12 Saves of 2023 #3: Simon
Sometimes, we must provide a special safety net for cats who need us in a unique way. It could be that a family is going through a hard time or we just need to work through a tough scenario to save a life.
Simon, a two-year-old, healthy cat, fell into the category of a tough scenario.
Back in May, a veterinarian reached out for help. An elderly woman brought Simon in to be euthanized because he was biting her unpredictably and without being provoked. The owner was very distraught and didn’t know what else to do. She thought she was doing the right thing. The vet talked her into surrendering him, and within a matter of hours, Simon had arrived at FieldHaven.
So, what happened? Simon was declawed as a kitten.
Needless to say, initially we were upset, but then we talked with his owner at length. She wasn’t counseled or educated on what declawing means and the likely consequences down the road. She’s elderly—she relied on the vet to educate her. The vet did not, so she decided to declaw. After talking to her, she said she felt like she let Simon down, yet she was thankful Simon had us going forward.
Simon was sweet, loving, and playful, but the declawing led to pain in his feet and his defensive mechanism became biting.
We designed a rehabilitation plan for him to make sure we could one day adopt him to an understanding family. We let him unwind, got to know him, and made notes about if and when he became overstimulated. We worked with a renowned behaviorist Dr. Mikel Delgado PhD, an established cat expert at Feline Minds, and slowly, we saw a new side of him come around. It wasn’t long before we found just the right family for him, and as we kept in touch after the adoption, they continued to assure us that they were committed to him no matter what.
Our safety net is not about just taking in cats, adoptions, or foster care. It’s bigger than that. We take on challenging cases because we love cats and that’s what they deserve. That is what Simon deserved. This holiday season, we celebrate saving the lives of not only cats who needed medical care but also those like Simon, who needed something more—and this is all possible because of your support. Thank you for loving all cats, challenging or not, just like we do. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Happiest of PAWlidays,
– Joy Smith, executive director of FieldHaven
P.S. To learn more about declawing, visit The Paw Project, an internationally known nonprofit that educates the public about why declawing is inhumane.