Monthly Archives: April 2012

to declaw or not to declaw

There are varying opinions on whether to declaw a cat or not. Many owners are fearful of the destructiveness of their cats clawing the furniture. It must be kept in mind that a declawed cat cannot go outside.  It needs claws to defend itself.

Cats walk on their toes, unlike most mammals who walk on their paws or feet. Their bodies are designed to support and distribute weight across their toes as they move. The cat’s claws are used for balance, exercising and stretching muscles, which they do by digging their claws into a surface and pulling back in an isometric kind of movement. They also scratch to sharpen their claws.  If you trim their claws, they will want to sharpen them all the more.

Cat’s claws are unlike human fingernails. In order to declaw a cat, you have to remove part of the terminal bone in a cat’s toe. It would be the equivalent of cutting off the fingers of a human at the last joint. Declawing, called onychectomy, involves 10 separate amputations.  When the amputation is done, it also takes ligaments and tendons. It is very painful and recovery takes about 2-3 weeks before the cat can walk comfortably again. There are added risks of infections, bleeding  to excess or nail regrowth that may be misaligned. Many cats have a loss of balance because they can no longer get a secure foothold.

What can be done, then, about destructive clawing? Cats should be trained while still kittens to use a scratching pad or post. There are also vinyl nail caps that are also known as soft claws.  They can be put over the cat’s claws with adhesive, but this has to be applied properly. Plus, you have to trim the claws first, which is often very difficult to do. The caps last about one month. This works best for cats that have to be kept indoors for a short period, but it can be done long term as well.

All in all, it is up to the cat owner to decide. If it means having to get rid of the cat, then declawing may be the only answer. If you want your cat to live considerably longer, it is better to keep the declawed cat as an indoor cat than make it a defenseless, declawed outdoor cat.



Doodle Rescue Organization

Tails Untold is so pleased to donate to another wonderful rescue organization the Doodle Rescue Collective.  Having just completed another adorable Tails Untold Personalized Pet Book this time for Bocker T. Labradoodle, at Bocker and his mom, Marie’s request, we donated to this great Rescue Organization.  Please visit

Founded in 2008, Doodle Rescue Collective, Inc. (DRC) is recognized as a national, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, charitable organization since 2009. Comprised of a “collective” of volunteers dedicated to Labradoodle rescue & Goldendoodle rescue and education, DRC provides refuge, foster homes, vet care, rehabilitation, transport and quality forever homes for doodle dogs in need. DRC also provides support services and educational resources for doodle owners, aspiring owners, rescuers and enthusiasts and re-home assistance for those needing to find new forever homes for their family pets. To date, DRC has saved and successfully placed over 550 doodles in need.

Thank you, Bocker and thank you Doodle Rescue Collective for all you do to help every pet enjoy a loving home, they deserve one!

dogs and cushings disease

Older dogs may be susceptible to Cushings disease. Cushings disease is caused by an overproduction of the hormone ACTH by the pituitary gland which in turn controls the release of cortisol by the adrenal glands. It is mainly a disease of dogs, not cats. The most common cause is a microscopic benign pituitary tumor which triggers the overproduction of ACTH. These tumors are often found in older dogs. Cushings can affect the function of many organs. In addition, the excess cortisol suppresses the immune system allowing for bacterial infections. The most common infection is in the bladder.

The symptoms include hair loss, primarily on the body, increased appetite and thirst, frequent urination and a pot-bellied look to the abdomen. The skin may be thinner than usual and may bruise more easily. Diagnosis involves hormone injection and monitoring of the dog’s blood and needs to be done over several hours at the veterinarian’s office.

Treatment is with medication to suppress production of glucosteroids. It is a complex plan that involves close monitoring by the veterinarian. The average life span, with treatment is two years or longer. When presented with symptoms of frequent urination and thirst, one might assume diabetes. It is best to consult your veterinarian and suggest he look for Cushings disease as well as other more typical metabolic disorders.


Are they dreaming?

I have watched my dog’s paws mimic running and heard her yipping when she appears to be soundly sleeping. My sister’s cat’s whiskers twitch, its tail whips and it swats at imaginary things in the air when it sleeps. Are they really dreaming?

Many scientists believe there is enough evidence that both cats and dogs and many other animals do dream. They have studied animal brains and found that they exhibit REM (rapid eye movement) type of sleep, where the brain is highly active but the person is unresponsive to the environment. During REM sleep, animals show the same kind of brain activity as humans. It is thought that the animal, like its human counterpart, relives experiences its had while awake.

Dogs spend an average of 10% of their sleeping time in REM sleep. Cats, who have been studied with EEG tests average about 30% in REM sleep. Puppies, kittens, and larger dogs can average even greater amounts. It is believed that REM sleep is a time when we sort and file our days events into our memory. So the next time you have an active day with your dog or cat, watch them sleeping afterward. You may just see that experience acted out in their dreams.