thanks for you lovely response.

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26 KC April 29, 2014 at 7:30pm

I foster cats for a local animal rescue and have several declawed fosters right now, all of them under 5 years of age. We always suggest if someone absolutely has to have a declawed cat they adopt one that has already been declawed. I have found that often someone who declaws ends up with other issues and they give up their cat (two of my fosters are biters, coming from a home with overly rough young children) anyway.

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27 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:31pm

KC, that is an excellent suggestion! Many cats are surrendered due to behaviors resulting from de-clawing. A very sad paradox for sure.

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28 athas17 April 29, 2014 at 7:42pm

Jackie,
I totally agree with you. There is so much ignorance and disrespect for animals out there! Just today I confronted someone online because they are giving away their dogs. I got criticized for my views but I stand by everything I wrote. They would never give away their human children!

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29 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:33pm

Thank you. I also try to advise people not to give away animals for free. To people today, free equates to no value. If the pay at least a nominal fee, they are more likely to value that animal.

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30 Robert Wagers April 29, 2014 at 9:19pm

What I have never heard is a reply from the veterinarians who still do this barbaric procedure. How can they justify maiming innocent cats? Any ideas on what their reasons are save making money off stupid cat guardians?

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31 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:34pm

That, Robert, is a very good question. Maybe we should all ask our vets if they perform this procedure and if so, why? I plan to do so.

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32 Kimmi April 30, 2014 at 7:17am

Jackie ~ Would love to know the name of your enzyme spray. I’ve been struggling with 2 spayers for years.

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33 Jackie Dale April 30, 2014 at 2:18pm

Kimmi, I have been using Citrus Magic, which is good. But Bissell makes a great one called Bissell Spot and Stain Pro. “Professional Level, Permanent, Stain and Odor Remover”
I also use Natuire’s Miracle Pet Block to keep them away from certain things. The places that are the most “popular”, I hang a water proof bed pad, the disposable kind. For example, my hamper seems to be a target so I tape a pad up and change as needed.

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34 Virginia
Twitter: @Mrs.
April 30, 2014 at 9:23am

Bless you for your wonderful columns. I completely agree with the kindness of spay/neuter (so much better for the cats and for humanity) and the declaw issue (THAT is just inhumane!). In fact, our rescue group in So. Cal has a declaw up for for adoption!

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35 Jackie Dale May 1, 2014 at 12:24pm

Thank you so much, Virginia. I hope your declaw finds a nice home with some really nice furniture for her to sit on. As long as kitty gets a home, that’s all we want. Can’t un-ring a bell, so you can only proceed forward. Good luck finding kitty a furever home!

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36 Jay April 30, 2014 at 5:36pm

it is heartening to read so many posts against de-clawing. When we draw up a list comparing the the two most frequent surgeries performed on felines and the reasons why, the comparison is quite stark (bear with me as to the details, I am a paediatrician, not a vet!):

Procedure Reasons(s)

Spay or neuter Cancer or other pervasive disease
The negative effect on female cat’s general health of being on-heat or
pregnant.
To promote a healthier life.
To reduce a male cat’s spraying.
To improve behaviour in male cats.
To avoid the over population of feral cats.

De-clawing To protect furniture and upholstery
(amputation of the
end of a cat’s toes)

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37 Jackie Dale May 1, 2014 at 12:27pm

Thank you Jay. Very well said. It is unfortunate that some people travel down such a twisted path of logic.

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38 Nancy May 19, 2014 at 5:44am

I had 3 cats and had them all de-clawed. I did not know any better since I never had cats and never read up on them. My husband brought one home and I fell in love with him but did have him de-clawed. My vet never said anything about it so I thought it was normal. I also had him spayed which I have now done to by dog. My cats were fine. I would not do it again though since I found out about it. So thank you for the information.

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39 keenpetite July 8, 2014 at 6:59pm

For your info, our family has been cat lovers, rescuers & helpers for over 70 yrs.Late 1970, my husband found a cat in abandoned home used by drunks/addicts; with help was finally able to catch it, (broken nose, severe skin infection & other problems) our young son named him “Tramp”
he lived with us for a few weeks till he could be checked by our vet, sadly due to his many problems it was decided to put him sleep but Tramp had loving care those few weeks.
He was only about 3yrs old. Our last rescue was 10/2004, a young tortie & still with us,Scarlett is over 10 yrs old, a grand dame indeed.

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40 keenpetite July 8, 2014 at 7:12pm

Addionally, whether cat or dog, spay/neuter is done witthin few weeks. A found cat lived 24ys
pets live longer when they’re spayed or neureted.

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