Declawing Cats

Learn the facts about the declawing procedure before choosing surgery for your cat.

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Cat owners commonly want to know whether declawing cats is a "humane procedure." Cats need to scratch, and this can upset cat owners whose furniture and walls can become clawing targets.

The cat declawing surgery is invasive and traumatic. Technically called onychectomy, the procedure involves amputating the end bones of cats' toes, rather than simply removing cats' claws.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that declawing cats be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from destructive clawing or when clawing presents the risk of an injury or disease.

Cats hide illness and pain, as part of their instinct to appear less vulnerable to predators, so they can experience more pain than they exhibit after being declawed. Owners also report that after declawing, cats often become excessively fearful and shy. Inappropriate elimination (missing the litterbox), too, has been linked to declawing.

Talk to your vet about strategies against scratching before ordering a declawing operation. Alternatives to declawing cats include redirecting scratching to appropriate places, blocking targeted furniture from cats, covering inappropriate scratching surfaces in StickyPaws or double-sided tape, trimming cats' claws or placing nail caps on cats.
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Reader Comments

Louise    Ramsey, SC

11/15/2014 12:59:24 PM

I did this once when in Germany because he was tearing up our quartermaster furniture. I WILL never do it again. It was too pitiful and I felt awful. I put blankets in the bottom of the tub so he could rest. When I got home from work, he was out of the tub and all the bandages were off. He cleaned his paws and seemed find but I felt awful. Never again! Thanks for the sticky tap suggestion. The cat I have now has ruined my recliner and an ottoman.

Mandy    International

11/14/2014 2:10:42 PM

I have a cat I I wouldn't declawed him.I don't think any cat has to get declawed,unless it's a case that the cat need to be "like if it can't be trained not just cas it scratches things around the home if the cat keeps scratching there owner in that case I think so ""but it have to be bad for cats.I thinks a good scratching poster for the nails so they can keep them short or trim them real down really short would be better for them. I think then declawed them,,, KEEP YOUR CATS NAILS SHORT TRIM THEM DONT DECLAW THEM TRY IT FIRST IT WORKS THKS

Teresa    International

2/25/2014 2:42:14 PM

I feel it is much too traumatic for an adult cat to be declawed. Cats are neutered and spayed, need teeth removed because of oral disease, and are bred to have specific unnatural traits which cause health issues. If you live with a cat, they will at some time damage your home and/or furnishings, either by urine marking or scratching. My first cat came to me as a stray kitten about 10-12 weeks old. I chose to have him declawed. I could see his feet hurt him for a couple of weeks, but he recovered very well.

My present cat came to me as an adult stray, and I did not have him declawed, even though he will be an "indoor" cat from now on. I also adopted a kitten through an agency, and chose not to have him declawed, as his housemate was not declawed.

when I had to live temporarily with my mom, the cats did some damage to woodwork and furniture. They have also damaged woodwork and furniture in my home, even though I provided things for them to scratch. I am not happy about having my home damaged, but for now, I will live with it.

I love them and it's a small price to pay for their wonderful companionship.

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

10/10/2013 3:09:28 AM

thanks

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