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Should I Declaw My Cat?

There are alternatives to try before making the decision to declaw a cat.
Cats who go outdoors should not be declawed.
Declawed cats are less able to defend themselves from raccoons.
Some veterinarians refuse to declaw cats even thought it is permissible by law in the US.
Coyotes become more of a danger to declawed cats.
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  • Written By: J.Gunsch
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2014
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Cats have a natural inclination to sharpen their claws; unfortunately, they do this by scratching on carpets, woodwork and furniture. Since these acts can potentially destroy a home, many people make the decision to declaw their cats with the hope that it will prevent or solve destructive scratching behaviors. Other cats may also be prone to scratching their owners during play, and if you have small children, this may be of concern. It is in your and your cat's best interest to make an informed decision about whether or not to have this procedure done.

Before you decide to declaw your cat, you should educate yourself of the consequences that the procedure may have on your cat’s overall health, including the cat’s psychological well being and the behavioral problems that are often a direct result of removing the cat’s nails. Veterinary research suggests that 33% of declawed cats experience at least one behavioral problem.

The procedure used to remove the claws, also called an onychectomy, is considered a major surgery that involves putting the cat under anesthesia. Once the cat is anesthetized, the veterinarian not only removes the cat’s nails but also the bone that the claw is embedded in. This procedure has been compared to having the last knuckle of each of your ten fingers amputated. During this process, nerves and tendons in the paws are also severed. After the surgery, the cat’s front paws will be tightly bandaged for several weeks while the wounds heal.

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The surgery is painful for the animal, and many countries outside of the United States find declawing cruel and inhumane. As result, declawing a cat is illegal and punishable by law in these countries. In the United States, the surgery is permitted, although some veterinarians refuse to perform it.

Aside from the initial pain of removing the claws, the cat’s quality of life is affected permanently. After a cat is declawed, he is unable to scratch, climb trees, and flex and stretch his body naturally. Use of his paws to balance and break falls becomes difficult.

The most important consideration to make before you declaw a cat is to realize that a cat’s claws are, other than its teeth, the only form of defense against predators it has. If you declaw your cat, it should remain indoors for the duration of its life. The cat is less able to escape from dogs, raccoons and coyotes. Even when you intend to keep your cat indoors, there is the potential that it may accidentally get outside.

It is understandable that pet owners do not wish to have their possessions destroyed by their cat, but there are some alternatives to consider before making the decision:

  • You should always supply your cat with a quality scratching post. There are many different kinds of scratching posts available, including carpet covered posts that match your decor and cardboard scratching posts that have catnip in them. It may take some training and encouragement to convince your cat to only scratch on the post, but in the long term, it will be well worth it for both of you.
  • Teach your cat not to scratch furniture, woodwork, and other objects by keeping a small water gun handy. When your cat begins to scratch on forbidden objects, give him a squirt of water and say "no" loudly. Reward your cat with praise and/or a treat when he scratches in the designated areas.
  • If, after an honest effort, your cat is still being destructive, you can try using acrylic shields. These are soft caps that are placed over the cat’s nails that protect your furniture and other possession from destructive scratching.

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Discuss this Article

anon934040
Post 50

You know what? I'm tired of the extremists who make up facts to support their point. Because no, almost all cats who are declawed do not have problems.

Growing up I had four different cats. The two who have passed were happy cats who lived well into their teens. The other two are eight and nine, and although they are declawed, they live the happiest life imaginable.

My current cat Zoey is from a shelter and I adopted her already declawed.

All of these cats have been happy, healthy loveable cats. Even the ones we declawed ourselves did not change post surgery.

anon333889
Post 49

I am a vet tech in the Dallas, Texas area with over 11 years experience, four of those with a feline only practice. Please understand that my post is a non emotional one; it is from my experience only.

Cats do well with being declawed if they are not older or overweight. It is best to do it at the time of spaying or neutering. Out of all the years in practice, I only saw one with an infection and it was due to using improper cat litter doing recovery.

Removing the claws is surgery. Like a spay or neuter, it is removing a part of the body and recovery care is important. Claws are removed by either a scalpel or nail clipper. I would advise the use of a scalpel and a experienced doctor.

Declawed cats are quite good at defending themselves with their hind claws and teeth. They also are able to climb without the front claws. I feel it is a person's right to make a decision to declaw for themselves. Having a cat that destroys property can cause quite a problem and even cause abuse by an owners frustrations and possibly add to the list of unwanted animals that need homes.

Not all cats take to scratching on a post or enjoy a frequent nail trim.

anon325662
Post 48

I will only adopt a declawed cat because I'm tired of cat scratches on me and my kids and the economic cost of replacing furniture and rugs. If declawing is illegal or "wrong," the cat just gets to be killed in the animal shelter because I won't take it. I don't care what any of you say.Many people feel the way I do, that's the way it is and crying about it doesn't change anything.

People here are letting emotions get in the way of reality.

Another thing: did any of you animal lovers ever ask the unwanted cat how it feels? You use words like "pain" and "mutilation." Cats are *wild animals.* They are aren't soft and weak like humans who cry over paper cuts and stubbed toes. Cats are *not domesticated animals.* Look it up, please.

