Categories: cat bites

Is it okay to declaw your cat if you have diabetes?

A visitor to the site, Serena, made this comment (thanks Serena, I always welcome comments even if I disagree with them). She’s saying that diabetics are prone to infections and therefore it’s alright to declaw their cat to prevent infection from a cat bite or scratch.

Diabetes weakens the immune system leaving the person prone to infection. Picture in public domain.

“There is only one instance where a declaw should be done and even then, all options should be exorcised.. and that’s if the patient has diabetes. Studies have proven that people with diabetes often are prone to infection regardless of how clean and careful they are when they are wounded. In which case, they must be extremely careful when it comes to cats with claws as we know our feline friends don’t mean to hurt us sometimes when they suddenly are frightened by a noise on our lap or are seeking to jump into our laps. My mom had to have hers declawed for that very reason. Even the vet said that they would ONLY do it in that circumstance and ONLY with a note directly from the doctor themself stating the ailment and issues.”


I checked this out and it’s true that diabetics are prone to infections:

“People with diabetes are more susceptible to developing infections, as high blood sugar levels can weaken the patient’s immune system defences.”

However, I respectfully disagree with Serena because of the following reasons.

We don’t know the cause of her mother’s diabetes (and I am sorry to hear she has diabetes). If the cause is excess weight then I have to respectfully state that it’s the fault of the person. It is morally incorrect to declaw a cat (harm a cat badly) under these circumstances. This must be clear to everyone.

Even if the diabetes is not the fault of the person i.e. inherited type 1 diabetes, I’d argue that it is still wrong to declaw. The person should not have a cat if they are genuinely in fear of a cat bite. That’s the better response.

However, if a diabetic person does have a cat then there will be a risk from infection caused by a bite. However, morally it is a risk that the person has to take. And if antibiotics are to hand she can take a short course to kill the infection. On the one occasion I was bitten by my cat (I am not diabetic incidentally) and it caused an infection on my wrist, taking 4 antibiotic pills over four days cured it completely. There is therefore an easy way to deal with the possible danger of a diabetic getting an infection from a cat bite which is preferable to declawing.

Also the solution to this dilemma must be carried by the person. It is up to them to solve the problem because they adopt the cat. They don’t have to adopt a cat.

Another point is that a diabetic can take extra precautions to avoid being scratched or bitten. A careful and sensible cat owner (guardian) will very rarely be bitten if she interacts with her cat wisely. Also it would be sensible to adopt a older rescue cat. Older cats are less impetuous and less likely to bite or scratch in play.

Conclusion: a diabetic does not have to mutilate their cat to avoid an infection. Morally and practically there are alternative ways to deal with it which are morally more acceptable.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. Some people have insulted me homophobically by saying I am gay. I am not. I have had a girlfriend for more than 20 years.

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  • If you do a little research, this pops up.

    The New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) said it supports declawing as an alternative to euthanasia for cat owners with impaired immune systems or diabetes.

  • Yeah, let us know how that bite wound heals. Once the claws are gone the cat will turn to biting if the cat feels threatened.

  • All of this considered I'd still say no, it's not okay to declaw the cat. I've had 18 cats over 25 years and rarely have I been scratched. In fact I can't remember the last time but it's been at least 5 years. You can injure yourself in all sorts of ways, having a cat in the grand scheme of things isn't any more likely to sustain one. If you're clumsy, that's on you; if you can't get along with your cat, that's on you too. If you're that paranoid of injury and infection and for some reason you can't take antibiotics, don't get a cat, in fact move into a nursing home or something and have people do everything for you so you don't even have to wash dishes or pick up a fork to feed yourself; go live in a bubble... this is otherwise an excuse to horribly mangle and cripple a defenseless animal. Sorry but I've never heard of this before so I wonder about it's authenticity.

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