The cat fight began innocently enough. Patty and Jack Chase of Capitol Heights sought a feline; Hebe Russo of Falls Church wanted a good home for two kittens. She brought “Socks” and “Shoes” over to meet the Chases, and left them in their care. But when Russo later learned that the kittens might be declawed, she demanded their return, saying that she had planned to ask the Chases to sign a contract barring declawing—a contract she had yet to mention. Then Russo obtained a restraining order to prevent the operation. On Friday, Nov. 5, both parties appeared before Judge John H. Suda of the D.C. Superior Court. Suda praised the Washington Humane Society and elaborated on how to trim a cat’s claws. “This court has had many kittens in his life,” the judge said. “So this court knows exactly how a five-month-old cat behaves.” He regaled the court on his childhood in rural Connecticut—complete with a story about a cat that produced a litter each year. Suda eventually ruled in favor of Russo, and Patty Chase says she won’t appeal—she’s amazed that the court wasted as much time as it did.