The De-Claw De-Bate

I had “call vet” on my to-do list all week. I was committed and ready. But today when I picked up the phone, I froze. I couldn’t make the call.
I’ve been debating for a couple years about declawing Luca, but the debate turned serious a few months ago. I was sitting on the couch reading a magazine, and she was sitting beside me. We’d been sitting peacefully this way for quite some time, when she suddenly lunged at my wrists, wrapping herself around them, biting and clawing. I immediately yelled at her and tried to pull her off by the scruff of her neck, but as I pulled her away she dug in, and left me with gashes that are still scars months later.
That night I swore she’d be declawed. I’d done nothing to incite the attack, and they happen with alarming frequency.
Declawing Luca would have many benefits. I’d lose less blood. We could buy a nice couch without worrying about her tearing it up like she’s done to our current sofa. We could leave her out when visitors come over – now I often put her in another room because you just never know when she’ll decide to launch an offensive and maim a guest. I’d also be less concerned for my future family. I can just imagine my horror if one day when we have children the cat decides the baby was being just a tad too loud and should be punished by being punctured.
But there are plenty of reasons not to do it, too. It’s a pretty bad procedure. In human terms, it would be like someone cutting off the tops of my fingers at the first knuckle. They cut through bone. As much as she frustrates me, I have a hard time electing to put her through something like that.
There’s also the issue of Millie. She gets in the cat’s face a lot, and the cat’s only defense is striking out with her claws. Not that it does much good – Millie just sits there as Luca swats, like “why are you doing that? That kind of hurts…” But at least Luca can fight back. She’s only an inside cat, so that’s good, but she escapes sometimes. What if she got out and couldn’t defend herself?
It’s also a matter of dignity. She’s had those claws for 8 years. How cruel would it be to take them away now?
I’m just really unsure. Am I being selfish to want to declaw her because it would make life easier for me? Or am I being unfair to myself and my family for not doing it because I think it’ll be so upsetting for her?
There’s no easy answer. I sat at the table with the phone in my hand for a while today, and felt like I could cry. I just couldn’t make the call to set up the appointment. I still might, but it won’t be easy. I just want to be a good mom. After all, evil though she may be, she’s my kitty, and I love her.