Besides, maybe they would like this deal. You have no idea! Let's see, declawing and 15 years of food and warm places to sleep in a loving home or mass killed in a city shelter. I know what I would say if someone offered to cut off my fingertips (which isn't a good analogy) for a long life of security instead of dying on a metal table. I'd jump at the deal and so would most people.

Get real everyone. This isn't fantasyland. Anything that increases adoption rates is to be encouraged. House cats simply don't need claws and all rescues should be spayed and neutered.

And how is declawing "mutilation" when cutting off the cat's testicles isn't? There's A lot of cognitive dissonance in here. It isn't mutilation, by the way, but we accept neutering as being for the greater good. Well, so is declawing.

anon324412
Post 47

I have two cats that are declawed and they don't even know the claws are gone. Both cats are happy as can be. Just a few people do not understand this is not torture, nor did either cat show any signs of pain whatsoever. They have painless procedures for cat claw removal, or did anyone here know that?

anon320947
Post 46

That's cruel and unusual. Why would you remove something that's supposed to be there?

anon318823
Post 45

I am an animal lover and have had cats in my house my whole life. I even took my bottle as a baby and toddler while using my mother's cat's belly as my pillow. That said, my first two cats, one of which I still have and she's 18, were declawed.

We now have a new kitten and she will not be declawed. I will trim or use soft-paws. I cannot in good conscience do it. I have the information and yes, she may damage some of my furniture, but we stared training her on scratching posts the minute she came home. Also, while a new procedure using laser to declaw is being touted as more humane than the traditional declawing, it is most certainly not. Healing time is longer, the result is the same (altering the digits) and the pain is still severe.

That said, it really is hyperbolic for people to claim that those who declaw are horrible people or don't love their pets. Get a grip. I love my cats, as did my mother. My mother even chased a bus two kilometers because a kitten ran underneath its carriage. He became a part of our family. My mother didn't know better and I didn't know better in those days long before the internet. The quality of life for my mother's cats and mine were and are great. They are purrboxes and my 18 year old isn't the oldest in the brood. My mother's 22 year old was. I don't need some anonymous quack online to tell me that's not so. My vet, who does not declaw, has confirmed this as does her behavior at home.

Furthermore, my in-laws took in a pregnant female (our new kitten's mother) and my mother-in-law is by no means a horrible person who doesn't love animals. All of their pets, from their two dogs to their three cats, were rescues. Even she's expressed her difficulty in this cat's scratching her walls, wood, and furniture to bits despite trying to train her. She said she understands why people would choose to declaw over having these strays meet a bad end. For her to say that really speaks volumes. Those who try to demonize people they don't know are ridiculous. Say that to their face and you will have people like me in yours.

Finally, declawed or not, keep your cats indoors and spay and neuter your pet. If you want to talk about cruelty, then let's talk about letting your cats out where there are predators, cars, disease and cruel people who don't see cats as the sentient and loving beings that they are. Let's talk about letting your unaltered cat roam free to add more little lives to the euthanization line.

We have far greater issues surrounding responsible pet ownership than declawing your cat.

So yes, while I do not agree with declawing, it is far better than letting these beautiful animals die in loveless, overcrowded shelters. Anyone who thinks otherwise has a screw loose.

anon312039
Post 44

My cat is about three years old. I never imagined I would consider having him declawed. I adore him. I have even trained him to use the toilet instead of a box.

Unfortunately, he's recently become aggressive but only occasionally and I cannot pinpoint the exact trigger so I cannot stop the attacks. I have been left with two scars on my face and a serious fear of him (and I'm not easily scared). When he attacks, he completely loses his mind. Every attack causes a bigger rift in our relationship. I cannot give the cat away as he is dangerous and I don't want to put him down.

I am going to try the soft-paws first but if that doesn't work, my last option is the declawing procedure. I feel it is better than killing him and I would hope that the "cat enthusiasts" would agree that life without claws is better than death. I hope that without the fear of serious damage to myself we will be as close and loving as before.

anon302567
Post 43

My female cat tends to be somewhat destructive with my furniture, but I see no reason that she should be declawed. The couch is not a living being. It doesn't feel pain like my cat would if I were to declaw her. By declawing your cat, you are robbing her of her natural defense mechanism. What if your cat escaped from your house? She would be almost completely defenseless in a hostile environment. So do your cat a favor: Consider the consequences before you declaw.

anon282060
Post 41

@anon80974: Declawing is mutilation that serves no benefit to the cat whatsoever. Rationalize, as an alleged Homo sapiens as you will, you can provide no real benefit to the cat for declawing. It is the amputation of the tips of the cat's digits. You undergo that first, and then we'll talk. Let me know when you've done it. And you don't even use your hands to walk.

As digitigrade animals, cats do use their digits, including the distal phalanx for weight-bearing. Please don't lie to the public. It's despicable. You must be a vet, and in it for the money.

As for spaying and neutering, those procedures are not mutilating, regardless of what you say. Provide - and you can't - one case in which a cat suffered for the rest of its life due to a spay or neuter. Furthermore, those procedures convey significant benefits to the cats. They reduce the hormonal stresses of mating behaviors. They extend the cats' lifespans due to reduced mating stresses. They decrease fighting behaviors which also benefit the cats' health. The flat-out mutilation of declawing only benefits humans. Not in any way, shape or form does it benefit the cats.

