5 Reasons NOT To Declaw Your Cat

Guest Post by Derek. Cat declawing is quite possibly the most controversial procedure in all of feline medicine. And for good reason. The cost of declawing cats is more than monetary.

1. Declawing is amputation

A cat’s claw is very different from a toenail. Declawing is a serious operation. The last joint of the cat’s toes and the tendons connecting it to the claws need to be removed. In other words, it’s amputation.

2. Cat declawing is condemned by numerous animal rights organizations and banned in many countries.

Declawing is either banned or strongly discouraged in over 20 countries, including (but not limited to) England, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. Several cities in California have banned declawing. Organizations that oppose declawing include the Humane Society of the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and the Animal Welfare League.

Here’s what the ASPCA has to say about declawing:

“The ASPCA is strongly opposed to declawing cats for the
convenience of their guardians. The only circumstance in which the
procedure could be condoned would be if the health and safety of the
guardian would be put at risk, as in the case of individuals with
compromised immune systems or illnesses that cause them to be
unusually susceptible to serious infections.”

3. As a surgery, cat declawing carries risks.

In rare cases, anesthesia could be harmful or even fatal. There is also a high risk of complications. This is supported by research conducted by Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. 50% of the cats surveyed experienced complications immediately after surgery. Approximately 20% developed complications after leaving the vet.

Common complications were infection, lameness, and nail regrowth. That’s right. The most common kind of cat declawing, the Resco clipper method, carries the risk that the nail grows back! Chronic joint pain and arthritis are also common results. As cats recover from surgery, they tend to shift their body weight away from their toes to reduce the pain, resulting in joint degeneration.

4. Cats need claws to defend themselves.

Outdoor cats need claws to climb, hunt, and defend themselves. Declawed cats need to stay indoors at all time. If he finds himself being chased by a rival cat or dog, it will be very difficult to fight back. And he won’t even be able to climb up a fence or tree and escape. Cats that venture outside need claws as an essential survival tool.

5. There are alternatives to declawing.

Okay, so we all agree that declawing isn’t a very nice thing to do to your feline friend. But what about your stuff? How can you prevent your kitty from scratching up your family and your furniture?

Luckily, there are some alternatives:

  • Provide a better place to scratch. Get a cat scratcher. Or go crazy and invest in cat trees that look like trees. Give your kitty something she’ll be proud to scratch. When she tries to scratch your stuff, show her the new furniture and reward her for scratching it. A nice scratching post and some positive reinforcement can do wonders.
  • Trim the nails. Nail trimming is a great way to ensure that your cat’s scratching doesn’t cause too much damage. You can watch a video overview of nail trimming on the declaw cats cost page.
  • Pad the paws. Soft Paws are soft, vinyl caps that go on the nails. This stops scratching from damaging your stuff. The downside is that you’ll have to replace the caps as the nails grow and they wear out. It’s still much better than declawing!
  • Tendonectomy. Like declawing, this method requires surgery. However, it’s much kinder to your cat. Rather than removing the bone, tendonectomy is designed to prevent cats from extending their nails. The procedure is almost pain-free, although it will require that you keep the nails trimmed in the future to ensure that the nails grow properly.

Have something to add? Post it in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

About the author:

Derek Conjar blogs about cat training tips at Cat-Training.com.

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  1. I agree fully with not declawing cats. I myself have five cats that are not declawed. I’m also in the veterinary medical field and understand just how invasive it actually is.

  2. Hi, I was just browsing by and this post caught my attention, so I read it through! Wow! You’ll have to forgive my ignorance but I had no idea about the full extent of harm that declawing a cat does to it D: I’ve never done it (and never would anyway, it just seems cruel) but now I know to discourage other people from doing it as well! I may blog about this myself and reference this blog in the future as the inspiration, if you don’t mind!

    Feel free to visit my blog, btw: Cat Dead, Details Later