Declawing: the painful truth

Declawing cats can cause permanent harm.

Many people misunderstand declawing, thinking that it is a harmless, simple procedure to protect their furniture. In truth, it is a major amputation which can cause permanent physical and psychological harm to your cat. Declawing removes the last joint of the toe, and is comparable to removing a human’s finger at the first knuckle. 

Declawing can cause medical complications.

Every cat experiences a painful recovery period after declawing, but the unlucky ones also experience immediate complications—infection or necrosis—or chronic ones such as lifelong lameness, nerve damage, bone spurs, atypical claw regrowth, and back pain. Declawing changes the way a cat moves and uses his foot, which effectively makes him feel like he’s wearing ill-fitting shoes for the rest of his life. 

Declawing can cause behavioral problems.

Due to post-surgical pain while standing in the litter box, many declawed cats develop litter box aversion and unwanted elimination problems. Seeking comfort, a declawed cat may begin hiding his stools and urine in other places around the home. Declawed cats can also become fearful and defensive, biting out of fear if they feel powerless after removal of their natural protection. 

Scratching is a healthy, normal behavior. 

Kittens and grown cats can be encouraged to engage in this healthy physical and mental exercise in appropriate ways: an affordable cardboard scratching pad, a carpeted or twine-wrapped scratching post, or any of a number of similar purchased or homemade products can become your cat’s favorite spot for scratching, stress relief, and kitty yoga. Experiment to see what your cat likes best, then sweeten it with a pinch of catnip! With positive training methods, you can help your cat understand which surfaces are off limits. Our staff can point you toward training resources if you are struggling with inappropriate scratching in your home. 

The Humane Society of Skagit Valley does not place cats in homes where declawing is planned. 

Sometimes, declawed adult cats come to us and are made available for adoption. These cats must be kept as 100% indoor pets, as they have no natural defenses against predators and their ability to flee is compromised. 

Online resources:

End of year gratitude

High five! Dylann, the daughter of a shelter staff member,
greets one of our smallest residents.
The Humane Society of Skagit Valley will close at 3 pm on New Years Eve and all day New Years Day. We will resume regular shelter hours for the remainder of the week.

We at the Humane Society of Skagit Valley - the Board of Directors, the staff, the volunteers, and our pawed, clawed, winged, furred, scaled, and feathered friends - wish to thank you for your fantastic support this year. 2013 was incredible, and we couldn't have done this lifesaving work without your help! We look forward to a great 2014! From our hearts to yours, in humane service - thank you.

Janine Ceja, Executive Director

The season of giving

What a season it has been at HSSV! Our animals have been the recipients of incredible, generous gifts all month long . . . AND we've had record numbers of adoptions! We are always especially touched when we receive memorial donations in honor of remembered loved ones.

Jan Wilson came in before Christmas to honor her beloved dog angels, Bogie, Dollie, and Brownie. The three German Shorthaired Pointers, all rescued, brought so much joy to Jan during their lives that she felt compelled to give back to the dogs here at HSSV. That's just what she did! With training treats, balls, kongs, rope toys, and more, not to mention two big sacks of kibble for our kitty friends, Jan shared her love for pets with the dozens who wait here at HSSV for a home.

We have been so touched by every gift, every donation, every adoption success, and every loving caress that's been shared with our homeless pets this holiday season.

Thanks to you, we've saved an incredible number of lives. Thank you.

To see more of our December success stories and meet some of the donors who are making such a difference here at HSSV, visit our facebook page (!

The generosity of friends

Here are Vicki and Cheryl, two of the many donors who have helped brighten the lives of our shelter animals this season with their generous donations. Vicki and Cheryl contributed 10 big bags of cat and kitten food to our homeless pets yesterday!

Donations of essential products like this allow us to use our operational budget for other vital needs like medications, emergency vet visits, and enrichment toys.

If you would like to donate a new or used, handmade or purchased item or product to our shelter, please drop by any time or send an email. We greatly appreciate it.

Bye bye, Cindy Lou Who and Handsome Clark!

Beautiful Cindy Lou Who and handsome Clark both went home with loving new families yesterday! Clark was so gentle and sweet with his new human baby brother! 
We wish them all the best. 

Christmas comes early to HSSV!

WOW! That's all we can say! When Tiffany and Mike Matson asked for help bringing in a donation this morning, we expected to carry a sack of kibble or a case of biscuits. We were surprised when it took a staff member, a volunteer, and both of the Matsons five full minutes to ferry this gigantic pile of gifts, beds, blankets, food, formula, biscuits, supplies, and toys in from their vehicle.

Tiffany and Mike said it was the least they could do for the shelter pets, and that they had help from Robert and Jeannette Ford with gathering the supplies. "It's a gift from our dog to these dogs," they said.

Thank you, Tiffany, Mike, Robert, and Jeannette . . . and thanks to supporters, donors, and volunteers everywhere who are going above and beyond to make sure the animals in the shelter have happy holidays and stay warm this December.

Update on Nero

We regret to announce that our veterinarian's assessment of Nero, our mixed-breed dog who came in with hypothermia and severe damage to the face and skull, is not good. He will be humanely euthanized today. For additional information, you may visit our fundraising page where we raised enough money to pay for today's x-rays and vet visit. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for helping us provide Nero the compassionate care he needed and deserved today. 

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