Your sad attempt to analogize a mutilation and spaying/neutering is despicable. As for amyh1965, I wish you lived in Europe where you wouldn't be allowed to promote your "happy" version of your mutilation of cats.

anon274226
Post 40

As a veterinary technician, I can tell you that being pro-cat and anti-mutilation (because that is, in fact, what it is) does not make me extreme. If you consider that declawing is banned in 32 countries around the world as cruel and inhumane, that makes those who do declaw the extremists. A few facts for those on here who are completely ignorant of the facts of declawing:

Cats are digitigrade, which means they walk and balance on the toes, not the pads of the paw. Removing these weight bearing digits does, in fact, affect the way your cat walks and will, over time, create stress on joints causing early onset arthritis and spinal inflammation. Just because you are not aware of the signs of pain in a cat (due to their stoic nature) does not mean your cat is not in pain. There are a few people on here who have mentioned things their declawed cats do that are signs of pain.

The myth that it keeps them out of shelters really needs to stop. More than 70 percent of cats in shelters nationwide in the U.S. are declawed! Having worked in shelter medicine for over 16 years, I can tell you this is a fact. You want to be lazy and not train your cat, go adopt a declaw. Shelters are loaded with them.

For those of you who think that the CO2 laser is the way to go, well vets are trained by the sales rep who sells them the laser. No, they are not trained how to do it in "vet school". And I recommend taking care of cats with third degree burns before you spout off on how "wonderful" it is.

I am patiently awaiting the day that declawing is made illegal in the US and Canada. Then uncaring people who want to mutilate their cats will not be able to do so.

Would you have a puppy's teeth removed because they are chewing on your slippers? Of course not, because that is illegal and cruel. If you don't want to take the time and patience required to train your cat properly, then don't get one!

And P.S. You love your cat? Garbage! You cannot declaw with love. You can try to tell yourself all the lies you want to make yourself feel better for mutilating them, but facts are facts.

anon273844
Post 39

I'm a former veterinary technician, and I left the profession because of declawing. I had no idea before working in animal hospitals how traumatic the declaw surgery is for cats. Vets do not tell cat owners what it's like when the cat comes out of anesthesia, often screaming and thrashing in pain. Vets do not tell people how common it is for declawed cats to return with infections and other complications post-surgery. (I remember one cat whose entire paw had to be amputated at the wrist because of infection spreading through the bones after being declawed.)

Vets do not tell people that declawing is such a painful procedure that it is used as a yardstick to measure the effectiveness of pain medications, and that the pain medications recommended are narcotics so strong they are typically only given to the terminally ill. Declawing is inhumane and unnecessary, regardless of the method used, and American vets are failing in their duty to fully inform the pet-owning public about the risks because they are chasing the almighty dollar. Cats have the same anatomy here in the US that they have in all the countries where vets tell the truth and declawing is acknowledged to be the animal cruelty that it is.

If you have not been in the surgery suite observing when a cat is being declawed, and you have not been there to witness the cat coming out of anesthesia, you do not know what you are talking about when you say that declawing is not cruel.

Enna31
Post 38

You can rationalize however you like, but declawing (toe amputation) is cruel! You simply have to accommodate the clawing instinct properly. It's really no more difficult than training your cat to use the litter box. You can easily protect your furnishings. Use strategically placed sturdy scratching posts, reward the cat for scratching in the "right" place, trim the claws occasionally. (Ask your vet professional about correct nail-trimming.)

I have lived with many cats with claws over the years, and with small children in the house. Children can safely live with clawed cats. If your cat is scratching or biting a child, you're failing as a parent and a pet-parent. If, for example, you use your hand as a cat's toy, you are teaching your cat to scratch (or bite) humans. It is unfair to punish the cat for that.

anon268833
Post 36

I am cat. Will those who so proudly brag about tearing my relatives apart proudly post your addresses? The barkley brothers, the growler sisters, Bowzer from Topeka, Kranenski from Chicago, Twinkie (don't laugh at his name to his face --he loves throats), and others will gladly visit you to help show how such cruel treatments to us feel.

You love bragging. Explain this to the huge dog named Tiny -- he likes knee caps. Oh, those dogs that love to herd and protect their families -- they know what breakfast, dinner and lunch is. As one man found out after trying to break in to Mr. Blanton's house. They kept him pinned for over 24 hours until Mr. Blanton came home and called the police.

The underground pissed off cats of America would love for you to really say who you are and where you live, and worse, who your vet is. You know, if you don't have children or breast feed there is no use for mammary glands on your chest. What if those were clipped?

This would make me cough up fur balls for days from laughing so hard. Oh, furballs in your running shoes. Hey guys -- time to have a planning meeting at the windows tonight.

amypollick
Post 34

Target sells a double sided, clear tape in the pet department that really *does* work.

My kitty is as stubborn as they come (and a big, strapping boy), and literally, in two days, the tape stopped him from scratching on the chair and sofa. He'll try it once in a while, but he doesn't like the way that tape feels.

I do provide good scratchers. He likes the corrugated cardboard and I even scent it with catnip to make it more attractive.

