An Argument For And Against Declawing

by Katie
(Missouri, United States)

Photo added by Michael (Admin) - copyright Stockxpert

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.

Michael Avatar

An Argument For And Against. Declawing to Declawing Cats

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An Argument For And Against Declawing

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Jul 20, 2010 A quick response.
by: Katie


I'm sorry that my post offended some of you readers out there. This wasn't my intention at all, I assure you. I was merely adding my personal opinion to those already on the site.

I realize after rereading my statements that I might not have made my intended point clear: Hate the practice of declawing, perhaps blame those that make a financial profit from it, but DON'T make pariahs of those with declawed pets unless they absolutely deserve it. (I know, I know. Please, at least on this one point, keep an open mind.)

The other point I wanted to make with my little article WAS clearly stated: that declawed cats--mutilated as they may be--are STILL CATS. They deserve just as much love as intact cats.

In direct response to some of the replies my post generated... First, I notice that many of you attacked my silly comment at the end about being a "dumb American". It was meant as a joke. If I sounded bitter--again, it was unintentional. Especially to Jan, my apologies.

Second, and this is taken from Barbara's comment: we do not monitor our cats and keep them indoors BECAUSE they are declawed. They would live the same way even if they were intact. Jacques and Sally are indoor pets--as is our dog, the one with the "more natural life"--because we live near a highway, because our neighbor has a big, overly-playful outdoor dog, and because our temperate climate creates dangerous weather extremes. Is it a bad thing that we put collars with identifying tags on our pets?

Finally, I had hoped that this would spur discussion, not outright name-calling and insults to my intelligence. I stated in my original post that I had learned a lot from this site, didn't I? That I was angry with how little I had been taught about the process? Ruth, you send a mixed message by asserting how little I understand and then challenging me to sign a petition. I appreciate the petition, and I intend to sign it, by the way. But EVERYONE, not once did I say that declawing was "acceptable". Stop throwing accusations around and please analyze this issue from every angle. I have, and I've decided I'm against it. Perhaps I SHOULD be more actively involved like some of you are, but that doesn't mean I'm against you.

I really don't have anything else to say. I'm sure this will only instigate more arguing, but I had to defend those few points. Remember, you don't HAVE to agree with me. These are my opinions, after all.

(If I may, as an afterthought, I'll admit I AM offended that anyone would doubt my love for my cats. I can't think of any creature--human or animal--that I hold dearer to me than Jacques. I've always loved animals and hope to study zoology in the near future, so I beg you, stop painting this picture of me as some kind of greedy, fur-wearing animal-hater.)

Jan 14, 2010 Gimme them claws
by: Jan Plant

Michael, What happened to the photo?

Jan 14, 2010 Gimme them claws
by: Jan

Sorry picture not available (2012)
This photo was sent to me by a friend ,amongst some other ones. I thought perhaps it should be posted out side of money grubbing vet offices who do declaws! What do ya think? Fits. Huh?

Jan 13, 2010 my 2 cents
by: kathy

Of course I just had to add my 2 cents to this article. this lady is very badly informed and where she got all her information is clearly beyond me!!! I would invite her into a vets office and let her watch the cruel mutilation that is behind that dreadful declawing act. If she could hear them cry out as each claw is painfully and cruelly pulled out of their foot even though they are asleep. And then have the bone cut out so the claw doesnt grow back. It doesn't matter on the age or even the idea behind this cruel act. The cat clearly FEELS when the c law is extracted. Then watch how they try to stand up the next day as their poor feet are bandaged up. There are no pluses to this act in my book.

Jan 13, 2010 Claws are beautiful
by: Ruth

Hi Michael, I'm in total agreement with you that humam possessions are worth very little.Our late mam who was very wise would say 'You can't take them with you when you go' and 'Every act of cruelty is recorded as a black mark against you in God's little black book'
He must have many volumes for some people !
In my opinion, if you love cats you love every single part of them including every claw, I know I do. I love to see our boyz on their scratching posts and playing with catnip toys as cats should, hooking them with those wonderful claws.
Yes it's usually your own fault if you get scratched or it's because a cat you are trying to help doesn't understand that and naturally lashes out.
How I wish I had claws myself as there's a lot of people would get some well deserved really vicious scratches from me lol

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jan 13, 2010 Beautiful claws
by: Michael

Ruth, you made me think. Yes, the photo is a nice one of a cat's claws. And for us, the people who advocate respect for cats their claws are beautiful.

A cat's claws are not to be feared. They are wonderfully useful tools for a cat. We should respect a cat's claws.

If we respect and understand the domestic cat its claws look beautiful and fine. As we have said over and over getting scratched by a cat will be our fault about 99% of the time.

As to scratched furniture - who cares - it's only a possession. When you get older you realise that human possessions are worth very little. In any case that is what I have found.

Jan 10, 2010 What argument? There IS no argument.
by: Barbara

I don’t believe that even the devil would want an advocate on the subject of declawing, there are no two sides to it and no argument as far as I’m concerned, declawing is wrong, has always been wrong and always will be wrong until the golden day comes when it is banned for ever.

