Declawing

Declawing a CatAlthough most owners who declaw have good intentions, the practice is dangerous and harmful to all cats and kittens. Declawing actually involves multiple amputations, one on each toe of the cat's foot. During declaw surgery the cat's bone is disarticulated (surgically cut) at the last joint, the equivalent of amputating a human finger at the last knuckle. Over 25 countries (including Italy, England, and Australia) have banned declawing or condemned it as inhumane.

Cats use their claws and paws for much more than just scratching. Each paw has a scent gland between the toes that only other cats can smell, a method of communication. Cats also walk on the tips of their toes. When a cat is declawed, she is forced to walk on the back of her feet, which can lead to arthritis and impaired mobility. Scratching does not just allow a cat to sharpen her claws; it also stretches her back.

Cats that have been declawed can:

  • Develop arthritis.
  • Develop negative defensive behaviors such as biting.
  • Develop litterbox avoidance. Cats naturally cover their waste. After being declawed they become much more sensitive to the litter on their toes, and associate the pain with the action of using the litterbox.
  • Never go outside, as their main defense has been taken away.
  • Be euthanized after a frustrated owner cannot tolerate biting or litterbox problems.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to declawing. As a responsible owner, you can:

  • Train your cat to use a scratching post.
  • Trim your cat's nails, or ask the groomer or vet to do it for you.
  • Apply a product like SoftPaws, which is a soft nail cover that you can apply at home once a month. SoftPaws come in different colors and sizes, and are available at http://www.softpaws.com/.