Declawing my cat 16 years ago is my biggest regret…

By Anonymous

I live in the U.S. where, until recently, most of us were in the dark about the true nature of cat declaw.

It was a very common practice 16 years ago – all vets performed the surgery, it was done frequently & no one ever questioned it.

I was under the impression that the claws were just pulled out somehow. Who would have thought that they actually had to cut off the ends of your cats fingers?!?!

I mean, any practice so brutal would & should have been countered with astounding public protests by animal rights groups everywhere!

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While I agree that I should have asked more questions & looked into the practice of declaw before having it done, I partially blame the vets & people already in the know for not coming forward & educating the public.

I had my 16 year old kitty declawed along with his brother (now deceased) because I lived in an apartment at the time & they destroyed the carpet.

I had to either have them declawed or give them up. I knew they were going to live strictly indoors so I was never concerned about them not being able to defend themselves.

I found out about the true nature of declaw only a few short years ago & now am dealing with the guilt of having had my 16 year old kitty (& several cats that owned me before him who have since deceased) declawed when he was just a kitten.

When I actually LOOKED at his fingers, I saw that indeed, his last digits had been removed. My older cat has a young brother & sister now whom I refuse to declaw. I am trying to decide whether to have them fitted with Softclaws so that they cannot hurt my older cat. I have trained them to use scratching posts & cat trees so they do not tear up my furniture. They love to climb but it’s not really fair to my older cat when they wrestle…

Regardless of the hate you encounter for this site, please keep it up. Perhaps there are a few people out there who may be considering declaw.

PLEASE DON’T DO IT – you will regret it some day! Unlike 15-20 years ago, we have options now. Have your cats fitted with Softclaws ( or any other brand of cat claw caps instead of declawing them!

Declawing my cat 16 years ago is my biggest regret…to Declawing Cats

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Declawing my cat 16 years ago is my biggest regret…

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Jul 13, 2011 devil cat
by: Anonymous

We have a cat that we rescued and bottle fed from the time he was a tiny kitten. We gave him everything a cat could ever need. We constantly show him affection and are very loving humans. But he turns on us like its nobody’s business. You can be petting him and you’ll think he’s totally fine then bam! He’ll tear you up. He bites so hard that it punctures the tendon and scratches so deep you can see the fatty tissue under the skin. He is truly a misunderstood animal. But if he’s going to continue living in my house he will be de-clawed. Paw protectors DO NOT work for him. He just bites more. I’m either going to get him euthanized or de-clawed. Are there any other options???

Jun 14, 2011 I regret it.
by: Anonymous

I had our 2 cats declawed. I never grew up with pets and so when we got our 2 and they were destroying our furniture, I thought that’s just what you did. I regret that we had it done everyday. They don’t seem to have any long term effects from it, but I feel like I wronged my sweet girls. I can plead ignorance that I didn’t know it was bad, but I am responsible for the fact I did not do any research on the subject. I am now passionately against it and tell my girls I’m sorry everyday for doing that to them. If we ever have more cats in the future, declawing will not even be an option. Never again.

Jan 01, 2011 Guilty
by: Anonymous

Thank you all for sharing your stories and comments.

I just got my kitten home and was horrified to see her little paws bandaged up, and her dazed eyes. I broke down crying… and still am.

My boyfriend surprised me with a kitten for Christmas day. I was never one for pets, because I didn’t have many growing up,and didn’t know how to properly care for them. But it was the nicest gesture my boyfriend had done, so I decided to keep her (after a few days of struggling with it).

She was super active, and liked to claw things; the curtains, couch, my hair, etc. I thought it was her way of playing, because she didn’t seem aggressive.

I was naturally afraid of her, because she liked to climb into our bed, and play in my hair. It frightened me at night to wake up to a cat on my head.

My boyfriend said he had gotten his two previous cats de-clawed years ago, and it wasn’t a problem. I didn’t know what that meant. I thought it was “trimming” their nails. So i called around to a few different vets.