The tape is like $4.50 and worth every penny. It's easy to apply and it's clear, so unless you're looking for it, chances are you won't notice it. I can't recommend it enough.

anon264566
Post 33

I am so sick after reading most of these comments. I can't fathom the attitude toward declawing. Someone even called their cat "property." In most parts of the world, procedures like declawing and devocalization are unheard of. These practices are rightly considered inhumane and cruel. Only under dire circumstances should a veterinarian remove a toe (like gangrene or cancer).

It is so appalling that most of you use this procedure as a means of convenience. Your animals all deserve better homes. Cats are notorious for not showing pain; they have a primal instinct to not show weakness. So consider that when you are saying they don't feel any pain or are doing just fine.

I cannot wait til declawing is illegal in the United States. I fully support the Paw Project, even though I'm far from California. I truly believe those cats are better off waiting for a good home in a shelter than to go home with people who would consider them owned property. We have no right to take them into our homes.

It is a privilege, and clearly the United States needs to have a better screening process for who can adopt. Neutering is a procedure that is beneficial to cats, and can even lengthen their lives. But there is no benefit (except possibly a human or couch benefit)to a cat, and I am so happy that I have 54 claws running around my home.

I don't consider them children. I consider them a life that deserves the best that I can give them because I chose to take care of them. You don't have to get a cat. If you feel the need to maim, buy stuffed animals. I would hate to see how some of you raise your children. You should be ashamed.

anon260794
Post 31

I had both my cats declawed. Since they were destroying everything, it was a choice of having to give them up or declawing. It was the best thing I have ever done for them. They are both happy and healthy.

Before declawing, I had trimmed their nails every week and they hated it. Now I rub their feet and all you hear is purring. What I can't understand re these extremist views that people have regarding declawing. I had one coworker yell at me about how it's cruel and maybe I should get my fingers cut off. What is more cruel: a cat being given away and separated from his brother and his human family that he was had for five years, or being declawed and having two days of pain?

Choosing to declaw your pet doesn't make you a bad person. Choosing to get both my cats declawed was a good choice for me. The only thing I would have done differently would be getting them neutered and declawed at the same time. I got them neutered at one year and declawed at four years. If you do get your cat declawed, just choose a good vet who provides excellent care to your pet. I love my vet who did the declawing. They provided me with phone calls each day just to update how my cats were doing.

anon260147
Post 30

I love the argument that you should just let your precious furbabies tear apart your furniture, and that you have no right to adopt a cat if you care so much about your belongings. Buy a home, be a grown up, and then come back and tell me that it's perfectly A-OK for Snuffles to claw the crap out of your door frames, carpeting, walls, etc. Try and sell a house for at least what you bought it for with a lot of damage!

anon254755
Post 29

@anon122797: "The only country in the Western world where it is legal for a vet to declaw a cat is the USA." Canada is a separate country from the USA. It is allowed here. There has never been any mention of it being banned.

That having been said, I have owned several cats through my life and they have all been declawed. My cats are indoor cats, and they have no need to hurt each other. They are well protected. People who are under the impression that declawing is cruel and inhumane have never really done their research on the matter, otherwise, they would realize that their "furry, little babies" don't have the same type of pain from the loss of a limb that humans do. This is not comparable to a human in any way, shape, or form.

It is a one day outpatient surgery. And as with all (meant for humans or other) procedures, there is a risk. Get grips and lives!

anon250158
Post 28

@anon122797: Exactly what I think!

Whoever thinks it's okay to declaw a cat shouldn't have a cat! What's wrong with trimming their nails if you don't like them scratching up your precious furniture? Too lazy? If you consider yourself an animal lover then you wouldn't dare declaw your cat. That's absolutely insane!

I also agree with Sandra T. about what she said about training our children to be respectful to animals, etc.

I know this because I have a toddler son who is quite busy and naughty (and a limit tester) and a cat that is a little wild and ferocious. I got him like this (he was traumatized and abused; he had singed whiskers) and he is now five years old, and he is doing better than ever! He still had a little fire but not anything remotely like he was before. He was a psychotic pouncer, he would hiss at guests, and he would attack us if he felt threatened.

But with consistency and love, he has turned out great, and everyone who visits always make comments about how well he behaves now. It's amazing. I also think that a baby in the house has tamed him to a point; that's when he calmed down a lot.

He is also protective of my son, he doesn't like my son having a bath, he meows and paces and wants him out of the tub. It's too cute!

I'm glad we have him, because he was going to be left for dead, by my ex-neighbor.

anon234379
Post 27

What I find cruel, in any country, is the useless mutilation of cats and dogs used as show animals, mutilation that is carried out (cropping of ears or tails, for example) for no purpose other than aesthetics. True research on this matter is limited at best.

With all the animals intentionally destroyed in shelters and on the streets, we should be spending our energy and resources on mandating spay/neuter in every state except under specific circumstances. It is worth it to scientifically research the matter of declawing, but given the number of cats that die annually in shelters, and the fact that millions of cats are declawed successfully every year without complication or longterm duress, I am more inclined to accept declawing at this stage, if it means cats can get into acceptable homes, and can continue to do one of the very things that is natural to them, which is the motion of scratching.

Since many places that disallow cats unless they are declawed, allowing humane declawing by a qualified and humane vet appears to be the better solution to giving up cats senselessly or loving people not adopting them at all.

