But she often pisses us off too, when she jumps at us from behind and bites and scratches at our calves, or jumps on our hands as we type on our computers or play games on the iPad. Like most other cats, she's a flurry of fur and teeth, and she can be quite the asshole.
But we've never ever considered getting her declawed. For all the scratches we've had to endure and all the times we've been afraid to walk into the kitchen because we knew she would be there, ready to pounce on our unsuspecting feet, we all understand that the bites and scratches are part of who she is, and that it's what we signed up for when we decided to take her in.
This is what most people don't seem to understand: when you decide to take in a new pet, you take in every single part of their personalities. You can't just choose which bits you like and get rid of the rest. If you didn't want to get scratched, then you shouldn't have gotten a cat, or you should've spent more time socializing them, or training them. If you didn't want to spend thousands on shots, on proper food and care, or invest in them emotionally enough to run them to the vet when they get into an accident late at night, then you should never have gotten a cat -- or any pet, for that matter -- in the first place.
Yesterday, Nomnom gave me another reason to be grateful that my family doesn't make me get her declawed, even for all her violence:
She saved me from a giant spider.
As I was getting into the shower, this HUGE spider -- I'm talking three or four inches in diameter -- scuttled out from a crevice I can only assume is a portal straight into Hell. Nomnom saw it and chased it. It tried to run behind her litterbox, but she caught it in her teeth and killed it.
I realize this isn't quite as remarkable a tale of a pet saving the life of its owner as the likes you'll find on PAWS or CARA. But it's as good a story as any to show that your pets can help you in the unlikeliest of ways. Even their feral sides will serve their purpose someday. Don't be afraid to take in strays, but again, know what you're in for.
Nomnom's grown a lot in the past five months, and while she's still feral and she still recognizes everything around her as a potential threat, she's also incredibly smart. She runs and jumps at toys thrown at her, in her own version of "Fetch". She cuddles at night once you shut the lights off. She yells and vocalizes when she sees you coming in from work.