I spoke to the “Humane Society”, and the receptionist explained they didn’t “de-claw” cats. When i asked why, she said “we just don’t do that ma’am.” When i asked what the health or safety concerns were, she said “we simply prefer not to”. When i asked what that meant, she said ” i suggest you call another clinic ma’am”.

After those ridiculous answers, my boyfriend stated that if the Human Society didn’t have much to say, then it was not an issue. So, i kept calling around. A few different vets that i spoke to all said they would do it, and it was a standard procedure. She would be out that same day.

Needless to say, we sent her to a vet the same day. I deeply regret this decision. I didn’t feel right about it, it was all too sudden, i should’ve done more research, i should’ve waited. I kept asking my boyfriend about his experience with de-clawing his cats in the past, and he said it was no big deal, they were fine. I felt sick just from the worry.

I called the vet all day with questions, and he kept repeating that there was nothing at all to be worried about. He released her home the same day.

With all of the calls i made to him with questions, he NEVER stated that it meant amputating from the joint! Never stated she was going to be bandaged. Never sated she was going to be in pain. Never stated she needed to take medicine orally. Never stated how to care for her after surgery.

I googled how to care for her after surgery, and came across this site. I am glad i found this site. But i deeply regret reading this too late. I can’t believe the vets did not explain any of this.

I’m on a tiny island in the caribbean, and should have known that i was not going to get the best possible medical advice.

I am staying anonymous, because i am much too ashamed of what i’ve done.

Dec 30, 2010 Guilty as well
by: Sam

Before I declawed by kid I looked up soft claws too and thought they would be too expensive over time, but the guilt is more of an expense than anything. I got my cat declawed 4 years ago when he was 3 when he was way used to having claws and climing trees and I feel so ashamed of myself that I did that to him, let alone nutering him! But if I didnt do that my house would reek I spose. I just got a kitten, she is 6 months now and I dont think I have the heart to declaw her after what I had seen what I done to my precious tuxeodo cat, his is the world to me, the baby not so much, but I figured I would keep her safe and not do it and just get her the softclaws so she doesnt hurt him. So all and all your right, DONT! do it, get scratching posts and softclaws it will make you feel like your stepping up and making a difference!

Dec 05, 2010 Guilty
by: Leslie

I am convinced we humans have become desensitized to the pain an animal experiences. What has happened to our compassion?

When I was much younger and more naive, I was led to believe it was responsible pet ownership to have a cat declawed so an indoor cat couldn’t ruin the drapery or the upholstery.

Back then I was still a meat-eater. I’ve seen photos of how animals are treated in the meat industry and have now been a vegetarian for 20 years.

Now I will never encourage anyone to have their cat declawed, and I regret having put two of my cats through this pain 20 years ago. I feel like I betrayed their love.

We need to rethink our priorities. How important are the drapes? I can hang shorter curtains or use mini-blinds. I can offer scratching posts and other alternatives and reward my cat for desired behaviors.

Oct 23, 2010 Thank you
by: Gina

Thank you, Kathleen and Ruth! I have heard of the Cat Clinic of Roswell. Unfortunately, they are an hour away from me and my cats HATE to ride in cars… Here is another list I found of vets in the U.S. who do not declaw:

I live in Gwinnett County. Until recently I took my cats to the Center for Feline Medicine in Lawrenceville. They saw Dr Gray, who owned the clinic and is a wonderful doctor and cat-person like we all are. She would never declaw and was outspokenly opposed to the practice; we spoke about it several times. She retired two months ago, unfortunately, and since then I have been taking my kitties to Dekalb Animal Hospital. If they declaw there it would surprise me, as they encourage nail trimming and nail caps. It has been my experience that a vet will mention declaw in their list of services if they offer it and I haven’t seen mention of it at Dekalb Animal Hospital. Nonetheless, I plan on asking them about it and if they do offer it, I will change vets immediately!

