(Missouri, United States)
Photo added by Michael (Admin) - copyright Stockxpert
Allow me to play the Devil's Advocate for a moment and side with those that see no problem with declawing cats.
Especially pertaining to the second video on this page, I believe some claims are grossly exaggerated. Declawing does NOT in fact impair a cat's ability to "balance, play, rake litter, or climb". Or, heaven forbid, their ability to WALK.
Their paws are still present, with pads and joints and toes, just without nails--they still have feet, for goodness' sake! I have two cats--one whose front paws were already declawed when we adopted her from the Humane Society, and another whose front claws were removed by our vet (while he was already under anesthesia to be neutered) soon after we rescued him from becoming a stray.
Both of our (extremely loved, affection-lavished) cats are very playful and acrobatic. The male's favorite place to watch the living room is from the top of a high-backed chair that he easily climbs even without his front claws. The female is warmly affectionate (almost clingy, actually) and often kneads blankets or people's laps/stomachs despite her lack of claws. She also "scratches" at furniture corners to stretch her front legs. They boisterously play and romp and chase each other around the house, and they curiously bat at toys and, occasionally, they catch crickets and mice in the basement, proudly displaying their trophies at our feet.
Despite what the video says, their "essence" is not lost. They are still cats. They are still an integral part of our family, and we love them even though a small physical part of them has been removed.
Further, because we care so deeply for them, we carefully monitor them when entering and leaving the house, or when letting our dog (also a beloved family member) outside. (Not that they have any desire to leave the house anyway--the grass seems to unsettle one and the other is terrified of being carried near the front door.) They have collars with identifying tags and our local veterinarian's address and phone number, and the female has a microchip implanted in her shoulder that may help her to get home should she become lost. In short, there is little need for our strictly indoor cats to protect themselves against predators, and if worst comes to worst, they still have their agility, teeth, and back claws for defense.
If you've read this far with an open mind, I think it's finally time for me to tell you my personal opinion on declawing cats:
I don't agree with it. At all.
Our first cat, the male, was going to be abandoned by a family friend because she couldn't handle his highly affectionate behavior. My mother and I couldn't stand by and watch this happen, especially mid-January, so we took him in. He was already a young adult, but he still needed to be neutered, so we set up an appointment. Later my mother said that he was also going to be declawed, and I adamantly protested, citing the fact that after two weeks he had yet to damage any furniture and had a very gentle disposition. The arguments of a teenager were rendered inadequate, however, and our adorable Jacques lost his front claws.
(Important to mention, however, is that the only side-effect he suffered was minor bleeding from one toe a few days after surgery, but this only occurred because he insisted on picking and chewing at it. When properly taken care of and with a reliable vet performing the surgery, it should be very rare for serious injury or infection to occur.)
We decided about a year later to adopt a second cat from the Humane Society, this time a female whom we named Sally. I finally convinced my mother to leave her claws intact this time, but after a few days we noticed that her stretching and kneading were oddly silent. I eventually examined her paws and discovered that her front feet were already declawed! The shelter apparently hadn't known about this because she hadn't been there for very long, so it was a complete surprise for everyone.
(I suppose it also speaks volumes that we didn't notice for a few days, because her behavior was just as one expected of a normal cat. I had always thought that the reason Jacques never kneaded anything was because he was declawed, but Sally continues this behavior even today.)
I understand the beauty and function of a cat's claws, I really do. I would very much prefer if our pets could have the joy of a scratching post or the ability to climb a sheer slope. There really isn't a legitimate reason that they needed to be declawed, other than my mother's desire to keep our furniture intact. To provide an example of how fervently I believed in keeping our first cat's claws intact, let me say that I actually TOOK PHOTOS of his front claws the day before his surgery, in memoriam. I would also like to say that I actually learned a lot from this web page, which was a surprise. I didn't know the entire first digit was removed during surgery, for instance, which somewhat angers me because of the lack of education. I also didn't know that this sort of thing only happens in America, although it's hardly surprising. (Take the metric system, for example!)
However, because Jacques and Sally are indoor cats and have retained every bit of their previous loving personalities, I see little harm done to the individuals. Both cats have adapted well, and they act like any other pair of cats, clawed or no. (I can actually make this statement confidently because my brother's two cats have intact paws. They behave VERY similarly to ours.)
Just something to think about. I wanted to let everyone know that I respect the opinions presented in this article and those in the outside links, but that there are two sides to even this argument.
(... And if I sound like a dumb American, it's because I am one. Heh, it's always enlightening to see what other countries think of us.)
Hi Katie... I appreciate your arguments and welcome them. And thanks for visiting and taking the time to express your views.
My initial response is that your observations are based on watching a few cats. This does not represent the whole.
You also say that their toes are still present after delawing. This is untrue as part of the toe is removed (I see that you have learned this on this page, however).
You say that climbing is unchanged yet without front claws climbing must be curtailed. Your observations are limited, which does not enable you to make a proper assessment.
Also you do not know the effect of declawing on a representative sample of declawed cats. You might have read: Cat Declawing Myths and Truths.
The bottom line though is that it is unnecessary and if done for a person's convenience it must be immoral at a fundamental level. You don't address these fundamental issues.
There are many other points but some of the regular visitors might like to address some of them. The other articles on this page do.
One last point. Declawing accommodates us at the expense of the cat. In a better world the human accommodates the cat. In the UK it works that way and no one finds it a problem. Why do American's find it a problem? Isn't it better, the British way? And if so why not do it? It certainly must be because it avoids mutilating the cat.
Declawing is really about financial profit for the vets and has little to do with anything else. Americans could change their ways but vets keep declawing going.