Yes, I’m aware it’s a painful procedure. Yes, I’m aware you are removing the equivalent on 1/3 of the “finger” of a cat. Yes I’m aware that if a cat gets outdoors, he has a very slim chance against dogs and predators and even other cats. And Yes, I’m aware that a cat who has been declawed can have a difficult time adjusting to the loss of it’s claws – but I’m also aware that this is worsened by age.
I agree with preventative declawing at 6 months of age… 8-10 months at the latest. After about a year, the cartilage of the “finger” calcifies and becomes bone – much more painful to declaw. It’s also harder for the cat to adjust to no longer having claws to help with balance when jumping and climbing.
My male cats were neutered and front declawed at 5-6 months, and my female (who was a stray) was neutered and NOT declawed because we didn’t know her exact age. Looking back, she was probably young enough, but we didn’t risk it. We’ve been blessed in that she’s only gone after furniture a few times, and quickly learned that it wasn’t appropriate. Unfortunately, she hasn’t learned that about the carpet!
As far as being cruel, is declawing really more cruel than the many people who decide to euthanize or abandon their 2 year old cat simply because it scratches them or their property?
I’m sorry, but I think it is an individual’s decision, and I don’t think that crying “cruelty!” is a valid reason why not to go for it, when so many cats are killed for a natural behavior that could have been prevented with a frontal declaw.
(BTW, I do NOT agree with the people who declaw the back claws. The removal of back claws is almost always unnecessary – cats don’t tend to scratch you or furniture with them, and without back claws too, they are more likely to have balance issues and have one less “last line of defense” if they ever get out. I also think that outdoor cats should NOT be declawed, barring a medical problem.)