I wish I were close to another cat only vet. The closest one is Paws, Whiskers and Claws in Marietta, and while they are absolutely wonderful (and would never dream of offering declaw) they too are very far away… If the long drive weren’t so traumatizing for my babies I would not mind!

Oct 22, 2010 Good Clinic
by: Kathleen

I posted their link on another thread here; I believe it was one called “Recognizing Good Vets”. It’s in a suburb of Atlanta so it may be a bit of a drive for Gina or anyone else in the metro Atlanta area, but they seem worth it to me. In any life-threatening emergency, of course, I think one should always take their cat to the closest possible hospital that you trust, but I love that this clinic sets such a great example and standard for compassionate feline care!

Oct 21, 2010 Good clinic
by: Ruth

That is a wonderful clinic Kathleen and they even tell the truth about the pain and problems from declawing.
As they refuse to declaw and instead educate about the alternatives then so should all vets.
Have you put it on the Good Vet’s page and the Hall of Fame ?
This page is going to be a great help to educating people and proving declaw vets lie :

Is it near you Gina ? PLEASE spread the word to boycott the other vets who declaw.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

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Oct 20, 2010 To Gina
by: Kathleen

Gina, thank you for sharing your story here! It’s true, there are many, many people in your situation who end up declawing their cats and later regretting it because their vets failed to give them all the information about declawing and the alternatives. Don’t be angry at yourself- be angry at them! The best thing you can do is tell your story to everyone who will listen to you; particulary legislators, the next time a declaw ban or restriction comes up for a vote in any state. Also, I thought I’d mention that I used to live in Atlanta, and I believe most vets there still declaw, though there is one that I know of in Roswell that does not and which educates their clients appropriately: if you are interested!

Oct 20, 2010 Gina
by: Kathryn

Hi Gina there are lots of people like you who deeply regret having their cats declawed.
I’m not saying being almost 100% certain to being doomed to arthritis is getting away lightly but some of the stories I’ve read are even more horrible.
Cats have bled to death,lost paws through infection,been thrown out as dirty when their wounded paws hurt too much to use the litterbox,been left lame for life and so on.
Yet no one complains,they accept the cats fate,write it off as unfortunate or whatever.No doubt those evil vets have papers signed to absolve them of blame of anything going wrong.
But if people would speak out,go to the press,let the country know that things can and often do go wrong then more people wouldn’t consider this mutilation any longer.
It’s well past time the AVMA took notice too,what are they there for if not to keep their vets to their oath.

Oct 20, 2010 Thank you for your comments!
by: Gina

It is tough to forgive myself for harming Junior. He is a special cat. Since he has owned me for 16 years and through most of my adult life, he is my best friend and has been with me through heaven and hell. He nursed me through several illnesses, surgeries, job losses, new jobs, a divorce, and the death of his younger brother. He even helped me choose my current husband (a cute story but too long to recant here.) He saw me through deaths of family members and several close friends, and a major depression… We slept huddled together many nights when I thought I would not make it through to the next day. He shared a tiny one-bedroom apartment with me – the one where the owner made it a lease condition that I declaw him, was with me when I bought my first house and is now King of our large but comfy home. I truly love this cat and truth be known would probably lay down my life for him if I had to! To think that I was the cause of his pain breaks my heart…

Thank you for allowing me to share my story. In doing so, I have shed a bit of the hopelessness I feel in having done this to my beloved Junior. Perhaps I can turn my grief into action and help you all DO something about this barbaric practice. I did not intend to remain anonymous, by the way. My name is Gina and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I would like to reply to some who replied to me and to thank you for your comments!

Michelle S, it truly feels as horrific as if I had done this to my child(ren), which I did… This is why it is my worst regret ever.

CJ, not only will I never declaw another kitten, but will help spread the word regarding this painful practice. It is still practiced by a few vets in my area and I plan on organizing a group to educate the public and boycott these vets.