In addition, does the medical/veterinary community honestly compare the anatomy of cats and humans? Given the fact that the ASPCA and the AMVA do not ban declawing, and, in fact, the AMVA states: "There is no scientific evidence that declawing leads to behavioral abnormalities when the behavior of declawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups" and calls the "inherent risks and complications with any surgical procedure" "rare in occurrence."

anon171509
Post 26

My opinions are mixed and matched with declawing cats. I had a female cat who clawed my couch's armrest until you could see the wood so i made the decision to get her declawed and it took two days of medication and after she was perfectly fine. Great cat.

Currently I have a male cat who likes to scratch wood. He scratches the doors under the door knob in a large area and there are holes and missing paint from this on three of his main doors. I noticed he started clawing our cherry oak fish tank stand and I'm considering getting him declawed if I'm going to keep him.

Only reason I'm yes and no is because it sounds cruel but if its necessary it needs to be done. This cat has wrecked the doors and I'm not going to not do nothing while he wrecks a $1000 custom tank stand.

anon165705
Post 25

I've loved my pets but they are just pets. People pretend they are kids or something. We own them, not adopt them. They are property that deserves some respect because they are alive, but they are still property. A cat that scratches up your property is a "bad kitty". What do you do to kids that never learn to stop the bad behavior? You go to extremes to get it corrected. Declawing is that extreme for "bad kitties".

anon157627
Post 24

This seems to be written from the camp of people who believe cats are four-legged humans. Comparing the anatomy of cats and humans is ridiculous.

By this same reasoning, spaying and neutering is far more inhumane. Face it, we've raped nature by turning wild animals into farm utility animals, and then into household amusements. Declawing is just one more common-sense modification to what nature intended, no more or less "inhumane" than spaying, deworming, or teaching it to use a litterbox.

anon151765
Post 23

This article is hogwash!

Every cat I have ever owned has been declawed (front only) procedure was done with a laser -- very simple and less pain. A little glue and newspaper for litter and they are fine! She even loves it when I touch her feet!

It's not mutilation or "selfishness" as some would harp. My kitties are perfect healthy and happy, not to mention 11 and 5 years old. Find a good reputable vet who knows what he's doing and it's a no brainer. Grateful to live where I'm not told what I can and can't do with my pet. Sheesh!

anon149058
Post 22

Funny. I declawed my cats and they are fine and happy. I don't know what you people are talking about. People are just finding stupid reasons just to make it seem cruel when it isn't. My cats were well taken care of and they play and purr like nothing ever happened!

anon148500
Post 21

One of my 6 cats was front declawed before I adopted him. He developed callouses at the "new" end of each toe. When he had a rear leg amputated due to cancer, the increased load-bearing front toes got even more horribly calloused and he's truly suffering.

This is but one of a myriad other reasons why I'm against declawing.

anon148497
Post 20

Amyh1965m it's not an extreme point of view. It's not a point of view at all, but fact. Declawing a cat means removing the first knuckle of every toe. That it is cruel, in my opinion, seems to be up for debate, though I don't see how.

Please don't declaw! There are alternatives if you're worried about your furniture: Look up SoftClaws, plastic blunt caps, which are glued onto the cat's nails and require replacement every now and then.

If an animal has lashed out (no doubt after being teased by some cruel, untrained or too-young child), perhaps you've chosen the wrong animal to mix with your family.

In fact, while I personally believe that early childhood training should be mandatory in order to instill proper respect for animals, it should always be supervised by a responsible adult until it is certain the trainee is not a threat to the animal. That's right, make sure your kid isn't teasing the animal or you and your kid get what you deserve. -Sandra T.

anon139688
Post 19

My cat was six months old and i recently had him declawed and neutered at the same time to avoid having him put under anesthesia twice. It's four months later and he is fine! he shows no difference in his behavior. He was always a good cat but he would on occasion get too playful with my 2 year old and I had to keep my leather couch and chair covered at all times.

I don't know what the above post was talking about having to keep the paws wrapped for weeks? My cat spent the night the day of procedure and came home the next day with no bandages. I just had to use torn up newspaper in place of litter to be sure clumping litter did not get in the wounds.

Ohh and I forgot to mention: I got all my cat's claws removed, front and back. His traction, balance nothing has changed I think his temperament may actually have improved somewhat due to him being played with more by the kids.

He does not go outside but I can say he still had no trouble climbing the christmas tree!

anon135152
Post 18

I have had my cat declawed and she really didn't have a problem at all. I think that people do have to be smart about it. I also need to say that I think many people don't get it done on their cats because they are what I like to call "bad kitty parents", those people who think their cats need to run the town at night instead of being happy indoor cats.

If you don't want to declaw that is your own choice, my kitty had no problems. We fix our animals and that could be considered inhumane as well. I'm sure it doesn't feel very great to be neutered or spayed either, but we do it for a reason don't we?

There are also people who get the dew claw removed from puppies, ears cropped, and tails docked. Just putting it out there.

anon130746
Post 17

We had my first kitten declawed at the age of six months because my mother always had declawed her cats when she grew up. He went in for the operation and when he woke up, we played with him for a few minutes before letting him stay overnight for observation.

When we came back in the morning, he was dead in a cage. He apparently suffered complications with the medicine and his heart had stopped beating sometime during the night. Saddest day of my life.