How can you possibly maintain that some claims are exaggerated? From your limited knowledge of two declawed cats how can you say that declawing doesn’t impair their abilities? How little you know of cats and how lucky you have been that your own two cats haven’t suffered as much as other cats have. I find it interesting by the way that you shift the blame for the bleeding from the wound onto the cat who “insisted on picking and chewing at it” Why do you think he did that then? Just to annoy you and your mother, or do you think he was chewing at it because it hurt him a great deal?

You think that having partial feet is good enough, you even think they still have their toes and you think that the vet removed the front claws. How was he going to do that then? The claws grow from the last toe joint; there is no other way to remove the claws than to remove the ends of the toes, get with it girl, if you’re going to pontificate get your facts right before you start. This isn’t a kitty manicure were talking about, it is amputation!

You say your cats are extremely loved, but this seems to be only because they were customized to suit your mother. It’s not much good taking pictures of toes destined for the surgical waste bag, those toes belonged to the cat, you could, and should, have fought harder to save them.
You care so deeply for them that you have modified them to your requirements and now have to “monitor” them to see they don’t get out, but still because they are disabled and couldn’t manage outdoors they are saddled with collars round their necks. The dog seems to have a more natural life than the cats, but this comes as no surprise because unlike cats dogs voice their pain long and loud, hence dogs get to keep their claws, cats on the other hand who hide their pain lose theirs.

You miss the point completely as to why cats need their claws, you seem to think that the cats adapting to being disabled is some sort of vindication for what your mother, and whoever previously owned the second cat, did but the fact that the cats have made the best of the part of the paws they are left with is entirely down to them and their fortitude, it does not excuse the atrocity that was carried out on them.

I haven’t read your article with an open mind at all, my mind is closed and certain that declawing is despicable, I am not wrong in this, there are no two ways about it, declawing is evil!

You do not sound like a dumb American, but you do sound like a dumb person. A large percentage of Americans realise how disgusting declawing is and are fighting for a ban, what are you doing other than “playing devil’s advocate”?

Jan 10, 2010 Another Dumb American?
by: Jan Plant

First: speak for your own dumb self! I AM an American,and I would NEVER condone MUTILATING any animal! Seems to me you are speaking out of both sides of your mouth Lady!I, unlike you, have read EVERY article I can find on declawing! And, unlike you,understand FULLY the procedure.It is amputation! Straight and to the point,flat out mutilation of one of the most beautiful creatures on earth!There is no pro side to declawing!!How can you even say that cutting off a cats toes is in any way acceptable! Your attitude is really appalling!The only reason your poor cats knead and "react properly" is the have HAD to adapt.Without your disgusting interfering sadistic torture of removing their toes ,they wouldn't have had to adapt.Tell me how well they are doing in the coming years when the poor dears are suffering from arthritis, when they can no longer balance properly because their muscles have shortened because they can no longer stretch them properly.
Tell your tale to someone else lady! because I for one,an informed American, ain't buying it!

Jan 10, 2010 There is no argument FOR declawing
by: Ruth

Michael that is a wonderful picture of a cat's paw with its rightful BEAUTIFUL and very neccessary claws !!!
Katie you 'shot yourself in the foot' straight away, so to speak ! Of course declawing affects a cat's ability to do all those things.You say they are JUST without nails.How little you know ! They are in fact without their end toe joints. As the claws are firmly embedded in bone, that bone has to be severed or lasered off along with tendons, tissues and ligaments.That bone which is thrown away in the rubbish contains cells from which a new claw would grow, more than likely crooked too, and which DOES happen if a vet botches the job.Also if a splinter of bone is missed during the amputations it can work its way to a painful position in the cat's stump, months or even years later.So you see it's not 'only' the nail !
You say they still have feet for goodness sake, yes most do have 2/3rd of their feet left after the mutilation Katie, but not ALL of them do, have you not heard about 'Stella no feet' ?? I suggest you google her and read her heartbreaking story.
Do you want more TRUE horror stories of suffering cats ? I can give you plenty as we have a collection of them.
You say you are against declawing,good, but you still have a lot to learn.Or course Sally stretches and kneads, cats adapt, they have no choice, but you should know that cats need to dig in their claws to stretch properly to exercise their leg, shoulder, stomach and back muscles.Declawed cats can't do that and that's why so many develop arthritis.
I don't think you should call yourself a dumb American, because many people in your country who are fighting declawing are far from dumb.They are far from dumb,they are compassionate caring people who know the truth about this pre-meditated daily abuse of cats.
I hope you also know that cats hide their pain,declawed cats are disabled cats and need to be very carefully monitored for their whole lives. Problems can occur even years after the initial amputations.... and often do.
Now don't tell us declawing is acceptable because it certainly isn't and too many cats are suffering through it.One cat suffering is TOO many to those of us who truly love cats and we won't give up until declawing is BANNED !
If you truly care about cats,please sign it and pass it on.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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