Rose, you are correct. I cannot change the past… I am still dealing with the guilt. Perhaps by turning that guilt into action I can save other kittens this fate. I always try to adopt kittens as a pair, or with little difference in ages so they can play together. Unfortunately, Junior’s little “playmate” died last December. Thankfully, Junior is a healthy cat for his age (with the exception of some arthritis & some bad teeth) and I believe he will be around for a few more years at least so I adopted the last two as mates for him. Hopefully in a few months, when they are no longer spastic kittens, they should all be great friends.

Ruth, I too trusted my vet. I always believed that veterinarians never made much money to begin with and so must have entered their professions solely for their love of animals. Therefore, it never occurred to me that they would perform procedures they knew to be traumatic strictly for the money! I was naïve… By the way, where can I find this petition?

As Michael said, it was the “done thing.” (I wish I knew what happened in the US. We have some great people here, but some not-so-great ones, boneheads whom I have very little tolerance for.)

Oct 19, 2010 Declawing cats.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Thanks to “P.O.C” i have got to study and learn about the latest trends in cat maintenance besides being surprised at the income of vets from the “Declawing Industry”.
Ultimately, Vets have to earn a living and hence advocation of “Declawing” to wealthy pet owners would be profitable.
The latest innovation of “Claw capping” for cats akin to “tooth caps” would be an indeal solution for cat owners wanting to own mini big cats” without their natural jubgle instincts.
Hope “Claw Capping’ picks up with cat owners instead of the brutal, barbaric “DECLAWING”.
I am sure, the Veterinarian doctors would not oppose “Claw capping” as it benifits them.
Ultimately, pet ownership is multi-billion dollar business.

Oct 19, 2010 Thank you for your honesty
by: Michele S.

I’m from England and until a few years ago I’d never even heard of declawing. When I researched what it meant I was truly horrified, so I can’t imagine how bad you must feel having had this done to your previous cats.

I agree that vets and some welfare organisations must take a large share of the blame for not telling the public the truth. Not only have they lied or failed to disclose the physical or mental trauma it can cause, but they have done little to educate people about natural cat behaviour or the many humane alternatives to declawing. Figures from the HSUS estimate that as at 2001, declawing had generated in excess of $3 Billion dollars of additional revenue to vets. That’s an awful lot of money for what is purely an elective surgery.

The tragic irony is that it’s due to the refusal of vets in other countries to perform declaws that brought about legal bans. In 1985 the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons denounced declawing and ear cropping as “unnecessary mutilations”. Neither were legally banned until 2006 but vets refusal to offer these procedures meant that people have always accepted that cats come with claws and some dogs have floppy ears.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, and I’m glad that you are now wise enough not to declaw any more cats. Please spread the word and you can help save many more cats from this unnecessary cruelty.

Oct 19, 2010 Guilty doctors
by: CJ

At least you won’t have any more kittens declawed since you know how drastic and cruel it is.
There are too many people who also know but don’t care because to them a cat is a possession to do what they want with.
They are the ones who should feel the guilt.
The worst offenders are those doctors trained to care for animals but they daily disable cats.
I feel deep hatred for them and I live for the day it’s banned all over the world.

Oct 19, 2010 We can’t change the past
by: Rose

Anonymous don’t beat yourself up.
We all do things out of ignorance we regret.
We can’t change the past but we can certainly change the future by learning by our mistakes and preventing others from making the same mistakes.
The hatred we get from some people for our work in telling as many as possible about this is nothing compared to the hatred we feel towards declawing vets who know abusing cats for money is EVIL yet keep on doing it.
I have kids,cats,and dogs of various ages and I protect my older pets from my younger ones just as I do my children.
It’s good you have two kittens to play together,I don’t think they will pester your older cat much.Just make sure he has a peaceful safe place to call his own.

