This is a picture showing the anatomy of a cat’s claw. Visitors are free to use it as they wish if they think it is good enough (see base of page). I think it is not bad. The quality does not matter that much. The important thing is that cat owners fully understand the cat’s claw.
There are lots of pictures showing the cat’s claw on the internet. I accept that. However, you can’t have enough of them. This is because a lot of people are still unclear what “declawing” entails because it is a misleading word. It implies that the claw is removed. As many of us know, it is much more than that.
In fact you can’t simply remove just the claw of the cat because it is embedded into the bone that supports it. The cat’s claw grows from the last bone of the cat’s toe. The tendons anchor this bone. The cat’s claw is made up of modified skin. There is an outer cuticle which is hard protein called “keratin”. This protects the dermis, the pink bit that you can see that is nearer the bone.
The supporting bone of the claw is the distal phalanx. In layperson’s language this is the last bit of bone after the last joint of the cat’s toe. It is a short piece of bone that is designed to hold the claw.
This bone is moved by tendons. The tendons are moved by muscles in the cat’s leg. At rest the claw is sheathed – tucked away. It is pulled out by the tendons underneath the distal phalanx.
When a veterinarian declaws the cat they have to remove the distal phalanx and the claw that it supports. A simple scalpel (very sharp surgical knife) does the job. Vets also use a laser which burns the connecting tissue away or a guillotine device that is very crude and looks like garden secateurs.
As you can see from the words in the picture, I have used a photograph of a real claw and supporting bone that was removed from a cat. Disgusting isn’t it? I merged that with a drawing.
One last point. It is surprising to see that the claw in the picture has been trimmed! This must mean that the cat’s owner trimmed the cat’s claws (or had it done for her/him) before deciding to have her cat declawed. It seems that the cat’s owner was unsatisfied with trimming the claw for some reason and simply wanted them removed. I guess it was much more convenient this way.
There is no question in my mind that declawing a cat is very wrong. It is cruel. I am not the only person who believes that. For a start, 700 million Europeans also believe it and, at a guess, about 100 million Americans do as well. On a worldwide basis people who agree that declawing is OK are massively outnumbered by people like me who dislike it or even hate it.
About using the picture on this page: You can’t download the picture using right click and ‘save image as’ because that function is disabled to try and stop people violating Helmi Flick’s copyright. Please leave a comment if you’d like to use the picture and I’ll email you a copy. Thanks.