If you need to declaw a cat, make sure s/he is strong enough to undergo the major operation. If you don't absolutely need to do it, do not do it! It's the equivalent of removing the first knuckle on each of our ten fingers. Cats, especially runts of the litter, die frequently through this operation.

anon122797
Post 16

Incredible. The only country in the Western world where it is legal for a vet to declaw a cat is the USA. I am a vet in Ireland. If I did that here I would - quite rightly - be struck off the register and could not practice. You quite simply do not perform a procedure on any animal unless it derives a net benefit to that animal.

In particular you do not inflict pain and suffering - and risk - to any animal unless there is a good reason to do so. Any vet worth their salt would just refuse to do this procedure. Any pet owner who gets this done on their cat is just selfish.

anon97203
Post 15

we have taken out cats before to be declawed after our cat bit my baby girl. he showed no symptoms after he was declawed. i personally think that declawing is completely fine if it is for important purposes. if you want to declaw your cat just because you don't like the idea of claws, then that is being inhumane.

anon96737
Post 14

I just took two my two four month old kittens to a well recommended vet this past Wednesday to be declawed. They were sisters that I adopted from the Humane Society and had already been spayed. One of them died after surgery. She supposedly did fine during surgery and seemed to be waking up (licking, etc) when they took her off everything, but then she stopped breathing. They tried for 20 minutes to save her. I am still waiting for the autopsy results, which are free of charge.

I also was not charged for any services for my kitty that passed.

I don't really have any advice, I just wanted to let people know that this does happen. It made me feel not so alone when I read another's post who had also lost their cat during a declaw.

PitbullCats
Post 13

I posted the long post below, in favor of declawing "psychotic attack cats". I have a quick update.

My wife and I were lying on the bed watching TV last night, and it appears that the cat decided that my wife's eye was something that needed to be attacked.

I am pleased to inform everyone here: although our cat stuck her front paw completely into my wife's open eye, there will be no cornea surgery. As I stated below, our new kitten has already been declawed.

anon80974
Post 12

First of all, in writing this, I totally get the fact that this is a heated topic. There are as many dissenting opinions on declawing a cat as there are cat personalities.

Let me also state up front that I feel it is odd to just declaw a cat outright. To do this to some cats is paramount to declawing a sloth, which has no real purpose.

This brings me to the cat personalities issue, and the whole gambit that they run. First, there are the personalities I like to call the “doorstop cat" type cats. These are the cats that make “good conversation pieces.” The conversation usually starts out something like, “Is that a real cat?” or “Hey, that cat just moved!” or “What a real looking stuffed cat!” or “Oh my goodness, are you one of those weird people that take your dead animals to a taxidermist!?!”

Now, the antithesis to the “doorstop cat" is what I fondly call the “psychotic attack cat" type cat. These cats should come with warnings that say something like, “Wildcat lurking within this house!” or “Kevlar required within.” or “There will be blood!” or “Danger! Slasher within!”

Now, as odd as it may sound, I just love this type of cat! They go great with a doggy “victim” for a chew toy, and are a lifetime of fun and adventure. They are also good candidates for declawing.

Now please understand, there are all kinds of cats in between these two types. Some more like a doorstop, and some more psychotic. A “normal” cat falls somewhere in the middle. Just as there is a whole sliding scale for cats, so should there be for declawing a cat. Get to know your cat before you declaw!

Many years ago, I met my first psychotic attack cat. His name was Bob, and even though he had his tail, the name was somehow perfect! I suppose it was because it was a short name, and it was easier to shout, “Look out! Here comes Bob!” than it was to shout, “Look out! Here comes Theodore Barnabas Anderson The Third!"

The fact was, you often didn't know where Bob was anyway, but rest assured, he was somewhere waiting to pounce on you as you walked by. If not, he was slinking up on you to attack you from behind!

He was owned by a friend of mine, and he was front declawed-- and he was a blast! He was also everything I ever wanted in a cat (he even had his own dog). Then and there, I decided my next cat would be a “psychotic attack cat"! But I digress.

I have had four cats, all of which were neutered. The first was not declawed, and spent his outside leisure time killing birds, squirrels, flying squirrels, rabbits, and other small “defenseless” animals. I even once witnessed him attack an opossum (that was bigger than he was).

I often marveled that something so big, and so white, could sneak up on so many defenseless little animals!

He eventually disappeared, when he was around ten years old. I found a trail of white cat hair through the woods, where he had apparently attacked something he couldn't best. After much research, my meeting Bob, and some time to heal over the loss of my friend, I decided if I ever got another cat, I would have it declawed. That became my dream.

As things turned out, I eventually ended up saving a feral barn kitten, that had several odd habits. He was used to eating (stealing) dog food, so he swallowed his cat food whole. He was terrified of humans (at first) so he would hide up inside my furniture, only coming out at night to eat, use the litter pan, and then sleep on my head.

After he got used to me, I found that my dream had come true! He loved dogs, and he loved to attack me every opportunity he got! The thing was, he did it with all four sets of claws while biting (holding) me. I quickly decided to have him fully declawed (I had to talk the Vet into the idea).

After his surgery, he was a hoot! He still did the exact same thing, but I no longer had cuts and scratches all over my body. As long as I had him, he would wait until I fell asleep at night, slip his paw under the covers, and “frick” the arch of my foot. He would then try and hide before I could get to him with a water gun.

