Categories: pain of declawing

Do declawed cats allow you to touch their paws?

Touching a cat’s paws. Please try it with a declawed cat and tell me what happened.

This is an interesting test and I’d like cat owners to come forward to do it and report in a comment. Let’s see what happens. Note: the results may be muddied by the fact that domestic cats often don’t like their paws being fiddled with. But it is worth trying nonetheless, I believe.

Americans need to address this and not brush it under the carpet. And don’t misunderstand me. I am not being critical of Americans. I am being critical of the individual people who declaw cats.

It is my theory that millions of declawed cats (not all) in America are in discomfort at the very least and at worst they are suffering chronic pain on a day-to-day basis. This is because there are also millions of botched surgeries on these cats by ignorant and unknowing veterinarians and in any case the operation is inherently flawed and is likely to cause long term discomfort. The vets simply do not know what they’re doing and are unaware of what they are causing because domestic cats are very good at hiding the true level of pain that they are suffering and we all know that, including veterinarians. But they don’t care sufficiently.

If a cat doesn’t show any clear signs of pain in the long term then vets take it that the cat is not in pain. But you’ll see subtle indications of pain in distorted gaits and in their behaviour but they don’t mention these when arguing their case in state legislatures when a declawing ban is being debated.

I would like, as I say above, every owner of a declawed cat to play with their pet’s claws as you see in the video and to mark down the reaction in writing and then tell everybody in a comment on this page what the reaction was. It won’t happen but at least do it and inform yourself as to the true situation.

I realise that cats in general, in any case, don’t really like their paws to be fiddled with but it is my firm conviction that you will find very many declawed cats who will flinch or shy away from having their paws touched or manipulated as you see in the video. There will be a difference in reaction between declawed cats and non-declawed cats.

Declaw your cat? You can’t love your cat

If I’m correct then surely this is another nail in the coffin of declawing. It would be an indictment of the horrendous nature of this totally unacceptable operation which truly indicates the unloving relationship that millions of cat owners have with their domestic cat.

Yes, to declaw a cat is an act of cruelty and it cannot be the actions of a person who loves their cat. It is the exact opposite of the sort of thing a person would do if she or he loved their cat. And if you have declawed your cat and are reading this page and are insulted – tough. I am correct.

I will therefore argue that about half of the people in America don’t love their domestic cat sufficiently to warrant them being guardians of their cat. Yes, it is estimated (and we don’t know the exact figures which is also reprehensible) that up to 50% of the domestic cats in America are declawed. That represents about 40 million cats who are at least potentially in pain of some sort. It also means that tens of millions of cat owners cannot, they simply cannot, love their cat sufficiently to warrant ownership. They certainly are not guardians or caretakers. It is impossible to label them with that description.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I have 2 cats, both de clawed and both let me touch their paws with no reaction. They are loving and affectionate. They both use the litter box and are playful. My older girl is about 8 and so she’s not as playful anymore but my 1 year old pounces and plays with us and the dogs. He loves his paws rubbed and purrs when we massage them so I don’t believe that declawing them was so bad. They are very loved, spoiled and well taken care of!

    • Thanks Angie. I am pleased that your cats are not in discomfort because of the declawing. It is a bonus. Of course it has to be said that (a) it does not mean that there are not many declawed cats who are in discomfort and (b) there is a moral issue about declawing which must be addressed.

  • I fostered a 16-year-old cat with front declaws for a few months while she recovered from the extensive surgery she needed upon being dumped at our shelter (she had not seen a vet in almost a decade and had a horrific bone infection in her jaw as a result of no dental care). She had extreme arthritis in her front legs and dipped her head with each step she took, also standing at a noticeable incline when she was at rest. Her back feet, intact, were fine and she could jump up onto surfaces easily though jumping back down was much harder because of her front paws. Every time she lay down, she very slowly, very carefully tucked her paws underneath her body. She would NOT let me touch her front paws even after gaining her trust. So glad it is now banned in my province.

  • I have both cats with claws and declawed cats,all rescues. None of my declawed cats act any differently than the intact cats in any way. I can touch all their paws and none seem to be in any pain at all. We have no litter box issues. I had 2 declawed cats that lived until 16 and 17 and never showed any signs of arthritis or pain either. I worked as a vet tech in cat-only clinics for 10 years and never once saw any botched declaws. Not one. Once all the vets I worked for switched to laser declaws, the post op pain was minimal as well. While none of my younger cats are declawed, I do not subscribe to the hype that it is cruel to declaw. Working in animal rescue now, most require cats not be declawed in their contracts, but honestly, it's more cruel for cats to be euthanized never having a loving home because of such restrictions. Just my experience and my opinion.

    • Thanks for commenting but I strongly disagree. Firstly there are many botched declaws per The Paw Project. Secondly, there are many potential and actual complications. Thirdly, what about the moral aspect? You don't touch on that. Why do humans have the moral right to chop off the toes at the last knuckle for their convenience? Why do we have the right to mutilate our cat companions? Why is it banned in 35 countries? Why is it a crime in the UK? Why do u believe this nonsense about declaw versus abandonment? That is a failed argument.

  • When I met my cat she and about 15 others had been FOUR paw declawed, overbred and not fixed by a veterinarian who claimed to be trying to breed Ragdolls. Her uterus was stretched from having so many litters. Clearly he was delusional as none of the cats we took in at the shelter from his clinic were anything near Ragdolls. She is the sweetest baby ever. She does not seem to be in pain and allows me to touch her paws. One of her back paws has a tiny nail left. I am really careful to make sure she doesn't get outside. I would have a heart attack if she got out. She does scrape her paws on the flat cardboard scratcher. We do not allow people to adopt if they plan to declaw. As for the vet - he passed away and I like to believe he may have been suffering from mental illness at the end since clearly what he did to these cats was abusive.

  • I do have 2 cats at home and 8 at the farm. All have their claws ! They came in as straight and we fix them and here they go free on the farm and usually stay in one of the barn to depend of their personality and flexibility with other cats. All are happy and can run away from, danger by going up the trees in needed! I dont think cat lover take claws out only superficial people who dont understand the importance of the claws for a cat and more for an indoor/outdoor cat ! This should be ban anywhere !

  • I rescued a gorgeous long hair tuxie boy from a bad outdoor situation. I drove to another state to pick him up. It was not until I got him home that I learned he was declawed. He WILL NOT under any circumstances let me touch his paws. He pulls them away. Also, he cannot play with things like feather teasers. He still makes biscuits and wants to sharpen his nails on cardboard.

  • I declawed my cat when she was a baby. I didn't know how bad it was back then I do now. She is my special someone and we have a great bond. She does let me touch her paws but she dosen't like it all that much. I think she endures it to make me happy. There has to be a lot of trust for them to let you has the toe beans.

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