Do Not Declaw Your Cat: Here’s Why

Some people want to have their cat’s claws surgically removed. This controversial practice is harmful to the cat, and may cause the cat to develop unwanted behaviors to compensate for the loss of his/her claws. Here is a summary of the top reasons why you should not tamper with your cat’s claws.

1. DECLAWING IS PAINFUL. Many people believe that declawing is a simple cosmetic procedure and that cats recover from it quickly. In reality, a claw is not a toenail, it is connected to the bone; in order to remove the claw a portion of the bone must be removed. It is analogous to removing the tip of your finger at the first knuckle. Essentially, the cat is enduring 10 separate amputations! That hurts a lot!

2. CATS NEED THEIR CLAWS FOR SELF-DEFENSE. Some people think that if their cat is kept indoors, the cat does not need her claws. While it is a good idea to keep cats indoors, too often, they get out of the house and without their claws, they are truly defenseless. Further, declawed cats can lose their ability to climb trees, fences, and other avenues of escape if they are chased by another domestic or wild animal.

3. CATS WHO HAVE BEEN DECLAWED MAY BECOME PRONE TO BITING. Without those front claws for self-defense and protection, many cats become insecure, and resort to biting.

4. MANY DECLAWED CATS WILL BEGIN URINATING AND DEFECATING OUTSIDE THE LITTERBOX. Often times after being declawed, using the litter box can be extremely painful. Even after the pain has subsided, some cats will associate use of the litter box with that post-operative pain, and will refuse to use the litter box.

5. DECLAWING SERVES NO BENEFIT TO THE CAT. Declaw surgeries are almost never for the benefit of the cat. They are performed because the cat’s owner doesn’t want his/her furniture scratched, or is afraid of the cat scratching human beings or other animals. Cats can be trained to use a scratching post quite easily. Similarly, it is the rare cat who will lash out at another animal or a human being, without good reason. Sometimes, certain cancers of the paw or toes necessitate declawing. The only justification for declawing is when it is medically necessary for the benefit of the cat.

6. LEGAL BANS ON DECLAWING ARE ON THE RISE. For all of the reasons described thus far, declawing is an unnecessary battery on an animal. Most European countries prohibit declawing for the simple reason that it is inhumane. Some cities in the United States have outlawed the practice, absent medically necessary reasons. Similarly, many veterinarians in the U.S. refuse to perform declaw surgeries, citing humane reasons.

7. THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO DECLAWING. In addition to using scratching posts, a cat’s claws can be trimmed. Also, there are now products on the market (claw covers) that slide over a cat’s claws and remain in place for weeks at a time. These products are soft and safe.

Lastly, if you want to adopt a cat, but desire to have your cat declawed, consider that a cat may not be the ideal companion for you.

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