I eventually resorted to a super soaker and an aggressive night hunt style, which he didn't seem to mind in the least! He was an awesome cat, but I eventually was forced to find him a new home. He went to a loving home with both dogs and children, but I still miss him.

After my life situation turned around, my next cat came already declawed. We adopted her from the Humane Society. She was great (except for the fact that she hated our young daughter, and our dog) so we had to take her back. We kept the dog we had also adopted, because she had more love to give than any other dog I have ever had. She was a wonderful pit bull dog, named Molly.

My next cat was totally awesome! He came home and acted like no other cat I have ever seen. It was like he had lived there all of his life! He immediately began tearing through the house, playing, biting, and clawing everything! He even included me!

He was so playful, that my denim couches had pulled threads all over them, after only a day of him being in my home! He play attacked anything that moved. I had scratches all over my feet, legs, arms, and hands!

I had him declawed, and we quickly got a dog for him. They were best of [play] friends. Neither of them ever seemed to slow down long enough to sleep together, and I have some footage of them playing at 4:00 in the morning that is just hilarious! Ever see a cat bite a dog?

Anyway, that cat was like a small panther, but I only had him front declawed, because he never used his rear claws on anyone. He was a “rag-doll”, and a gift. He and his small dog would wrestle and play for hours on end, but because he was declawed, I never had to worry about my dog's eyes, my arms and legs, or any more destroyed furniture!

I had this cat for about two years before he was “taken” by someone, id tags and all.

I now have a new kitten. She scratched me over and over her first day, and she too is very playful. Another “psychotic attack cat” has joined the family! She is now declawed, and like my other declawed cats, will give me years of enjoyment, and not one more scratch.

That being said, I also have a great vet, and he is just wonderful at doing the declaw! Two days after surgery (there were no bandages, nor have there ever been on any cat I have ever had declawed) and she is playing with me, the dog, my wife, and my children like nothing even happened. The only difference now is, no one is getting scratched, and there will be no blood!

Now: The way a cat's paw is designed, the bone that is removed has no other purpose than to hold the claw (the claw grows from this bone). It (the distal phalanx) is not used for walking in a cat. Note: It is completely ridiculous to compare the anatomy of a cat paw to that of a human hand! Removing the cat's distal phalanx of their retractable claw is in no way comparable to removing a human's distal phalanx, which doesn't contain a claw, and isn't retractable!

Also, please note that a cat does not walk on its distal phalanx. The cat's distal phalanx holds the sole purpose of growing and holding the retractable claw.

Therefore, one must ask, what is the purpose of a retractable claw? It is a weapon, both offensive and defensive. A weapon cats spend a considerable amount of time honing to an extremely sharp point. A weapon that is not needed inside a house, where a cat is safe from predators.

Now, let it be said here, if you are one of those folks that have more of a “doorstop cat," then what is the point of declawing something that only moves from one warm spot to another? It's quite easy to argue that declawing isn't necessary in such cases, and I would quickly agree. However, if you have a cat that makes the Tasmanian Devil look like the Easter Bunny (the kind of cat I love) then to decide not to declaw is paramount to playing cactus catch!

No matter how many times you see it on the Internet, declawing a cat is not cat “mutilation”. It can even be a cat's salvation. The only cat I have ever had killed, had all of his claws! Also, have you ever checked to see if those shouting “Mutilation!” recommend neutering?

“No, because everyone does.” You say.

Well then, “everyone” is one of two things. 1.) Uninformed. 2.) Hypocritical.

Spaying/neutering an animal is major invasive surgery. The vet either does a ovariohysterectomy or a castration. In a cat, sometimes only the ovaries are removed. There is no “tube tying” going on, just the removal of an animal's reproductive glands so the pet will be a “better citizen” as they say.

If declawing a cat is (in your opinion) mutilation, then so must be spaying/neutering a pet. “But,” you may say, “I want to be a 'responsible' pet owner!” never realizing that there is the option of just having a pet's tubes tied.

However, then you have the whole natural “in heat” thing to deal with, and who wants that inside their house? A pet always being “distracted” by their natural sex drive is inconvenient (at best) and often down right disgusting!

So, the truth is, neutering a pet is a one time “human only” convenience. It is more invasive than the one time convenience of having a cat declawed, but much more “politically correct” to endorse!

However, neutering and declawing are both surgical procedures that (when preformed by a competent veterinarian) adds years of enjoyment to having an inside pet, and in no way maims, destroys, mutilates or harms your pet, and I offer every cat have had (or will ever have) as proof of that fact!

anon75431
Post 11

Ok, just looking for an answer, not a fight. Have a five year old Bombay, given to me at age four already declawed. The best friend I've ever had. I do work a lot, and I don't know that he minds, but, part of me says, he needs a buddy during the day.

I would like to go to the rescue and get him one buddy, and if it works out, maybe another down the road.

Here is the question: would it be fair to Milo, the bombay, to get him a friend and leave their claws in? Guess what I'm saying is, I'd like to rescue two cats, but, I would probably want them declawed, not because of any furniture or anything, only for Milo's well being when playing or wrestling, so, do I save two cats to a four bedroom suburban where they will have the run of the house and be treated like kings, but declaw, or, not bother rescuing?