Oct 19, 2010 To anonymous
by: Ruth

You are to be admired for your courage to speak out about declawing and your determination not to put any more cats through it.
Yes I’ve faced hatred quite a few times over the 2 years I’ve been helping educate people and sometimes get some nasty remarks on the petition I started, which of course I remove immediately.
It’s hard for us here in a country where our vets would never declaw even when it was legal,to understand why anyone would have a cats claws removed,even if it was just the claws. Everyone here reacts with shock and horror.
But having worked for vets myself I know most people trust them and it’s those vets to blame mostly. They can’t force anyone to have a cat declawed but they advertise it as if it’s something good, some even give discounts on it, encouraging it along with neutering.
They are there to give good advice and to help animals and it’s terrible they put making money above that and it’s disgusting that the AVMA turn a blind eye. They know full well declawing is cruel, painful and crippling yet still it goes on.
More people are spreading the truth now but we can’t reach everyone so it must be banned !
Don’t be too hard on yourself,it’s those people who now know the truth yet still put their cats through it who should feel guilty.
NOT you.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Oct 19, 2010 A P.S.
by: Michael

Just a quick post script to my last comment. I don’t think we get many people who hate us for fighting for cat’s claws. Most people who visit this site are sympathetic and some are heroic!

But there are some who put out the same old clichés. And it so tiresome and there is some hate there. I see in these people a blindness to what they are doing. The Bible comes to mind and I am not in any way religious:

“Forgive them for they know not what they do..” This was Jesus’s plea for the failings of humankind.

I think that people who declaw very often don’t know what they are doing. It is thoughtless. They just do it, as you say, because it is the “done thing”.

But if we step back and look at it with eyes wide open it is horrendous and completely immoral. People in Europe know this and see it. What happened in the USA!?

Michael Avatar

Oct 19, 2010 a barbaric and inhumane demonstration of human cruelty
by: Anonymous

At this point it is far too emotional and horrifying to share our awakening as to the reality of what occurs and the result in depression, hopelessness and apathy that really occurs in declawed cats, but let it be known, as those who worked in environments where such evil occurs, no sanitized words can tell the truth of torture that occurs. Anyone declawing cats should be exposed for the truth of torture that this entails.

Oct 19, 2010 Thank you
by: Michael

Your article is very important to us, the people who fight to save cat’s claws because I think it is the kind of article that might and should be very persuasive to people considering declawing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Michael Avatar

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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4 Responses

  1. Sincerely regretful says:

    Worst decision… about 4 years ago my girlfriend wanted me to move In with her and at the time I was not living in the best conditions. She urged that in order for me to move in with her..we would have to have Captain declawed. Of course I didn’t agree initially.. it’s not like I didn’t know how horrible it was. After some time we grew closer and for some reason my daft self agreed. I took him to my place of work and had one of the doctors do it. Upon recovery his paws didn’t look symmetrical at all. He limps, he seems to be in pain at times, and every time he goes to reach for something he shakes his paws. Clearly this indicates discomfort. I just can’t believe I didn’t need my own warning and I went along with it. I regret it every single day of my life. I apologize to him constantly for it, not only that but I have a bit of resentment towards my fiancé and her sister. The guilt is so bad I feel like I should do that procedure to myself so I can endure what he does every single day, at times I think I deserve the worst because of this. I’m sorry for doing it and of course will never do it again. My fiancé tries to tell me that what’s important is what we learned and to evolve from it. I just can’t move past it. If you’re thinking about doing it…seriously just don’t. Now thinking about it it’s something from a horror movie… sorry for the intense feelings I had to pour it out.

  2. trey Painter says:

    i agree with you completely. there is a nonprofit organization called the Paw Project that I have been around and they recently made a documentary on the horrors of declaw and have made it illegal in many parts of CA. i see you live in Georgia and they will have a screening of their movie on october 6th AT 4:00 PM
    ALPHARETTA, GA 30022

  1. November 24, 2013

    […] A lot of cat owners are simply not aware of what declawing entails. This factor alone – a lack of knowledge of the operation – is a major factor why declawing […]

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