Again, not looking for a fight, just telling you what is going to happen. Your thoughts are welcomed, as long as they are thoughtful.

anon69621
Post 10

I have had every cat I've ever owned declawed in the front. I recently took into two of my cats. A two year old named Elvira and a one year old named Ulah. Elvira did not make it. She died under anesthesia.

I know that pets do die like this but it is rare, but I can't help feeling guilty. Their nails were getting out of hand. My mother and I rent a house and they were tearing it up (and costing us money). I did not even consider the risk of death because this surgery has gone well so many other times. I am empty, now.

The doctors think she may of had a heart problem we didn't know about or an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. I will never know but I will always miss her.

Ulah is recovering well.

You just never know how they'll react.

anon66691
Post 9

I am debating on what to do. My cat keeps tearing out the screens in the windows and back porch to get outside. We don't want him to because we live where people don't watch for animals in the road and he is not the brightest cat.

I have tried the traditional routes of spray bottle, soaking him with a pitcher of water, while saying loudly no. I really do not want to get him declawed. but I want him to stay alive and not escape.

If he gets out where I live there are about seven current ways he can die, but if he was declawed, there is still the threat of raccoons and other wild critters.

anon66286
Post 8

I've declawed three cats in the past and everything went quite well. But, my fourth cat that I had her laser declawed is suffering over this procedure, still two years later! The guilt is overwhelming. This is the worst decision I have ever made in my entire life.

To see my baby suffer like this for the rest of her life! If I knew then what I know now, I would have gladly put up with shredded furniture, than to see her suffer daily. Its not worth it. Please don't declaw! I played russian roulette with my babies and now one is paying the ultimate price. She has tender paws and limps! I hate what I've done to her.

If you have children and they are scratched from a cat then it only means your child is the one who initiated the scratch by not respecting and leaving the cat alone!

anon61795
Post 7

After trying all routes for years, scratching post, moving the posts around in different locations, cat nip, soft paws, it was either get my two cats declawed or get rid of them. they were ruining furniture, wood etc. My husband was not pleased.

They were three and four years old (yes you can declaw an older cat as long as it is healthy, and not overweight). They had the laser declaw surgery. They came home with no bandages there was minimal bleeding, and they also had pain medication.

They recovered fairly quickly and are no different from before, they even still go through the motion of scratching things. I would say we have a better relationship now and they are happier, as they don't get yelled at, sprayed with water, and have full range of the house.

anon60044
Post 6

We have just declawed our cats. I was always against it but after last time my two year old was scratched around his eye, that was a final decision. I love my cats but my son is most important and if I want to keep my whole family together (including my beloved cats) I had no choice.

anon36094
Post 5

"For many cats this is a last hope for them to remain a family pet and not be abandoned."

People who would abandon a cat to keep their furniture in perfect condition probably shouldn't get a cat. It's not like it's some big secret that cats like to scratch things.

anon30706
Post 4

People saying de-clawing is cruel and comparing it to removing a "certain" part of the human anatomy are extremely ignorant of the situation. For many cats this is a last hope for them to remain a family pet and not be abandoned. So if you really want a bunch of family pets being thrown out because of their destructive, and even harmful, behavior, keep thinking that way.

I agree that if you have this procedure performed on your pet then you must be committed to letting this animal live out his/her life inside and with you. No procedure like this should be done without the proper understanding of what this means for the animal (cat.) If you are not committed to your cat for life, then do not even consider this.

anon13711
Post 3

Any vet who willingly removes an animals defence system i.e. a cats claws for instance should be jailed for cruelty and have a certain part of their anatomy removed.

anon10653
Post 2

After seeing the scratch on my husband's face and multiple attempts to use the vinyl caps on our cat's paws, out vet actually suggested that we have her declawed (I'm holding out, as I've never really liked the idea). Now, I tend to agree that declawing is inhumane, and letting a cat outside after they're declawed is truly putting him in harm's way, and that the people who declaw their pets for the sake of their belongings should examine their conscience.

amyh1965
Post 1

the cat doesn't necessarily have it's paws "tightly bandaged for several weeks"...the wounds at each point where the claw used to come out is very small and one simply needs to use a shredded paper litter for a while to make sure nothing gets in while they are healing. Secondly, I don't take my pets to just any vet. I've never encountered a reputable vet who refused to perform declawing, although I'm sure some do. The point is, the fact that a veterinarian is willing to declaw a cat isn't a sign that he's not a reputable doctor, just that he happens to disagree with this extreme point of view.

My cats can still climb trees (as can many animals that don't have claws), they actually still use their scratching post for stretching (I don't think they really "know" the claws are gone), and they are still great hunters (as evidenced by the loving "gifts" they come and leave on our doorstep)

When playing they don't show a greater inclination toward biting, as some people claim, they still will grab with their feet (again, I think because they don't know the claws aren't there)

Finally, I don't know about others, but we only declaw in the front because that's where the damage comes from. This means that my cats still have half their claws for climbing, etc. They are still energetic, graceful, happy pets. And if they need to stay indoors (at least more often than not) then any reputable veterinarian will tell you that is much healthier than keeping them outside where they have need to fight off raccoons and dogs and coyotes.

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